Binance.US, the American company associated with the world's largest crypto exchange, isn't worried about the market turmoil that has pushed some of its competitors to tighten their belts. CEO Brian Shroder told employees yesterday that the company is "in the strongest position possible to not only successfully weather this downturn but also emerge as the leading crypto platform in the U.S.," according to an internal Slack message viewed by TechCrunch.
"Our funding round could not have come at a better time and we now have over $250 million in the bank (and at current burn rate we could go years before needing to raise again)," Shroder wrote in the message, which went out to Binance.US's 400+ employees. The exchange is "growing faster than ever and hiring across 80+ positions" and Shroder fully expects its product/tech team to double this year, he added in the note.
Binance.US raised over $200 million in its first external funding round in April this year, just before the markets took a nosedive. The round, which featured investors including RRE Ventures, Foundation Capital, Original Capital, VanEck and Circle Ventures, valued the company at $4.5 billion at the time.
While Binance.US says it's not a subsidiary or affiliate of Binance itself, the company launched as a legal independent entity in 2019 and is tied to Binance through its founder, Changpeng Zhao, as well as through its licensing agreements with Binance that cover its core technology and naming rights.
In his message, Shroder also urged employees to "ignore the noise and short-term fluctuations" of the crypto market, citing the company's staking platform launch last week and "many more exciting announcements and products in the pipeline."
Crypto prices have been plummeting, with both Bitcoin and Ethereum down over 50% since the start of April, and major exchanges have felt the squeeze, in part due to their reliance on trading volumes for revenue. Publicly traded Coinbase announced it was laying off 18% of its global workforce today, while Gemini, the crypto platform co-founded by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, slashed 10% of its own employee base earlier this month. Both firms cited the recent downturn, or "crypto winter," as it's known to many, as the driving factor behind their decision to cut jobs -- a departure from Coinbase's plans just a few months ago to triple its headcount.
FTX, the second-largest crypto exchange after Binance, has seemed to weather the storm relatively well so far. The firm, valued at $32 billion last January, expanded into equities trading in a bid to diversify its business last month and is mulling acquisitions during the downturn. Its founder and CEO, Sam Bankman-Fried, took to Twitter today to weigh in on the broader crypto hiring slowdown, saying that he had repeatedly resisted calls from FTX's venture backers to hire more aggressively.
Last year, the largest piece of negative feedback we got from VCs:
our workforce wasn't growing exponentially enough. We had ~200 employees, they were expecting ~2,000.
We told them additional employees added too quickly were net negative, and they could take it or leave it. https://t.co/hp9G7winDU
— SBF (@SBF_FTX) June 14, 2022
"When it comes to hypergrowth, you can't replace 'growing revenue' with 'growing expenses,'" Bankman-Fried wrote in the Twitter thread. FTX has 300 employees today and plans to grow headcount "sustainably," by ~50% year over year, he added.