How fast is the cryptocurrency industry reversing its recent growth? On Monday night, the company Coinbase mocked cryptocurrency cynics in an ad during the highly viewed NBA Finals. The next morning, the company laid off 1,100 people.
A company spokesman said the ad, which featured tweets proclaiming “Crypto is dead” over the years, was paid for and scheduled months ago in a larger media buy with the NBA. AdWeek and others have pegged NBA Finals ads at around $750,000. Coinbase bought a Super Bowl ad four months ago for $14 million.
The company, which runs an exchange where you can buy, sell and trade cryptocurrencies, is decentralized but has leadership offices in San Francisco.
The layoffs were announced on the company blogwhere CEO Brian Armstrong admitted what has become obvious about him and some other crypto companies: “We grew too fast.”
Coinbase, a company 1,250 employees in early 2021, it hired about 5,000 people in the year and a half since then, according to a SEC filing. That’s more than two dozen new hires every weekday.
Josh Bersin, a veteran tech talent acquisition and human resources expert, told The Examiner last week: “When you hire this fast, you’re taking a huge risk.”
Bersin says investors and shareholders pushed hard for hiring and growing the company, then got scared by inflation and the collapse of cryptocurrencies and suddenly called for job cuts. “Within a matter of weeks or days, these people were asking for a change. It can’t be reversed that fast.
The juxtaposition of an expensive television commercial heralding the strength of the industry upset employees who say they have been affected by the recent layoffs.
“These cats actually used all the money saved from our terminated deals to buy an NBA Finals ad that said ‘crypto is dead.'” a posted employee on Blind, the social network that allows users to remain anonymous but verifies where they work via employer email.
A Coinbase employee post about getting fired he said: “We woke up to our laptops/pants going off and told to wait for an email from the operations people. Sorry to all my friends who were affected too! Goodbye Coinbase folks!”
Coinbase COO Emilie Choi he told CNBC the company intends the layoffs to be a “one-time event.”
Coinbase says that employees who are laid off will receive a minimum of 14 weeks severance pay and access to a “Talent Center” the company has created to help employees who are leaving to find a new job.