Gavin Andresen is a software developer based out of Amherst, Massachusetts; he is a 1988 Princeton graduate, and before working on Bitcoin he worked on 3D graphics for Silicon Graphics Computer Systems. Andresen left the Silicon Valley in 1996 but still kept working on software related ventures. Andresen was introduced to Bitcoin in the first half of 2010. He worked alongside Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudo-anonymous founder, to improve and expand the Bitcoin code.
He also was the first person to create a Bitcoin faucet, a website that gave away free bitcoins for completing small tasks. The faucet originally gave away 5 bitcoins per task, which were worth only a few cents at the time, but the value of a bitcoin has appreciated a lot since, and at the time of writing this blog 5 bitcoins are worth approximately $35.000 US.
Andresen also worked very hard on getting the word out about Bitcoin and making sure it was perceived positively. He founded The Bitcoin Foundation for this purpose; The Bitcoin Foundation is an American non-profit corporation funded in September 2012 with the stated mission to “standardize, protect and promote the use of Bitcoin cryptographic money for the benefit of users worldwide.”
In December 2010 Andresen was left with the Bitcoin project in his hands after the creator, Satoshi Nakamoto, left suddenly because of the interest the project could have gained after WikiLeaks started accepting Bitcoin. The first thing he did was start the Bitcoin GitHub, a repository hosting service for code; this allowed all developers to better coordinate releasing code and have a more standardized reviewing process.
In 2014 Gavin Andresen was a lot less active then he used to be on the GitHub repository; he had been working more on awareness and perception travelling the world giving talks about Bitcoin. In April 2014 Andresen stepped down as Bitcoin Core Maintainer (equivalent of lead developer), passing the torch to Wladimir van der Laan, who had already been effectively the maintainer for a while.
In 2016 Craig Wright, an Australian computer scientist and businessman, claimed he was Satoshi Nakamoto, and said that he had cryptographic proof of it. Andresen met with Wright and confirmed that Wright was Satoshi Nakamoto. When the proof was released to the public it was discovered that the proof was not valid and that Andresen had either been so naive to get fooled or had been part of the con.
After this episode Andresen’s access to the Bitcoin GitHub was removed; the episode was not the only reason it was removed. Andresen had also not made any code contributions in a while, since he focused more on the promoting Bitcoin to the world. Having an extra unnecessary person have access to the projects GitHub is just an extra liability and is a bad security practice, so his access got removed.
In 2017 Andresen started pushing for increasing the capacity of the bitcoin network with a doubling of the block size. Andresen worked along Barry Silbert and his Digital Currency Group (DCG) to change Bitcoin. The Increase in block size was a very controversial topic, but the community decided to not increase the size in the way Andresen was fighting for. After his plan to change Bitcoin Andresen started supporting a hostile split of the Bitcoin network called Bitcoin Cash.
Because of all these things Gaving Andresen is not really well regarded anymore in the bitcoin community.