Crypto hiring: Binance US hires and fires amid SEC showdown

The former leader of FTX Ventures is joining up with another VC firm, Menlo Ventures

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Aleksandr Khmeliov/Shutterstock modified by Blockworks

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For three weeks in a row, Binance has made headlines with its hiring decisions and layoff rumors. 

First, Binance, beset by an SEC investigation, promoted Richard Teng to be its head of regional markets in late May. At the same time, it batted away reports of impending staff cuts

Then, the world’s largest crypto exchange hired Rachel Conlan from OKX to serve as vice president of global marketing. 

Now this week, Binance.US has confirmed to Blockworks that layoffs are imminent, though it didn’t specify how many jobs it expects to cut.

Reuters reported that a source familiar with the American company’s plans said 50 people were laid off. Blockworks hasn’t been able to independently verify this claim, and Binance.US didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The layoffs come after BAM Management and BAM Trading — the companies that manage Binance.US — were sued by the SEC. And in response to that suit, Binance.US hired George Canellos as counsel

Canellos is a partner at international law firm Milbank and also served as the SEC’s co-director of enforcement from 2009 to 2014. While there, he participated in investigations that fined a number of big banks $570 million for misleading investors about residential mortgage-backed securities.

Canellos has also represented multiple executives and companies in SEC cases, according to Milbank’s website, valuable experience for which Binance.US was likely looking.

Menlo Ventures taps Amy Wu as NYC partner

Amy Wu, who headed FTX Ventures before the company’s collapse, is moving away from crypto and has taken on a position at Menlo Ventures.

Menlo Ventures is based in the San Francisco Bay Area and invests in startups focused on consumer products, healthcare, and other areas. Wu will become a New York partner in the firm and will relocate to the city from the Bahamas — where she was based while working for FTX.

Axios reported that while investing in “blockchain” will be part of Wu’s job, there’s no reason to expect “overzealous investing.”

Fellow Menlo Ventures partner Shawn Carolan said that the company is “definitely” not going to engage in “cryptocurrency speculation” or anything resembling that.

Other notable hires

  • Crypto venture capital firm Eden Block brought on 20-year Goldman Sachs veteran Orit Freedman Weissman as a partner. 
  • Public, an investing platform with support for crypto, hired Prashant Yerramalli as vice president of operations and regulatory affairs, who was formerly SEC Chair Gary Gensler’s chief of staff. 
  • Taxbit, a crypto tax software startup, slashed 40% of its workforce amounting to 80 employees, the Information reported days ago.
  • IOG, responsible for developing Cardano, has laid off a number of employees in a bid to restructure the company.

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