Blockchain.com has become the latest crypto company to cut staff, according to a report published by Coindesk on Thursday.
The exchange will cut 25% of its staff, approximately 150 people, bringing the firm’s staffing levels back that of January 2022. Executive salaries and CEO compensation will also be reduced.
The company said the decision was based on harsh bear market conditions and the need to absorb financial losses relating to the fallout of Three Arrows Capital’s (3AC) collapse. The exchange has a $270 million shortfall due to lending to the fund.
As part of the cutbacks, Blockchain.com is additionally rolling back expansion plans, particularly in South America, which last year CEO Peter Smith heralded as one of the "largest growth opportunities in crypto over the coming decade." To that end, the company acquired Argentinian crypto investment platform SeSocio in late last year and announced plans to launch a physical presence in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico.
But now the company says that most active demand is coming from Europe, the US and Africa. It will close its Argentina-based offices and cancel expansion plans in several countries. Almost half of the layoffs are of Argentina-based employees. A further 26% are US-based and 16% UK-based.
It will also shrink its institutional lending business, halt all M&A activity, slow work on its non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace and pause its forays into gaming.
The crypto firm joined the ranks of the decacorns — a term for a company valued at more than $10 billion — in March this year following a Series D funding round at a $14 billion valuation that generated an undisclosed amount of funds. At least some of the proceeds from this round will now be used to cover the 3AC-induced shortfall. In April, there were also reports that the company planned to go public this year.
Other large crypto companies are continuing to cut staffing levels as well, many following significant hiring drives over the past 12 months. Last month, Coinbase admitted it had “over-hired” and laid off more than 18% of its staff. Last week, OpenSea also laid off 20% of its staff. Layoffs have also been seen at Gemini, Bitso, Bybit, Rain Financial, and Brazil-based 2TM, among others.
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