Lightcurve, a Berlin-based blockchain development studio that’s part of the Lisk platform, has laid off 40% of its employees. Lisk is a blockchain platform that allows developers to create, customize and distribute decentralized applications.

Lisk co-founder Max Kordek stated in the platform’s official Discord channel that a total of 21 employees were laid off on December 9. Additionally, the contracts of three individuals who were yet to join Lisk were also terminated.

According to Kordek, the main reason for the layoffs was to retain talents in the research, platform (backend development) and developer relations departments. At the same time, shrinking the departments of user interface (frontend development), marketing, design and operations would allow Lisk to decrease the “burn rate which by a large degree consisted of human resources costs.”

The firm is also considering renting a smaller office to further reduce the costs. For now, the remaining staff have moved into a big shared developer room in Lisk’s Berlin office.

Out in the cold

Crypto businesses, particularly ones that benefited from the ICO boom of 2017, or have their own native token that they rely on for funding, are especially sensitive to the crypto market. Despite rallying in mid-2019, prices are dropping low again and this is having a knock-on effect on many crypto businesses—showing that Lightcurve is just one of many.

Two days ago, blockchain payments firm Circle announced a new round of layoffs—following a previous round back in May—firing “about 10” employees.

On the same day, ConsenSys—which funds an editorially independent Decrypt—has decided to close its India and Philippines branches. This similarly follows a previous round of layoffs last year.

Other crypto companies struggled during the bear market of 2018 and early 2019. For example, in January, 2019, ShapeShift CEO Erik Voorhees announced that the Switzerland-based cryptocurrency exchange had laid off a third of its team.

If the prices don’t pick up, the crypto industry will have a rough ride ahead. But it might provide an opportunity for the new wave of venture capital-backed companies to come in and take over. If they can gather traction, that is.