Zooko Wilcox is stepping down as the CEO of Electric Coin Company, the team behind privacy-focused cryptocurrency Zcash (ZEC).
ECC announced a change in leadership on Monday, with Josh Swihart promoted to replace Wilcox.
Swihart previously worked at ECC as one of the firm’s vice presidents of growth from October 2018 to August 2023 but took four months off working as a part-time investor at investment services firm Denver Angels in Colorado, according to LinkedIn.
“We feel confident in Josh’s leadership — in finding product-market fit, unlocking new partnerships and collaboration, improving Zcash usability and increasing adoption,” ECC said in a Dec. 18 post.
“In addition to a vision for ECC and an optimistic passion for Zcash, Josh has a strong entrepreneurial, technical and product background,” the firm added.
I cannot begin anywhere else but to give my thanks and respect to @zooko. He breathed life into Zcash and has been its flag bearer – not just for the project but for human freedom. He is a hero.
— Josh Swihart (@jswihart) December 18, 2023
Swihart said the firm will focus on increasing Zcash’s utility through user-focused products over the next few months and to better position ECC financially.
Wilcox — a self-described “human freedom maximalist” — reflected positively on his time building Zcash from the ground up in a Dec. 18 Medium post:
“It has been an incredible experience, and I’ll always be grateful that I had the opportunity to live out one of my science fiction dreams in reality.”
However, Wilcox said it was best for him and the company to part ways. “I don’t think this conflation of Zcash with me personally is healthy for me, and I don’t think it’s healthy for Zcash,” he said.
“Zcash’s role in human history is, and will be, much bigger than any individual,” Wilcox added.
The Zcash co-founder conceded that he had clashed with Swihart on how to best take Zcash forward, but said the two never disagreed on “why.”
Wilcox will remain in his role as a director on the board of the Bootstrap Project, the parent company of ECC. Alan Fairless, Christina Garman, Michelle Lai and Zaki Manian are also on that board.
Zcash is a privacy-focused blockchain and cryptocurrency that was launched on Oct. 29, 2016. ECC was founded two years earlier in…