Cryptocurrency exchange Gemini slashes staff second time in seven weeks

Crypto exchange network Gemini has made a second round of lay-offs in as little as seven weeks.

TechCrunch reports that a further 68 employees, or 7 per cent of the company’s staff, were cut, based on the reduction in the platform’s company-wide Slack channel on Monday morning.

It’s understood the changes were made due to “extreme cost-cutting measures,” TechCrunch reports.

This comes after June cuts saw 10 per cent of the workforce leave the company.

At that time, all affected employees were provided a separation package and continued healthcare benefits. Amid the lay-offs, Gemini closed their physical offices so the identities of those let go would be respected.

“Our highest priority throughout will be to treat everyone affected with compassion and respect,” wrote company co-founders Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss in an email to staff.

Staff reduction plan leaked

Ahead of the staff cuts, TechCrunch reports that a plan to bring Gemini’s employee figures to 800 were publicly posted online, which would equate to a reduction of around 15 per cent.

The move was blasted by Cameron Winklevoss.

“It’s come to my attention that at least one team member thinks it’s a good idea to post a snippet of our technology operating plan on a third party website (Blind),” he wrote in a slack message.

“Wow, super lame … if you are leaking company information, you are exhibiting a low level of consciousness and respect for your fellow team members who greatly benefit from the openness we are trying to create and foster here.”

However, as it stands neither of Gemini’s founders have publicly addressed the latest round.

After the previous lay-offs, the billionaire twins shared a public blog post in which they addressed the “current, turbulent market conditions,” which led to the job cuts.

“After much thought and consideration, we have made the difficult but necessary decision to part ways with approximately 10 per cent of our workforce,” they wrote.

“Today is a tough day, but one that will make Gemini better over the long run. Constraint is the mother of innovation and difficult times are a forcing function for focus, which is critical to the success of any start-up.”

Stark warning about ‘crypto winter’

The Gemini staff cuts come as other crypto companies have faced staff changes and cost-cutting challenges amid a “crypto winter” – something which the Gemini co-founders quoted amid the previous cuts.

Compounded by what the Winklevoss brothers referred to as “macroeconomic and geopolitical turmoil,” they said the “sharp contractions” and a “period of stasis,” were to be expected after cryptocurrency’s ‘dramatic hypergrowth’.

In lieu of the market turmoil, several crypto experts have shared bleak predictions for the alternative currency.

Recently, prominent crypto trader and the founder and chief executive of Binance Changpeng ‘CZ’ Zhao said he believed that bitcoin would not surpass its all-time high for at least another two years.

From November 2021 to now, the cryptocurrency has dropped from around $US69,000 ($A99,000) to $US18,000 ($A25,300) this month.

“I think given this price drop, from the all-time high of $US68,000 to $US20,000 now, it will probably take a while to get back,” he told The Guardian.

“It probably will take a few months or a couple of years.”

Speaking to the Australian Financial Review, State Street Digital Asia-Pacific lead Irfan Ahmad said the current “crypto winter,” was the most severe, likening it to a “polar vortex”. Although he believed that prominent tokens like bitcoin and ethereum will survive, there are likely to be a few dramatic changes.

“It is the fourth crypto winter and the most severe given wider adoption – we are referring to it as a polar vortex,” he said.

“There is going to be an evolution of the players and the protocols in the market.”

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Bitcoin price plunges to $17k as ethereum, BNB, cardano, solana and ripple also struggle

Bitcoin has pretty much lost all its gains throughout the pandemic and hit a new horror low that will make history.

Cryptocurrencies including bitcoin, ethereum, BNB, cardano and Ripple XRP have faced a tough year, with fluctuating values and more.

And it doesn’t look like the downward trend will turn around any time soon, reports The Sun.

Bitcoin, the world’s top-ranked cryptocurrency, has dropped by nearly 7.5 per cent in the last day.

At the start of last month, bitcoin was trading at US$36,141.33 (A$52,000), according to CoinMarketCap.

But now, a month and a half later, the outlook is even worse.

As of Sunday morning AEDT, bitcoin fell as low as $US17,601.58 (A$25,300) and stayed below $US20,000 according to CoinDesk. It is currently trading at US$18,900 (A$27,200).

That’s a loss of about 15 per cent from Friday, and represents a whopping 74 per cent dip in value since its all-time high in November when it nearly hit US$69,000 (A$99,000) per coin.

In fact, all bitcoin’s gains over the last two years of the pandemic have pretty much been wiped – BTC hasn’t been this low since October 2020.

Other cryptocurrencies were following similar trends, with sellers like ethereum, cardano and solana falling upwards of four per cent in just one day.

Admittedly, the stock market overall is down as investors sell risky assets, and the values are tightly linked, meaning a dip all around.

The latest plunge follows a crypto crash at the start of December, shortly after bitcoin hit a record value of US$69,000 in November.

One trader lost $5 billion after the price of bitcoin plummeted in December, highlighting the risks of investing in crypto.

And in another recent blow to the market, Crypto.com users were unable to access funds due to “unauthorised activity” on some accounts.

Last year users of cryptocurrency exchange Binance were unable to access their cash after suspending UK withdrawals.

And Etoro customers were locked out of their accounts after the service went down during a crypto crash.

To top that off, UK-based cryptocurrency lending company Celsius Network suspended all transactions on Monday as the bloodbath continued. Its 17 million users are still suspended.

Why have crypto markets been down?

