Cryptocurrency exchange Kraken said that it’s laying off approximately 1,100 of its employees, or 30% of its global workforce, in an announcement on Wednesday, citing falling crypto markets and declining trade volumes.
Describing the company’s position, Kraken co-founder and Chief Executive Jessie Powell said that over the past few years “hundreds of millions of users entered the crypto space” and this forced Kraken to grow quickly.
“We had to grow fast, more than tripling our workforce in order to provide those clients with the quality and service they expect of us,” Powell wrote. “This reduction takes our team size back to where it was only 12 months ago.”
Powell cited “macroeconomic and geopolitical factors” as the prevailing factor depressing financial markets and leading to lowered trading volumes on the exchange from the beginning of the year.
Bitcoin has been down more than 70% from its all-time high of over $68,000 in November 2021 after multiple crypto industry setbacks during 2022 that have caused markets to tumble leading to what is being dubbed “crypto winter.” Much of it was propelled by a broad market decline and the crash of the TerraUSD stablecoin in May leading Bitcoin to drop below $30,000. More recently the third largest crypto exchange FTX collapsed, ultimately leading to its bankruptcy, pushing into further decline, with Bitcoin falling below $17,000.
Kraken is not the only industry player to get bitten by crypto winter, many companies have announced layoffs or hiring freezes during the past six months. The list includes crypto exchange Coinbase Inc., which reduced staff by 18%, Crypto.com cut staff by more than 30% and Bitmex reduced its workforce by 30%. Dapper Labs, a nonfungible token marketplace, let go of 22% of its workforce in early November.
Powell explained that the changes would allow Kraken to continue operating in these market conditions, having founded the company in 2011 and successfully navigated other similar market cycles. In spite of the downturn, he said that he remains positive about the future.
“I remain extremely bullish on crypto and Kraken,” Powell said.