The parent company of Latin American exchange Mercado Bitcoin, 2TM Group, has announced a second round of layoffs as companies continue cutting back amid crypto winter.
"The challenges imposed by the global economy have been affecting the innovation segments worldwide," a 2TM Group spokesperson told Decrypt. "In addition to portfolio reordering and cost optimization, we had to reduce approximately 15% of our staff."
The company also blamed the lack of a legal framework for digital assets in Brazil.
"The competitive environment remains deteriorated and unfair, lacking the approval of the legal framework for crypto-activities, as players following the law are penalized by companies that ignore local rules," the company said.
According to Bitcoin Portal, a Brazilian cryptocurrency publication also owned by 2TM, the company initiated the additional layoffs due to continued "adversity in the economy." The publication stated that it “regrets the loss of colleagues.”
The recent round of layoffs follow earlier cuts from 2TM that took place in June, where the company released of 12% of its 750 employees, or about 90 workers, citing “changes in the global financial landscape.”
“The scenario requires adjustments that go beyond the reduction of operating expenses, making it necessary also to lay off part of our employees,” 2TM said at the time in a statement. “The process we have carried out has been guided by transparency and respect, to honor the legacy of each employee who has helped us get this far.”
Over the course of this summer, numerous companies throughout the cryptocurrency industry announced layoffs as digital asset prices faltered. 2TM joins a list of companies that have had to make multiple rounds of dismissals, which includes Gemini Trust Co., Crypto.com, and Robinhood.
Other exchanges based in Latin America have also let go of employees amid this year’s market downturn in the crypto market, including Bisto, which let go of 80 employees in late May, and Buenbit, which canned 45% of its workers around the same time, reducing its headcount to around 100 from 180.
"We deeply mourn the loss of each professional," the company said. "To minimize the impact, we will offer a package to those who leave us, ranging from extended health insurance and daycare support to outplacement assistance."
Founded in 2013, Mercado Bitcoin claims to be the largest crypto exchange in Latin America with over 1 million customers, according to its website. During its Series B round of funding in July of 2021, 2TM received a $200 million investment from the SoftBank Latin America Fund, yielding the company a $2.1 billion evaluation. It was cast as the "first crypto unicorn in Brazil."
Mercado Bitcoin has seen just over $800,000 worth of volume in the past 24 hours on its exchange, according to CoinGecko, with its most frequently traded tokens being Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Shiba Inu.
Bitcoin Portal announced that it had become a part of 2TM last month, stating the website drew in an average of 2 million unique visitors per month.
Editor's note: this article has been updated to add comments from 2TM Group.