Cryptocurrencies have been especially volatile lately and there a few reasons why.

Twitter’s chief financial officer Ned Segal said at the end of last year that investing in crypto “doesn’t make sense right now”, causing concern among Silicon Valley buyers.

China also announced plans to clean up virtual currency mining, according to CNBC.

Many crypto-mining regions in China are now radically reducing operations.

Previous moves by the country to crackdown on mining and trading of crypto has previously sent markets plunging.

Crypto volatility

Cryptocurrencies are highly volatile, meaning their values often make large swings with no notice, as the latest plunge shows.

Investing in cryptocurrency is a very risky business.

You can be left with less money than you put in, and could even lose it all – even if you spend on what appears to be a safe bet.

You might not be able to access your investment if platforms go down and you could be left unable to convert crypto back into cash.

There have also been warnings around scams related to cryptocurrencies, with people losing vast sums of money.

You should never invest in something you don’t understand and you should never put in money that you can’t afford to lose entirely.

This article appeared in The Sun and was reproduced here with permission.

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How to buy, trade cryptocurrency beginners guide

There are countless coins, and even more ways to buy and sell them. So how do you get started? We had an expert weigh in.

Cryptocurrency has taken Australia by storm.

More than 20 per cent of adults across the country are thought to own some form of crypto, and rises and falls in the market regularly make for big news.

But with so many options for coins to invest in, and wallets to trade out of, it’s hard to know how to get started.

Comparison website Finder has crunched the numbers to find the best of the best exchanges, with the aim of making the hi-tech currency accessible for everyday Australians.

An exchange is a platform on which you can buy and sell cryptocurrency. They can be used to buy crypto with regular currency or convert crypto back to a dollar value – essentially they reflect the market price of cryptocurrency.

But, much like the coins, there are hundreds of exchanges; some fantastic and legitimate, and others … not so much.

Best exchange for beginners

Crypto expert James Edwards is one of many who reaped the rewards from the new technology.

He bought half a Bitcoin in 2014 for around $350, that same amount of Crypto is now worth about $30,000.

The self-described ‘nerd’ now works researching cryptocurrency for Finder, which has designed an awards system to help simplify information for those just wanting to learn more about the currencies.

According to the review site, Crypto.com was rated the best exchange for beginners.

“The awards were based on a range of criteria rather than someone or some people just picking. For example, Crypto.com scored highly because they have a good smartphone application, it’s easy to use, good customer support and you can set up recurring payments,” he told news.com.au.

“Another thing we wanted to do was only rank companies that are registered with AUSTRAC.”

Binance won three awards, including Exchange for Features and Exchange for Altcoins, as well as the award for Australian cryptocurrency Exchange (Overall).

Crypto.com won the category ‘Exchange for Beginners’, while Kraken won ‘Exchange for Trading’.

Meanwhile the award for ‘Exchange for Value’ went to Digital Surge, with CoinJar and Crypto.com a close second.

How to invest in cryptocurrency

Mr Edwards recommends for those wanting to dip their toes into Crypto should try the dollar-cost averaging method as their investment strategy.

This method theoretically helps prevent the massive highs and lows of the sometimes volatile coins.

“To do this, you need to set aside a certain amount of money and invest it at the same time each week. For example, you pick a time on a Friday morning where you invest $50 into coins,” he said.

“This helps take the emotion out of your investments, as it is just something you do each week. But it really just works in removing any timings related to the market, you’re not chasing the lows.”

What cryptocurrency to invest in?

With thousands, if not millions, of cryptocurrencies on the market, it can be intimidating to get started.

The most popular coins are Bitcoin, Ethereum, Tether and Binance which are all a solid starting point for your investments.

Mr Edwards identified Ethereum as a popular first choice with many investors, after Bitcoin

“Ethereum is good as it can be described as a layer of the internet, not just a currency. Ethereum is a popular first choice with many investors, after Bitcoin” he said.

“The next, or latest, version of the internet is called Web 3. This is going to be based on things like Eth. The Crypto is allowed to hold computer code and creates this hyper-secure layer which was previously very difficult on the internet.

“The layer of security enables people to be confident with the finances and financial services.”

He added to be wary of things that are too good to be true.

“For people just starting out, the best thing you can do is read and learn from reputable sources. What is really important is looking at who is providing the information and whether they are influencers or have something to gain from you buying their product,” he said.

Finder’s head of consumer research, Graham Cooke, said Australia’s enthusiasm for cryptocurrency has driven its growth.

“Cryptocurrency awareness in Australia is among the highest in the world. 85 per cent of Aussies say they know what cryptocurrency is, much higher than countries like the United States (59 per cent) and the United Kingdom (55 per cent),” he said.

It comes as ‘meme coin’ Shiba Inu rockets in value.

The surge comes amid a broad recovery in crypto with Bitcoin’s value going up to just under US$44,000 (A$61,000) and Ether’s price now at US$3,100 (A$4300).

SHIB tokens surged to $0.0000342 from the $0.000022 over the last day while Dogecoin jumped to $0.1661 from $0.145. Both SHIB and Dogecoin were based off popular internet memes.

The move caused nearly $10 million in losses to liquidations for traders of SHIB-tracked futures products, according to Coin Desk.

After becoming one of the dominant meme currencies of 2021, Shiba Inu’s value had been on a downward trend for the most part since late October.

On October 28 last year, Shiba hit an all-time high of $0.00008845.

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