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Coinbase-Backed Indian Crypto Exchange Vauld Lays Off 30% Workforce

Coinbase-Backed Indian Crypto Exchange Vauld Lays Off 30% Workforce

The company had increased its headcount by 28% over the last six months, its LinkedIn profile shows

Bathija said that Vauld will give two months of salaries, retain their signing and/or joining bonus and health insurance

It is planning to reduce marketing costs, slowing hiring, cutting executive compensation and pausing engagements with vendors

Hyderabad-based cryptocurrency exchange Vauld has joined the growing list of Indian startups that have laid off employees amid the ongoing economic downturn. The startup has laid off around 30% of its workforce as crypto prices have crashed over the recent few weeks, along with the taxation regime and the resultant downturn in trade volumes.

The crypto exchange did not specify a number. The company had increased its headcount by 28% over the last six months, its LinkedIn profile shows, along with two recent senior management hirings.

Vauld has confirmed the development without divulging the total number of employees impacted during the layoffs. Per a Twitter thread posted by the cofounder and CEO Darshan Bhatija, the layoffs took place last Friday (June 17).

The company’s LinkedIn profile shows that it had 97 employees on its payroll before the layoffs. Going by that, the company has roughly laid off around 29-30 employees. The roles that were impacted include marketing, talent acquisition and others, the company said.

Founded in 2018 by Bhatija and Sanju Soni Kurian, Vauld is based in Singapore, while most of its workforce is based in India. It supports trading in Bitcoin, Ethereum, XRP, BAT, XLM, USDT, USDC, BUSD, TUSD and DAI.

The crypto exchange has the backing of Valar Ventures, Pantera Capital and Coinbase Ventures, among others. It had last raised $25 Mn in a Series A round last July. So far, it has raised $27 Mn in venture capital funding.

According to the Twitter statement by Bhatija, the outgoing employees will receive two months’ salary, retain their signing and/or joining bonus and a health insurance cover for the employees and their families for 12 months. Vauld will also provide outplacement support to the employees that have been laid off.

Vauld is also taking more measures to cut down on its costs. It is planning to reduce marketing costs, slowing down hiring, cutting executive compensation by half and pausing engagements with most of its vendors.

“Sanju and I started Vauld during the last crypto winter and we’re here because we carefully managed expenses then. We believe that these measures are necessary so that we’re very strong in the long term. This in no way affects the services or products we offer to our clients nor their investments,” Bhatija said in a statement.

Vauld has become the second crypto exchange to have laid off employees in India. Earlier this month, Coinbase laid off 1,100 people globally, with almost 8%, or 25-30 people, of the Indian team impacted as well.

Around the world, a freefalling crypto market has seen layoffs happen at multiple crypto startups and companies. One of the biggest layoffs happened at Bybit, which saw a third of the 2,000-strong workforce laid off on June 21.

At the same time, CEO Kris Marszalek also said the company is laying off 5% of its staff, or around 260 employees. Further, crypto-based lending platform BlockFi laid off 20% of its employees or around 850 employees.

Over the last week, Bitcoin fell down to as low as $18,948 apiece. Given that in November 2021, it had rallied to $66,272, the biggest cryptocurrency has reduced by 71% in the last eight months.

An increasingly hostile policy framework towards cryptocurrency in India, which includes heavy taxation and increased criticism from the government and other stakeholders has resulted in many crypto exchanges struggling to cope as trade volumes tumble. The added pressure of the value of crypto falling has sent these crypto exchanges reeling.

The current layoff has taken the number of startups that have laid off employees in 2022 to 28, according to Inc42’s Indian Startup Layoff Tracker

Indian startups have collectively laid off more than 10,000 employees in the past six months or so, with consumer services, edtech and ecommerce being the worst impacted sectors.

The three sectors have seen 18 startups lay off 8,659 employees so far. This means that almost 9 in every 10 employees laid off were working in either consumer services, ecommerce or edtech.

The development was first reported by MoneyControl.

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