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Finder’s crypto evangelist, Fred Schebesta, leaves co-CEO role to focus on VC side

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Fred Schebesta, the co-founder of the comparison website Finder, and one of the country’s biggest cryptocurrency advocates, is stepping down from his role as co-CEO and will no longer be the colorful face of the company.

This is reported by Tegan Jones of SmartCompany that Schebesta will leave his co-founder Frank Restuccia to run the global company single-handedly, and also enter the media front, with Chris Ellis as CEO of Finder Australia.

Schebesta’s continuing roles are that of Finder’s executive chairman and CEO Finder Enterprisesthe venture capital arm he founded in 2018. He has led the company since its inception in 2006, then launched the blockchain investment fund Hive Empire Capital in 2021, and co-founded the NFT gaming platform Balthazar.

Hive Empire was sold for $300,000 in mid-2020 to FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried’s crypto platform, Alameda Research. Both companies are now in Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the US.

It’s a big day for tech executives being reshuffled globally Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield announces his departure of the company he co-founded before being sold to Saleforce for $27 billion in mid-2021. He will leave the parent company in January. The move comes a week after Salesforce co-CEO Bret Taylor stepped down.

Restuccia and the Finder team were keen to emphasize that Schebesta was transitioning, rather than stepping down from the co-CEO role, with the job title change.

“Fred and I have been working together for over 20 years. Not much changes from day to day, it really is a formalization of our strengths and passions – we both remain committed to helping our customers save money and make money,” said Restuccia.

“With Fred now serving as Executive Chair and CEO of Finder Ventures, I will focus on growing the Finder Group. I am excited about what lies ahead in the next 12 months and beyond.”

His move comes at a challenging time for the cryptocurrency sector, which Schebesta has championed since its inception and made it an integral part of Finder’s fintech offering.

Last month, Finder killed its cryptocurrency product Earn, which offered customers a fixed rate of return on investments in stablecoins, saying it was “no longer serving” customers amid rising interest rates.

Amid a series of high-profile collapses, including FTX, and local job losses at CoinJar and Swyftx, the broader cryptocurrency market has lost more than 50% of its value by 2022

Bitcoin is down more than 60% in 2022, and Mobius Capital Partners co-founder Mark Mobius, who predicted the cryptocurrency to fall below $20,000 this year, believes it could fall another 40% in 2023, to under $10,000.

Last week Mobius told CNBC dat: “With higher interest rates, the appeal of holding or buying Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies becomes less attractive, as merely holding the coin does not earn interest.”

SmartCompany’s story about Schebesta’s new focus is here.

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