Among the original founding fathers of Ethereum (ETH) is Gavin Wood, who joined a group led by Vitalik Buterin that set out to build Bitcoin's competition. Wood is the computer scientist who wrote the first smart contracts for the Ethereum blockchain back in 2014. In an exclusive interview with Cointelegraph, Wood admitted that at the time, he just needed a job.
A self-described "technologist at heart," he knew coding was his calling and made the "obvious" switch from building LEGO bricks to writing blocks of code from an early age.
He first discovered Bitcoin via The Silk Road, the online black market that ran from 2011 to 2013. The cryptocurrency originally "took his fancy" for being "a purely algorithmic mechanism for human cooperation and interaction" that, according to Wood, "allows for the creation of social structures that we haven't seen yet."
He realized there might be a job opportunity for him and started networking. After a meeting with Johnny Bitcoin, Wood was hired with the task of helping Buterin take Ethereum from white paper to a functioning blockchain. His hope in creating Ethereum was to affect change in society for the better.
"This is [the] technology that is being used to build the new world — the world that's going to drive human civilization for the rest of this century, at least."
The video ends with words by Wood from another interview at a July 2014 conference in Hong Kong in which he suggested to Cointelegraph that economic institutions could be substituted by Ethereum. Almost eight years later, economic and financial institutions are indeed being disrupted not just by Ethereum but by the constantly evolving blockchain and cryptocurrency technology.
Wood ended up leaving the development team at Ethereum to eventually found Polkadot (DOT), a sharded multi-chain protocol, and Kusama (KSM), used as a test network on the Polkadot chain.