Exchange

Skeptic’s lens: Circle is getting leaner, and not just because of the regulatory climate

Quick Take

  • Circle announced this week that it laid off 30 employees in “response to new market conditions, most importantly, an increasingly restrictive regulatory climate in the United States”
  • Poloniex, a cryptocurrency exchange that Circle acquired in February 2018 for $400 million, announced on Friday that it will “geofence” nine tokens from U.S. customers due to regulatory uncertainty
  • While the regulatory climate in the U.S. certainly played a part in the layoffs, there is more to the story than Allaire is letting on
  • Circle’s lower-than-expected OTC business, Poloniex’s waning relevancy as well as issues with raising more capital all likely contributed to the decision

Circle announced this week that it laid off 30 employees from finance and product departments representing approximately 10% of its total staff. Jeremy Allaire, co-founder and CEO of Circle, said the layoffs are an attempt to cut costs in “response to new market conditions, most importantly, an increasingly restrictive regulatory climate in the United States.” He added that Circle “remains strong and healthy” and that it will continue working with jurisdictions “that offer forward-looking policies regulating digital asset businesses.” A closer examination of the numbers, however, puts into question the fortitude of Allaire’s assertion that the business is strong.