Crypto exchange Binance has laid off over 1,000 people globally in recent weeks amid its ongoing legal investigation from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and other regulatory challenges, a source told the Wall Street Journal.
More than a third of the staff at Binance – which totaled about 8,000 prior to the layoffs – could eventually be affected by the job cuts, the source said.
A spokesperson for Binance confirmed the layoffs to the WSJ without specifying the exact number.
“As we prepare for the next major bull cycle, it has become clear that we need to focus on talent density across the organization to ensure we remain nimble and dynamic,” the spokesperson said.
A CNBC report later in the day said the cuts will eventually eliminate 1,500 to 3,000 of Binance’s workers globally, and that the cuts would be carried out through the end of the year, citing a current Binance employee familiar with the company’s plans. A Binance spokesperson disputed the 3,000 worker figure, however, according to CNBC, saying it was too high.
CNBC’s report attributed the layoffs to the ongoing probe of Binance by the U.S. Department of Justice, and said the probe is likely to end with either a consent decree or a multi-billion dollar settlement, citing the same current employee as its source.
Several senior executives at Binance have opted to leave the company in recent weeks, with Fortune attributing the departures to Binance founder and CEO Changpeng "CZ" Zhao's handling of the DOJ investigation.
Zhao tweeted on Friday afternoon that "the numbers reported by media are all way off" and noted that the company is still hiring.
UPDATE (July 14, 2023, 20:02 UTC): Added details from CNBC's report.
UPDATE (July 14, 2023, 20:43 UTC): Added CZ's tweet.
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