Layoffs sweep crypto as economic concerns mount; Dapper Labs, Bitmex among hardest hit

Quick Take

  • Crypto layoffs have continued into November. 

  • The industry faces not only an ongoing bear market but also a tough macroeconomic environment stoking recession fears.

Crypto layoffs have continued into November.

The industry faces not only an ongoing bear market marked by depressed digital asset prices, but also a tough macroeconomic environment where inflation and a series of U.S. interest rate hikes have intensified fears of a recession.  

Coinbase, which recently restructured its product team and laid off staff earlier this year, is one company worried that conditions might worsen.

“For 2023, we're preparing with a conservative bias and assuming that the current macroeconomic headwinds will persist and possibly intensify,” the company wrote in its third-quarter shareholder letter.

Here are the most high-profile crypto industry layoffs The Block reported between Oct. 5 and Nov. 5. Among the deepest cuts reported came from Dapper Labs (22% of staff) and Stripe (14%).

Oct. 11: Market maker GSR cuts staff to focus on long-term growth 

GSR made layoffs equal to less than 10% of its staff in the third quarter. The market maker and liquidity provider made the cuts to focus on long-term growth, a GSR spokesperson said, adding that the company currently employs 300 people.  

Back in July 2021, GSR co-founder Rich Rosenblum said during The Scoop podcast that the company had plans to grow its staff from 25 to more than 200 in a year’s time.

Nov. 1: Galaxy Digital could cut 20% of workforce  

New York City-based Galaxy Digital has been eyeing staff cuts of 10-15%, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter. As many as 75 people could be affected.

Separately, Axios reported in late September that Galaxy Digital’s co-head of trading Robert Bogucki would be leaving the company for a position at investment firm Brevan Howard.

Nov. 1: Digital Currency Group lays off 10 people in restructuring 

Stamford, Connecticut-based Digital Currency Group (DCG) laid off 10 mostly junior employees as it streamlined its departments, the company confirmed to The Block following a report from Bloomberg.

DCG’s Mark Murphy moved from the position of chief operating officer to president. The parent of companies including Grayscale, Genesis and CoinDesk made a “series of internal changes” to position the company for its next growth phase, a spokesperson said.

DCG’s Genesis started making staff cuts in August that affected 20% of its 260-person staff, Wall Street Journal reported.

Nov. 1: Crypto exchange Bitmex cuts staff  

Crypto exchange Bitmex cut an unspecified amount of staff as it refocused its business away from activities like spot trading, custody and brokerage services, The Block exclusively reported.

A spokesperson had originally said the cuts impacted 30% of the company’s workforce but later walked back the number and said a smaller number of people were impacted. The exact amount is unknown.

Bitmex CEO Alexander Höptner left the exchange after fewer than two years there, The Block reported on Oct. 25.

Nov. 2: Dapper Labs lays off 22% of staff

CryptoKitties creator Dapper Labs laid off 22% of its staff. Senior Vice President of Marketing Dave Feldman confirmed on Twitter the company would be laying off staff, and CEO Roham Gharegozlou confirmed the size of the layoffs in a company letter posted to Dapper Labs’ website.

“As part of a broader refocus of our strategy and reorganization of our teams to better serve our communities, we have made the difficult decision to reduce our team size by 22%,” Gharegozlou said in the letter. 

The layoffs come as the NFT market remains depressed. Ethereum-based NFT volumes decreased 25% in October from the previous month, CryptoSlam data visualized by The Block showed.

Nov. 3: Stripe says goodbye to about 14% of staff  

Payment company Stripe laid off about 14% of its staff. In an email to employees, Founders Patrick and John Collison mentioned macroeconomic challenges and limited startup funding as reasons for the cuts.

Stripe will go back to its February staffing levels of nearly 7,000 people, the company’s founders said.

“Around 14% of people at Stripe will be leaving the company,” the employee letter states. “We, the founders, made this decision. We over hired for the world we’re in (more on that below), and it pains us to be unable to deliver the experience that we hoped that those impacted would have at Stripe.”

Nov. 4: Mythical Games cuts 10% of workforce 

Unicorn gaming company Mythical Games laid off about 10% of its employees due to a company restructuring. Like other companies, the startup cited the economic downturn as a reason for the cuts.

Mythical Games focuses on web3 gaming. It became a unicorn with a $1.25 billion valuation in Nov. 2021 after raising $150 million in a Series C round led by Andreessen Horowitz (a16z).

Tech companies dealing with thousands of layoffs  

Meanwhile, many large tech companies have also announced significant cuts in recent weeks that affect thousands of employees. The most high-profile of these cuts is at Twitter, where new owner Elon Musk has started laying off about 3,700 employees according to the New York Times.

Lyft will cut nearly 13% of employees, or close to 700 people, CNN Business reported. Executives cited recession fears and the effects of inflation as reasons for the cuts.


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