Influential Former Bitcoin Developer Teases Return

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  • Former Bitcoin developer Wladimir van der Laan has hinted at a comeback following Craig Wright’s recent High Court defeat
  • Van der Laan was one of a clutch of developers sued over an alleged coup to oust Wright in 2010 and 2011
  • The former lead maintainer has said that he “might become more active in bitcoin development again” following Wright’s loss to COPA

Influential former Bitcoin developer Wladimir van der Laan has teased a potential return to the fold following Craig Wright’s defeat to the Cryptocurrency Open Patent Alliance (COPA) this month. Van der Laan is one of several developers sued in multiple cases by Wright over alleged copyright breaches concerning Bitcoin development, which contributed to him quitting the scene. However, those cases will almost certainly be dismissed following Wright’s defeat, leaving van der Laan stating in a blog post that he “might become more active in bitcoin development again.”

Van der Laan Accused of Role in Coup

Van der Laan joined Bitcoin in 2010 and was influential in moving the codebase from Sourceforge to GitHub, which Wright claims was part of the coup to remove his control by rogue developers. These accusations became serious when Wright filed lawsuits pertaining to these claims in 2022, stating his intention to bankrupt the developers and force them out of their roles.

Several Bitcoin developers quit in the wake of Wright’s legal action, stating that the work, which is undertaken voluntarily by many, wasn’t worth the stress and potential financial penalties involved. Van der Laan was one, stepping aside last February citing “burnout and health issues,” with the lawsuits clearly taking a toll.

Wright’s defeat, however, seems to have given van der Laan a fresh impetus to return:

Now that this is over, I might become more active in bitcoin development again. No promises though. The last few years have been difficult for me, for this reason and others. But it absolutely helps to have this out of the way.

Van der Laan added that he “did not expect this much sanity from the legal system,” adding that Wright is not just a “fraud” but also an “all-out awful person that uses his fraud as a pretense to willingly ruin people’s lives.” 

If van der Laan does return it will hopefully encourage other developers who quit the scene to return and assist in maintaining Bitcoin’s security.