Skip to main content

Kraken crypto exchange lays off 30 percent of workforce

Kraken crypto exchange lays off 30 percent of workforce


The news of Kraken’s layoffs comes just months after CEO Jesse Powell went on a hiring spree for employees who would comply with his ‘crypto-first’ culture, which involves not telling people that what they said was racist.

Share this story

An image of Kraken CEO Jesse Powell on a background filled with the Kraken logo
Kristen Radtke / The Verge; Getty Images

The cryptocurrency exchange Kraken announced job cuts today, affecting 30 percent of its workforce, or around 1,100 employees. In a blog post, Kraken CEO Jesse Powell says the firm made the decision to help it weather the “crypto winter.”

Kraken, a platform that lets users buy, sell, and trade crypto, announced its plans to hire 500 new employees in June, but only as long as their beliefs aligned with the company’s “crypto-first culture,” which apparently means not calling out things said by others as “toxic, hateful, racist, x-phobic.” But now, Kraken’s pulling back on its spending after a period of rapid growth, citing “significantly lower trading volumes and fewer client sign-ups.”

Powell says that while Kraken tried to mitigate uncertain economic conditions by slowing down on hiring and “avoiding large marketing commitments,” it eventually ran out of ways to save money. Employees who have been laid off will receive 16 weeks of separation pay in addition to four months of continuing healthcare benefits. Kraken will also extend support for those on company-sponsored visas and provide employees with access to career networking tools.

“I’m confident the steps we are taking today will ensure we can continue to deliver on our mission which the world needs now more than ever before,” Powell writes. “I remain extremely bullish on crypto and Kraken.”

Earlier this week, Kraken agreed to pay a fine of more than $360,000 to settle with the US Department of the Treasury over allegations that it violated sanctions against Iran. The news of the Kraken’s layoffs comes off the heels of DoorDash’s announcement that it’s cutting around 1,250 workers. It also follows a wave of job cuts affecting workers in the tech industry, including at Meta, Amazon, Snap, Twitter, and several others, and reflects the wider struggles facing the crypto industry following FTX’s collapse.