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Why Are So Many Top Crypto Executives Resigning?

Why Are So Many Top Crypto Executives Resigning?

Key Takeaways

  • FTX.US President Brett Harrison and Celsius CEO Alex Mashinsky both resigned today.
  • Harrison claimed he was stepping down to prepare for incoming “larger market participants,” while Mashinsky apologized for being a distraction in Celsius’ bankruptcy proceedings.
  • The two resignations are illustrative of two of the underlying currents of the crypto industry.

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FTX.US President Brett Harrison and Celsius CEO Alex Mashinsky both resigned yesterday, following departures from a list of other top crypto executives. They follow Genesis CEO Michael Moro, Microstrategy CEO Michael Saylor, Kraken CEO Jesse Powell, and Alameda Research co-CEO Sam Trabucco, who have all stepped down from their positions in recent months.

Crypto Executives Bow Out

A surprising number of senior crypto executives have resigned from their posts this year.

FTX.US President Brett Harrison joined the growing list of notable departures Tuesday, announcing on Twitter that he would be resigning and moving to an advisory role within the company over the coming months. Harrison, who had been in the position for a year and a half, stated in his posts that the crypto industry was at a “number of crossroads” and that he would keep working in crypto to remove entry barriers for incoming “larger market participants.”

Harrison’s announcement came only an hour after Celsius CEO Alex Mashinsky announced that he would also be stepping down from his leadership position. Mashinsky’s motives, however, were quite different, as he elected to remove himself because his “continued role as CEO [had] become an increasing distraction.” Celsius, which used to be one of the crypto’s top lending companies, filed for bankruptcy after running into insolvency issues this summer; customers have yet to be reimbursed.

Harrison and Mashinsky are resigning under very different circumstances—the first after growing FTX.US from a three-person team into a hundred-strong company in the space of seventeen months, and the other after overseeing the creation of a $1.19 billion hole in his firm’s balance sheet. Still, their departures are illustrative of an ongoing shift within the crypto industry. 

The Crypto Hangover

Crypto is still reeling from the abrupt end to the euphoria-driven bull market that ran wild in the space from 2020 through 2021. With Bitcoin and Ethereum both over 70% down from their all-time highs, the total cryptocurrency market capitalization is

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