Gavin Wood

Gavin James Wood (born April 1980) is a British programmer who is a Co-founder of and also a Co-founder and former CTO of .[1] He invented fundamental components of the industry, including Solidity, Proof-of-Authority consensus, and Whisper.[2]

Gavin Wood was also the founder and CTO of Parity Technologies[12] (founded 2015), the organization that released the Parity Bitcoin technology stack.[17] He coined the term Web 3.0 in 2014 and serves as President of Web3 Foundation[16], whose mission is to nurture cutting-edge applications for decentralized web software protocols. [4][5]


Gavin Wood attended Lancaster Royal Grammar School in Lancaster, Lancashire, England. After graduating from Lancaster Royal Grammar School, he pursued software engineering and studied for his Masters in engineering at the University of York. For his doctoral degree, he decided on music visualization for human-computer interfacing (HCI) as the preferred field of study at his postgraduate alma mater, the University of York. Wood continued on to graduate from the University of York with a Master of Engineering (MEng) in Computer Systems and Software Engineering in 2002. He also completed his Ph.D. in Computer Science at York in 2005, with a thesis titled "Content-based visualization to aid common navigation of musical audio". The thesis directly led to Moodbar, a static music visualization used in several prominent music applications on the Linux desktop.[6]


Before Ethereum

Dr. Wood continued to expand his developer experience in the early 2000s with an extendable, yet scalable architecture of audio-signal refinement and fine-tuning with Exscalibar. After completing his Ph.D., he worked on a next-generation cross-platform game engine for Frontier Developments. In 2007, he started Quid Pro Code, a software shop where he designed and implemented the first C++ language workbench, Martta, while he consulted Microsoft Research on technical aspects of embedded domain-specific languages. In 2011, as the Technical Director at the Lancaster Logic Response, Gavin Wood used techniques from his Ph.D. to develop a system for creating real-time light shows for music, which were later deployed to London's top nightclubs. At Lancaster Logic Response, Dr. Wood also worked in the development of Noted, an extensible audio analysis and notation C++ environment.[7][8]


In 2013, Gavin Wood was building OxLegal, a smart text contract editor, when he met  through a mutual friend, and it wasn't long before they came up with the idea of Ethereum, a global, open-source platform for decentralized applications. With Buterin, Wood began working on a decentralized platform that was quite similar to the cryptocurrency incumbent , and at the same time very different in terms of the pursuit of decentralizing the Internet. Gavin holed up with , Wendell Davies, and others in a beach house in Miami in January 2014. It was in Miami he coded the first functional implementation of , known as PoC-1 or the alpha release. Dr. Gavin Wood became a co-founder and the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of Ethereum and wrote the Ethereum Yellow Paper where the Ethereum Virtual Machine, the runtime system for in Ethereum, is specified. It was the first formal specification of a blockchain’s state machine to be written.[9][10][11]

Over the next two years, Dr. Wood solely focused on the development of , which included general platform architecture, the majority of the C++ Ethereum client, and the initial design of Solidity, an object-oriented programming language for writing smart contracts used by Ethereum.[6]

By 2016, Dr. Wood expanded his focus and founded EthCore, promptly raising pre-seed funding. With over sixty developers across fifteen countries, EthCore later became Parity Technologies[12].[6]

From Ethereum to Parity Technologies

Two years after founding , Dr. Wood went on to found Parity Technologies[12], a blockchain infrastructure firm for the decentralized web with Ethereum alumni Dr. Jutta Steiner (head of security auditing), Dr. Aeron Buchanan (head of finance and operations) and Ken Kappler (head of comms). At Parity, he ideated a host of projects to innovate the current decentralized application landscape that ranged from the fastest and most advanced Ethereum client, Parity Ethereum (written in Rust), to DIY blockchain frameworks like Substrate, a flexible tech stack that enables users to build their own blockchain from scratch.[6][1]

Dr. Gavin Wood continued his decentralized internet vision with Ewald Hesse, Dr. Ana Trbovich, and three other blockchain pioneers in co-founding Grid Singularity, which is an open Internet-based decentralized energy data exchange platform built on blockchain technology. He also has been involved in decentralized asset management for multiple blockchains with Melonport AG, in 2016.[6]

