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Coinbase fires 30 workers and closes Chicago office after just one year

Chicago-based devs were building a fancy new trading engine

Coinbase, cryptocurrency, europe, blockchain, retail, investors, bitcoin, ethereum, exchange

Prominent cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase is set to close its Chicago office just a year after it was opened, and will let go around 30 software engineers in the process, reports Fortune.

The group had been tasked with building a special “matching engine” product for high-frequency trading. A Coinbase spokesperson said the high-frequency trade technology was no longer a priority.

Instead, the firm is to focus on other products like over-the-counter trading and custody services.

Coinbase will reportedly relocate “a small number” of Chicago-based matching engine devs to its main office in San Francisco, as well as maintain a remote sales force in the city.

The Chicago efforts were spearheaded by former CME Group exec Paul Bauerschmidt, who was expected to recruit as many as 100 employees within the next three years, according to Chicago Business.

Last September, Coinbase opened a New York office catering towards institutional clients (read: Wall Street.) It reportedly hired 100 staff, poaching talent from powerhouses like the New York Stock Exchange, Barclays, and Citigroup.

One month later, Coinbase reportedly cut approximately 15 of its some-550 employees, mostly remote support staff. It said that “some teams” – including support, compliance, and fraud – would only hire employees based in Coinbase offices moving forward.

Other blockchain startups have lately undergone similar ‘restructuring.’ Blockchain phone maker Sirin Labs recently let go 25 percent of its workforce, citing a lack of sales.

Ethereum-based software firm ConsenSys did the same with 13 percent of its 1,200-strong staff in the lead-up to last Christmas. Reports later surfaced indicating that number could eventually be as high as 50 or 60 percent.

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Published April 24, 2019 — 09:16 UTC