† Cyrus Fazel: “The crypto industry has been through a pretty extreme situation”
With 27 departures, including 24 direct jobs, the Lausanne platform SwissBorg has not escaped the wave of layoffs that have been hitting the crypto industry for several weeks now. Its founder Cyrus Fazel refocuses on development and wants to keep his roadmap.
The event was made public on Friday via founder Cyrus Fazel’s Twitter account: Lausanne-based crypto platform SwissBorg, used by nearly 700,000 people in a hundred countries, separates 27 employees, or about 8 to 9% of the workforce.
An announcement that is part of a fundamental trend, with Coinbase announcing the layoffs of 1,100 people (18% of its workforce), BlockFi 20% of its workforce or Gemini of the Winklevoss brothers 10% of its workforce in June. In total, more than 2000 people are said to have lost their jobs in the crypto industry in less than two months.
As the Terra Crash continues to rock the crypto sphere, Cyrus Fazel believes the worst is probably over and upholds his ambitions.
SwissBorg announced the departure of 27 people. In which departments and how many of them in Switzerland?
In terms of direct jobs, we are talking about 24 people, of which 20 are abroad, only 4 in Switzerland. The job cuts target positions where there is not the same need in the bull market or in the bear market i.e. events, marketing, business development. When you grow that fast, sometimes you make a few mistakes.
Technical features, such as developers, are not affected?
No, because the bear market marks the time to refocus on development and prepare for the future. Rather, we recruited a blockchain developer, who was available after his company went bankrupt. We couldn’t offer him the same conditions as his previous employer, but we see that a good developer always finds work.
Should we expect more layoffs at SwissBorg?
We hope it stays that way, we do everything for it. The industry has already been through a rather extreme situation, we see it with all our competitors. BlockFi has had many layoffs, Voyager is on the brink of bankruptcy, Celsius has been in default for several weeks. Blockchain.com also lost 250 million. There was careless governance, with a lot of leverage, as we saw in the case of Three Arrows Capital, which we didn’t do. As in most crises we had a liquidity problem, so many positions had to be liquidated with cascading effects on interconnected players.
SwissBorg itself raised fears because the synthetic ether STETH, to which you are exposed, lost its match with ether. Just after Terra’s UST depeg. Where are we?
Today we are again at less than 2% difference. People make assumptions, but the situation had nothing to do with the UST depeg. I think we are moving towards stabilization in the market. Two of the industry’s biggest players, Alameda and FTX, led by Sam Bankman-Fried, are raising major investments to rescue platforms like BlockFi – 400 million injected – or Voyager. They seem to have decided to stop the bleeding, and certainly have the resources. A 70% drop in the market is already a more than significant correction.
The worst is behind…
I don’t have a crystal ball, but we see semi-qualified investors entering bitcoin at 20,000, which we can see as an attractive price in the medium term. Of course the stabilization is fragile. The strong correlation between the NASDAQ and the crypto market is a dependency factor, we expect the Fed rate announcement on July 28.
Will SwissBorg maintain its ambitious roadmap under the current circumstances?
Some small projects are put on hold, such as payment projects, or the integration of some currencies. But we continue to focus on the main features: ETFs, new à la carte yield products with more control for the investor. Also the play-and-earn part, with the X Borg, and this educational and playful dimension to investment. We will keep building, that’s what the bear markets are made for.
Joan Plancade is an economic and investigative journalist for Bilan, a critical observer of the Swiss and international tech scene. He is interested in fundamental trends that are reshaping the economy and society. More information
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