Australian cryptocurrency exchange Swyftx has announced it will lay off 40 per cent of its workforce, around 90 people, due to a worsening downturn in digital asset markets following the collapse of overseas exchange FTX.
In a message to staff on Monday, seen by this masthead, Swyftx chief executive Alex Harper said the layoffs were the company preparing in advance for a “worst-case scenario” of a continued decline in crypto markets next year and more “black swan” events like FTX.
“Our business is uniquely well-positioned to weather events like FTX,” Harper told staff. “But as much as we might wish it, we do not exist in isolation from the market and that’s why we are acting fast and acting early by significantly reducing the size of our team.”
“We do this with a sadness that is very difficult to put into words. Suffice to say, we will do everything in our power to support impacted colleagues.” Most of the layoffs will occur in the company’s research and development team.
Crypto businesses around the world are currently reeling from the fallout of FTX’s spectacular collapse, which has left its customers billions of dollars out of pocket and had knock-on effects for a raft of other exchanges and lenders.
The mass layoffs are also the latest in a line of difficulties for Swyftx, which had already cut back its workforce earlier this year by 21 per cent, around 74 employees, saying the decision was an effort to right-size the business’ cost base amid a falling market.
It also emerged last month the company – which announced a $1.5 billion merger with share trading service Superhero earlier this year – was on the hunt for new funding, which Harper stressed at the time was not for operational reasons, but to fuel expansion and bolster the business’ balance sheet.
The company announced a historic sponsorship deal with the NRL in February, which remains in place.