ItBit Hit With String of Departures in Bitcoin-to-Blockchain Transition

A slew of recent departures from itBit suggest a changing future for a startup originally founded as a bitcoin exchange service.

AccessTimeIconJul 27, 2016 at 7:32 p.m. UTC
Updated Dec 10, 2022 at 9:28 p.m. UTC

A series of recent departures at itBit have left the company looking much different than it did just a few months ago.

Following the release of itBit's enterprise clearing and settlement network Bankchain last year, three directors (and at least three other employees) have gone on to other endeavors. The exits appear to come amid a larger company transformation from bitcoin-only exchange to enterprise blockchain service provider.

Multiple former employees have confirmed with CoinDesk that at least seven itBit employees have transitioned to other companies in that time. Only six have updated their LinkedIn, while the seventh one has not replied to requests for comment. ItBit has also declined to comment.

Two of the three departing directors have moved onto investment companies in the digital currency space, with the third launching a recruiting firm.

After departing itBit earlier this month, the company's former director of institutional clients, Daniel Kim, took a position at Gemini Exchange. Also this month, itBit’s former global director of talent, Leanne Wong, departed the company and is now listed as a founding partner of MC Partners, a New York-based recruiting firm, on LinkedIn.

Further, former itBit director Bobby Cho departed the company in April and now works at DRW Capital, a subsidiary of Cumberland Mining Materials, the stealth startup that last year won 27,000 bitcoins from a US Marshals auction of Silk Road funds.

Another notable departure is itBit's former blockchain software engineer Michael Wozniak, who appears to have left blockchain altogether for a job at instant messaging service Snapchat.

New direction?

While the departure of so many top-level employees in such a short period of time would be notable in any startup, there is reason to believe the moves coincide with a bigger-picture transformaiton at the company.

ItBit is currently seeking to fill eight vacancies, several of which, including its blockchain engineer and senior recruiter roles, appear to be replacements for the recent departures. But other hires focused on precious metals clearing and settlement indicate a new focus on Bankchain.

The recent spat of departures could be linked to plans itBit might have for its trading platform.

Sources told CoinDesk itBit may be considering closing or selling its exchange as early as September, with Kraken listed as possibly interested. The company could be considering a rebrand as Paxos, a name that comes from a group of consensus protocols.

The decisions certainly wouldn't be surprising given the state of the industry.

For the past year and a half, digital currency firms have been faced with questions of how to respond to the rising interest in blockchain and distributed ledger technology, an uptick that has coincided with declining consumer demand.

Departures image via Shutterstock


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