4chan, one of the Internet’s most infamous web forums, has a new owner. Christopher Poole, who founded 4chan in 2003 as a teenager and saw it grow into a major player in digital culture, is selling 4chan to Japanese message board founder Hiroyuki Nishimura. Nishimura founded 2channel, an online message board that served as one of 4chan’s inspirations. Terms of the sale weren’t disclosed, but 4chan boasts more than 20 million monthly users.
In a statement, Poole said that “Hiroyuki is a pioneer in the world of anonymous communities, and can be thought of as the great-grandfather of 4chan. His creation of 2channel in 1999 sparked an era of anonymous-centric web culture in Japan that led to the creation of Futaba Channel, the site that inspired 4chan. None of us would be using 4chan today—or potentially any anonymous image board–if it weren’t for him.” Poole had stepped down from actively running the site earlier this year.
Fast Company spoke with Poole in 2011 about his late startup Canvas, which attempted to cater to a much wider audience than the very niche 4chan. Nishimura, one of the trailblazers of Internet message board culture who helped the format make the jump from dial-up bulletin board services to the web, was recently named editor-in-chief of Variety’s Japanese edition.