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Reddit puts its cryptocurrency plans on hold

Reddit puts its cryptocurrency plans on hold


Reddit Notes launch delayed as lead engineer let go

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Reddit has reportedly put its plans to issue its own cryptocurrency, called Reddit Notes, on hold. First announced late last year, Reddit Notes were intended to be a way for the social news aggregator to give 10 percent of a recent funding round — some $5 million — to Reddit's users. But Alexis Ohanian, Reddit's executive chairman, said today that the company's research told it to "wait until the law and technology around cryptocurrency are further along before deciding exactly how" to issue Reddit Notes.

The cryptocurrency was floated as an idea after a successful round of capital funding, which saw the company draw $50 million from investors such as Marc Andreesen. Reddit asked for suggestions for ways to give a chunk of that money back to its community in September. By December, it had made plans to create a cryptocurrency named Reddit Notes, and hired an engineer for the project. Reddit announced that it would give 950,000 Reddit Notes to users in a lottery, based on their activities prior to the end of September 2014, by the fall of 2015.

The company fired its lead cryptocurrency engineer, Ryan X. Charles, last week. In a post on Reddit itself after he was let go, Charles claimed he had been working on a Reddit Wallet that would let users deal in a number of cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin itself and Reddit darling dogecoin, in-browser. The project had been reportedly championed by ex-Reddit CEO Yishan Wong, who left the company in November last year. With Wong gone, Charles said he did not directly report to anyone inside the company.

On Twitter, Charles stated that he was let go because "cryptocurrency is not a part of reddit's near-term plans." He characterized the new leadership as "so uninterested in bitcoin" that he believed the construction of Reddit's cryptofinancial system "is not going to happen for a long time." Lending credence to Charles' comments, Reddit has also removed all open cryptocurrency engineer roles from its job board. Ohanian declined to comment to The Verge directly, but maintained in his Y Combinator post that the company will eventually issue the cryptocurrency. The executive chairman stated that Reddit wanted to give its community "the full value of the equity when they receive it in the future," but was also careful to note that the company had been "unable to do that with current cryptocurrency regulations."