2021 has proven to be a somewhat surprising year, especially for the crypto industry. In the latest twist, founder of Twitter Jack Dorsey has decided to step down from the company.
Dorsey's exit comes after 16 years of being closely linked to Twitter. And while he's been ousted from his CEO role in the past, this seems to be his final goodbye.
A Classy Farewell
In the early hours of Monday, Jack Dorsey shocked the world by announcing his departure from Twitter - the social media giant he helped found and run for most of its existence. In a tweet, Dorsey explained he decided to leave the company because it was the best time for Twitter to move on from its founders.
Dorsey confirmed that Parag Agrawal - Twitter's longtime Chief Technology Officer (CTO) - will take over the CEO role immediately. Dorsey endorsed Agrawal, pointing out that the latter has been behind every critical product update made to Twitter.
Dorsey also explained he will not hold a position on Twitter's board.
"Parag is our CEO starting today. I'm going to serve on the board through my term (May-ish) to help Parag and Bret with the transition. And after that… I'll leave the board. 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 a company can stand on its own, free of its founder's influence or direction."
Jack Leaves On His Terms
Dorsey's exit was not entirely unpredictable. The billionaire has come under fire for putting his energy into his payment processor, Square, which has now gone public.
Though Twitter was the product that launched Dorsey into the limelight, Square has been far more successful. It's worth significantly more and is making more waves in tech and financial spaces. Core Twitter fans and investors don't like it.
Back in 2020, Dorsey faced significant pressure from Twitter's board.
Elliott Management and Silver Lake, two investment firms, bought up huge positions in Twitter and attempted to oust Dorsey as the chief executive. Elliot, the spearhead of this ousting attempt, explained that Dorsey's attention split between Twitter and Square was unhealthy.
The parties eventually struck a deal that would see Dorsey remain as CEO. Silver Lake invested $1 billion into Twitter while both investment firms got seats on the company's board.
Regardless of the deal, the status quo appears to be the same. Square is still significantly more valuable than Twitter, with a market cap of $84.6 billion compared to Twitter's $33.7 billion market cap.
Dorsey has yet to comment on his plans moving forward, but he will likely continue working closely with the team at Square to move payments forward.
Last month, Dorsey published the whitepaper for a decentralized crypto exchange called tbDEX. However, the exchange will be under the oversight of Square - not Twitter.
Where Does Twitter Go From Here?
With Dorsey gone, it will be interesting to see what Twitter does with its crypto initiatives. The company has already introduced tipping for Bitcoin, allowing people to link their Bitcoin addresses so they can easily get paid on the platform. And there's more on the way.
Early in November, Twitter launched Twitter Crypto - a dedicated team focusing on crypto, decentralized applications (dApps), blockchain technology, and more.
The team is led by Tess Rinearson, a member of the Interchain Foundation council. They will also work with the Bluesky project - Twitter's upcoming decentralized social media space, which has remained hidden thus far.
As Rinearson explained, Twitter Crypto will explore how crypto community ideas can help redefine aspects of the digital ecosystem - including identity verification, content and product ownership, and community initiatives.
It's also worth noting that Agrawal himself is a big fan of crypto and decentralization. When Dorsey announced Bluesky in December 2019, Agrawal was selected to lead the project and its development.
For now, things look exciting for Twitter. The company is moving forward with a CEO who seems to have massive approval from all stakeholders. At the same time, Dorsey himself is free to pursue some of his more ambitious crypto projects with Square.