Add Bitmain to the list of companies suffering in the crypto winter.
According to a report yesterday, the mining giant will close its Israel development center this week. Twenty-three employees are affected by the layoffs. “The crypto market has undergone a shakeup in the past few months, which has forced Bitmain to examine various activities around the globe and to refocus its business in accordance with the situation,” Gadi Glikberg, vice president at the Israel center, told employees.
Bitmain joins ethereum studio ConsenSys, which announced layoffs for 13% of its team, as prominent companies in the space grapple with a crypto bear market. Bitcoin is down by more than 75% in its price since the start of this year while Ethereum’s ether and Ripple’s XRP have fallen by more than 90% each from their highs during the second week of January.
Bitmain is the world’s biggest cryptocurrency mining company. Skyrocketing valuations for cryptocurrency markets in the last two years helped boost its revenue and profile. (Higher prices for coins increase profit margins for miners). For example, the company’s revenue jumped by 808% between 2016 and 2017. This year, it even filed for an IPO.
Bitmain’s outpost in Israel was opened in April 2017 and was meant to be a hub for development work related to integrating artificial intelligence into the company’s mining operations. It also houses the Connect BTC mining pool which mines Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash. In a September interview with Finance Magnates, Glikberg had forecast an increase in the center’s headcount from 21 employees to 30 by the end of this year.