Crypto Winter Bites as OpenSea Lays Off 20% of its Workforce

July 19, 2022, 10:14 AM AEST - 3 weeks ago

Leading NFT marketplace OpenSea has laid off approximately 20 percent of its workforce due to a confluence of factors, including the harsh crypto bear market and instability in the broader economy:

The layoffs at Open Sea follow a swathe of job losses throughout crypto in 2022 – in June, Coinbase slashed 1,100 jobs representing around 18 percent of its workforce, and BlockFi and have shed a combined total of more than 400 staff.

OpenSea Readies for Prolonged Downturn

OpenSea co-founder and CEO Devin Finzer took to Twitter on July 15 to share the message he sent to staff regarding the job losses in which he explained the NFT marketplace was preparing to endure a potentially “prolonged downturn”:

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

Devin Finzer, co-founder and CEO, OpenSea

Opportunities Emerge From Bear Market

According to data from CoinGecko, since its peak in November last year the total cryptocurrency market cap has fallen by around 70 percent, from just under US$3 trillion to below US$1 trillion. 

This collapse in value has imperilled projects across all sectors of the crypto economy, including exchanges, lending platforms, DeFi apps and NFT marketplaces. The fact that OpenSea, the oldest and largest NFT marketplace, is now being hit is a measure of the depth and severity of the current crypto winter.

As hard as these conditions are for many projects and investors, Finzer says they can create opportunities to innovate, stating:

We have a huge opportunity in front of us. During this winter, I expect that we’ll see an explosion in innovation and utility across NFTs. With the hard (but important) changes we made today, we’re in an even better position to capture what will soon become the largest market on the planet. When the global economy is uncertain, our mission to build the foundation for new, peer-to-peer economies feels more urgent and important than ever.

Devin Finzer, co-founder and CEO, OpenSea

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