This year’s crypto crash has turned the screws on companies in the industry, forcing many to cut costs and downsize after a period of skyrocketing growth.
reland attracted several major cryptocurrency companies around this time as they entered the EU market obtaining regulatory licenses and sought to put operational boots on the ground.
But a dramatic slump in crypto stocks earlier this year raises questions about future expansion plans, especially since values have yet to rebound to their previous highs.
Bitcoin, the world’s largest cryptocurrency, hit $58,000 before dropping dramatically in June. It is currently worth around $19,500 while other cryptocurrencies have suffered the same fate.
It is in this context that Gemini, the cryptocurrency exchange led by Cameron and Tyler Winkelvoss, announced its official launch in the Irish market earlier this month.
Gemini, which generates revenue from investors trading and storing their crypto assets, laid off staff during the summer months as it sought to contain post-crisis costs.
The New York-based company said that despite strong headwinds against the crypto space, it remains committed to its Irish hiring plans.
“Gemini is strengthening the team in Ireland and continuing to hire key roles, currently employing staff in roles across operations, finance, compliance, customer service, legal, technology, product , trade and commerce,” a Gemini spokeswoman said.
“The team works in an integrated way with Gemini colleagues around the world. Our future hiring needs in the market will be in line with our growth in Ireland and Europe as we expand in the region.
Gemini, which has also received license approvals from the Central Bank of Ireland, did not disclose headcounts at its Dublin base.
Prior to this year’s rout, several companies in the sector had launched recruitment campaigns for Irish bases, but for companies whose business is linked to such volatile assets as cryptocurrencies, the cost of hiring is now a challenge.
Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume, has been gradually building up an Irish operation over the past two years.
More recently, he ousted Karl Long, a former State Street executive
The company, which is notoriously shy when it comes to talking about its corporate structure and the exact location of its head office, has registered several entities in Ireland since 2020 and has started to ramp up recruitment.
More recently, he brought on Karl Long, a former State Street executive, as managing director for Ireland, while adding business development managers and a compliance manager.
A Binance spokesperson declined to provide an update on the status of the company’s Irish plans.
While Binance seems to be moving forward despite the gloomy economic outlook, the activities of other crypto companies in Ireland are less clear.
Crypto.com, another major cryptocurrency exchange, has hired a handful of staff in Ireland since late 2021 after confirming plans to establish a base in Dublin while pursuing an e-money license with the Central Bank.
The company recently splashed the cash to establish itself in the mainstream by running a Super Bowl commercial with Matt Damon and becoming an official sponsor of the World Cup in Qatar. But it has also been hammered by the onset of the crypto winter with several rounds of job cuts since mid-year.
Crypto.com declined to say whether Ireland was affected.
Kraken, another major cryptocurrency exchange, launched a hiring spree in Ireland last year.
The company announced in June that it would add 500 people to its operations, including hiring in Ireland, “despite a sharp decline in crypto prices and an uncertain macro environment.”
Ripple, a blockchain payment company, also started hiring for an office in Dublin this year as part of efforts to expand its office footprint globally. Ripple declined to comment on the status of its presence in Dublin.
Prior to these recent arrivals, Dublin was home to a number of companies that have weathered various crypto downturns over the years.
Coinbase, one of the most recognized cryptocurrency companies in the world, opened its Dublin office in 2018 to serve the European market.
The company has obtained a license in Ireland to continue its European operations after Brexit.
In June, Coinbase cut approximately 1,100 jobs from its global workforce. In the Dublin office, around 7% of its staff have been made redundant.
The company has not disclosed its workforce in Ireland, but it is thought to have around 250 people at the start of this year.
Since opening the Dublin office, Coinbase has experienced rapid growth emblematic of the broader crypto market boom.
This was exemplified by Coinbase’s initial public offering on the Nasdaq in early 2021, debuting with a market capitalization of $85 billion. Its market cap is now just under $15 billion.
While crypto companies had a shocking 2022, traditional financial services continued to flirt with technology.
Last week, financial services firm Fidelity Investments announced 300 new jobs in several of its technology functions in Dublin and Galway, including software engineering, cloud computing and cybersecurity.
The company has established a large digital asset division internationally and recently listed roles in Dublin for the digital asset arm, including operations analysts and bitcoin customer service representatives.
Meanwhile, Standard Chartered’s Zodia Custody, a digital asset custodian division that targets institutional investors, obtained a license for digital assets and crypto services from the Central Bank of Ireland in August.
This is the UK-based company’s first expansion into the European market and it plans to serve the rest of the EU from the new Dublin base.
Only Zodia Custody and Gemini have been approved by the Central Bank of Ireland for virtual asset licensing to date.
Block, the payments company run by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, has applied for such a license in Ireland to support its Cash App product, a mobile payment app, in Europe.