Gemini Joins Growing List of Crypto Exchanges Cutting Staff Amid Downturn

Gemini is the fourth prominent crypto exchange to lay off staff since April, proving the market sell-off is starting to bite

article-image

Blockworks exclusive art by Axel Rangel

share

key takeaways

  • Gemini raised venture capital funds as recently as February, but it still hasn’t dodged the slump
  • Crypto exchanges BitMEX, Buenbit, Bitso have all cut staff in recent months

Gemini, the crypto firm founded by ‘first bitcoin billionaires’ Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, is cutting 10% of its staff.

In a Tuesday memo sent to Gemini employees, the twins cited the ongoing crypto downturn alongside macroeconomic and geopolitical factors as reasons for the downsize, reported Bloomberg.

The Winklevosses referred to the current crypto climate as a “contraction phase” that’s now “settling into a period of stasis,” a point in the market cycle which has come to be known as “crypto winter.” 

Bitcoin and ether are respectively down 37% and 51% in the year to date. Crypto’s total market capitalization has fallen for the past eight weeks in a row — from around $2.13 trillion to $1.23 trillion.

Gemini has several operational components, including crypto exchanges (both retail and institutional), custody services and over-the-counter trading. Its physical offices are closed today, and staff affected by the layoffs are to receive calendar invites for remote meetings to discuss separation packages (including healthcare benefits), according to Bloomberg. 

The New York-headquartered company will reportedly hold a larger meeting Friday to discuss its future. There’s no word on exactly how many staff members will lose their jobs; LinkedIn ranks Gemini’s headcount at a little more than 1,000.

The news of layoffs also comes on the same day as the US Commodities Futures and Trade Commission suing Gemini for allegedly misleading regulators over potential risks associated with bitcoin futures contracts the firm had hoped to launch in 2017.

Gemini most recently raised funds in February, according to Crunchbase, a private round contributed by Tim Draper co-founded venture capital fund Draper Dragon. Before that, a $400 million round led by hedge fund Morgan Creek Digital valued Gemini at $7.1 billion.

The cuts come despite a recent string of venture capital raises in the space, including Andreessen Horowitz’s mammoth $4.5 billion fund. Still, considering the flurry of layoff announcements over the past month, the ecosystem could soon see more cuts.

Gemini is not the first to lay off staff this year. In April, crypto derivatives platform BitMEX shed 75 employees (about a quarter of its workforce); Argentinian exchange Buenbit let go 80 employees — almost half of its roster — while Latin America’s Bitso also let go of 80 employees, representing 11% of its personnel.

While not strictly a crypto exchange, discount brokerage Robinhood (which has its own crypto division), also laid off 9% of its full-time employees in April, which is estimated to have been around 300 people. The crypto industry saw similar widespread downsizing throughout its previous crypto winter spanning 2019 and 2020.

The growing wave of layoffs hasn’t quite made its way to Coinbase, although reports surfaced last month indicating that the top US exchange would freeze hiring for two weeks and enforce cost-cutting measures after posting lackluster earnings in May.

On Thursday, Coinbase extended its hiring freeze indefinitely and said it would rescind a number of accepted offers.

This story was updated at 2:38pm ET on June 2 2022 with details of the CFTC’s lawsuit against Gemini, and again at 6:05am ET on June 3 2022 to include Coinbase’s latest statement.


Don’t miss the next big story – join our free daily newsletter.

Tags

Upcoming Events

Hilton Metropole | 225 Edgware Rd, London

Mon - Wed, March 18 - 20, 2024

Crypto’s premier institutional conference returns to London in March 2024. The DAS: London Experience: Attend expert-led panel discussions and fireside chats Hear the latest developments regarding the crypto and digital asset regulatory environment directly from policymakers and experts.

Salt Lake City, UT

WED - FRI, OCTOBER 9 - 11, 2024

Pack your bags, anon — we’re heading west! Join us in the beautiful Salt Lake City for the third installment of Permissionless. Come for the alpha, stay for the fresh air. Permissionless III promises unforgettable panels, killer networking opportunities, and mountains […]

recent research

Top Icon.png

Research

Osmosis thrived in H2 2023 on the back of increased DeFi activity deriving from recently launched Cosmos-related projects and better market conditions. With new value accrual mechanisms for the native token, Osmosis is well-positioned to continue its strong performance in 2024.

/

article-image

Though the opposing flow trend is likely to slow over time, industry watchers note, bitcoin fund assets could one day eclipse the $90 billion gold ETF space

article-image

Celestia had the first mover advantage. EigenDA has staked ether. What sets Avail apart?

article-image

Bitcoin moved 1% higher Monday morning in New York, Matrixport analysts say $62,000 could happen next month

article-image

It’s hard to believe right now that crypto — even with all of its flexibility and massive capabilities — could ever be like cash on the internet

article-image

Michael Saylor announced Monday morning that MicroStrategy bought 3k more bitcoin after the X account was compromised over the weekend

article-image

Plus, Pudgy Penguins grows its brand and a group of Autoglyphs sell for $14.5 million