Latest in Crypto Hiring: More Fall Victim to Persistent Layoffs

Crypto exchanges Bybit and Swyftx downsize while Amber Group is reportedly set to lay off a few hundred staffers

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MJgraphics/Shutterstock.com modified by Blockworks

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As a year marred by the collapse of various industry players approaches its end, several more firms revealed rounds of layoffs over the past week, bracing for crypto winter’s low point.  

Bloomberg reported Friday that Amber Group is set to cut its workforce to less than 400 from roughly 700. The report came after reporter Colin Wu tweeted Monday that the firm began to lay off hundreds of people again this month.

The company said in a Tuesday tweet that its operations as well as its WhaleFin app “are business as usual,” but acknowledged constantly adjusting internal teams and functions.

A spokesperson did not immediately return a request for comment. 

Bybit CEO Ben Zhou said in a series of Dec. 3 tweets that the company is set to downsize “across the board” as it seeks to be more nimble to navigate the market slowdown.

“Difficult decision made today, but tough times demand tough decisions,” he said. “I have just announced plans to reduce our workforce as part of an ongoing re-organisation of the business as we move to refocus our efforts for the deepening bear market.”

A spokesperson did not return a request for comment. 

Australian crypto exchange Swyftx also said it would be laying off a portion of its team. CEO Alex Harper said in a Monday note to company staff that it cut 90 employees as it looks to gear up for tough crypto market conditions potentially getting worse.  

“Swyftx has no direct exposure to FTX, but we are not immune to the fallout it has caused in the crypto markets,” Harper said. “As a result, we have to prepare in advance for a worst-case scenario of further significant drops in global trade volumes during [the first half of] next year and the potential for more black swan-type events.”

Harper said Swyftx has up to five times more employees than most of its main Australian competitors. 

“The truth is that Swyftx grew too fast,” the CEO added. “Our world was very different at the start of the year and our forecasts were for global trading volumes to carry on rising for at least six months longer than they did.”

Crypto tax startup Koinly recently cut 16 full-time employees, or 14% of the company, representatives said Tuesday. 

In a statement, CEO Robin Singh said crypto investors have a “lack of awareness” when it comes to “filing their crypto losses.” The “actual crypto downturn,” according to Singh, has hurt the company by a smaller margin.

GameStop also laid off some employees, including members of the team building GameStop’s blockchain wallet, Axios reported.

The layoffs mean an increased number of crypto-focused professionals are in search of jobs. 

Julia Draheim, a recruiter at staffing firm Proof of Talent, told Blockworks that although not many crypto companies are currently in growth mode, some smaller firms that recently secured Series A funding rounds are looking to expand their teams with senior-level people.

The employees burned by bankruptcies and layoffs are looking for something more “stable,” she added, noting that word means something different to everyone. 

“People that are super passionate about the space in general and see it as something that’s going to be important in the future are definitely not shying away [from crypto],” she said. “Most people just want to make sure that there’s strong funding and product-market fit.”

New hires

Draheim said that while certain former FTX employees have been concerned about being associated with the collapsed exchange, companies have not been holding what happened to their former employer against them.

Adam Jacobs, FTX’s former global head of payments, began his role as a senior vice president of corporate development for Montreal-based payments technology company Nuvei.

Jacobs began working at crypto exchange FTX in June 2021. The crypto exchange filed for bankruptcy last month.

Cowen Digital brought aboard Taylor Cable — a former chief operating officer at Blockchain.com Asset Management — to lead its efforts in Europe and Asia. 

Financial services firm Cowen unveiled its digital assets division in March. TD Bank said in August that it would acquire Cowen for $1.3 billion, though details about how it could seek to leverage Cowen’s digital assets unit remain unclear. 

Cable was also head of institutional client trading at Blockchain.com. Prior to joining the crypto company, he was COO at artificial intelligence trading broker AiX and spent more than a decade at Moore Capital Management.

Web3 gaming company Immutable hired David Shin as its head of business development for the Asia-Pacific region and interim leader of the Europe, Middle East and Africa region.

He joins Immutable from Klaytn Global Group, where he led the team focused on the adoption of the Klaytn blockchain. 

Shin left the banking industry in 2019 after working as head of global equity derivatives and repo sales at TD Bank. He went on to be head of exchange at Bitcoin.com and led TZ APAC, a Singapore-based team focused on the adoption of the Tezos blockchain. 

NFT platform Magic Eden hired Chris Akhavan as its first chief gaming officer. 

Akhavan was previously chief revenue officer at mobile game developer Glu Mobile, which was acquired by Electronic Arts (EA) last year. 

Magic Eden raised $130 million in June, bringing its valuation to $1.6 billion. The company launched a venture arm the following month that focuses on investing in Web3 games.

Wave Financial appointed Harumi Urata-Thompson as its chief financial officer.

She is set to help the Los Angeles-based crypto investment advisory company build out its operations infrastructure and back office solutions to better service the team’s institutional and high-net-worth clients. 

Urata-Thompson was most recently CFO at blockchain services company Emrit. Before that, she was chief investment officer at crypto lender Celsius, which filed for bankruptcy in July.


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