Aragon One CEO Jorge Izquierdo Resigns in Protest of ‘Governance’ Decisions

He becomes the highest-profile departure in a recent flurry of resignations to hit the Aragon ecosystem.

AccessTimeIconJan 11, 2021 at 5:40 p.m. UTC
Updated May 9, 2023 at 3:14 a.m. UTC

Aragon One CEO Jorge Izquierdo has resigned, becoming the highest-profile departure from the decentralized governance project following a series of apparently controversial decisions.

“After some hectic months, I took two weeks completely offline following a doctor’s recommendation,” Izquierdo told CoinDesk in a statement. “While I was off, a series of decisions were made in the Aragon Association (mainly with respect to governance) that I disagreed both with the decisions themselves and how they were taken.”

Izquierdo added:

“There were several proposals to fix this put forward, but there was no willingness to revert or amend these decisions. As a result, no changes were made. This motivated the team to leave, and is also the reason I am resigning.”

However, Izquierdo plans on remaining a member of the Aragon community including staying on the Aragon Association’s board, he said.

Launched in 2016, Aragon seeks to create blockchain-based digital jurisdictions for online enterprises, particularly decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs). The project raised $25 million in ether (ETH) in a May 2017 initial coin offering (ICO) and some $850,000 in two private sales with venture firms Draper Associates and Placeholder Ventures.

Until recently, Aragon One (A1) made up one half of the project. The firm was a grant recipient from the Aragon Association (AA).

That role has apparently been usurped following the acquisition of decentralized voting project Vocdoni from Dvote Labs for an undisclosed amount, a purchase announced Monday.

That news was preceded by the AA bringing on two new members to the team’s board, AA Executive Director Joe Charlesworth and Chief Legal Officer Jose Nuno. Both Charlesworth and Nuno were added to the board alongside Izquierdo and Aragon Network co-founder Luis Cuende.

Izquierdo said his resignation “is unrelated to the acquisition.” Rather, “with the current state of the Association, I no longer think that Aragon One can deliver on its commitments. I tried my hardest to push changes in the Association so the team wouldn't leave, but these attempts fell on deaf ears,” he said.

“The big disagreement is with regards to the Association's governance and specifically with its board,” Izquierdo added.

As for the project’s funds, the accounts are jointly controlled by a multi-sig wallet held by both Izquierdo and Cuende, Izquierdo confirmed. The AA recently converted some 52,000 ether (ETH) (roughly $50 million) into stable assets (mostly USDT) in a bid to diversify the project’s portfolio.

"As Aragon grows, differences of opinions on how best to govern are inevitable," Cuende told CoinDesk in a Telegram message. "Removing power from the co-founders has always been on the roadmap. It is not a good governance practice for power to be that concentrated. Jorge has contributed enormously to Aragon One during his time in the company. As my co-founder, I have the deepest respect for him."


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