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Coinbase Lays Off 18% Of Company Amid Recession Concerns

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Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase is laying off 18% of its employees.

The layoffs will affect roughly 1,100 people at the company, which went public in one of the most highly anticipated direct listings of last year.

“We appear to be entering a recession after a 10+ year economic boom,” CEO Brian Armstrong wrote in an email to employees. “A recession could lead to another crypto winter, and could last for an extended period. In past crypto winters, trading revenue (our largest revenue source) has declined significantly. While it’s hard to predict the economy or the markets, we always plan for the worst so we can operate the business through any environment.”

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Armstrong also acknowledged in the email that the company grew too quickly, with 1,250 employees at the beginning of 2021, and has grown 200% year over year since then.

This is the latest in San Francisco-based Coinbase’s efforts to control costs amid public market turmoil. The company first said it would pause hiring, but later began rescinding accepted job offers. Coinbase revoked more than 300 new-hire job offers, according to a tally this week by Motherboard.

Coinbase isn’t the only crypto company making cuts amid a decline in Bitcoin’s price and volatility in the public markets. BlockFi and Gemini have also laid off staff. The cuts are among a greater wave of layoffs in tech, which has affected companies from Netflix and PayPal to Klarna and Bolt (you can read more about tech layoffs here). More than 19,000 employees of U.S.-based tech companies have been laid off so far this year, according to a Crunchbase News estimate.

Companies appear to be taking action to control costs as a stock selloff has hammered tech companies in particular. The S&P 500 closed in bear market territory on Monday, in part due to inflation, rising interest rates and the war in Ukraine.

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Illustration: Dom Guzman

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