2018 was undeniably among the worst years for cryptocurrencies. Over the course of the past three hundred and sixty-five days, the cryptocurrency markets have witnessed a major fall and a strong bearish trend. The impact of this slowdown has finally begun to hurt the coffers of crypto-firms and layoffs have begun. Shapeshift, the Swiss cryptocurrency exchange has announced that 37 of their employees have been laid off.
The company explained this move in a blog post, titled ‘Overcoming ShapeShift’s Crypto Winter and the Path Ahead.’ The founder and CEO of ShapeShift, Erik Voorhees left an emotional note for those who had been laid off from his firm, saying:
The latest crypto winter is upon us, and today ShapeShift felt the bitter frost. Today, we let 37 employees go, reducing the size of our team by a third. It’s a deep and painful reduction, mirrored across many crypto companies in this latest bear market cycle. Crypto, like the moon we strive toward, is a harsh mistress.
Voorhees stated that the company had made 3000% profit in 2017. However, 2018 was a bad year for the company. In 2018, ShapeShift faced a number of legal and financial issues, as well as had a leadership crisis owing to the company growing too fast. Voorhees also stated that there were ‘customer issues’ as well, as competition was rising while the markets were shrinking due to the aggregate market recession. It was due to these issues that the company went through this ‘painful reorganization’ where a third of its workforce was let off.
ShapeShift isn’t the first name in the cryptocurrency ecosystem to lay off employees. Over the past year, we saw several major players, including the likes of the Kraken cryptocurrency exchange, UK’s oldest cryptocurrency exchange Coinfloor, and even ConsenSys letting off people. Late in December 2018, the news broke that even cryptocurrency mining equipment manufacturing giant Bitmain is considering letting about 50% of its workforce off. Bitmain had earlier shut down its Israel office following the market slowdown and decline in user interest towards cryptocurrency mining.
Voorhees also had a message for the employees that he had to let go, stating:
“...Separating so many from our team is painful. To those valued individuals who stepped off our ship today: I am sorry this happened. Your confusion, your sadness, your anger… all of it is understandable, and I am sorry to put you through it. Your contributions — of effort, of personality, of experience — remain part of our fabric. Though it has ended, we are improved by our time with you, and I hope you find yourselves improved by your time with us.”
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