Gavin Andresen (born Gavin Bell) is the Amherst, Massachusetts-based chief scientist at the Bitcoin Foundation. He has access to the alert key that allows him to broadcast messages about critical network problems to all clients.
After graduating from Princeton University in 1988, Andresen began his career working on 3D graphics software Silicon Graphics. In 1996, he co-authored the VRML 2.0 specification, and later published a reference manual for VRML 2.0.
Since leaving Silicon Valley in 1996, Andresen has tackled a wide variety of software-related ventures, including CTO of an early voice-over-the-Internet startup and co-founder of a company that made multiplayer online games for blind people and their sighted friends.
In April 2011, Forbes quoted Andresen as saying, "Bitcoin is designed to bring us back to a decentralized currency of the people," and "this is like better gold than gold."
Prior to 2014 Andresen was the lead developer for a part of the bitcoin digital currency project, working to create a secure, stable "cash for the Internet."
Andresen also created ClearCoin, an escrow-type of service, which was closed c. June 23, 2011.