UPDATED | June 22, 2018:
Tom Hannaford, an account supervisor for Wachsman PR, reached out to ETHNews and explained that there had been a miscommunication with Reuters during the initial coverage of Phil Potter’s departure from Bitfinex.
He provided a revised statement from Potter, who said, “As Bitfinex pivots away from the US, I felt that, as a US person, it was time for me to rethink my position as a member of the executive team. It’s been an incredible journey over these past four years, and while I wish my colleagues success and good fortune in their ongoing endeavors, I am also looking forward to new opportunities for myself in the days ahead.”
Additionally, while the decision was not “mutual” (as first reported), Potter made the decision on his own and is leaving on “good terms.”
ORIGINAL | June 22, 2018:
On Friday, Bitfinex announced the departure of Phil Potter, the cryptocurrency trading platform’s chief strategy officer. According to a spokesperson for the exchange, the decision was mutual. Potter’s bio remains on the Bitfinex website as of the time of publication.
“As Bitfinex pivots to other strategic international markets, I felt this was a natural time for me to depart the executive team,” Potter said in a statement shared by Bitfinex. “I am looking forward to new opportunities in the days ahead.”
Potter will be replaced by CEO JL van der Velde, at least temporarily.
On social media, some are already speculating that word might have leaked about Potter’s exit.
So now that we know that Phil Potter resigned, but the dump started before that was public knowledge we need to wonder whether there were Bitfinex insiders trading on the knowledge of his impending departure
— Bennett Tomlin (@BennettTomlin) June 22, 2018
In the last 24 hours, the price of bitcoin has fallen by 8.31 percent, per Live Coin Watch. Globally, bitcoin is trading at approximately $6,175 per unit at the time of publication.
After retweeting the news about Potter, noted critic and Twitter personality @Bitfinex’ed ominously posted a Bloomberg article about executives resigning from Enron shortly before the company’s stunning collapse.
Potter’s exit occurs at a strange time for Bitfinex, just days after its affiliate, Tether, released a three-page “transparency update” claiming that the platform possesses full reserves for its cryptocurrency representation of the US dollar (USDT). Notably, the report, which was prepared by a law firm (rather than an accounting practice), did not utilize generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) or generally accepted auditing standards (GAAS).
Readers may remember that, in January, Tether’s relationship with Friedman LLP dissolved. Friedman is an accounting and advisory services firm that was meant to provide the long-awaited audit. It also emerged that, in December, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) subpoenaed Tether and Bitfinex.
Last week, researchers from the University of Texas at Austin published a study indicating that Tether may have been used to unduly influence bitcoin’s 2017 ascent.
I don’t know about Bitfinex’s other executives, but right about now, I’d be wishing for an invisibility cloak.