NFT marketplace Opensea lets go of 20 percent of its staff

The CEO blamed the combination of a “crypto winter” and economic instability.

Florence Lo / reuters

The world’s largest NFT platform, Opensea, is cutting 20 percent of its workforce. The information comes directly from CEO Devin Finzer, who tweeted a screenshot of a Slack message he'd sent to the entire company staff Thursday. Finzer blamed the economic instability around both crypto specifically and the economy broadly for the layoffs. The cuts, he wrote, would prepare the company in the event of a prolonged downturn.

“The changes we’re making today put us in a position to maintain multiple years of runway under various crypto winter scenarios (5 years at the current volume), and give us high confidence that we only have to go through this process once."

Since Opensea doesn’t disclose the number of its employees, it’s unclear exactly how many people are impacted by the cuts. But after this story was published, OpenSea told Engadget that the company now employs 230 people. In the same Slack message, Finzer states the impacted staffers will get "generous severance" and healthcare coverage into 2023. Specifically, the company is offering 12 weeks of severance pay, accelerated equity vesting and six months of healthcare coverage among some other benefits.

In January the company raised $300 million in venture capital funding, which Finzer said it would use to hire 90 new employees and establish a fund for creators. Finzer made no mention of the new investor dollars in his memo to employees.

Opensea joins a growing group of prominent crypto giants who have undergone layoffs this summer. Coinbase cut more than 1,100 jobs last month, also citing the crypto winter and tough economy. Also in June, BlockFi laid off roughly 20 percent of its staff (or around 200 people) and laid off 260 workers — only months after it signed a $700 million deal for naming rights to the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Update, 7/15/22 12PM ET: This story has been updated to note that OpenSea confirmed that its headcount now stands at 230 employees. We've also added some details on the package offered to former employees. The story originally stated that OpenSea had 769 employees, but that detail has been removed as it was inaccurate.