Crypto Exchanges OSL and Amber Are Latest to Cut Staff as Crypto Contagion Bites Deep

Despite the recent recovery witnessed across the cryptocurrency sector, crypto companies are still feeling the effects of the collapse of FTX. Crypto exchanges in Hong Kong have not been spared from the contagion, with the OSL and Amber exchanges announcing plans to reduce expenses by trimming the workforce.

OSL and Amber exchanges to reduce staff

A report by the local publication SCMP noted that OSL was planning to lower its operating expenses by around 33%. OSL noted that its decision to reduce staff numbers was caused by the current market conditions. However, the exchange has not revealed the number of employees its plans to let go.

OSL is the subsidiary of BC Technology Group which is listed in Hong Kong. In December 2020, the company obtained the first license to run a virtual asset trading platform targeting professional investors.

Amber Group is another Hong Kong-based exchange that is also trimming its workforce. Amber is an exchange founded in Hong Kong, and its headquarters are in Singapore. The exchange is laying off staff in the IT, risk management, and compliance divisions. Amber has already made its internal audit team redundant.

One of the main actions that Amber has taken to lower costs is closing its office in the Hong Kong Central business district. The exchange moved its offices to a cheaper location. Amber had emerged as one of the leading players in the crypto industry, having received funding rounds of over $100 million during the last quarter.

In December, Amber raised $300 million in a Series C funding round spearheaded by Fenbushi Capital. In February, it closed a $200 million funding round led by Temasek. In early 2022, Amber had a valuation of $3 billion.

Crypto contagion attracts regulatory scrutiny

Over the past year, the series of negative events that have rocked the crypto industry have attracted regulatory scrutiny. The demise of FTX and other crypto firms saw crypto investors losing billions of dollars, and regulators are working on ensuring that the crypto firms still in operation are compliant.

Earlier this week, the US Department of Justice announced that it had arrested the co-founder of Bitzlato, a cryptocurrency exchange based in Hong Kong. According to authorities, the exchange had processed around $700 million in illicit funds and had a close association with the Hydra Market dark web marketplace.

The co-founder of Bitzlato, Anatoly Legkodymov, is a Russian national who run the company from Shenzen, China. Legkodymov was arrested in Miami due to his involvement in money laundering through Bitzlato.

However, Hong-Kong based exchanges are not the only ones that have felt the pinch of the bear market that persisted for most of 2022. US-based exchange Coinbase recently announced that it would be laying off more staff. Coinbase had already reduced its workforce in 2022. Crypto.com, another leading crypto exchange, also recently announced it would be trimming its workforce because of the ongoing market conditions.

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