While many crypto firms take an axe to their workforce, several big sector players - including Binance, Kraken and OKX - have committed to hiring sprees.
With Bitcoin tanking and the industry hunkering down for a crypto winter, in the last few days Coinbase has set out plans to reduce its workforce by 18%, BlockFi by 20%, Crypto.com by five per cent and Gemini by 10%.
However, Binance says it is hiring for 2000 roles, while Kraken is adding 500 employees and OKX says it will increase headcount by 1500 over the next year.
Taking a swipe at some of his rivals who have spent lavishly on non-essentials in recent months, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao posted on Twitter: “It was not easy saying no to Super Bowl ads, stadium naming rights, large sponsor deals a few months ago, but we did. Today, we are hiring for 2000 open positions for #Binance.”
Meanwhile, Kraken, the world's fourth largest crypto exchange by trading volume, says it is not planning any layoffs and will move ahead with hiring, adding that "We believe bear markets are fantastic at weeding out the applicants chasing hype from the true believers in our mission".
The "true believers" remark comes as Kraken offers four months' pay for employees who don't agree with the firm's values to leave. In a memo, staff were told: "If you want to leave Kraken, we want it to feel like you are hopping on a jet ski and heading happily to your next adventure!"
Several Kraken staffers this week told the New York Times about "hurtful comments from CEO Jesse Powell about women and issues such as preferred pronouns.
In response - and in an echo of Coinbase's move last year - the company has published a document called "Kraken culture explained" which says the "ideal Krakenite is both thick skinned, and well intentioned".
In a tweet thread, Powell says: "Most people don't care and just want to work, but they can't be productive while triggered people keep dragging them in to debates and therapy sessions. The answer for us was to just lay out the culture doc and say: agree and commit, disagree and commit, or take the cash✌️"
In contrast to Kraken and Coinbase, OKX says that not only is it looking to grow its headcount by 30% to 5000, it is also aiming for gender parity. Currently, 38% of OKX’s workforce is comprised of women; following the goal set today, this is set to reach 50% by 2023.
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