John Watkinson is a software developer from Canada who co-founded Larva Labs with Matt Hall in 2005. He is one of the creators of CryptoPunks, a series of unique digital assets that were among the first non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on the Ethereum blockchain.
Watkinson's artistic interests primarily focus on pixel art, generative art, and the creation of new ways to experience and transact works of art.
Along with Matt Hall, he was titled as one of the Most Influential in 2021 by Coindesk.
He and his partner Matt Hall have been working together for around 20 years, starting with web and Java projects and eventually transitioning to mobile development. They both met at the University of Toronto and then moved to New York and worked for different companies before eventually working for the same company. He became interested in mobile development and wrote games for small phones, which eventually led to him becoming a mobile developer when the smartphone market took off. Then he became interested in blockchain technology, especially Ethereum because of its ability to support more arbitrary contracts and its appeal to hackers and creative thinkers. CryptoPunks was his first Ethereum project and was inspired by pixel art and games he had previously worked on in the mobile space. The images for the project were produced using pixel art and the project began as a fun pixel art project. He has experience in other blockchain projects as well, such as Autoglyphs and Meebits.
Watkinson holds a Masters in Computer Science from the University of Toronto and a PhD in Electrical Engineering from Columbia University, two prestigious institutions in science and technology.
John met Matt Hall in college at the University of Toronto, where they were studying computer science. Although they knew each other, they were not close friends until they were in a group together at the end of college. After graduation, they reconnected on the street and started working together on computer projects, meeting weekly at Matt's apartment in Toronto. During these meetings, they learned about web development and worked on a Linux server that they had purchased for $50 from a company that had gone out of business.
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