Now, billionaire bitcoin twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss have been forced to lay off 10% of the workforce at their Gemini crypto exchange—warning the market has entered a “contraction phase” known as “crypto winter.”
“The crypto revolution is well underway and its impact will continue to be profound,” the twins wrote in a memo to staff.
“But its trajectory has been anything but gradual or predictable. Its path can best be described as punctuated equilibrium—periods of equilibrium or stasis that are punctuated by dramatic moments of hypergrowth, followed by sharp contractions that settle down to a new equilibrium that is higher than the one before. This is where we are now, in the contraction phase that is settling into a period of stasis—what our industry refers to as ‘crypto winter.'”
The crypto price crash has wiped more than $1.5 trillion worth of value from the combined crypto market in recent months as price of bitcoin, ethereum and other cryptocurrencies plummet in the face of an increasingly hawkish Federal Reserve, the economic fallout from Russia’s war in Ukraine and continued supply chain issues in China.
The twins wrote the “turbulent market conditions that are likely to persist for some time.” Following bitcoin’s huge 2017 rally, the market went into a multi-year period of contraction, with the bitcoin price losing almost 90% of its value before beginning to rebound. Other smaller cryptocurrencies saw even sharper declines and many have never recovered.
The Winklevoss brothers, who are also known for their early involvement in the creation of Facebook, are thought to have lost around 40% of their fortunes this year, according to a report by Bloomberg last month. The twins are each worth $3.6 billion, according to Forbes‘ calculations.
Elsewhere, another major crypto exchange Coinbase has announced it’s extending its hiring freeze indefinitely and has had to rescind some already accepted job offers.
“We will extend our hiring pause for the foreseeable future,” Coinbase chief people officer LJ Brock wrote in a blog post, pointing to the crypto crash as weighing on its business. “We will also rescind a number of outstanding offers for people who have not started yet.”
Coinbase, which has seen its stock price plummet since it made its market debut just over a year ago, recently reported a 35% revenue slump to $1.17 billion for the three months ended March 31.