While several major crypto trading platforms are making large-scale layoffs and freezing hiring, some of their rivals have rushed to reassure their staff and the public that they are sticking to their recruiting plans despite the current market downturn.
San Francisco-based Kraken, the world's fourth-largest crypto exchange by trading volume, said Wednesday that it does not intend to do any layoffs and is going ahead with its original hiring plan. For the remainder of 2022, the company is filling more than 500 roles.
"[We] believe bear markets are fantastic at weeding out the applicants chasing hype from the true believers in our mission," the company wrote in a blog post.
Aside from the encouraging message, the company announced in its blog a culture overhaul that is turning many heads.
"If nobody is ever offended, we either don’t have enough diversity of thought or we don’t have enough transparency in communication. We recognize that hurt feelings are inevitable in a global organization that is optimizing for team outcomes above individual sentiment."
How that will manifest, according to Kraken in another post, is that "we do not call someone’s words toxic, hateful, racist, x-phobic, unhelpful, etc" and "we do not demand respect, but we encourage offering it," to name a few examples it listed.
This week, Coinbase, the second-largest crypto exchange in the world, announced it's slashing 18% of its workforce. Crypto.com's CEO Kris Marszalek said over the weekend the company is cutting 260 or 5% of its employee base. Gemini, another major crypto exchange that also serves institutional investors, said in early June it would let go 10% of its employees.
The wave of layoffs is happening amid massive crypto sell-offs that have hammered the value of popular tokens like Bitcoin, Ethereum and Solana. Trading volumes are declining, which means smaller revenues for all the exchanges (read my colleague Alex's explainer on what's driving the market crash).
That's not it. The safety and risk of crypto-based financial products are in question this week as Celsius Network, a major crypto lender that lets users make deposits to earn interest and take out loans in crypto, paused withdrawals this week, sending the price of its token tumbling. Three Arrows Capital, one of the largest crypto hedge funds, is causing panic among customers as it faces potential insolvency, The Block reported.
The extent to which crypto firms are adjusting their recruiting trajectory in part depends on how aggressive their hiring pace was when the market was rosier. Those who were on a spree inevitably have to trim the fat when business shrinks.
Kraken isn't the only one saying its recruiting target is unaffected by the current market turmoil. Binance.us, the American company associated with the world's largest crypto exchange, told its employees that it is "growing faster than ever and hiring across 80+ positions." Binance itself is filling 2,000 positions globally, its founder and CEO Changpeng Zhao tweeted today.