Amazon has announced today that founder and CEO Jeff Bezos is planning to step down as CEO, and Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy — who oversaw Amazon’s crypto product offerings — will replace him.
In his letter to employees, Bezos said that he would be transitioning to the role of executive chair of the Amazon board, where he would “focus my energies and attention on new products and early initiatives.” The transition is scheduled for later in the year.
Bezos also noted that Jassy “will be an outstanding leader, and has my full confidence.”
The crypto world’s attention now turns to Jassy’s history when it comes to embracing blockchain technology, as it could be an indication of the long-term crypto strategy of the world’s third-most valuable company by market capitalization.
Jassy offered a mixed review of blockchain technology and its applicability to Amazon's business in 2017. In a statement at the Amazon "re:Invent" conference, he expressed doubt that blockchain could be used for more than a “distributed ledger” but also said he and his team were personally interested. However, company policy dictated that they don't “build technology [just] because we think it is cool.”
He did leave the door open for future exploration, however, saying, “We are very intrigued by what customers are ultimately going to do there.”
In 2018, Jassy did move forward with a “quasi-blockchain” offering, as he oversaw the launch of two blockchain products: Amazon Quantum Ledger Database and Amazon Managed Blockchain. As Cointelegraph reported, the products maintained centralized databases but included cryptographic qualities.
Aside from these forays, Amazon has largely only made crypto headlines as a scapegoat: In November 2020, Coinbase blamed an AWS outage for one of its frequent service interruptions. But as a new CEO steps in, the crypto community is eager to see what, if any, changes Jassy will bring.