Argentinian Crypto Exchange Buenbit Cuts 45% of Staff Due to Tech Industry Downturn

The company will focus on its current operations in Argentina, Mexico and Peru, and freeze previous plans to expand into other countries.

AccessTimeIconMay 24, 2022 at 6:31 p.m. UTC
Updated May 24, 2022 at 6:56 p.m. UTC

Andrés Engler is a CoinDesk editor based in Argentina, where he covers the Latin American crypto ecosystem. He holds BTC and ETH.

Argentina-based cryptocurrency exchange Buenbit has laid off 45% of its staff, the company told CoinDesk on Monday.

According to the company, the team now consists of 100 people across its operations in Argentina, Mexico and Peru. The company declined to specify how many people it laid off, but based on the math, a 45% cut would imply that about 80 people were cut.

Buenbit’s CEO Federico Ogue said in a Twitter thread on Monday that the decision was made due to the “global overhaul” the tech industry has entered, adding that the reduction plan, which the company has been working on for months, was not linked to the recent crash of UST and Luna. In July 2021, Buenbit said it had 400,000 customers.

Ogue said Buenbit will now focus exclusively on its existing operations in Argentina, Mexico and Peru, and put its expansion plans on hold (Ogue told CoinDesk in 2021 that Buenbit was considering starting operations in Colombia and Brazil). It will also work to “maintain a self-sustaining and efficient structure.”

Last July, Buenbit raised $11 million in a Series A funding round led by Libertus Capital, in which Galaxy Digital, FJ Labs and Amaiya Management also participated.

In March, the company had added the option for users to acquire UST and said they could “receive a return of up to 18%” via staking.

The company had initially planned to raise funds within a year after the Series A, Ogue said last year, and was considering making acquisitions to accelerate growth.

Matias Nisenson, a venture capitalist who had invested in Buenbit, said on Twitter on Monday that startups such like Buenbit may have had plans to raise more capital to continue growing, but that they are facing a changing macro environment and investors who are more risk-averse.

According to Nisenson, Buenbit had two options. The first is “I stay as I am, and I pray that someone will give me capital to continue to sustain my structure. This option includes a big chance of melting down and having to lay off 100% of my team.”

The second option, Nisenseon said, was “I do what I need to do to make my company sustainable without outside capital, even if it means laying off 50% of my team today. Any experienced leader is going to choose option B, it is the lesser of two evils, however painful it may be.”

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Andrés Engler is a CoinDesk editor based in Argentina, where he covers the Latin American crypto ecosystem. He holds BTC and ETH.

CoinDesk - Unknown

Andrés Engler is a CoinDesk editor based in Argentina, where he covers the Latin American crypto ecosystem. He holds BTC and ETH.