Latest in Crypto Hiring: BlockFi Exec Finds New Home at Kraken

Crypto hardware wallet company names new CEO, and more layoffs from Coinbase, Crypto.com and Blockchain.com

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While crypto layoffs continue, the world’s top digital asset exchange by trade volume said it plans to increase its headcount this year.

Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao said Wednesday at the Crypto Finance Conference in Switzerland that the company plans to increase its workforce by between 15% and 30% in 2023. 

The executive added that Binance hopes to be “well-organized” before the next crypto bull market and admitted the exchange is “not super efficient,” CNBC reported. A spokesperson declined to comment further. 

Zhao’s comments came one day after Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong revealed in a blog post that the company would be laying off 950 more employees. 

The cuts come around nine months after Coinbase laid off 18% of its staff, roughly 1,100 people. Coinbase’s latest layoffs represent a further 20% headcount reduction.

Coinbase said in a filing it expects to incur between $149 million and $163 million in total restructuring charges during the first quarter of 2023 due to the workforce reduction.

Coinbase wasn’t the only exchange trimming staff this week.

Crypto.com CEO Kris Marszalek said in a blog post Friday the company reduced its workforce by 20% as it navigates “ongoing economic headwinds and unforeseeable industry events.”

The layoffs come about six months after the company cut about 260 people, or 5%, of its workforce last year.

“The reductions we made last July positioned us to weather the macro economic downturn, but it did not account for the recent collapse of FTX, which significantly damaged trust in the industry,” Marszalek said.

Marszalek’s message came shortly after CoinDesk reported Blockchain.com was set to let go 28% of its workforce, or about 110 employees. A Blockchain.com spokesperson declined to comment. 

The firm, which was reportedly exposed to embattled crypto hedge fund Three Arrows Capital, slashed 25% of its workforce in July. Its CEO, Peter Smith, told Blockworks about six weeks later the crypto ecosystem was entering the “despair” phase of the bear market. 

Former eToro, Tinder execs join crypto space 

Crypto hardware wallet company Trezor appointed Matěj Žák as its new CEO.

Trezor co-founder Marek Palatinus, who is stepping out of the CEO role, is set to remain at the company as an adviser.

Žák joined Trezor in 2019 as a product manager and was promoted to become Trezor’s first chief product officer in 2021.  

His latest appointment comes as Trezor reported a 300% rise in sales after the crash of FTX as some now look to self-custody assets. The company said it expects its increase in new users to continue throughout 2023. 

Crypto exchange Kraken hired Guy Hirsch to oversee the company’s expansion in the United States and Canada. 

Hirsch will be tasked with engaging with regulators, institutions and retail clients in the region. He said in a statement that he would be looking to “shepherd” Kraken’s new licensing and regulatory efforts despite the bear market.

The executive formerly led the US business of investing platform eToro and also previously held innovation strategy roles at Samsung. 

The news came the same week that ex-BlockFi executive Samia Bayou joined Kraken as the exchange’s head of prime finance and OTC sales in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Bayou, who revealed the move in a Friday LinkedIn post, worked at now-bankrupt BlockFi as its global head of its private client business from May 2021 to September 2022.

Tinder’s former chief product officer has joined blockchain games developer N3twork Studios as its new chief operating officer. 

Josh Sell will help the company develop Legendary: Heroes Unchained and Triumph — Web3 role-playing games slated for release this year.

Before joining Tinder in July 2020, Sell held a similar product leadership role at Glu Mobile, where he led the development of the popular Deer Hunter franchise. After leaving Tinder in January, he co-founded Web3 gaming startup Midnight, according to his LinkedIn profile.

One-time Meta exec joins crypto identity startup

Crypto-as-a-service platform Zero Hash named William Klippel as its head of investment platforms. 

Zero Hash’s turnkey solution handles backend complexity and regulatory licensing required to offer crypto products, according to the company. The firm raised $105 million in a Series D funding round in January 2022. 

Klippel spent nearly 15 years at foreign exchange company GAIN Capital. He finished his time there as commercial lead of the company’s Direct Market Access product portfolio — a role in which he designed foreign exchange and cryptocurrency products and took them to market. 

Former Meta executive Viktoria Ruubel has joined identity verification provider Veriff as its managing director of digital identity. 

Veriff, which partnered with Blockchain.com in 2018, offers various verification and fraud prevention services for crypto users

Ruubel joins the company from Tide Platform, a UK-based financial platform for small businesses, where she was a senior vice president of business services. 

Prior to Tide, Ruubel spent a year at Facebook (now Meta) as the company’s director of platforms for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. After that, she went on to work at software company Intuit as its director of product for Europe.


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