Crypto winter is coming.
The Winklevoss twins’ cryptocurrency trading hub Gemini is slashing staff for the first time since the firm was founded in the latest sign of turmoil related to the recent plunge in crypto prices.
Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss – best known for their infamous legal spat with their former Harvard college classmate and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg – informed Gemini staffers of the cuts in a companywide memo Thursday in which they admitted that digital currencies were in “the contraction phase,” known colloquially as the “crypto winter.”
The layoffs will impact about 10% of Gemini’s overall workforce. The company — which has offices in New York, Chicago and Portland, Ore. — has about 1,000 employees, according to its LinkedIn page.
The digital currency stalwarts cited difficulties related to “current macroeconomic and geopolitical turmoil” for forcing them to slash jobs for the first since they founded Gemini in 2014.
“To that end, we have asked team leaders to ensure that they are focused only on products that are critical to our mission and assess whether their teams are right-sized for the current, turbulent market conditions that are likely to persist for some time,” the twins said in the memo, which was published on Gemini’s website.
The news comes amid a lawsuit by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission accusing Gemini of making false and misleading statements concerning a bitcoin futures contract the firm was pursuing in 2017.
The agency contends that Gemini violated federal laws governing commodities, and is seeking civil fines and other remedies.
“We have an eight year track-record of asking for permission, not forgiveness, and always doing the right thing. We look forward to definitively proving this in court,” Gemini said in a statement.
Bitcoin and other leading crypto tokens have plunged in value in recent months as investors respond to volatile market conditions by dumping their riskier assets. Cryptocurrencies and high-growth tech stocks have been hit particularly hard as the Federal Reserve moves forward with its plan to tighten monetary policy.
Bitcoin was trading below $30,000 as of Thursday morning – down sharply from the all-time high of $69,000 achieved last November. The downturn has resulted in sharp losses for crypto billionaires as well as retail investors who invested their savings in the sector.
The Winklevoss twins said laid-off workers will be informed of their “separation package and healthcare benefits” during an “individual conversation” on Thursday. Gemini closed its physical offices and will hold the meetings remotely.
The company will hold an all-hands meeting on Friday to discuss the layoffs and Gemini’s long-term outlook.
“Today is a tough day, but one that will make Gemini better over the long run,” the memo said. “Constraint is the mother of innovation and difficult times are a forcing function for focus, which is critical to the success of any startup.”
On corporate forum Blind, some Gemini employees were more fatalistic.
“Gemini is burning money hand over fist and the business model is not profitable,” one claimed on the site, which verifies employment through corporate email addresses. “Fear is high amongst leadership.”
A second Gemini employee wrote: “Most of leadership already quit, now they’re canning the levels below.”
Another predicted the company will close by the end of 2022 unless there’s a “huge market turnaround or massive VC investment.”
Gemini representatives did not immediately return a request for comment.
Gemini isn’t the only cryptocurrency platform impacted by the recent market slump. Last month, Coinbase revealed it would slow its hiring plans, despite initially aiming to “to triple the size of the company” in 2022.
As The Post reported, Coinbase representatives said the company has no current plans to conduct layoffs.