Crypto startup MoonPay hires Time president to steer enterprise

Keith Grossman, Time president

TIMEPieces Artist Jeremy Cowart

Time president Keith Grossman is leaving the legacy writer to tackle a brand new position because the president of enterprise at crypto startup MoonPay, efficient December 31.

Grossman joined Time in 2019, a yr after Meredith Company bought the flagship journal model to Salesforce founder Marc Benioff and his spouse Lynne for $190 million.

Throughout his tenure at Time, Grossman has turn out to be a staunch advocate of cryptocurrency and blockchain expertise, pioneering the media firm’s NFT enterprise, TIMEPieces, and producing greater than $10 million in revenue alongside the way in which.

“I’ve spent the previous yr operationalizing it,” Grossman informed CNBC in an unique interview. “I feel that the transition shall be scary in a single sense, as a result of it is one thing new and completely different, however on the identical time secure in one other sense as a result of we have constantly mentioned that TIMEPieces was a group led by stewards, not founders.”

Earlier than his three-plus years at Time, Grossman had held management posts at main publishers together with Bloomberg and Condé Nast-owned Wired.

Maya Draisin, Time’s chief model officer, will lead TIMEPieces. Grossman started transitioning out of his position as president in January to concentrate on the writer’s NFT enterprise when Ian Orefice was named president and chief working officer, in accordance with a Time spokesperson.

Earlier this month, Time CEO Edward Felsenthal introduced he was stepping down from that position, although he retains his editor-in-chief place and is taking up the extra position of govt chairman. Jessica Sibley, who was most not too long ago the chief working officer at Forbes, is now Time CEO.

Dealing with the FTX fallout

MoonPay’s pitch to buyers is that it presents a “gateway” to digital belongings. For now, that features bitcoin, ether, and different digital tokens like NFTs. However the collapse of FTX and its ongoing ripple impact all through the business, coupled with this yr’s market volatility and risk-off investor setting, hasn’t been sort to crypto buying and selling.

“I feel it is vital to separate a nasty actor from an business,” Grossman mentioned of the FTX fallout. “In the event you take a look at the vitality business you had Enron; for those who take a look at the well being business you had Theranos; for those who take a look at the monetary business, you had Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers, so it isn’t stunning that the crypto business could have its dangerous actors as effectively,” he mentioned. “However among the positives that come out of it’ll in all probability be some accountable regulation that can present readability for big firms that need to get into the area.”

MoonPay co-founder and CEO Ivan Soto-Wright mentioned that his firm has no significant publicity to FTX, although he added that that is an inflection level for the business with an affect on all of the gamers.

Earlier than submitting for Chapter 11 chapter safety amid allegations of misuse of buyer belongings, FTX provided buying and selling on its trade by storing digital belongings in what are known as custodial wallets, which allowed it to function a intermediary holding buyer funds. Soto-Wright says that MoonPay’s platform is non-custodial and that it doesn’t maintain onto buyer funds as a part of its enterprise mannequin. However he added that comes with its personal set of challenges.

“We’re beginning to see some actually nice developments round MPC (multi-party computation) expertise to make that safer,” Soto-Wright mentioned. “However finally, in case you are an actor within the area that is going to be holding onto consumer funds, you must fall beneath regulation.”

MPC expertise has turn out to be very important to securing digital belongings like crypto, as a result of it ensures that nobody particular person has entry to a person’s knowledge by splitting it into a number of items.

Crypto’s confidence disaster

Within the 12 months since bitcoin topped out at over $68,000, the crypto business, as soon as valued at roughly $3 trillion, has fallen to round $900 billion.

NFT gross sales have plummeted in lockstep, declining each month since April, in accordance with knowledge from CryptoSlam. Whereas the downturn has signaled to many who NFTs are a passing fad, Grossman is amongst a small cohort of evangelists who stay bullish on what’s been dubbed “Web3” — a hypothetical, future model of the web primarily based on blockchain expertise.

“It is extremely well timed to deliver Keith on board,” Soto-Wright mentioned. “Each single week you hear of one other main model asserting that they are dipping their toes into Web3 and making an attempt to implement a method.”

As MoonPay was researching the explanations behind model adoption of the idea and early use circumstances, “Keith’s title would come up quite a bit round what he was capable of accomplish with TIMEPieces,” Soto-Wright mentioned.

“He was capable of provide a greater expertise for among the most loyal clients and followers of the Time model,” Soto-Wright added. “As we begin to converse to increasingly massive manufacturers, they need to see the way it really works … whereas we now have the infrastructure to make it occur, there’s nonetheless a method piece and I feel Keith will unlock numerous these conversations as we go into the brand new yr.”

Grossman will report on to Soto-Wright.

Crypto startup MoonPay hires Time president to steer enterprise

These nonetheless shopping for NFTs are doing so out of the idea that their skill to show possession of digital objects, vis-à-vis the digital ledger that blockchain powers, will finally admire in worth as adoption of decentralized expertise grows.

Enterprise adoption has been fueling this perception, with firms together with Nike, McDonald’s, Adidas and Starbucks launching their very own NFT collections. By-and-large, these initiatives have been deployed by means of loyalty packages struggling to offset growing buyer acquisition prices attributable to rising rates of interest and record-high inflation.

In June, MoonPay partnered with Common Footage, Fox Company and Snoop Dogg’s Loss of life Row Information, amongst different manufacturers, to launch HyperMint — a platform that permits enterprises and legacy manufacturers like Common, Fox and even Time, to mint a whole lot of tens of millions of NFTs a day.

MoonPay ranked No. 44 on this yr’s CNBC Disruptor 50 checklist, and its providers are utilized by greater than 10 million clients in 160 international locations.

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Disruption in Action: Web3 & Cybersecurity


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