Why Celsius, Kraken and FTX are losing leaders
Hello and welcome to Protocol Fintech. This Thursday: Feeling the chill in crypto executive suites, Klarna’s big ambitions, and simplifying 401(k) moves.
out of the chain
There was a time when Stripe was happy to sign up other startups with its developer-friendly payment tools. But the company is following a more traditional marketing route these days. He now boasts a series of victories from clients of large companies: Shibuya, Irish Life, MAN Truck & Bus, La Redoute. None of the offerings are particularly great on their own, but they do illustrate the story that Stripe is telling in the market, which is all about big business.
—Owen Thomas (E-mail | Twitter)
The big thrill
Call it The Great Resignation, crypto edition. Senior executives from some of the biggest names in crypto – Kraken, FTX, and Celsius – recently stepped down as the crypto continued to recover from a very difficult year. But they are not rank-and-file workers worried about stagnating wages or inadequate benefits. These are highly paid, high-level leaders in an industry that until recently was hailed as having the potential for global change.
If there is a common thread, it is this: the crypto winter is wreaking havoc on a once high-flying industry. And for some industry figures, the cold is just too much to bear.
The reasons for leaving? It is complicated. As the crypto market crash triggered mass layoffs and sent some companies into bankruptcy, some executives took on new roles or headed straight for the exits.
- Alex Mashinsky, co-founder and CEO of Celsius Network, which filed for bankruptcy in July, resigned last week. He told the crypto lender’s board that his “ongoing role as CEO has become an increasing distraction” and that he was “very sorry for the difficult financial circumstances that members of our community are facing.” This week, his co-founder, S. Daniel Leon, followed him to the door.
- Brett Harrison said he was stepping down as chairman of FTX US, saying the crypto industry was “at several crossroads” including “the arrival of large market players”.
- Kraken co-founder Jesse Powell, who recently caused a stir by encouraging employees disgruntled with the crypto giant’s culture to leave, also announced he was stepping down as CEO to become chairman of the board. . “I like to think of it as taking on the role of president, getting a nice promotion,” he told Protocol in an interview.
“There are a lot of things I don’t like to do as a CEO” Powell told Protocol. This sentiment is perhaps increasingly common among his peers, especially in an industry that has gone from hot to cold in record time.
- “I think we may just be seeing leadership fatigue,” Klaros Group co-founder and partner Michele Alt told Protocol, citing the headaches crypto executives face: “ Financial pressure is high, employee morale is low and regulators are watching closely.
- Logan Allin, managing partner and founder of Fin Capital, agreed: “Executives are feeling the chill in terms of corporate performance, failing business models and the wrath of regulators.
- Career calculations may also be in play here. Amid growing crypto controversy and heightened regulatory scrutiny, some executives may be “pulling the cord too late or before what they perceive as ‘terminal career risk,'” Allin told Protocol.
The crisis probably does not mean the end of crypto. But after a crash that wiped out $2 trillion in value, ever-increasing pressure from regulators and the threat of another recession, “I suspect it’s a lot less fun to run these organizations than it used to be,” he said. declared Alt.
—Benjamin Pimentel (E-mail | Twitter)
A MESSAGE FROM ALIBABA
Alibaba — a leading global e-commerce company — is a particularly strong engine in helping American businesses of all sizes sell goods to more than a billion consumers in its digital marketplaces in China. In 2020, US companies made more than $54 billion in consumer sales in China through Alibaba’s online platforms.
on the money
The G20 Financial Stability Board wants strict financial regulation for crypto companies. POLITICO Pro reports that the FSB will come up with a plan to curb crypto when finance ministers and central bankers from the Group of 20 industrialized nations meet in Washington next week.
Kabbage’s loan holding company has filed for bankruptcy. KServicing, the company that handled the small business loans that American Express omitted from its 2020 acquisition of Kabbage, is the subject of multiple investigations into how it handled Paycheck Protection Program loans .
The big European crypto regulatory plan has moved forward. A council of the European Union has agreed on the text of the long-awaited regulation on the crypto asset markets.
Stash adds crypto. The investing app with 2 million reported users takes what it calls a “curated” approach, offering a selection of eight digital currencies: bitcoin, bitcoin cash, bond, ether, avalanche, ETC, solana and UNI.
Moving a 401(k) is about to get easier. A rare collaboration between Fidelity Investments and Vanguard will automate the transfer of millions of 401(k) balances below $5,000 when workers change employers.
Do Kwon loses his passport. South Korea plans to invalidate the Terraform Labs founder’s passport as the country attempts to contain the crypto fugitive it seeks to arrest.
Someone is taking the “Crypto Dad” case a little too seriously. “I decided not to impose a curfew on my teenager. I’m just going to punish her if she comes home later than I want. Regulation by App”, Coinbase legal council Paul Grewal tweeted.
If you thought KlarnaThe ambitions of have been stifled by the setbacks of “buy now, pay later”, think again. “Fintech is driving a future where there will be four to five global retail banks. Maybe one or two will be banks today. Some will be the technology companies of today. one of these global banks will be Klarna”, said Head of Klarna UK Alex Marais at the top subdued.
Moves and hires
James Nguyen is general counsel for Sky Mavis, publisher of Axie Infinity. Nguyen was previously the chief compliance officer for Robinhood’s crypto unit. Robinhood in March lost its crypto leader, Christine Brown, who started an NFT company.
Angelena Bradfield is Policy and Government Relations Manager for the Financial Technology Association. Bradfield was previously senior vice president at the Bank Policy Institute.
NYDIG has appointed new management. The investment group promoted executives Tejas Shah and Nate Conrad to CEO and chairman, respectively. Former CEO Robert Gutmann and former Chairman Yan Zhao will remain with Stone Ridge Holdings, NYDIG’s parent company.
Coatue Management general partner Matt Mazzeo is leaving to launch a new investment fund, according to information.
Matt Homer is a senior advisor to the crypto and fintech practice at Tusk Strategies. Homer, a former New York Department of Financial Services official, is an executive-in-residence at Nyca Partners. Tusk Strategies Promoted Crypto and Fintech Practice Leader Eric Soufer associates.
Jonathan Cheesman, head of over-the-counter and institutional sales at FTX, has left the company, the block reported. Cheesman joined FTX in May 2021 to help bring traditional financial institutions into the crypto markets.
A MESSAGE FROM ALIBABA
Using economic multipliers published by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the NPD estimates that the ripple effect of this Alibaba-fueled consumption in 2020 supported more than 256,000 U.S. jobs and 21 billion dollars. salary dollars. These U.S. sales to Chinese consumers also added $39 billion to U.S. GDP.
Thanks for reading – see you tomorrow!