Leading Crypto Exchange Huobi to Layoff Staff Over Bear Market

Francisco Memoria

Prominent cryptocurrency exchange Huobi is reportedly laying off some of its staff over the prolonged cryptocurrency bear market’s effects. Per the exchange, it’ll be “optimizing staffing” by cutting its worst-performing employees.

According to the South China Morning Post (SCMP), a Huobi spokeswoman noted that while the company is “optimizing staffing,” it’s still hiring people for its core businesses and emerging markets.

The layoffs, SCMP notes, come after a year-long bear market that saw the price of most cryptocurrencies drop between 80% and 90%. Bitcoin, the flagship cryptocurrency, dropped from nearly $20,000 to about $3,800 in 12 months.

News of Huobi’s layoffs come shortly after crypto mining hardware giant Bitmain confirmed it’s also laying off some of its staff in what it called an “adjustment.” A company spokesperson noted that it’s going to focus on “things that are core to that mission and not things that are auxiliary."

Both Huobi and Bitmain refused to quantify the number of job losses planned. The SCMP claims Bitmain had 2,594 full-time employees by the end of June, while Huobi has over 1,000 employees.

Speaking to the publication Jehan Chu, the co-founder of a Hong Kong-based blockchain investment firm, stated:

Downsizing is a natural cycle in new, rapid growth industries, and unfortunately blockchain is no exception. We saw this with the internet in the early 2000s, but that period also gave rise to the largest companies in the space today. I look forward to a sharper, more focused version 2.0 of the blockchain industry.

Notably these aren’t the only bear market victims we’re seeing this year. Last month Steemit Inc, the company behind the popular Steemit platform that uses blockchain technology to reward users for creating and curating content, revealed it’s set to layoff 70% of its staff to reduce operating costs.

ConsenSys, a blockchain-focused startup launched by Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin, has also recently confirmed it’s laying off 13% of its staff. Lubin later on noted that the “sky is not falling,” and that he sees a “very bright” future ahead.

Reports suggest that Huobi itself has last month laid off 60% of the employees working on its Brazilian office. The company launched operations in the country in May of this year, and didn’t clarify the motives behind its move.

As covered, Huobi has also recently added a “delisting risk warning” to 32 cryptocurrencies being traded on its platform over their low trading volume.