The co-founder of Boston-based payments firm Circle will step down from his co-CEO role at the end of December. Sean Neville reportedly notified the board of directors of the company at a quarterly meeting, and he will stay on the board as an independent director even though he will transition out of his co-CEO position, Coindesk reported.
Neville expects to keep working with the collaboration between Circle and Coinbase known as CENTRE, which is nominally the stablecoin issuer of USDC, as part of the company's board. He reportedly wrote, “I also expect to propel the mission forward through CENTRE and other new complementary paths that traverse worthwhile challenges in infrastructure, regulatory policy, economics, and product design.” He continued, “As always, I remain stubbornly optimistic about our ability to devise and execute well-crafted things that improve our collective future.”
Neville, who co-founded the firm with Jeremy Allaire, did not spell out a reason for leaving, but he reportedly said in an e-mail that the firm’s recent Poloniex sale was one of multiple reasons that made “the time appropriate for me to transition.” The executive also plans to have a sabbatical, but he is said to have not given a timeline.
In February 2018, Circle said it acquired the Poloniex digital currency exchange. Poloniex, as the companies said in the announcement at the time, was among one of the larger global markets for tokens and cryptocurrencies. Neville and Allaire wrote via blog at the time, “We’re proud to announce that Circle has extended its commitment to a new vision for global finance by acquiring Poloniex, a leading token exchange platform.”
Then, in March 2018, news surfaced that Circle was rolling out Circle Invest platform to most of the U.S. The service allowed traders to buy as well as sell bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum Classic, Ethereum, and Litecoin for free per reports at the time. At the time, it was noted that Circle was not the only company that advertises free crypto trading: Robinhood and Revolut and had done so as well.
And, in September of that year, Circle announced that, along with the CENTRE open source consortium, it had debuted a service to tokenize U.S. dollars and use them on the public blockchain on the internet. Circle said at the time that individuals and institutions could enroll in the service to deposit U.S. dollars from bank accounts, change them into tokens and redeem USDC tokens and cash them out to bank accounts.