Jack Dorsey, a known advocate of Bitcoin and blockchain technology, has stepped down as Twitter’s CEO, after co-founding and leading the platform on and off across a span of 15 years.
The decision comes as Twitter, which Dorsey co-founded in 2006 with Noah Glass, Biz Stone, and Evan Williams, has announced that it will be creating a crypto division of its own. Dorsey will still serve as one of the firm’s board of advisors until mid-2022, while the role he left open will be taken over by Parag Agrawal, Twitter’s former Chief Technology Officer. Dorsey has served Twitter since his return in 2015.
As former Twitter CTO, Agrawal led the team for Twitter Crypto, and was also one of the leading figures pushing behind Bluesky, an independent (note: Twitter-funded) initiative to create an “open and decentralized standard for social media.”
With Dorsey’s departure, it remains unclear what the next step would be for Twitter in terms of crypto and blockchain. Aside from its forays into decentralization and Web3, Twitter also launched Tips, a feature that enabled its users to get paid in Bitcoin through the Lightning Network.
Dorsey retains his position as CEO of Square, a digital payments firm that he used to run alongside Twitter. Square recently published a whitepaper for tbDEX, its forthcoming decentralized exchange formed under TBD (its crypto division). The DEX is designed to facilitate seamless trading between Bitcoin and fiat currencies by reproducing the features found in permissionless networks, especially those in the decentralized finance (DeFi) sector.
Dorsey has made no statement of whether the decision to leave Twitter was connected to, or influenced by, his recent incursions into blockchain technology through Square and TBD.
“Why not stay or become chair? I believe it’s really important to give Parag the space he needs to lead. And back to my previous point, I believe it’s critical [that] a company can stand on its own, free of its founder’s influence or direction.” Dorsey stated in a company email.
According to reports, Elliot Management, one of Twitter’s largest shareholders, has sought to relieve Dorsey of the role since last year. Elliot was critical of Dorsey’s management, citing concerns that the executive was running two public firms simultaneously. Elliot later reached a settlement with Twitter and Silver Lake Partners, one of the primary shareholders in the firm, to allow Dorsey to extend his stay.
In a statement regarding the change of leadership at Twitter, Elliot said that they were ‘confident’ in Agrawal’s capacity to lead Twitter as it embarks on an “ambitious multi-year plan” to increase the company’s “reach and value” in what it has tagged as the “next chapter of Twitter’s story.”
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