Robert Habermeier: The Savior of Polkadot (DOT)?

When Polkadot needed him the most, he answered the call. Here’s the story of Robert Habermeier, the man who was integral in making Polkadot a reality!

Picture of Robert Habermeier on Polkadot land.
Created by Kornelija Poderskytė from DailyCoin

The idea of Polkadot (DOT) has been swirling around since 2014, and while it’s been available for quite a few years now, its existence wouldn’t be possible without Robert Habermeier. 

Considering Robert had been working side by side with Ethereum co-founder Gavin Wood when working on Polkadot, he unfortunately often gets overshadowed by his well-known peer. The truth is, though, Robert could very well be considered the “savior” of Polkadot, who arrived at the right place at the right time to make the project a reality thanks to his set of skills. 


What exactly made Robert so crucial to the Polkadot project though? Let’s find out as we chronicle the life of this underrated developer. 

Who Is Robert Habermeier?

Robert Habermeier.
Source: LinkedIn

Robert Habermeier is one of the three co-founders of Polkadot – the multi-chain network which allows individual blockchains to communicate with one another. A project this ambitious needed someone with advanced security and coding abilities, both of which Robert had acquired in his early years.

In truth though, Robert didn’t even intend to become a part of the crypto world at first, so how exactly did he end up becoming such a prominent figure for one of the biggest blockchain networks on the internet?

Early Years

Though Robert hasn’t made it clear where he went to school and college, what is known is that he decided to study applied mathematics, not because he wanted to become a math teacher, but because he felt that computer science degrees were too outdated for modern standards.


Secretly, his interest was in computer security, and he felt that starting off with mathematics would allow him to expand his knowledge and understanding of computer coding and cryptography. 

Robert himself has admitted on the Space Monkeys podcast that he was a pretty bad student in college and would regularly skip classes. As a result, he would only last a full year, but it was still, nonetheless, where his adventure into the depths of crypto truly began. 

Starting out with Rust

It was in 2011, during the crypto booms and crashes, that Robert discovered Bitcoin, which he claims to have learned about from a Bitcoin tip bot on Reddit, which is used for sending crypto to other users on the platform or “tipping” them. 

Meanwhile, he had also begun putting his math skills to use by working on a digital programming language known as Rust. Rust is usually used for blockchain development purposes, but Robert was simply fascinated by the fast and secure coding style of the program.

Little did he know, learning the ins and outs of Rust would become his golden ticket to becoming a crypto developer. By this point though, he still wasn’t fully on board with the whole idea of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, that is, until a single blog post caught his eye.

Joining Parity Technologies

Parity logo.
Source: Parity

In early 2016, Robert noticed a post made by Ethcore, a blockchain development company that would later be known as Parity Technologies. The post boasted about how Ethcore had created the fastest and most secure Ethereum client on Rust, and since it was open-source, anyone could test it for themselves. 

This grabbed Robert’s attention for two reasons: the first was that he was already accustomed to Rust, and so could easily understand the functionality of this Ethereum client, and the second was that he was already well-informed on cyber security. In fact, in his teenage years, Robert participated in several security challenges where he would actively test what sorts of attacks could and could not penetrate a system’s framework. 

Therefore, there was no one more prepared to test this new client out than Robert was, and after contacting Ethcore, who had since rebranded to Parity Technologies, he got the opportunity to meet the team, including Ethereum founder, Gavin Wood. Impressed by the young man’s coding skills and security awareness, Robert was invited to become a fully-fledged Ethereum core developer, a position he would gladly take up. 

The DOT Dream

The idea of Polkadot had been mentioned by Gavin Wood all the way back in 2014, but with a lack of a true vision and like-minded developers, getting it off the ground was more or less impossible. 

It was only a year after Robert joined Parity that Gavin and his supporters at the Web3 Foundation felt that they could finally start to get this multi-chain project up and running, but it was going to take a lot of work. 

Robert, Gavin, and Peter Czaban had many discussions at this time, laying down the groundwork for Polkadot and describing why it was seen as necessary. A few factors pushed them to continue on with Polkadot, including Ethereum’s sluggish speed, but the biggest one that Robert has mentioned on several crypto podcasts is that, in his eyes, blockchains were spreading themselves out too thin. 

If a blockchain were designed purely for transactions, for example, because there are so many different types of transactions that can be made, it would struggle to accommodate each one and would end up being expensive or just clunky to use. 

Polkadot was seen as a way to solve these issues, and with Robert now and the team, it seemed as though it might actually be possible to make it a reality.

Working on Polkadot

Gavin Wood, Robert Habermeier, Peter Czaban.

