Latest in Crypto Hiring: Huobi Layoffs Cap Another Week of Cuts

Ex-head of State Street Digital lands CEO role at blockchain startup, while Zodia Custody and BitDAO add execs


MJgraphics/ modified by Blockworks


Crypto layoffs continued apace this week as the sector remains stuck in a brutal bear market. 

Crypto exchange Huobi plans to lay off about 20% of its staff, Reuters reported Friday. Plans are in place to shift to a “lean team” due to a tricky trading environment. 

Blockchain analytics platform Nansen said in a tweet Friday that about $61 million of the roughly $94 million of net outflows Huobi has seen in the past week occurred in the past 24 hours.

A Huobi spokesperson did not immediately return a request for additional comment. 

Silvergate said Thursday it would cut 200 positions, about 40% of its staff, to further slash its expenditures. The plan came as the crypto bank said its customers pulled more than $8 billion from their accounts over the course of the fourth quarter, forcing the company to sell assets at a major loss to fulfill withdrawals. 

Donald Putnam, a managing director with mergers and acquisitions specialist Grail Partners, told Blockworks that while the cuts are “a strong move,” there is no way Silvergate can cut its way to profitability.  

Another crypto company that has resorted to layoffs amid the tough market conditions is crypto lender Genesis

The firm laid off 30% of its staff and is considering filing for bankruptcy. CoinDesk first reported the steep cuts. 

A Genesis spokesperson told Blockworks that the decision to reduce its headcount came amid “unprecedented industry challenges.”

“These measures are part of our ongoing efforts to move our business forward,” the spokesperson said. “We sincerely appreciate the hard work of our talented and dedicated team as we continue to work to identify the best outcome for Genesis’s business, clients and employees for the long-term.”

Osprey Funds has likewise instituted layoffs due to the market downturn, per two sources familiar with the matter. 

Osprey CEO Greg King confirmed the cuts to Blockworks. 

The executive declined to comment on the extent of the layoffs or when they transpired. One of the sources categorized the move as recent. Both sources were granted anonymity to discuss sensitive business dealings.    

Osprey has several investment products that invest directly in a broad range of cryptoassets, including publicly traded trusts focused on bitcoin, polkadot and solana

Executive hires

The former head of State Street’s digital finance unit is set to join blockchain firm Securrency as its chief executive on Jan. 9. 

Nadine Chakar began leading State Street Digital in June 2021 after the division launched as a way for the custody bank to expand its capabilities in crypto, central bank digital currencies, blockchain and tokenization.

Securrency founder Dan Doney, the firm’s previous chief executive officer, is set to continue on under the title of chief technology officer.

Zodia Custody tapped Julian Sawyer to head the crypto service provider’s business. 

A subsidiary of Standard Chartered, the company is looking to scale in 2023, it said in a statement. Zodia Custody is a trading venue and brokerage focused on digital asset markets designed for institutions.

Sawyer, Zodia’s new chief executive, previously held the same role at BitStamp from October 2020 to May 2021, according to his LinkedIn. 

He co-founded Starling Bank in 2015 and was the company’s chief operating officer for four years. After that, he spent about a year as a managing director for crypto platform Gemini. 

BitDAO hired ​​Arjun Krishan Kalsy as its head of ecosystem at Mantle, an Ethereum layer-2 blockchain designed for hyper-scalability.

The Mantle network is owned by BitDAO, a decentralized platform built on the Ethereum blockchain. Mantle’s testnet launch is slated for this year’s first quarter, according to its website. 

Kalsy was previously head of business development and growth at Polygon for nearly three years. There, he built relationships and secured several large deals with enterprise clients including Reddit, Instagram and Disney. 

The UK’s National Crime Agency is seeking to hire a cryptocurrency investigator as it looks to form a specialized cryptocurrency and virtual assets team, according to a job posting

The crypto unit is set to initially have five officers, Financial News reported

“The role will support existing and new investigations where specialist cryptocurrency experience is required along with taking a proactive lead in identifying targets for further development,” the posting said.

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