(Bloomberg) -- Gemini Trust Co., the crypto business run by billionaire brothers Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, is making its first-ever job cuts, slashing 10% of staff as trading across the industry slumps.
“This is where we are now, in the contraction phase that is settling into a period of stasis — what our industry refers to as ‘crypto winter,’” the brothers wrote in a memo sent to employees Thursday that was viewed by Bloomberg News. “This has all been further compounded by the current macroeconomic and geopolitical turmoil. We are not alone.”
Cryptocurrency prices have declined this year from the highs reached in early November and have largely remained in the doldrums. It’s only recently, though, that digital-asset executives have begun to characterize the situation as a cyclical “crypto winter,” when token prices may stay depressed for months. During the crypto winter of 2018, layoffs permeated the industry.
Venture capitalists are still pumping money into crypto startups, with Andreessen Horowitz breaking records last week by raising a $4.5 billion fund dedicated to crypto, and Binance’s venture-capital arm raising a $500 million crypto fund. But signs of cracks have begun to appear in recent weeks -- particularly at exchanges, which typically see trading volume plunge during bear markets, when retail investors retreat. Gemini is refocusing “only on products that are critical to our mission,” according to the memo, with team leaders asked to assess their headcount based on “turbulent market conditions that are likely to persist for some time.”
The Winklevoss twins were among crypto’s early big-name believers and adopters. They started Gemini in 2014, and over time added a variety of services. As a privately held company, Gemini doesn’t disclose its number of employees. LinkedIn lists about 1,000 people who may work there.
Late last year, Gemini said it raised $400 million in a round of funding that valued the company at $7.1 billion.
Gemini’s physical offices will stay closed Thursday. Impacted employees will receive a calendar invite for remotely held conversations on the separation packages and health-care benefits Gemini will be providing. On Friday, the company will hold a company-wide “standup” to talk about its future.
“Today is a tough day, but one that will make Gemini better over the long run,” the memo said.
©2022 Bloomberg L.P.