As 2018 comes to a head, crypto startups have begun to purge its staffers — right in time for the holiday season. Bitmain and Huobi, two industry giants, are the latest firms to announce layoffs.
Bitmain, Huobi Looking To “Adjust” and “Optimize” Staff
Last week, reports arose that Bitmain, the Beijing-based crypto mining giant, was looking to lay off much of its 2,000+ staffers. In a statement given to the South China Morning Post, it appears this internal adjustment have been confirmed. Company spokespeople explained that the heavyweight, once valued at over $10 billion dollars, was looking to make “some adjustment[s] to our staff this year.”
Trying to sweeten the bitter statement, it was explained that the layoffs were aimed at “auxiliary” arms. Maintaining an optimistic outlook, a segment of the statement read:
“As we move into the new year we will continue to double down on hiring the best talent from a diverse range of backgrounds.”
Interestingly, the company failed to disclose the exact details of this pertinent industry happening. This has led many insiders to reach out. Dovey Wan, a prominent Chinese crypto diehard, claimed that Bitmain’s Beijing office will only house 300 staffers, compared to the 1,000+ pre-layoff. The firm’s Shenzhen location will undergo a similar layoff, specifically in terms of percentage.
Samson Mow, a Chinese-Canadian that is currently the CSO at Bitcoin development group Blockstream, claimed that Bitmain lost its whole “Copernicus” team. The team purportedly pruned the startup’s Bitcoin Cash GO client.
Huobi’s layoff seemed a lot tamer in comparison to Bitmain’s. Speaking with SCMP, a spokeswoman explained that the company is “optimizing staffing,” specifically by cutting its worst-performing employees. This isn’t unheard of, so it shouldn’t be considered an all too bearish signal.
Welcome To Crypto Winter
Although Bitmain’s and Huobi’s prospects may already seem dismal, this is far from an isolated case. ConsenSys, the development giant behind much of Ethereum’s lifeblood, recently laid off 12%~13% of its 1,200+ staffers. The New York-headquartered group, lead by Joseph Lubin, has also been rumored to be planning a further 50%~60% purge, but this hearsay has since been rebutted.
But that’s not the worst of it.
Steemit, the centralized startup behind the blockchain-based social media platform that shares its name, recently laid off 70% of its staffers to extend its financial runway. SpankChain, the popular crypto startup centered around adult entertainment, cut its burn rate from $200,000/month to $80,000. This likely required the firing of more than half its staff.
Substratum, a self-proclaimed “open-source network” that intends to make the internet a free and fair place for global citizens (very nebulous, I know), recently began to trade its war chest’s funds in a bid to bolster its Ether stack.
But then again, other companies have had it worst off.
ETCDEV, a key consortium behind Ethereum Classic’s ecosystem, recently folded altogether. In an announcement released not one month ago, the for-profit organization’s founder cited funding concerns as the reasoning for its closure. This in and of itself doesn’t mean that ETC is poised to bite the dust, but it accentuates how 2018’s market tumult hasn’t been victimless. Far from, in fact.