Circle slashes workforce by 10 per cent as US cryptocurrency regulations bite

By Roger Baird on Friday 24 May 2019

Savings and Investment

The cryptocurrency platform said it was ‘deeply frustrated’ by the Securities and Exchange Commission's closer scrutiny of the market.

Circle slashes workforce by 10 per cent as US cryptocurrency regulations bite
Image source: David McBee at Pexels

Cryptocurrency platform Circle has laid off ten percent of its workforce, blaming “restrictive” regulatory conditions in the US.

The start up will lose most of the jobs at its Boston headquarters, with a number of administration posts going at its New York office.

The job losses comes after the US Securities and Exchange Commission moved to bring cryptocurrencies under tighter regulation in April, saying it was minded to consider most digital assets as “investment contracts” that came under its jurisdiction.

Regulators around the world are moving to establish greater control and bear down on fraud on over 2,200 cryptocurrencies worth $248bn, according to CoinMarketCap.

Circle founder and chief executive Jeremy Allaire said on Twitter: "We are deeply frustrated that we needed to take these steps, but they are the direct result of the signaling from the recent guidance, in which US regulators are taking an extremely broad view of what crypto assets might be deemed securities.”

He added: “Circle remains strong and healthy, and we will continue to drive new product innovation and growth globally, working with jurisdictions that offer forward-looking policies regulating digital asset businesses, while we press for more balanced crypto policy in the US.”

The 2013 start up backed by Goldman Sachs, moved to restrict trading on its digital token exchange Poloniex to non-US markets last week, citing the uncertain regulatory climate.

Last February, Circle bought Boston-based Poloniex for a reported $400m to boost its position as one of the leading players in the cryptocurrency market.

Circle said at the time the acquisition gave it control of a marketplace where daily volumes sometimes topped $2bn, where around 70 different digital currencies and tokens are traded.

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