Parag Agrawal has taken over as Twitter's new chief executive after Jack Dorsey's surprise exit in November. The Indian-born engineer has been with the company for about a decade, rising through the ranks and quickly becoming one of Dorsey's top men.
With Agrawal in charge, crypto enthusiasts wonder what the new "regime" will bring for Twitter and its love affair with crypto.
Dorsey's Work At Twitter Was Transformative
With Dorsey at the helm, Twitter quickly became a hotbed of crypto takes and development. The platform hosts a massive online crypto community, providing a place where people can discuss pretty much anything. Companies can share their visions with prospective customers, analysts can offer predictions on coins, people can comment on their favorite coins and crypto projects.
Concepts like decentralized finance (DeFi) and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) owe a significant part of their prominence to Twitter. Word spreads fast on Twitter's streets, and talk of these new projects brought them front and center.
And there were the moves that Twitter itself made to keep crypto alive. While other Big Tech companies censored crypto and its evangelists, Twitter became their home. Facebook and Google restricted crypto ads. YouTube even started taking down crypto-based channels. But, Twitter held the line and provided a spot for crypto projects to thrive.
In the last few months of his reign, Dorsey also pushed for Twitter to include Bitcoin support in its famous Tip Jar and launched Twitter Crypto. The latter includes engineers, developers, researchers, and more who will focus on embracing Web3 and use decentralization to change the tech space.
Parag Seems to Be Down With the Industry
Dorsey's choice to pick Agrawal as his successor is understandable. Agrawal is a proven engineer who's made significant progress within the company. Agrawal led Twitter's migration to cloud computing in 2018, the company moving its cold data storage and Hadoop clusters to the Google Cloud. As of 2020, Twitter's timeline feature moved to Amazon Web Services.
While the change in leadership is a bit of a testy time for Twitter, crypto enthusiasts appear to be fine with Agrawal's ascension to the company's top job.
In 2019, Dorsey announced Bluesky - Twitter's decentralized social media project. Bluesky intends to be an "open and decentralized standard for social media," which Twitter itself would eventually use. While it was a pet project for Dorsey, the billionaire tapped Agrawal to oversee it.
Over the past few months, Bluesky has picked up some steam. The development team published a review of existing decentralized social media services at the start of 2021 and installed former ZCash developer Jay Graber as its new head in August. Agrawal will most likely continue to have links with Bluesky and its development going forward, even while he steers Twitter in a positive direction.
Agrawal is also reported to have been a driving force behind Twitter Crypto. Although German software engineer Tess Rinearson leads the team, Agrawal was said to have played a significant role in getting Twitter to establish the team. We'll have to see if Twitter Crypto continues to run during his tenure to know just how crypto-friendly Agrawal really is.
Getting the Company On Track
For now, Agrawal's goals stretch far beyond crypto - understandably. The new CEO has expressed his desire to make Twitter move faster and focus on execution.
According to a regulatory document from earlier this month, Twitter has successfully restructured its Consumer, Revenue, and Core Technology divisions. Each division will now be run by individual leaders, with Twitter focusing on driving "increased speed, accountability, and efficiency."
Agrawal also made his first big acquisition, with Twitter snapping up Quill - a Slack-like messaging app. Nick Caldwell, Twitter's new General Manager of Core Tech, said in a statement that Quill is a fresher way to communicate that will bring creativity and experience to Twitter. Quill's acquisition is part of Twitter's goal to make its direct messaging feature more useful and expressive.
Dorsey did a great job of making Twitter a haven for crypto lovers. For now, Agrawal doesn't necessarily have to do much to improve Twitter's standing in the crypto industry. Even by leaving things the way they are, he can keep Twitter thriving while focusing on some of the platform's other features. If history tells us anything, Agrawal will likely ensure Twitter embraces crypto even more moving forward.