Signal founder Moxie Marlinspike steps down as CEO

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  • Moxie Marlinspike
    American computer security expert
  • Brian Acton
    American computer programmer and Internet entrepreneur, co-founder of WhatsApp

Over the past few months, Signal founder Moxie Marlinspike has been talking to candidates who can potentially take over his role as company CEO. That's what Marlinspike has revealed in a post about stepping away his role over the next month, where he talked about struggling to do almost everything on his own before the Signal Foundation was formed four years ago. The foundation provided the encrypted messaging app with $50 million in funding from WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton, giving Signal the money it needed to be able to hire people and expand. 

Before it had access to the funding, Marlinspike said he was writing all the Android and server code, facilitating all product development and solving issues the service may have had on his own. Now, he said, Signal is a group of 30 people who each have their roles, and he can switch off his phone without having to worry that the service would implode. "In other words, after a decade or more, it’s difficult to overstate how important Signal is to me, but I now feel very comfortable replacing myself as CEO based on the team we have, and also believe that it is an important step for expanding on Signal’s success," he wrote.

Marlinspike will remain on the Signal board and will focus on finding the next CEO for the service over the the next month. For now, Acton will serve as the interim CEO. While he talked about this move as a step towards Signal's expansion, he didn't say exactly why he's leaving his role. TechCrunch believes it may have something to do with MobileCoin, a cryptocurrency that's integrated into Signal and allows users to send each other digital coins through the app. It's also unclear what Marlinspike is doing next, only revealing on Twitter that he's "taking a break for a bit."

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