In 2017, Polkadot’s development began with Gavin Wood, Robert Habermeier, Peter Czaban, and the Web3 Foundation as the key players. 

Out of this talented group, Robert was mainly responsible for laying down the consensus code for Polkadot’s parachains, which are the bridges that the network uses to allow blockchains to communicate with each other. 

He was also responsible for establishing the early proof-of-stake consensus code, a mechanism that would confirm new transactions to add an extra layer of security to the network. 

Both these systems are integral to Polkadot’s ecosystem, and they form the groundwork for future upgrades to build off of, so it’s easy to see why Robert’s skills were so crucial here. 

Robert’s work on the Polkadot network wouldn’t go unnoticed, as he was soon inducted into the Thiel Fellows – a foundation dedicated to supporting young and aspiring developers in their careers. The prestigious position awarded him with $100,000 to fund his work on Polkadot over the next two years. 

He wasn’t just stuck in the office 24/7 during Polkadot’s development, though, as Robert was actually one of the most active members of the team when it came to leading real-world conferences and lectures. For example, he was one of the lead speakers at the very first Sub0 developer conference and would become a regular face at the Polkadot Decoded lectures.

It was during these events that he would introduce keen audience members to Polkadot’s earliest systems, especially Substrate, which was being touted as an all-in-one toolbox that would make blockchain development easier. 

Present Day

Robert Habermeier giving a speech at a conference.

On October 2nd, 2023, Robert officially announced on X that he was stepping away from Parity Technologies after 7 years of being at the company. He had been a big component of Polkadot’s development in its early years, but now, it was clear he was going all-in with the project and dedicating his focus to improving its ecosystem. 

Robert is still one of the leading spokespeople for Polkadot, and not only does he still attend conferences, but he’s also been more open to appearing on podcasts, and is very active on X where he goes by the name “Asynchronous rob”.

The “asynchronous” in this tag refers to one of the many projects Robert is still working on to this day to expand the Polkadot ecosystem, which in this case, is all about freeing up blockspace and making transactions even faster than before. 

These projects weren’t made solely by Robert, but it’s clear that his coding talents have played a big part in getting them off the ground. 

Robert’s Side Project: Hypersphere

Throughout this whole journey, there was one extra project which Robert established and was a managing partner with: Hypersphere. 

Hypersphere was established by Robert and Jack Platts, a former director at the Web3 Foundation. It was designed as a launchpad that supports promising crypto projects, which can show what Polkadot is truly capable of. 

For example, one particular project that Hypersphere has supported is Acala, which essentially became the De-Fi hub for Polkadot and has stood out for its fresh architecture and plentiful use cases. 

Did Robert Save Polkadot?

If Robert hadn’t rocked up to Parity in 2016 and proved his worth to Gavin Wood, it’s unlikely that Polkadot would ever have launched as soon as it did, or even existed at all. 

It’s worth remembering that Robert was made a co-founder of Polkadot just a year later, which proves that he clearly had a special knack for coding that the team lacked beforehand. 

Additionally, he wasn’t just there working on small quality-of-life features, as Robert was the one designing the consensus code that fuels the parachains – the central components that lie at the heart of Polkadot’s entire framework. 

On the Flipside

  • Robert was integral to Polkadot’s development, but Peter Czaban is arguably just as important since he was in charge of supporting and funding the project as part of the Web3 Foundation. He was also partly responsible for governing Polkadot in its early phases before auctions had begun taking place. 

Why This Matters

Though he does often get overshadowed by his recognizable peers, Robert Habermeier has still been a central cog in the Polkadot machine for many years, and he came along at just the right time to contribute his security and coding expertise to this brand-new project. 


Where Can I Follow Robert Habermeier?

Robert is mostly active on his X account, where he goes by the name “Asynchronous rob.” He posts regular updates about upcoming Polkadot projects, and will sometimes reply to comments from users. 

What is the Most Popular Polkadot Conference?

Polkadot Decoded has become a popular conference that spans over 2 days in either June or July depending on the year. 

Does Robert Harbermeier Invest?

Though it’s unknown whether Robert is active on the crypto markets or not, he does dabble in angel investing, which involves seeding money to help others startup a promising business that they have in mind. 

This article is for information purposes only and should not be considered trading or investment advice. Nothing herein shall be construed as financial, legal, or tax advice. Trading forex, cryptocurrencies, and CFDs pose a considerable risk of loss.

Ewan Lewis

Ewan is a British crypto writer with a focus on long form content. His underlying love for tech eventually ushered him into the world of crypto, and now, he’s determined to provide crypto enthusiasts with all the information they need to stay up to date with the ever-growing infrastructure that continues to evolve on a daily basis.