Winklevoss twins Gemini cut 10% of staff, claiming ‘crypto winter’ has arrived

Tyler Winklevoss and Cameron Winklevoss (L-R), creators of crypto exchange Gemini Trust Co. on stage at Bitcoin Convention 2021, a cryptocurrency conference held at the Mana Convention Center at Wynwood on June 04, 2021 in Miami, Miami Florida.

Joe Raedle | Getty Images

Billionaire bitcoiners Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss are laying off 10% of Gemini’s workforce, a first for the US-based cryptocurrency exchange and custodian.

The twins announced in a blog post on Thursday morning that the industry is in a “contraction phase” known as the “crypto winter” that has been “further exacerbated by the current macroeconomic and geopolitical turmoil.”

“We are not alone,” the memo continues. Another crypto exchange Coinbase recently reported that revenue fell 27% from a year ago, as did overall usage.

The past few weeks have been brutal for the crypto market. Half a trillion dollars was wiped from the sector’s market capitalization as terraUSD, one of the most popular US dollar-pegged stablecoins, imploded virtually overnight. It’s unclear if this recent rout marks the upcoming crypto winter (a multi-year bear market that occurs on a cyclical basis for the crypto asset class), although falling trading volumes on crypto exchanges are a sign that we could head in that direction. .

The last so-called crypto winter ran from 2018 to the fall of 2020 as the value of cryptocurrencies plunged and layoffs were commonplace.

Gemini – which has been around since 2014 and is valued at $7.1 billion in its last funding round – has 1,033 people on its payroll, according to Pitchbook, which translates to around 100 employees affected by the layoffs today. CNBC contacted Gemini to ask for the exact figure, but the news team declined to comment beyond the blog post.

As for next steps, Gemini closed its physical offices today to protect employee privacy. Affected team members will receive a calendar invite for one-on-one conversations about separation packages and healthcare benefits. On Friday, the remaining employees will participate in a “company-wide stand-up” to talk about its future.

The memo says Gemini wants to focus only on mission-critical products — and team leaders will assess whether their teams are “right-sized” for the “current and turbulent market conditions that are likely to persist for some time”.

“Today is a tough day, but one that will make Gemini better in the long run,” the brothers wrote in the staff-wide memo.

Other fintech start-ups like Robinhood and BitMEX have recently cut staff.

But even as crypto companies shrink their listings, venture capitalists continue to pump money into the crypto ecosystem. Andreessen Horowitz recently announced a new $4.5 billion fund dedicated to supporting crypto and blockchain companies, and Binance Labs (the venture capital arm of the firm) raised $500 million for a fund dedicated to supporting crypto and blockchain companies. investing in Web3 start-ups.

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