In what may be a sign that business in the cryptocurrency space is in a winding down phase, U.K.-based bitcoin exchange Coinfloor is bidding adieu to half of its staff.
The company, which claims to be the oldest crypto exchange in London, has roughly 40 employees. More than half of them will be let go, Financial News reported, citing two sources close to the matter. The news broke early today, October 8, 2018.
Coinfloor CEO Obi Nwosu confirmed the layoffs but declined to spell out exactly how many employees would be let go. He told Financial News the staff cuts were a normal response to a changing market environment.
Following the market’s downturn at the beginning of 2018, a lot is changing in the cryptocurrency business. Since the beginning of the year, bitcoin has lost more than half of its value, and regulations across the globe are heating up. China has been taking increased action to clamp down on all things cryptocurrency, and, in the U.S., regulators are starting to get tough with crypto exchanges, unregistered securities dealers and questionable initial coin offerings.
Amidst this shifting landscape, Coinfloor is not the only one to feel the market’s pinch. In September, Jesse Powell, the CEO of San Francisco-based exchange Kraken, said the company was cutting 10 percent of its client services team in a “cost-saving measure,” but denied rumors that the layoffs would amount to any more than that. At the time of publication, Kraken is the 23rd largest exchange by trading volume.
Despite the market downturn, some exchanges continue to paint a rosy picture. Binance boasted that it expected a net profit of $500 million to $1 billion in 2018, according to its chief executive officer. But without seeing the company’s financials, it is hard to get a clear view on the full picture.
Typically, exchanges make a lucrative profit, which is why so many have entered the game as of late. To date, there are 219 crypto exchanges all competing for each other’s business. But if the current market downturn continues, more will likely have to make adjustments or else bow out.
Founded in 2013, Coinfloor was one of the first exchanges onto the scene. Its big pitch early on was that it followed strict know-your-customer (KYC) and anti-money-laundering (AML) procedures to ensure the integrity of its users and traders.
According to its website, the exchange is backed by TransferWise founder Taavet Hinrikus, venture capital firm Passion Capital and Adam Knight, a former managing director at Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse.