It’s not a great time to work in the cryptocurrency sphere: Within the past month, Ethereum has plummetted over 38 percent and Bitcoin has dropped over 21 percent. Crypto is only going to the moon “if you’re Australian and the moon is down,” to borrow some phrasing from Rusty Foster. It’s an absolute bloodbath out there, even by tumultuous crypto standards.
On Monday, trading platform BlockFi announced that it’s laying off nearly 200 of its employees, a decision that brings founder Zac Price “great sadness.” But they’re not the only Web3 company rapidly shedding employees.
Layoffs, layoffs everywhere — Coinbase announced on Tuesday that it would be laying off a stunning 18 percent of its workforce. CEO Brian Armstrong, who’s been pouring millions into an anti-aging startup, wrote in a blog post that the laid-off employees will find out upon waking up and won’t even be able to access their work email. On June 2, the company announced it would be rescinding job offers that had already been accepted.
Crypto.com announced on Friday that it would be "making targeted reductions" of 260 employees — around 5 percent of its workforce. Just months ago, in late 2021, the company bought naming rights to the Staples Center (now the Crypto.com arena) in a deal rumored to be $700 million over 20 years. In a tweet, founder Kris Marszalek wrote that he’s interested in “optimizing for profitability.”
On June 2, The Winklevoss twins, who run Web3 startup Gemini, announced a layoff of 10 percent of their staff due to a “crypto winter”— yet another bleak omen for the crypto markets.
The collapse continues — The layoffs come amid a hellscape of a market. In startling news, crypto lender Celsius froze withdrawals on Sunday, meaning that crypto investors couldn’t cash out. In the Celsius subreddit, increasingly distraught users have been posting suicide help hotlines. On Monday, the company Binance paused withdrawals too — founder and CEO Changpeng Zhao said in a tweet that the issue would be fixed in about 30 minutes, but it was more like three hours.
As of today, Ethereum is down 71 percent from its peak in November and Bitcoin is at its lowest valuation since December 2020, a price that’s less than half its all-time high. Who cares if you can use cryptocurrency to buy burritos at Chipotle if you barely have any value left?
Update: This story was updated to reflect layoffs at Coinbase.