Reddit’s first–and perhaps last–“cryptocurrency engineer” was recently let go by the company.
Ryan X. Charles joined the team only last September, quitting his job at BitPay and unable to “pass up an opportunity to bring bitcoin to millions of reddit users.” A few months after he joined, reddit unveiled its native cryptocurrency, reddit notes.
The reddit forum is a popular destination for cryptocurrency discussion and information sharing, and there had been much debate on how Bitcoin should be further integrated into the platform.
I was just let go from reddit because cryptocurrency is not a part of reddit’s near-term plans. This is unfortunate, but understandable.
— Ryan X. Charles (@ryanxcharles) January 29, 2015
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In a follow-up discussion on reddit, Charles diplomatically expanded upon his dismissal:
“Hey everyone, what happened today was very unfortunate, but I think it makes sense for reddit as a company. This was not surprising for those familiar with what’s happening at reddit right now, but for those who are unaware, here’s the story.
I was hired as cryptocurency engineer in September, for which I left my job at BitPay. I was won-over by the then-CEO Yishan, who had an awesome vision for the future of reddit, including cryptocurrency as the financial system of the internet city that is reddit. However, Yishan suddenly and unexpectedly resigned his position a month or two later, probably due to exhaustion. This was in the midst of great existing turmoil at the company, such as moving the entire, formerly-remote company to SF, raising a new round of $50 million, and celebgate.”
Yishan Wong resigned last November, saying the role was “incredibly stressful and draining,” but other sources reported that he disagreed with the company’s board about a new office. Charles continued:
“More turmoil followed, and new leadership took over the reins. I have complete confidence in the new leadership, but cryptocurrency is not in their plans. This is not surprising, because they basically have their hands full with all sorts of other stuff. This has nothing to do with the screen shot that was posted the other day.
I’m fairly confident cryptocurrency will return to reddit in the coming years (and of course you can still buy reddit gold with bitcoin), but it will have to wait a while for things to calm down. Meanwhile, best of luck to everyone who will get to witness the new era of reddit from the inside. It was cool to be a part of the historic front-page of the internet, at least for a while. Also, for the record, I’m pretty sure I was the first person in history to have the official title ‘cryptocurrency engineer’.”
It remains to be seen what becomes of reddit notes, the specs of which have yet to be “hashed out” and 950,000 units of which had been slated to be given away in a lottery this fall.