Circle sees 2 OTC traders depart only months after layoffs

Quick Take

  • Crypto exchange Circle has lost two of its OTC traders
  • The departures follow recent downsizing and the decision by Poloniex, the exchange it acquired in 2018, to reduce its U.S. asset offerings

Shortly after slashing 10% of its workforce in May, Boston-based crypto exchange Circle has seen the departure of two of its traders, according to their LinkedIn profiles.

Ryan Salame, the once-head of Circle OTC trading in Hong Kong, left his role in June to head Alameda’s OTC APAC desk. The firm still has Salame based in Hong Kong.

Similarly, YinFeng Shao left his position in May, according to LinkedIn, although his profile does not list his new role. Prior to his time at Circle, YinFeng was VP of Product at LedgerX. He's been based out of New York since 2011.

The company said the two roles have been filled, though declined to release the names of the new employees. 

While Salame and YinFeng left the exchange, it’s also been getting leaner of its own accord. Circle laid off 30 of its employees in its finance and products department this May, accounting for 10% of its total staff. Co-founder and CEO Jeremy Allaire said the move was in response to the challenging regulatory climate in the U.S.

Poloniex, an exchange Circle acquired in 2018, has also cut back its tokens in response to the climate. It “geofenced” assets in the U.S. this May, effectively delisting nine tokens for U.S. traders. 


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Meanwhile, Poloniex has begun offering a new functionality this week, allowing fiat-to-crypto trading so traders can deposit and withdraw funds using bank accounts and purchase crypto assets trading on Poloniex with debit and credit cards. 

This is likely a move to increase its market share amidst a competitive U.S. market with the likes of Bitstamp’s recent U.S. launch and Binance’s plans for a step into the country. Still, Poloniex has seen its market share collapse to 1.1%, according to data gathered by The Block.

As bitcoin soared towards $20,000 at the end of 2017, Circle's OTC business was known for being one of the biggest money-makers in the market for digital currencies.

A spokesperson did not respond to an inquiry about Circle's OTC volumes prior to publication.  

Frank Chaparro contributed to this report.

© 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

Aislinn Keely is a reporter on The Block's policy team holding down the legal beat. She covers court decisions, bankruptcies, regulatory actions and other key moments in the legal sphere, putting them in context for the wider crypto industry. Before The Block, she lent her voice to the NPR affiliate WFUV and helmed Fordham University's student newspaper. Send tips or thoughts on all things policy and legal to or follow her on Twitter for updates @AislinnKeely.