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Gavin Wood

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Gavin Wood
Wood in 2017
Gavin James Wood

EducationLancaster Royal Grammar School
Alma materUniversity of York
Known forCo-founder of Ethereum and former CTO of the Ethereum Foundation; co-founder of Polkadot; CWO and Chairman of Parity Technologies; author of the Polkadot White Paper and the Ethereum Yellow Paper
Scientific career
ThesisContent-based visualisation to aid common navigation of musical audio (2005)

Gavin James Wood is an English computer scientist, a co-founder of Ethereum, and creator of Polkadot and Kusama.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

Wood was born in Lancaster, England, United Kingdom. He attended the Lancaster Royal Grammar School. He graduated from the University of York with a Master of Engineering (MEng) in Computer Systems and Software Engineering in 2002 and completed his PhD entitled "Content-based visualization to aid common navigation of musical audio" in 2005.[3]


Before working on Ethereum, Wood was a research scientist at Microsoft.[1] He was one of the founders of the Ethereum blockchain, which he has described as "one computer for the entire planet,"[4] with Vitalik Buterin, Charles Hoskinson, Anthony Di Iorio, and Joseph Lubin during 2013–2014.[5][6] Wood proposed and helped develop Solidity,[7] a programming language for writing smart contracts. He also released the paper defining the Ethereum Virtual Machine,[8] the runtime system for smart contracts in Ethereum, in 2014. He also served as the Ethereum Foundation's first chief technology officer.[9][10][11] Wood left the Ethereum Foundation in January 2016.[12]

Wood founded Parity Technologies (formerly Ethcore), which developed a client for the Ethereum network and creates software for companies using blockchain technology, with Jutta Steiner, who also previously worked at the Ethereum Foundation.[1][10] The company released the Parity Ethereum software client, written in Rust, in early 2016. He held the title of chief web officer at Parity in 2018.

He founded the Web3 Foundation, a nonprofit organization focusing on decentralized internet infrastructure and technology, starting with the Polkadot network.[10] In comparison to Bitcoin's proof of work mechanism, Polkadot relies on proof of stake mechanism and allows developers to create their own blockchain that can talk to other ledgers, forming a system of parachains. Developers can decide what kind of transaction fees to charge and how fast to confirm blocks of transactions across the digital ledgers. In 2019, he founded Kusama, an early stage experimental development environment for Polkadot.[citation needed]


Amid 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine Wood donated $5.8 million in cryptocurrency to support Ukraine.[13]


  • Ethereum: A Secure Decentralised Generalised Transaction Ledger[14]
  • Polkadot: Vision for a Heterogenous Multi-Chain Framework[15]


  1. ^ a b c Francisco, Danny Fortson in San (25 June 2017). "British coder revealed as brains behind bitcoin rival". The Sunday Times. ISSN 0956-1382. Retrieved 9 January 2020.
  2. ^ "Ethereum Blockchain Killer Goes By Unassuming Name of Polkadot". Bloomberg.com. 17 October 2020.
  3. ^ Wood, Gavin James (2005). Content-based visualiszation to aid common navigation of musical audio (Ph.D). University of York. Archived from the original on 11 July 2022. Retrieved 11 July 2022.
  4. ^ "Ethereum: the competitor to Bitcoin which could transform entire industries". New Statesman. 12 April 2016. Retrieved 9 January 2020.
  5. ^ "Ethereum Regains Title as Second Most Valuable Cryptocurrency Behind Bitcoin". Fortune. Archived from the original on 8 January 2018. Retrieved 31 December 2021.
  6. ^ Post, Claire Brownell Financial (27 June 2017). "Vitalik Buterin: The cryptocurrency prophet | Financial Post". Financial Post. Retrieved 9 January 2020.
  7. ^ Jeffries, Adrianne. "Ethereum hacking continues to be extremely lucrative". The Outline. Retrieved 9 January 2020.
  8. ^ Dannen, Chris (16 March 2017). Introducing Ethereum and Solidity: Foundations of Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Programming for Beginners. Apress. ISBN 978-1-4842-2535-6.
  9. ^ Paumgarten, Nick (15 October 2018). "The Prophets of Cryptocurrency Survey the Boom and Bust". The New Yorker. ISSN 0028-792X. Retrieved 9 January 2020.
  10. ^ a b c Shieber, Jonathan (1 November 2017). "The future of Blockchain infrastructure, with Gavin Wood and Jutta Steiner". TechCrunch. Retrieved 9 January 2020.
  11. ^ Jain, Aman (17 August 2021). "Founders' Fork: The Ethereum Architects Now Locked in Battle". Entrepreneur. Archived from the original on 18 August 2021. Retrieved 19 August 2021.
  12. ^ Wood, Gavin. "The last Blog Post". Ethereum.org. Ethereum Foundation. Retrieved 15 March 2022.
  13. ^ MacKenzie Sigalos (3 March 2022). Ukraine has raised more than $54 million as bitcoin donations pour in to support the war against Russia. CNBC. Retrieved 9 February 2022.
  14. ^ Ethereum Yellow Paper
  15. ^ Polkadot White Paper