NewsBusiness

Ethereum Co-Founder Gavin Wood Steps Down as CEO of Company Behind Polkadot

Wood is out as Parity CEO but will remain on as Polkadot’s chief architect.

3 min read
Ethereum and Polkadot cofounder Gavin Wood. Image: Wikipedia

Gavin Wood, co-founder of Parity Technologies, the company behind the Polkadot blockchain, is stepping down as the firm’s CEO, according to a Bloomberg report

Wood, also an early Ethereum contributor and co-founder, will remain Parity’s majority shareholder and chief architect. Parity co-founder Björn Wagner will assume the title of CEO. The move is reportedly of Wood’s own volition, due to his feeling that serving as chief executive has limited his ability to pursue “eternal happiness.”

Polkadot—widely considered to have been masterminded by Wood—is a so-called multichain network that allows its developers to each build upon their own blockchain, and connects those myriad, smaller networks together as “parachains.” 

The intensively decentralized nature of the network has made it an attractive alternative to Ethereum since its creation in 2020; the network’s native token, DOT, is the 11th largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, according to CoinGecko. It is currently valued at $6.8 billion. 

Before creating a major Ethereum competitor, though, Wood was a key contributor to Ethereum itself, who offered the network much-needed technical expertise in its infancy. 

Wood joined the Ethereum team in early 2014, just before the network’s unveiling; he was the first developer to get an Ethereum testnet up and running, and published the Ethereum Yellow Paper, a technical elaboration of Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin’s initial whitepaper. He proposed Ethereum’s native programming language, Solidity, and later served as the Ethereum Foundation’s chief technology officer. 

The British computer programmer eventually became disillusioned with centralized aspects of Ethereum’s functioning, and founded Polkadot largely as a corrective to those issues. The project has since amassed substantial popularity, particularly in China

Off the news of Wood’s transition, DOT’s price did not fluctuate severely, but is down 4.2% in the last 24 hours to $5.83 at writing. 

Many in the Polkadot community appeared largely unaffected by Friday’s news, given Wood’s continued commitment to building and expanding the network. 

Wood’s resignation comes during a particularly tumultuous period that has seen the crypto industry hemorrhage chief executives. Last month, within days of each other, FTX’s US president stepped down, as did embattled Celsius CEO Alex Mashinsky, and controversial Kraken co-founder and CEO Jesse Powell.

The month prior, MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor, Genesis CEO Michael Moro, Algorand CEO Steven Kokinos, and Alameda Research co-CEO Sam Trabucco all resigned from their posts as well, with some, including Trabucco, citing “happiness” as a key factor.

Stay on top of crypto news, get daily updates in your inbox.