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Growth emerged as a major hiring priority this week.

The Uniswap Foundation, a non-profit aiming to grow the Uniswap protocol, hired Bita Abolfathi as a growth manager. The hire was greenlit as part of the proposal for the Uniswap Foundation’s $46 million grant from the Uniswap DAO. 

Abolfathi told Blockworks that as someone who dropped out of college, she appreciates the Uniswap Foundation’s willingness to disburse grants to deserving builders regardless of credentials.

“I was drawn to the Uniswap Foundation because they recognize that advancing DeFi’s impact on the world requires robust support — both intellectual and financial — for the most talented individuals and teams, irrespective of their backgrounds,” Abolfathi said.

Read more: Uniswap DAO grants $46.2M to Uniswap Foundation

Abolfathi previously worked at Gauntlet and SCRIB3. She becomes Uniswap Foundation’s second growth-focused employee, joining head of growth Raphaela Sapire. 

Elsewhere, the stablecoin project Ethena Labs hired former Lido business developer Seraphim Czecker as its head of growth. 

Ethena generates yield on its USDe stablecoin with collateral backing in Lido stETH and short ether futures. The company raised a $6.5 million seed round in June led by Dragonfly. Czecker expressed belief in the project’s ability to scale in a direct message to Blockworks.

Since Ethena “derives yield from staking and shorting perp futures,” Czecker said, “in a bull market we are talking 15-20% organic APY on a stablecoin with a very reasonable risk profile.”

Czecker will be part time until 2024, he said in a post announcing the role. This is Czecker’s third crypto role this year, after resigning from Euler Labs in April and from Lido Finance last week. His LinkedIn bio reads, “Head of Taking Risk.”

NEAR co-founder becomes foundation’s CEO

NEAR Protocol co-founder Illia Polosukhin was tapped as CEO of the NEAR Foundation, a non-profit tasked with growing the NEAR ecosystem.

Polosukhin follows Marieke Flament, who stepped down as NEAR Foundation’s CEO after two years at the helm. 

Chris Donovan, NEAR’s general counsel who was initially announced as Flament’s replacement, will become the foundation’s chief operating officer.

The move was announced on the first day of the protocol’s NEARCON convention in Lisbon. Polosukhin took up the role during an eventful week for NEAR as it announced the forthcoming launch of zero-knowledge proofs for WASM blockchains with Polygon.

Other notable hiring news

  • UAE crypto exchange Bybit hired Sebastian Gawenda to lead its options business. Gawenda previously worked at and Kraken.
  • Ava Labs, the company behind the Avalanche blockchain, laid off some of its staff, CEO Emin Gün Sirer announced. The exact number of layoffs were not disclosed, but Ava Labs’ VP of growth wrote that “many people” on the marketing team were let go.

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