Wladimir J. van der Laan Wladimir van der Laan
Residence Netherlands
Affiliations Bitcoin Core (Lead maintainer)
Twitter twitter.com/orionwl
GitHub github.com/laanwj

Wladimir van der Laan

Wladimir van der Laan is yet another hidden figure behind Bitcoin, in charge with important aspects of the digital currency and with direct access to the Bitcoin Core repository.

Background

Before becoming a Bitcoin Core developer, Wladimir managed to make a name for himself in the hacking industry, for being able to come up with various ideas, and thanks to his exceptional programming skills. According to his Twitter account1, Wladimir works remotely, as he is based in The Netherlands.

Work Experience

Prior to working for Bitcoin Core, Wladimir got employed by the MIT, where he worked on a variety of exciting projects. According to sources, it seems like MIT is still his employer. Together with this, Wladimir has also worked on a couple of personal projects, including Visucure, which is meant to provide High-Performance Visual Computing.

Bitcoin Core Developer

Wladimir van der Laan has been working full-time on the Bitcoin Core for a few years. During this period of time, he came up with various system implementations, fixed a wide variety of issues and also signalled and fixed bugs, which would have compromised the system. He took up the position of lead maintainer for the Bitcoin Core once his predecessor, Gavin Andresen stepped down2. It’s worth pointing out that when it comes down to the number of projects that he has worked on for Bitcoin Core puts him at the top of the contributor list, with Gavin Andersen taking the second place. Since he took the new position in 2014, Wladimir arranged his priorities, which are as follows: finding a way to split off the Bitcoin-Qt wallet over from the P2P core code, creating a deterministic wallet to help those with multiple wallets, finding a way to generate faster initial block downloads, and improving overall developer documentation. These implementations are meant to be written directly on the Bitcoin Core client, where Wladimir will continue to work, in order to ensure that there are no bugs whatsoever, and that the system is running fluently.

However, as a core maintainer, his main task is not to code, but rather to review, merge and test whatever the open source community submits for Bitcoin, as the ideas and work of the community are what make Bitcoin so great.

Views

When it comes down to his views, Wladimir has shared them with the world through a couple of quotes, these being:

There is an inherent conflict: because of security risks it is sensible for a wallet to be online as little as possible, whereas a node should be online as much as possible for a stable P2P network.3

Because the wallet generates random keys, backup discipline is extremely important right now. For every 100 new keys, or whatever the keypool size is set to, one needs to update their backup.3

A single backup would be enough to recover all keys at any later point in time. This would be good for peace of mind.3

Further Reading and Useful Links

Commits to Bitcoin Core: github.com/bitcoin/bitcoin/commits?author=laanwj

Bitcointalk profile: bitcointalk.org/index.php?action=profile;u=2252

Bitcoin Core developers with commit access

Active: Gavin AndresenJeff GarzikJonas SchnelliPieter WuilleWladimir van der Laan

Retired: Gregory MaxwellMartti MalmiSatoshi Nakamoto

This article was last modified on 2 February 2016, at 19:28 GMT.