Polkadot Co-Founder Gavin Wood Resigns as Parity Tech CEO

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Polkadot and Ethereum co-founder Gavin Wood has resigned from his role as CEO of Parity Technologies.

Wood will remain a majority shareholder in Parity Technologies and assume a more technologically-focused role.

Gavin Wood role at Parity

Wood co-founded for-profit blockchain technology company Parity in 2015 with Aeron Buchanan, TJ Saw, Ken Kappler, and Jutta Steiner. He assumed the title of CEO after the last co-founder left in 2020.

In an official Parity blog post, Wood said that he had not aspired to be CEO, and it is not a role that would make him happy going forward. 

“Anyone who has worked with me knows where my heart lies. I’m a thinker, coder, designer, and architect, ” he said. “I can act at being a CEO well enough for a short while, but it’s not where I’m going to find eternal happiness. A good CEO needs to be available to others on a far more continuous basis.”

The former CEO spent the last two years building a team of senior executives that he hopes will free him up to work on technology. He will now assume the “Chief Architect” title to help make Polkadot and Web3 more valuable to the general public.

Parity Technologies co-founder Björn Wagner will take over the reins from Wood.

“Björn and team have my full confidence to lead Parity, and Parity will remain the weird home of people who want to build something incredible. The real work is starting now.”

Gavin Wood role in Ethereum

Wood, a British programmer, is perhaps most famous for his role in coding Ethereum and being its CTO. Wood initially reached out to Vitalik Buterin, one of Ethereum’s co-founders, to offer his C++ programming skills to help build Ethereum. According to Buterin, Wood also helped to refine Ethereum’s vision. Much of the changes Wood introduced started as subtle differences in terminology and emphasis. 

Under Wood’s watch, Ethereum evolved from a blockchain platform for smart contracts and programmable money to a general-purpose “world computer.” Wood proposed the Solidity programming language used in smart contracts in 2014. 

After his work on Ethereum, Wood started working on a new idea that would eventually become the heterogeneous multi-chain framework Polkadot. While waiting for work to begin on developing sharding specs for ETH 2.0 in 2016, Wood designed a basic version of Ethereum with sharding. The architecture of an ETH 2.0 shard is similar to parachain in Polkadot. He completed a whitepaper in Oct. 2016 that would become the Polkadot Whitepaper. 

Parity Technologies later developed the Substrate framework, a skeleton blockchain to build a new blockchain, and Polkadot. 

Wood joins exodus of crypto execs

Wood is the latest crypto executive to leave after a recent string of high-profile departures. Last week, a Gemini Europe filing revealed that Gemini Exchange co-founders Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss were “terminated” from their positions on Gemini Europe’s board of directors.

The former CEO of crypto exchange Kraken, Jesse Powell, stepped down from the top job on Sep. 21, 2022. Powell said that the role of the chief executive had become “draining” as the company grew.

Alex Mashinsky, the former CEO of Celsius Network, said on Sep. 27, 2022, that he would resign from his role. The company rose to fame by offering high-yield crypto products that ultimately proved unsustainable.

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