As early as November 2017, there have been reports circulating in the crypto community that Gregory Maxwell is leaving or has left Blockstream to pursue other endeavors. This has been confirmed recently in a circulated email from Linux Foundation by Maxwell himself.
In the email, made publicly available early Friday morning, Maxwell announced that he left Blockstream two months ago “in order to spend more time working independently on deep protocol work.”
Maxwell said he plans to extend his interest in cryptographic privacy and security technology for Bitcoin and other blockchain-related innovations.
The Bitcoin Core developer has been known to praise high fees and 300,000 transactions stuck in the mempool of legacy Bitcoin, otherwise known as SegWit1x (BTC), saying, “Personally, I’m pulling out the champaign that market behaviour is indeed producing activity levels that can pay for security without inflation, and also producing fee paying backlogs needed to stabilize consensus progress as the subsidy declines.”
Maxwell admitted that when he co-founded Blockstream his concern was that “there was significant underinvestment in Bitcoin technology,” noting that while Bitcoin had the technical community to back it up, it didn’t have the “industry support” to scale at the time. This was how Blockstream began as a corporate initiative to improve the use-specific codes surrounding Bitcoin, according to Maxwell.
Things have turned rather sour of late, though, as it seemed that Blockstream’s new implementations eroded standard procedures. Recently, an attack against r/bitcoin was allegedly found to have been perpetrated by Maxwell when he was still with Blockstream.
Incidents like these dismayed BTC supporters like Cøbra of bitcoin.org and bitcointalk.org, who tweeted: “The way @Blockstream is promoting LN use on mainnet is very irresponsible. People will lose money and LN reputation will be damaged. A few weeks ago, I received a disgusting and accusatory email out of nowhere from someone very high up their chain of command. Terrible company.”
Maxwell said that he will now be pursuing newer technologies like Bulletproofs, signature aggregation, as well as optimization methods for block propagation and synchronization. The Blockstream team page has since been taken down in light of Maxwell’s departure.
The news comes after years of allegations leveled at Blockstream (and Maxwell, by extension) by crypto enthusiasts over how the company has managed to destroy the ecosystem by centralizing its decisions to a single, supposedly elite team of coders.
Contrary to this, the aim of bitcoin should begin without leaders, every decision must be consensus-based, formed from a decentralized community. This has been demonstrated through community responses to a tweet from BTC supporter @CobraBitcoin somewhat praising Bitcoin Cash, saying, “Parts of the Bitcoin Cash community are excellent and very passionate, in fact, in some ways I see more passion from them than almost any other cryptocurrency community. Sad their “leaders” are all frauds though.”
In just a few moments, his tweet was met with kind tips from BCH community members, with a few like @cryptokidd replying: “In the #BitcoinCash community…we’re all leaders…we’re passionate to expose the fraud, not to support it. This community understands we’re all part of something bigger, not under someone’s thumb.”