A few years ago I created a Google Scholar alert for “bitcoin.” And I was happy if I got one alert per month.

Today, I find it harder and harder to keep up with all of the great Computer Science or Economics papers related to bitcoin and other crypto-currencies; in just the last week Mr. Google told me about 30 new papers I might be interested in reading.

Over the last 18 months I’ve filled two roles: “lead developer” for Bitcoin Core (the reference implementation), and “Chief Scientist” for the Foundation. Thanks to the support of all of the members of the Foundation, I’m pleased to be able to focus more on protocol-level, cross-implementation issues and less on issues specific to the Bitcoin Core software.

Wladimir van der Laan has been paid to work on Bitcoin Core full-time for several months now– again, thanks to all of you Foundation members for stepping up and helping to fund core development– and has been doing a fantastic job. He has agreed to take over for me as the “Bitcoin Core Maintainer.”

Wladimir first got involved with the Bitcoin project by re-implementing, and vastly improving, the Bitcoin Core user interface. He lives and works in the Netherlands, and I’m looking forward to meeting him in person for the very first time at Bitcoin2014 in Amsterdam.

To be clear: I’m not going to disappear; I’ll still be writing and reviewing code and offering my opinions on technical matters and project priorities. I enjoy coding, and I think I’ll be most effective as Chief Scientist if I don’t lose touch with engineering reality and make the mistake of building huge, beautiful, theoretical castles that exist only as whitepapers.

I’ll just spend a little less time writing Bitcoin Core release announcements, and a little more time catching up on the latest bitcoin-wizards thinking on how best to implement transaction history pruning.