Top NFT Marketplace OpenSea Lays Off 20 Percent of Its Staff as It Prepares for a ‘Prolonged Downturn’

OpenSea CEO said changes being made now will help the company survive.

The OpenSea logo seen displayed on a smartphone. Photo Illustration: Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images.

OpenSea’s employees are feeling the crypto winter’s chill.

Months into the latest cryptocurrency crash, OpenSea, which bills itself as the world’s largest NFT marketplace, has laid off 20 percent of its staff. A representative did not specify the exact number of jobs cut but confirmed that 230 employees remain.

In a detailed Tweet posted on Thursday, June 14, OpenSea CEO Devin Finzer said: “Today is a hard day for OpenSea, as we’re letting go of ~20 percent of our team.”

Finzer shared a copy of the letter he had sent to staff earlier that day, saying that the “reality is we have entered an unprecedented combination of crypto winter and broad macroeconomic instability and we need to prepare the company for the possibility of a prolonged downturn.”

Finzer called the decision “incredibly sad and difficult,” adding that every person leaving “has played a critical role in OpenSea’s journey.” He said the company would be providing “generous severance and health care coverage through 2023,” as well as support with equity vesting, networking and job placement.

Addressing past volatility in the crypto and NFT markets, Finzer acknowledged: “We’ve been through winter before, and we built this company with the cyclicality of crypto in mind.” He said that the current changes being made will put the company in a position to maintain “multiple years of runway under various crypto winter scenarios (five years at the current volume).” He added that “winter” is the time to build.

Source: Google Finance

Source: Google Finance

According to a report in TechCrunch, the layoffs “raise questions about the company’s aggressive growth tactics and how they approached the sustainability of the NFT sector’s breakneck growth.”

The report said OpenSea has been one of the top beneficiaries of crypto’s bull run over the course of 2021-22, raising hundreds of millions in investor dollars, and was most recently at a $13.3 billion valuation. That growth has not been without its drama, the report noted. Last month one of the company’s executive was arrested on charges from the U.S. Attorney’s office of insider trading involving NFTs.

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