Wood was born in Lancaster, England, United Kingdom. (April 1980) He attended the Lancaster Royal Grammar School and graduated from the University of York with a Master of Engineering (MEng) in Computer Systems and Software Engineering in 2002 and completed his PhD entitled “Content-based visualisation to aid common navigation of musical audio” in 2005.



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 ICT and game theory, and the inevitable social change to which this would lead. A mutual friend made the introduction to Vitalik that year and blockchain/crypto has dominated my life since.

I coded the first functional Ethereum client in January 2014 released as “PoC-1” (i.e. the first proof of concept) and co-founded the project. Shortly after, I authored the Yellow Paper, the first formal specification of any blockchain protocol and one of the key ways Ethereum distinguished itself from other blockchain-based systems. I went on to co-design much of the “1.0” Ethereum protocol including the EVM, gas and the caller-pays account model. I also conceived/invented and designed much of what would become the Ethereum technology stack including the Solidity contract language, the RPC, the Whisper/Swarm protocols and the Javascript API. My original ideas for a decentralised web date back to early 2013, but my first post on the topic was in April 2014, later followed by a less-techy version.

Prior to Ethereum, I accrued a masters degree and doctorate in computer science. I consulted for Microsoft Research on technical aspects of embedded domain-specific languages, designed and implemented the first truly smart lighting controller for one of London’s top nightclubs, designed and implemented most of the world’s first C++ language workbench, and built the software systems of OxLegal, a smart text contract-editor.

Getting to know Gavin Wood: The visionary behind Ethereum, Polkadot and Web 3.0 – CfC St Moritz 2022


Following my departure from Ethereum Foundation after around two years of being the CTO, I founded Parity Technologies (then called Ethcore) with several other Ethereum alumni and the Web3 Foundation. Additionally I have helped found or advise a number of additional organisations, including GridSingularity, Blockchain Capital, Scytale Capital, Blockchange Capital and Polychain Capital.

Most recently I proposed and then, together with Parity Technologies and the Web3 Foundation, created and helped launch Polkadot a heterogenous scalable multi-chain and the first of its kind.

I have sat on panels, given seminars and presented to numerous audiences around the world from keynotes at regional technology conferences to musings on the future of legal systems at world-renowned law schools. I came up with the terms ‘Web3’ and ‘allegality’.


Polkadot Behind the Code, Episode 1: The Idea, featuring Gavin Wood
Polkadot Behind the Code, Episode 2: The Build, featuring Gavin Wood

When Bitcoin was launched in 2009, Dr. Gavin James Wood (@gavofyork on Twitter), the co-founder of Bitcoin’s biggest rival Ethereum, was knee-deep in the computer visualization of music and wholly uninterested in the hype around cryptocurrency. By the end of 2013, the British programmer had 15 years of open-source coding experience (and had been coding for 25 years of his 33), and came across Jonny Bitcoin and Vitalik Buterin. Jonny hoped Wood’s coding experience would help Buterin transform Ethereum from a white paper to a fully functional blockchain. His hope bore fruit and within weeks Wood joined Buterin in Miami to write the PoC-1 of Ethereum and present it in the North American Bitcoin Conference in January 2014.

Six months after the conference, the founders met in Zug, Switzerland to officially found Ethereum. During that time, Dr. Wood was busy ideating and putting down the groundwork of the smart contract language Solidity, writing down the first formal specification of any blockchain protocol, the Yellow Paper, and shaping other similar blockchain-based infrastructures.

Two years into his role as chief technology officer of Ethereum, Dr. Wood and Ethereum alumna Dr. Jutta Steiner founded Parity Technologies to develop core blockchain infrastructure for Ethereum and other Web 3.0 networks. Wood’s vision far surpassed average cryptocurrencies and relied on blockchain infrastructure to decentralize the web, precipitating a new wave of technological evolution. So naturally, someone who had a penchant for designing his own complicated board games in his youth jumped at the chance to disrupt the current centralized node-based software application status quo by launching Parity Technologies and Web3 Foundation.


Commoditizing Trust and Disrupting the System | Gavin Wood | TEDxVienna

How the Polkadot Protocol Began

Gavin Wood & Edward Snowden – Fireside Chat | BlockDown 2021 Conf

Leave a Reply