Jesse Powell, co-founder and CEO of crypto exchange Kraken, has stepped down, according to the company. David Ripley, the exchange’s Chief Operating Officer, will succeed Powell as CEO.
The news came shortly after Genesis’ Michael Moro and Bitcoin evangelist Michael Saylor, as well as Alameda Research’s Sam Trabucco, relinquished top positions.
According to reports, as Kraken grew in size, running the company became more of a drain and “less fun.” He went on to say that he intends to remain very involved with the company he founded in the early days of cryptocurrency.
“I look forward to spending more of my time on the company’s products, user experience and broader industry advocacy,” he said.
According to CoinGecko data, Kraken is currently the ninth-largest cryptocurrency exchange, with over $647.8 million in trading value over the last 24 hours.
The New York Times reported in June that Powell had “ignited a culture war” among Kraken’s employees by making “hurtful” comments. Powell posted a Twitter thread on June 15, the day the Times story was published, in which he stated, among other things, that about 20 Kraken employees were “totally not on board” with the company’s corporate culture.
“We will never require our employees to adopt any specific political ideology as a condition of employment,” the company stated. “Having said that, we expect our employees to respect the individual rights, privacy, and liberties of others. Cryptocurrency is a freedom movement, and Kraken will continue to be a freedom company.”
The US Treasury Department launched an investigation into Kraken in July. Anonymous sources claimed to be affiliated with Kraken and told The New York Times that Kraken is suspected of allowing customers from Iran and other sanctioned countries to use its exchange.