Winklevoss twins warn ‘crypto winter’ is here as Gemini cuts 10% of staff

PORTLAND, OREGON (BLOOMBERG) – The crypto industry – white-hot last year as Bitcoin soared to a record and enthusiasm for everything from Bored Ape non-fungible tokens to decentralised finance and “play-to-earn” games propelled the entire market past US$3 trillion (S$4.1 trillion) – is feeling a chill.

Gemini Trust, the crypto business run by billionaire twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, on Thursday (June 2) told staff of plans to slash the company’s workforce by 10 per cent as trading across the industry slumps. Rain Financial – one of the Middle East’s largest crypto exchanges, with big backers from Silicon Valley – also made cuts, laying off dozens of employees, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter.

Meanwhile, crypto exchange Coinbase Global, the largest US crypto exchange, said on Thursday that it will extend a hiring freeze for both new and existing positions for the “foreseeable future” and rescind a number of accepted job offers.

“This is where we are now, in the contraction phase that is settling into a period of stasis – what our industry refers to as ‘crypto winter’,” the Winklevoss brothers wrote in a memo sent to Gemini employees that was viewed by Bloomberg News. “This has all been further compounded by the current macroeconomic and geopolitical turmoil. We are not alone.”

Cryptocurrency prices have declined this year from the highs reached in early November and have largely remained in the doldrums, with the market now less than half the size it was at its 2021 peak. It is only recently, though, that digital asset executives have begun to characterise the situation as a cyclical crypto winter, when token prices may stay depressed for months. During the crypto winter of 2018, layoffs permeated the industry.

Venture capitalists are still pumping money into crypto start-ups, with Andreessen Horowitz breaking records last week by raising a US$4.5 billion fund dedicated to crypto, and Binance’s venture capital arm raising a…


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