Cryptocurrency exchange Huobi Global has confirmed its intent to lay off 20% of its employees amid the current “bear market,” according to a statement given to Reuters, following an ongoing trend across the crypto industry of layoffs amid market volatility.
“The planned layoff ratio is about 20%,” a Huobi spokesperson said in a statement. “With the current state of the bear market, a very lean team will be maintained going forward.”
Huobi currently employs 1,100 staff and has not yet implemented its layoff plans.
This news follows rumors that the exchange had become insolvent. Justin Sun, the founder of the Tron blockchain, became an advisor for and the public face of Huobi in October, went to Twitter on Jan. 5 to deny the rumors, saying that the business was “good” and that the “security of users’ assets will always be fully protected.”
The company representative also commented that insolvency rumors were untrue and that the layoffs were aimed to “optimize the structure” and “improve efficiency” of the business.
Data from the analytics website CoinGecko has shown that Huobi’s native HT token fell by nearly 11% over the past 24 hours to $4.64 from $5.20. The exchange has also seen increased outflows over the past week, and its overall trading volume has dropped to $366 million from $443 million in the past 24 hours.
Huobi was ranked as the eighth-largest crypto exchange by volume by CoinGecko in November and currently draws 12 million visitors. Sun added that the platform has pulled in on average 20,000 new users a day over the past three months.
The news of the layoffs was first reported by Colin Wu, who said that the exchange planned to lay off approximately 40% of the staff from its team of 1,200 employees and cut the salaries of senior employees.
A more recent follow-up said that employees had been asked to take salaries in stablecoins, such as USDC and USDT, and those who could not would be dismissed. A move that “sparked protests from some employees,” Wu said.
Layoffs have struck the cryptocurrency industry hard amid harsh bear markets dubbed an extended “crypto winter” with certain crypto markets such as Bitcoin falling more than 60% since January 2022. Thursday, the cryptocurrency banking platform Silvergate Capital Corp. laid off 40% of its workforce and crypto lender Genesis Global Trading Inc. cut its staff by 30%, after laying off 20% of its staff in August.
This follows a string of other crypto companies laying off employees including crypto exchanges Kraken, reducing staff by 30%, Coinbase Inc., which reduced its staff by 18%, Crypto.com cut staff by 30% and Bitmex by 30%. Dapper Labs the nonfungible token marketplace laid off 22% of its workforce in November.
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