Crypto exchange Huobi is set to lay off 20% of its staff, per sources reported by Reuters.
Justin Sun, a prominent crypto entrepreneur who joined the company as an advisor in October 2022, had denied the allegations that the firm was to cut staff as recently as this week.
Sun told Chinese news outlet the South China Morning Post that reports of the panned layoffs were “untrue”.
But news about alleged financial issues at Huobi has been circulating in recent weeks; it was reported last week by independent crypto journalist Colin Wu that staff salaries were being paid in stablecoins such as USDT and USDC, which reportedly provoked a widespread outcry from employees.
Decrypt has contacted Huobi for comment on the reports and will update this story with its response.
According to data from CoinGecko, Huobi is one of the world’s largest crypto exchanges, with around $367 million of 24-hour volume daily and 12.5 million monthly visits.
These impressive numbers come despite the fact that the exchange hasn’t operated in the U.S. since 2019.
Crypto industry layoffs
Regardless of Huobi's financial state, the reported layoffs aren’t out of step with industry trends.
Back in July 2022, Coinbase announced it would lay off 18% of its workforce—1,100 employees—in preparation for an “extended” crypto winter.
In late November 2022, Kraken followed Coinbase's move by cutting its workforce by 30%, also around 1,100 of its employees.
In June, Singapore-based crypto exchange Crypto.com laid off 260 employees, or 5% of its workforce, with reports that it unofficially laid off more circulating in August.
It’s possible that more layoffs could be on the horizon; Binance CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao warned employees in an internal memo that he expects the “next several months to be bumpy.”
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