OpenSea employees are feeling the chill of the crypto winter.
A few months after the latest cryptocurrency crash, OpenSea, which bills itself as the world’s largest NFT marketplace, laid off 20% of its staff. A representative did not specify the exact number of jobs cut but confirmed that 230 employees remained.
In a detailed Tweet released Thursday, June 14, OpenSea CEO Devin Finzer said, “Today is a tough day for OpenSea as we let go approximately 20% of our team.”
Finzer shared a copy of the letter he sent to staff earlier today, saying that “the reality is that we have entered an unprecedented combination of crypto winter and general macroeconomic instability and we must prepare the business for the possibility of a prolonged downturn.”
Finzer called the decision “incredibly sad and difficult”, adding that each person leaving “has played a vital role in OpenSea’s journey”. He said the company would provide “generous severance and healthcare coverage through 2023”, as well as support for stock acquisition, networking and placement.
Addressing past volatility in the crypto and NFT markets, Finzer acknowledged, “We’ve been through the winter before and we’ve built this business with the cyclicality of crypto in mind.” He said the ongoing changes will put the company in a position to maintain “multiple years of trail in various winter crypto scenarios (five years at current volume).” He added that “winter” is the time to build.
According a report in Tech Crunchthe layoffs “raise questions about the company’s aggressive growth tactics and how they have addressed the sustainability of the NFT industry’s meteoric growth.”
The report states that OpenSea was one of the biggest beneficiaries of the crypto bull run during 2021-22, raising hundreds of millions of dollars from investors, and was most recently at a valuation of 13.3. billions of dollars. This growth has not been without drama, the report notes. Last month, one of the company’s executives was arrested for insider trading by the U.S. Attorney’s Office involving NFTs.
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