Cryptocurrency mining giant Bitmain and major crypto exchange Huobi have reportedly confirmed plans to lay off staff amid the 2018 price rout of the crypto markets. Hong Kong English-language newspaper South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported on the layoffs on Dec. 26.
Beijing-based Bitmain Technology, which has dominated the mining hardware manufacturing horizon this year, is quoted by SCMP as saying in a statement that it is undergoing “some adjustment to our staff this year” — a statement reportedly prompted by Chinese social media coverage of looming layoffs at the firm. Bitmain reportedly stated:
“A part of [building a sustainable business] is having to really focus on things that are core to that mission and not things that are auxiliary. As we move into the new year we will continue to double down on hiring the best talent from a diverse range of backgrounds.”
As SCMP notes, the exact number of layoffs has not been disclosed, but a spokesperson for the firm has reportedly today denied that Bitmain could lay off over half of its employees, a suggestion first circulated in Chinese social media.
As reported earlier this week, several Chinese commentators have also claimed Bitmain has let go of its entire team of Bitcoin Cash (BCH) developers, some of which had reportedly only just recently joined the company.
Huobi Group has also reportedly confirmed plans — using similarly low-key language — to “optimize” its staffing by firing underachieving employees. The company — which operates from Beijing and oversees the Singapore-headquartered Huobi crypto exchange — has nonetheless reportedly stressed it continues to onboard staff “for its core businesses and emerging markets.”
Even as exact figures for the planned layoffs remain elusive, SCMP notes that as of June 2018, Bitmain’s IPO filing revealed the firm employed a total of 2,594 full-timers — including some 840 engineers. Huobi, according to SCMP, has a workforce of over one thousand.
SCMP cites an anonymous Bitmain employee as saying that the layoffs will cover the sweep of the company’s different divisions. The source did not, however, have knowledge of the number of planned job cuts.
Chinese correspondent has meanwhile shared information from social media channel Maimai, a social media platform for employees that is used more often in China than LinkedIn.
According to one commentator’s claims, if Bitmain employees agree to leave immediately, the company will help them to pay social security in January 2019, with a salary deadline of January 10, 2019. In addition, two months’ salary will reportedly be compensated.
Another Maimai user, “Downstairs,” wrote that Bitmain has 3,200 employees and 1,700 redundancies.
Earlier this month, Bitmain had announced it was closing its development center in Israel and firing local employees, citing the “shake-up” of the crypto market in recent months.
Also within the past week, reports have surfaced that blockchain software technology firm ConsenSys is also reportedly making significant cuts to its staff. The unconfirmed reports align with company CEO Joseph Lubin’s recent letter to staff in which he said the firm would act to streamline and toughen its business style to stay “lean and gritty” in a competitive market.