Greg Maxwell Exits Blockstream As Lightning Network Sparks Warnings

Wilma Woo · January 19, 2018 · 10:30 pm

Bitcoin Core developer and Blockstream co-founder Greg Maxwell announced he has left the company as criticism mounts over its Lightning Network advocacy.

Maxwell: Blockstream Has Been ‘Big Success’

In a circular to the core mailing list Friday, Maxwell said he had opted to “spend more time working independently” on Bitcoin technical advances.

“We hoped that Blockstream could help act as an anchor of support for technology development, and in doing so help grow the community. I think that has been a big success,” he wrote.

Greg Maxwell

From what I’ve been told Blockstream plans to continue to contribute to awesome technology in Bitcoin – as demonstrated by their Lightning [Network] webstore this week – but if they didn’t, that wouldn’t be a problem for Bitcoin.

Maxwell added that he had in fact left Blockstream at the end of November, but had continued finishing his involvement until the new year.

Blockstream Criticized Over Mainnet Lightning Network Debut

As Maxwell unveiled proof-of-concept work for Bitcoin scaling upgrade Schnorr multisignatures this week together with other Core developers, Blockstream’s latest technical release has received mixed reactions.

After it launched the pioneering store Maxwell mentions, which is one of the first outlets to accept Lightning payments, Bitcoin community figures criticized the move as premature given the technology’s experimental status.

“The way (Blockstream) is promoting LN use on mainnet is very irresponsible. People will lose money and LN reputation will be damaged,” creator Cobra wrote on Twitter, sparking a debate involving Civic CEO Vinny Lingham and commentator Vortex.

Blockstream had in fact noted in a post about the release that Lightning was in a “testing stage,” inviting early users to report any inconsistencies.

As Bitcoinist reported Thursday, the network currently boasts a modest but quickly growing presence on the Bitcoin mainnet, at press time comprising approximately 50 nodes and 80 channels with a total capacity of just under $12,000.

The statistics resource tracking the data also carries a more cryptic haiku-style warning not to place too much trust in the nascent network.

What do you think about Greg Maxwell’s decision to leave Blockstream and the reactions to its Lightning Network store? Let us know in the comments below!

Images courtesy of, Twitter

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