Polkadot Co-founder Gavin Wood Offloads CEO Title

Björn Wagner to serve as blockchain builder Parity Technologies’ new chief executive


key takeaways

  • Wood took on the Parity Technologies CEO role in 2020 but is looking to focus more on the business’s technology side
  • Wagner joined Parity a year after its founding in 2016 and was its chief commercial officer

Polkadot co-founder Gavin Wood is stepping down as CEO of Parity Technologies, the developers behind the proof-of-stake blockchain.

Parity co-founder Björn Wagner is set to replace Wood in the role, Wood wrote in a Friday blog post. Wood is set to remain the company’s majority shareholder and plans to transition to Parity’s “chief architect.”

“I’ll be pointing my regained focus towards exploring how we can contribute to making Polkadot and Web3 more relevant to large swathes of the population,” Wood said. “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.”

Parity was co-founded by Wood — as well as Aeron Buchanan, TJ Saw, Ken Kappler and Jutta Steiner — as EthCore in 2015. Before that, Wood co-designed the Ethereum protocol in 2013 with Vitalik Buterin and worked as chief technology officer of the Ethereum Foundation for about two years.

Wagner joined Parity as a co-founder a year later and went on to hold the title of the company’s chief commercial officer, according to his LinkedIn.

Wood took the chief executive reins in 2020, after the last of the initial founders exited Parity. 

“Over these last two years, quite possibly the largest element of the job as CEO has been to preside over the outfitting of our C-suite,” Wood said. “I saw this essentially as a means of freeing myself up to return to work full-time where I belong, on technology.”

Parity launched Polkadot with Web3 Foundation in May 2020 after several years of developing the blockchain. Wood, in a statement at the time, called Polkadot “the biggest bet in this ecosystem against chain maximalism.”

Polkadot launched parachain auctions last November — allowing projects vying for a spot in the ecosystem to launch their own crowdfunding efforts using the blockchain’s native token, DOT.

DOT’s market capitalization of roughly $6.8 billion is 11th highest among crypto coins — ahead of polygon (MATIC) and behind dogecoin (DOGE).

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