Bitcoin Mining Firm Fortress Names Ex-Galaxy Digital Exec as New CEO

The company is undergoing a sweeping management reorganization as it tries to become a significant player in the bitcoin mining world.

Sep 24, 2021 at 6:58 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 24, 2021 at 7:26 p.m. UTC

Brandy covers crypto-related venture capital deals for CoinDesk.

Canadian bitcoin mining infrastructure company Fortress Technologies made a slew of changes Friday.

The company announced the departure of its co-founder and chief executive officer, the appointment of a new CEO and chief operating officer, as well as changes to the board of directors. The reorganization comes as Fortress moves to become a dominant player in the bitcoin mining industry.

Aydin Kilic, who founded Fortress Blockchain in 2017 and became CEO the following year, resigned as an officer on Sept. 20. His resignation from the Fortress board of directors is effective today. The move comes about a month after Kilic joined publicly traded crypto mining company Hive Blockchain as president and COO.

The company named Antonin “AJ” Scalia as CEO and Thomas “Drew” Armstrong as COO. The duo will also replace Joshua Crumb and Michael Costa on the board. Scalia and Armstrong joined Fortress from Galaxy Digital, the financial services firm founded and run by ex hedge-fund manager Michael Novogratz. The two were most recently the founding members of Galaxy’s bitcoin mining business.

“We’re excited to get started. Our goal is to build a company that celebrates the contributions of sound money and energy generation to human progress – and to do it in a way that honors the ethos of Bitcoin. It’s a message we don’t see often enough and one we think will resonate with the Bitcoin community and our shareholders,” said AJ Scalia in a statement to CoinDesk.

“Over the past year, I have increasingly come to see an opportunity for Fortress to become a dominant player in the bitcoin mining space. In order to actualize this potential, the first step was to enlist a world-class management team who understand bitcoin and have the right vision for its future,” said Fortress board Chairman Roy Sebag in the hiring announcement.

Scalia and Armstrong were granted a standard options deal for joining the company (650,000 committed shares at an exercise price of $0.56 per share), but there’s also an asset purchase agreement. Fortress agreed to purchase approximately CAD$254,000 (US$200,600 ) worth of bitcoin mining machines and CAD$306,000 (US$241,700) worth of bitcoin from Scalia and Armstrong in return for one million fully paid and non-assessable Fortress common shares. The asset agreement is expected to close on Oct. 15.

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Brandy covers crypto-related venture capital deals for CoinDesk.

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Brandy covers crypto-related venture capital deals for CoinDesk.

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