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Crypto bear market: Who's hiring and who's firing

Crypto bear market: Who's hiring and who's firing
Photo Credit: Pixabay
17 Jun, 2022
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Amid heightened inflation and uncertainties, many crypto companies are feeling the pinch and reducing their employee headcount to cope. Others, however, are expanding and securing fresh talent.

The firing continues… 

Gemini Trust Co., owned by billionaires Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, was among the first of crypto firms that announced it was firing employees. On June 2, the company said in a blog post that it would be cutting approximately 10% of its workers, citing “turbulent market conditions that are likely to persist for some time.”

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On June 13, Crypto exchange platform Crypto.com announced it will be downsizing by 5% and let 260 of its staff go due to current market conditions.  

The company’s CEO Kris Marszalek posted a thread on Twitter saying, “The company has to choose to downsize until the bull market returns to keep its focus on its roadmap”.

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase is cutting 18% of its workforce or about 1,100 jobs, amid depressed markets and concerns of a looming recession. The company’s chief executive, Brian Armstrong, informed employees of the layoffs in a memo, saying that the company had “over-hired” its staff during a crypto boom. The company will have around 5,000 employees post the cut.

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Earlier this week, Peter Thiel-backed start-up BlockFi said that it will cut about 20% of its staff strength to about 170 people. CEO Zac Prince reasoned in a tweet that the “decision was driven by market conditions that have had a negative impact on our growth rate and a rigorous review of our strategic priorities.”

 Those on a hiring spree

Despite a slew of job cuts by companies in the digital currency space, some see this as an opportunity to cash in on the ‘bear market’.

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The world’s biggest crypto exchange, Binance, is looking to recruit people for both on-site and remote roles, ranging from business to technology development verticals. Binance has opened 2,000 positions for hiring, CEO Changpeng Zhao said in a Tweet. “If we are in a crypto winter, we will leverage that; we will use that to the maximum,” he said.  

Bahamian cryptocurrency exchange, FTX, with approximately 250 employees, said that it has no plans to freeze hiring. Sam Bankman-Fried, the company’s CEO of the second-largest crypto exchange by volume behind Binance, posted on Twitter, “We’re going to keep pushing forward… because we hired carefully, we can keep growing regardless of market conditions.”

OpenSea, American online non-fungible token marketplace, announced it is “hiring across the board” on June 14 in a blog post. Likewise, Polygon’s CEO Ryan Watt said in a Tweet this week, stating the company is striving to increase its headcount by around 15% by the end of this year.

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Elsewhere, powered by London Stock Exchange Group, cryptocurrency firm AAX said that the platform has “hundreds of roles” available across many functions as it double staff size this year to support its global expansion plans.

US-based crypto exchange, Kraken too is not making any layoff plans it seems, as the company sees the current market downturn as a ‘time to build’. “We have over 500 roles to fill during the remainder of the year, and believe bear markets are fantastic at weeding out the applicants chasing hype from the true believers in our mission,” the exchange wrote in its official blog post on June 15.

Indian crypto firms see an opportunity

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Despite the abysmal state of crypto markets globally, crypto firms in India are planning to take advantage of the opportunity and are hoping to capitalise on the market’s recovery (whenever that happens).  

A majority of the homegrown exchanges, including CoinDCX, CoinSwitch, WazirX, Unocoin and Mudrex, said that they neither they are planning any layoffs from their workforce, nor are they freezing hiring.  

For example, CoinDCX said in a LinkedIn update, it is projected to touch the 1,000-employee mark by the end of 2022, growing its workforce to almost four times over the past year. 

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WazirX, the largest crypto exchange in India, too said that it does not foresee any downsizing in the near future. In fact, it claimed that its employee strength grew by six times in the last six months.

India is a country with over 200 million crypto users. Funding from institutional and angel investors in Indian crypto ventures hit a record high in 2021. Insights from Venture Intelligence suggest that crypto-based Indian start-ups managed to raise over $890 million over a span of 28 deals between January and April 2022. April saw fund inflows worth $274 million in this space. Besides, many international entities are on their way to setting up blockchain research centres in India, which is likely to pave the way for more jobs in the market.