In 2017 Dr. Wood founded Web3 Foundation[16], a nonprofit organization focusing on decentralized internet infrastructure and technology, and started with the Polkadot network. Web3 Foundation has supported research into the Whisper protocol (conceived in 2014), which promises to allow private distributed messaging in the future of Web 3.0. The Web3 Foundation launched the “canary network”  that allows developers to explore the finer intricacies of  in a real economic environment before launching their tech on the . Kusama’s launch proved to be a valuable waypoint toward the launch of network, the sharded multi-chain interoperability network Dr. Wood co-founded after leaving Ethereum.[6]

Additionally, Gavin Wood has helped found or advise a number of additional organizations, including Blockchain Capital and .[3]


In 2016, Gavin Wood founded , a network protocol that enables the transfer of arbitrary data, including tokens, across  alongside , a Thiel fellow and member of the Rust community with a background in , distributed systems, and cryptography, and Peter Czaban[17], Technology director for Web3 Foundation with a Masters degree in Engineering from the University of Oxford and background in defense, finance, data analytics, machine learning, and business development. He was also responsible for publishing the Polkadot whitepaper.[18]

"Polkadot is a multi-chain. The idea is that it's a blockchain, but we bundle lots of different blocks up all at the same time that can be executed in parallel. So these things can all be executed at the same time. In doing so, we create this sort of idea of a multi-chain, because every block is actually lots of different blocks that we can in principle run a hundred times the amount of transaction throughput that just one chain, like Bitcoin or Ethereum could." [22]

Polkadot raised approximately $144 million in its first token sale in October 2017, with major investors including , , and . [19]

As the lead developer of and its experimental development environment, , Wood oversaw a busy development for the project. He also worked on the DOT token redenomination event in August 2020, helping the project and the community to fight against unscrupulous exchanges that listed the “new DOT” tokens before the redenomination was concluded. [20][21]

"Polkadot is really like a community of chains that share their security, this means that you get guaranteed secure interoperability between the chains. Basically, the chains can send messages and those messages are guaranteed to arrive and they're guaranteed not to be in any way corrupted, they're guaranteed that the sending chain won't have reverted and then finalize some other block later because of some economic attack for example and this is crucially different because it allows you to build truly composable applications rather than just some kind of lossy network" [23]

Stepping Down as CEO

On October 21, 2022, Gavin Wood announced his resignation as CEO of Parity Technologies, the corporate entity behind . In a company blog post[13], Gavin Wood said he was leaving his position to spend more time on making technology more relevant to the public:

“It therefore means more time to focus on the stuff which I both enjoy and where I feel that I can deliver the most value to the company’s mission. I’ll be pointing my regained focus towards exploring how we can contribute to making Polkadot and Web3 more relevant to large swathes of the population. This will begin by helping the community design and build several interesting chain-integrated social primitives which I think are crucial for us to deliver a true Web3 platform.”

Gavin also mentioned that his skillset is better suited for more hands-on responsibilities like coding and design:

“The role of CEO has never been one which I have coveted (and this dates back long before Parity). I can act at being a CEO well enough for a short while, but it’s not where I’m going to find eternal happiness. Anyone who has worked with me knows where my heart lies. I’m a thinker, coder, designer and architect. Like many such people, I work best asynchronously; a great day is taking 10 hours straight to think out some problem, prototype something or collapse some disparate thoughts into an article.”

Gavin still remains the company’s majority shareholder and assumed the position of Parity’s new Chief Architect while Björn Wagner[14], the firm’s co-founder stepped into the position of CEO. [13][15]


  • Ethereum: A Secure Decentralised Generalised Transaction Ledger
  • Vision for a Heterogenous Multi-Chain Framework
  • Martta: A C++ Language Workbench
  • Content-based visualisation to aid common navigation of musical audio
  • On Techniques for Content-based Visual Annotation to Aid Intra-track Music Navigation
  • Quantitative Comparisons into Content-Based Music Recognition with the Self Organising Map
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Gavin Wood

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February 28, 2023

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