BitTorrent creator Bram Cohen has taken over as CEO of his current company, Chia Network, CoinDesk has learned. Co-founder Ryan Singer has stepped away from the company to focus on family priorities.
Cohen is viewed as a pioneer of the decentralized internet for creating the BitTorrent filesharing protocol. In August 2017, he left BitTorrent to found Chia, an alternative to bitcoin created to be a less energy-intensive cryptocurrency.
While the company has stayed largely under the radar since announcing itself, it’s backed by some of the most closely watched investors in cryptocurrency.
According to Crunchbase, Greylock Partners, Naval Ravikant and Andreessen Horowitz have all backed the young company, which has raised $3.4 million so far. BitTorrent, is now wholly owned by Justin Sun’s Tron, a negotiation that required Cohen, as a major shareholder, to play an active part.
Former CEO Singer confirmed to CoinDesk he’s not currently working at Chia. A spokesperson for the company also confirmed the transition, adding that current CFO and general counsel Mitch Edwards will take on existing business development relationships.
According to his LinkedIn page, Edwards has had a long career in technology, including a stint in similar roles at BitTorrent and Core Scientific. He also served for a time as acting CEO of Overstock.com, one of the first well-known companies to accept bitcoin.
Chia describes its cryptocurrency as “enterprise-grade.” It refers to its consensus model as “farming” rather than “mining,” in order to distinguish it from more energy intensive forms of securing crypto networks.
Since October, Chia has been testing its approach by running optimization contests with its community and open-sourcing the best implementations. The company initiated its second contest in April.
Bram Cohen image via CoinDesk archives