OpenSea to cut 20% of its staff

The news comes shortly after other large cryptocurrency companies announced mass layoffs due to market conditions

July 15, 2022 11:56 am | Updated 12:53 pm IST

FILE PHOTO: A non-fungible token (NFT) displayed on the website of NFT marketplace OpenSea is seen through a magnifying glass

FILE PHOTO: A non-fungible token (NFT) displayed on the website of NFT marketplace OpenSea is seen through a magnifying glass | Photo Credit: REUTERS

NFT marketplace OpenSea has said it will cut 20% of its staff due to the “crypto winter” and “broad macroeconomic instability.” A tweet by OpenSea co-founder and CEO Devin Finzer on Thursday called the decision “incredibly sad and difficult.”

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“The changes we’re making today put us in a position to maintain multiple years of runway under various crypto winter scenarios (5 years at the current volume), and give us high confidence that we will only have to go through this process once,” Mr. Finzer said in the statement he shared with staff members.

Non-fungible tokens or NFTs are assets such as art and videos which are minted on blockchains and traded using cryptocurrencies. They are largely used to prove ownership, or serve as digital collectibles. Several collections such as the Bored Ape Yacht Club and CryptoPunks have achieved worldwide fame. Both are available on OpenSea.

Mr. Finzer also said a crypto winter was not a new experience and that OpenSea was developed “with the cyclicality of crypto in mind” and a “very strong balance sheet.”

The move comes around a month after the cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase announced that it was firing over 1,000 employees worldwide due to an “economic downturn”. 

In the meantime, several large crypto lenders have halted user withdrawals to preserve liquidity, and a crypto hedge fund was forced to liquidate.

As Bitcoin continues to trade at roughly $20,000 while Ether’s price is around $1,100, other high-profile crypto companies that flourished during the bull run of 2021 are now struggling to continue operations at the same scale.

OpenSea claims it is the “world’s first and largest NFT marketplace.” However, the company has faced criticism due to allegations of security exploits and hosting stolen art work.

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