OpenSea lays off 20% of its staff, citing ‘crypto winter’

Nonfungible token (NFT) marketplace OpenSea announced mass layoffs on Thursday, joining other crypto companies in reducing headcount during one of the most volatile periods in the industry’s history. 

Co-founder and CEO Devin Finzer took to Twitter Thursday afternoon to disclose that his company was laying off up to 20% of its staff. In a long message conveyed to employees, Finzer blamed “an unprecedented combination of crypto winter and broad macroeconomic instability” for the layoffs. 

Today is a hard day for OpenSea, as we’re letting go of ~20% of our team. Here’s the note I shared with our team earlier this morning: pic.twitter.com/E5k6gIegH7

— Devin Finzer (dfinzer.eth) (@dfinzer) July 14, 2022

“[W]e need to prepare the company for the possibility of a prolonged downturn,” he said, adding:

The changes we’re making today put us in a position to maintain multiple years of runway under various crypto winter scenarios (5 years at the current volume), and give us high confidence that we will only have to go through this process once.

The layoffs reflect the dire state of the crypto market, whose combined value has declined by more than two-thirds compared to last year’s peak. That OpenSea, the largest NFT market in the world by volume, was cutting jobs offers a stark realization that no company is safe from the downdraft of so-called crypto winter.

Mass layoffs at crypto companies have become the norm in recent months, with the likes of Gemini, Crypto.com, BlockFi and Coinbase cutting hundreds of jobs. According to one estimate, crypto companies shed 1,700 payrolls in June alone.

That being said, not every company in the space is reducing staff; exchange giants Binance, Kraken and FTX have each reaffirmed plans to add more employees in the coming months.