Dire cryptocurrency market conditions have forced ShapeShift to let go of about 30% of its employees. The instant digital asset exchange made an official announcement on its blog, while founder Erik Voorhees said in a Twitter post:
“With a heavy heart, today we laid off 37 people. We’ve published a blog on this, also discussing some of our missteps and lessons as a company.”
The company took the decision after a tough 2018, in which legal uncertainty, a bear market, cybersecurity issues, and scams plagued the cryptocurrency industry. Compounding the impact of the generally unfavorable conditions were several questionable decisions made by ShapeShift’s management. According to Voorhees, these included mandatory client verifications, which reduced the number of users, and unsuccessful investments in tracking service CoinCap and hardware wallet KeepKey.
“Crypto, like the moon we strive toward, is a harsh mistress. We ride high and fast during the ascents, growing at rates unseen almost anywhere else in the business world (ShapeShift grew 3,000% in 2017). And when the markets turn, the crypto recession is similarly dramatic and severe,” he wrote in the blog post.
Voorhees thanked the people laid off for their contributions to the company’s development and expressed hope that ShapeShift would be able to overcome the difficulties.
“Through this difficult year, with a new sense of focus, we’ve been weaving the new ShapeShift into existence. It is our tribute to the power of digital asset technology, and our contribution to self-sovereign finance. We don’t want to overstate with grandiose promises, we’ll simply invite people to try it out in the near future,” he said.
ShapeShift is not the only crypto industry player that has had to lay off staff due to the market downturn. ConsenSys, the chief producer hub for Ethereum-related products, axed 60% of its staff in December.