Candy Digital NFT shop lays off large number of employees amid market deterioration

Quick Take

  • Despite achieving unicorn status last year Candy Digital decided to let go of a large number of its roughly 100 employees 
  • Prominent executives like Mike Novogratz, Gary Vaynerchuk and Michael Rubin have backed the company.
  • NFT trading volumes are tanking amid widespread volatility.

Digital collectibles firm Candy Digital, financially backed by industry heavyweights Mike Novogratz and Gary Vaynerchuk, has cut a large number of jobs — perhaps as much as half of its employees — roughly a year after the company achieved unicorn status when its valuation shot to $1.5 billion.

Earlier Monday on Discord, Candy Digital’s Head of Customer Experiences Megan Merrick announced the company had been forced to reduce its workforce amid “challenging macroeconomic” conditions and “rapidly deteriorating market conditions.”

Sportico first reported the layoffs, saying that more than a third of the company’s roughly 100 employees had been let go, citing anonymous sources. One laid off employee, who preferred to remain anonymous, told The Block that as many as half of Candy Digital employees may have been let go. The employee added their dismissal didn't come as a surprise given the current downturn engulfing companies operating in crypto-related fields. 

Both Candy Digital and its majority owner, the sports themed, e-commerce player Fanatics, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Candy Digital, which primarily creates sports focused, non-fungible tokens, is backed by web3 leaders like Novogratz, Vaynerchuk and Michael Rubin. The company achieved its unicorn status last October after raising $100 million in Series A financing.

Insight Partners and Softbank Vision Fund 2 co-led the funding round which included investors like former NFL quarterback Peyton Manning, Connect Ventures, Will Ventures, Gaingels, Com2Us, and Athletes Syndicate through a partnership with Chaos Ventures.

While Candy Digital has teamed up with world-renowned brands like Major League Baseball, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and Netflix, weekly sales volumes for digital collectibles have plummeted since April, crashing by as much as 95% at one point. Layoffs among web3 companies have been grabbing headlines in recent weeks. Earlier this month, Candy Digital's rival Dapper Labs laid off almost one-quarter of its employees.


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About Author

RT Watson is a senior reporter at The Block who covers a wide array of topics including U.S.-based companies, blockchain gaming and NFTs. Formerly covered entertainment at The Wall Street Journal, where he wrote about Disney, Netflix, Warner Bros. and the creator economy while focusing primarily on technological disruption across media. Previous to that he covered corporate, economic and political news in Brazil while at Bloomberg. RT has interviewed a diverse cast of characters including CEOs, media moguls, top influencers, politicians, blue-collar workers, drug traffickers and convicted criminals. Holds a master's degree in Digital Sociology.


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