Gavin Wood, the Polkadot co-founder, is stepping down as the CEO of Parity Technologies, the blockchain development company behind the Polkadot ecosystem. Björn Wagner will now lead Polkadot’s key backer company.
Gavin Wood, a crypto developer who exited the Ethereum Foundation in 2015 and became Polkadot’s co-founder, will remain a majority shareholder in Parity Technologies. His co-founder, Björn Wagner, will replace him as the new CEO.
In the statement releases on Oct. 21, Wood said he would focus on making Polkadot “more relevant to large swathes of the population” in his new role as Chief Architect.
“This will begin by helping the community design and build several interesting chain-integrated social primitives, which I think are crucial for us to deliver a true Web3 platform,” he added.
The Polkadot ecosystem is a network of blockchains running in parallel – known as ‘parachains’ – with a central relay chain which handles the governance of the system of blockchains. Polkadot was designed by Ethereum co-founder Gavin Wood as a smarter approach to blockchain scaling, interoperability and tokenomics and has consistently been within the top ten layer-1 blockchains.
Parity Technologies was founded in late 2015 by Wood, Aeron Buchanan, TJ Saw, Ken Kappler, and Jutta Steiner, with Björn Wagner joining the group as a co-founder a year later. The Polkadot ecosystem witnessed significant growth following its launch in 2020, causing many industry observers to view it as a potential smart contract competitor to Ethereum.
With this move, Wood joins a long list of crypto execs who have stepped away from their positions this year. Notable CEOs in the crypto space who have resigned in just the last few months include big industry players, such as Celsius CEO Alex Mashinsky, Kraken CEO Jesse Powell, and MicroStrategy’s Michael Saylor.