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PRIVATE KEY

Enron’s Jeff Skilling is the latest tarnished executive to look to blockchain for redemption

Reuters/Richard Carson
Jeffrey Skilling (left) leaving federal court in 2006.
  • Matthew De Silva
By Matthew De Silva

Tech reporter

Jeffrey Skilling knows a thing or two about blocks and chains. A few weeks ago, the former CEO of Enron was released from prison, having served 12 years for his role in the energy giant’s collapse. Now a free man, Skilling is preparing for a new energy venture, one which is rumored to use blockchain technology, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Skilling’s pivot has been mocked for being inauthentic and exploitative, but his attempted rehabilitation under the banner of blockchain is hardly unique. Blockchain has become a popular avenue to personal—and corporate—renaissance. It’s given exiled executives a last gasp at relevance and granted floundering startups unexpected cash injections.

John McAfee, famous for his eponymous anti-viral software before a turn toward bizarre behavior and run-ins with the law,  experienced a career revival through his association with MGT Capital, a company which focuses on bitcoin mining. Another executive who went full crypto is Mike Novogratz, who launched a crypto hedge fund after Fortress Investment Group removed him as a partner. Blythe Masters, the JP Morgan executive credited—or blamed—for inventing the financial instruments that helped bring about the Great Recession, found new life as CEO of Digital Asset Holdings.

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