Indian crypto exchange WazirX has laid off nearly 40% of its 150-strong workforce. The company cited bear market impacts as the reason for reducing the workforce. It said the lay-off became necessary to ensure financial stability and continue to serve existing customers.
“The crypto market has been in the grip of a bear market because of the current global economic slowdown… As India’s No 1. exchange, our priority is to be financially stable and to continue serving our customers. To achieve this, we’ve had to reduce our staff to weather the crypto winter,” the company said in a statement shared with media outlets.
Recently, WazirX was in the news for delisting USDC, USDP, and TUSD stablecoins to consolidate BUSD.
Sources said that workforce reduction had been implemented across departments and job roles. People were removed from customer support, HR, and other departments, including managers, team leaders, and analysts. All members of the public policy and communication team have been removed.
Those removed were informed on Friday and given 45 days’ salary. Besides, they were told not to report to work.
WazirX was believed to be the top Indian crypto exchange until the final days of March this year. From April 1, a slew of new taxes and stringent regulatory and banking access restrictions kicked in. Together, these measures spearheaded a sharp fall in trading volume for all India-focused crypto exchanges.
For WazirX, the trading volume dropped from one year high of 478 million on October 21, 2021, to 1.5 million on October 1, 2022. On some days, the volume was below one million.
“The Indian crypto industry has had its unique problems concerning taxes, regulations, and banking access. This has led to a dramatic fall in volumes in all Indian crypto exchanges,” the exchange said in its statement.
WazirX is one of the several crypto exchanges and fintech companies being investigated for suspected money laundering by India’s financial crime investigation agency, the Directorate of Enforcement (ED). Recently, a bank account of one of the directors of the company was frozen after a raid by the investigators. The bank account with a nearly $8 million balance has since been restored.
But the suspected murky transactions kicked off a public spat between Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao and WazirX CEO Nischal Shetty. Following the ED raid and freezing of the bank account, CZ expressed concerns over the matter in a tweet.
Shetty replied, saying Binance owns WazirX. To This, CZ clarified that the deal to takeover WazirX was never complete, and Binance only offered technical support such as wallet and offline transaction services.
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