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Gavin Wood

Gavin Wood is a British software engineer and smart contract developer famous for co-founding Ethereum, inventing Solidity, and creating PolkaDot.

May 8, 2023


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Co-founder of Ethereum, inventor of Solidity, and creator of Polkadot.

Gavin Wood is a British computer scientist and software engineer famous for being the co-founder of Ethereum, inventor of smart contract programming language Solidity, and creator of Polkadot. 

Before joining the blockchain industry, Wood studied at the University of York, where he earned a Master of Engineering degree in 2002 and a PhD in Music Visualization for Human Computer Interfacing in 2005. During this time, he worked for various software development companies. His career in legacy industries lasted from 2000 to 2013, and one of his most notable positions includes a Research and Software Consultant at Microsoft Research Cambridge.

Before working on the Ethereum project, Wood had a slight knowledge of the cryptocurrency market. He first heard about Bitcoin in 2011 but was rather uninterested in the market. Instead, his interest gravitated towards the technology behind cryptocurrencies. 

Since my childhood economics and game theory have always interested me, even to the point of co-publishing a strategy board game of my own design. When I first read about Bitcoin in 2011, I was largely uninterested, focusing too much on the currency aspect rather than the technology. However, when I revisited it in early 2013, I began to realise new possibilities opening up between the fields of ITC and game theory, and the inevitable social change to which this would lead. A mutual friend made the introduction to Vitalik that year and Ethereum has dominated my life since.

The journey of joining the blockchain industry begins after a mutual friend introduced Gavin Wood to Vitalik Buterin. Wood hoped to turn Buterin’s whitepaper into a real vision by transforming it into a fully-functional blockchain network. Thus, Wood went on to create the Ethereum Foundation with six other people in 2013.

Wood’s role as a chief technology officer at Ethereum lasted until 2015. Due to disagreements with the rest of the team, the software engineer decided to leave the project and work on a blockchain network of his own. 

Therefore, Wood founded Parity Technologies and Web3 Foundation and decided to develop PolkaDot, another rival smart contract ecosystem that promises improved scalability and decreased transaction fees. 

Wood’s ambition with Polkadot is to turn the modern internet into Web 3.0, a decentralized version of the world wide web. The team behind Polkadot aims to achieve the feat by utilizing sharding, cross-chain kits, parachains, tota governance, and a multitude of different features. 

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