Moxie Marlinspike has stepped down as CEO of Signal

Signal founder Moxie Marlinspike is stepping down as CEO of the company, he announced in a blog post on Monday. Executive chairman Brian Acton will serve as acting CEO until a replacement is found.

“Every day, I’m struck by how boundless Signal’s potential looks, and I want to bring in someone with fresh energy and commitment to make the most of that,” Marlinspike wrote. “I now feel very comfortable replacing myself as CEO based on the team we have.”

The company has met with several CEO candidates “over the last few months,” Marlinspike wrote, but the search remains ongoing.

Founded in 2014, Signal has grown into one of the most trusted and robust apps for encrypted messaging. The service has more than 40 million monthly users and is regularly recommended in security guides. Established as a nonprofit, the company is not supported by advertising or app sales, instead relying on donations and a recently launched sustainer program.

The app saw a rush of new users in early 2021 in response to a new privacy policy from its competitor WhatsApp — but the success wasn’t without controversy. Workers within Signal raised concerns to The Verge that the company’s refusal to maintain content policies could lead to potential misuse of the service. Signal’s recent efforts to incorporate cryptocurrency payments through MobileCoin have only heightened those concerns.

Marlinspike gave no indication of his plans after leaving Signal, although he has published a number of satirical NFT experiments on his personal blog, including a derivatives market for NFTs and a token that turns into the poop emoji when viewed from a personal wallet.