Crypto exchange Bitmex cuts part of its workforce following CEO departure: Exclusive

Quick Take

  • Crypto exchange Bitmex has reduced its headcount as part of a pivot away from its “beyond derivatives” strategy.
  • The layoffs came a week after CEO Alexander Höptner departed from his role.

Crypto exchange Bitmex has reduced its headcount as part of a pivot away from the exchange's "beyond derivatives" strategy, which included a push into spot trading, brokerage and custody services.

"We are pivoting from our Beyond Derivatives strategy, and will return much of our focus aiming at providing the crypto derivatives trading experience people will turn to," a Bitmex spokesperson said in an email. "We are going to refocus on liquidity, latencies and a vibrant derivatives community including BMEX Token trading."

"As an undesirable consequence, we had to make changes to our workforce," the spokesperson added. "Our top priority is to make sure all employees who will be impacted have the support they require. Each of them have been instrumental in the remarkable journey Bitmex has taken from its roots as a small startup to one of the top crypto exchanges in the world."

A Bitmex spokesperson initially said that 30% of the workforce were impacted by the cuts. They later clarified the figure is actually lower, without specifying an amount.

Last week Alexander Höptner departed from his role as CEO of Bitmex after less than two years with the company. Bitmex's Chief Financial Officer Stephan Lutz was appointed as the exchange's interim CEO. The exchange employed roughly 180 people as of September.

Earlier this year, the exchange cut around 75 jobs after abandoning its plans to acquire German bank Bankhaus von der Heydt. Layoffs have also taken place across the industry at firms like GSR, Crypto.com and Coinbase. 

Bitmex's struggles


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Founded in 2014, Bitmex was one of the first exchanges to offer crypto derivatives. It has since struggled with a number of legal battles.

Bitmex's co-founder and CEO Arthur Hayes had to step down from the role following lawsuits from both the Commodities Futures Trading Commission and Department of Justice. In May,  Hayes pleaded guilty to violating the U.S. Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and received a sentence of six months of home detention as part of a two-year probationary period.

Bitmex was once considered a leader in cryptocurrency derivatives, claiming 35% of the open interest across bitcoin futures, according to data from The Block Research. Now Bitmex only holds about 2% of market share with newer players such as FTX and the CME Group taking a slice of the pie.


This story has been updated to reflect clarifications from a Bitmex spokesperson about how many staff were affected by the pivot.

© 2023 The Block. All Rights Reserved. This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

About Author

Kari McMahon is a deals reporter at The Block covering startup fundraises, M&A, FinTech and the VC industry. Prior to joining The Block, Kari covered investing and crypto at Insider and worked as a python software developer for several years. For inquiries or tips, email [email protected]


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