Crypto platform Gemini has cut approximately 10% of its workforce, per co-founders and twin brothers Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss. In a post announcing the news, the duo attributed the layoffs to “turbulent market conditions that are likely to persist for some time.”
All employees will be provided a separation package and healthcare benefits. The company closed its physical offices, the co-founders wrote, “so that these conversations will be held remotely to protect the privacy of each impacted individual. Our highest priority throughout will be to treat everyone affected with compassion and respect.”
The drawback comes as the crypto market at large feels in flux. Other major crypto companies have also been slowing hiring in response to a downturn in prices — Coinbase, Gemini’s close competitor, announced plans last month to reverse its prior headcount growth projections, and Latin American crypto exchange Bitso let go 80 employees last week.
Exchanges may be hit the hardest by a recent slowdown in crypto trading volumes from retail investors, but not all crypto companies are as concerned. Fidelity’s digital asset arm said earlier this week that it will double headcount this year to meet growing demand for crypto trading from institutional investors. Meanwhile, FTX, the second-largest crypto exchange, is giving the impression of playing offense, as it expands into equities trading to diversify its business amid risk in the crypto market and eyes the acquisition of an Indian gaming startup. FTX was last valued at $32 billion in January.
Despite reacting to the market changes, Gemini’s co-founders also addressed that there’s a somewhat expected volatility in what they called the "crypto revolution."
“Its path can best be described as punctuated equilibrium — periods of equilibrium or stasis that are punctuated by dramatic moments of hypergrowth, followed by sharp contractions that settle down to a new equilibrium that is higher than the one before,” the co-founders wrote in the post. They go on to say that crypto has entered a temporary downturn, otherwise known as the contraction phase, further “compounded by the current macroeconomic and geopolitical turmoil.”
The company did take advantage of the venture capital boom, last year raising $400 million in a growth equity round led by $7.1 billion. In January, the startup acquired Blockrize for an undisclosed amount and teased plans to launch a credit card with bitcoin rewards. It’s unclear if layoffs impact the Blockrize team, and if so, how it impacts Gemini’s product roadmap.