BENGALURU: Crypto exchange WazirX has laid off 30% of its workforce or over 60 employees, sources confirmed on Friday (September 30). It has been six months now since Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced 30% tax on crypto transactions, and from then on, the crypto industry has been struggling. This coupled with crypto winter and macro-economic situation, the exchanges are bearing the brunt.
Sources told TNIE all is not well with WazirX, which employs close to 200 people. First, it was the Enforcement Directorate probe and then there was clash with Binance over ownership. The ED froze the exchange’s bank accounts worth `64.67 crore in August and recently the crypto exchange said the agency has unfrozen its bank accounts and now the exchange will continue its banking operations as usual.
Though crypto exchanges’ trading volumes have been declining in the last six months, sources said WazirX trading volumes have gone down to just 4 million a month from over 410 million during the same period last year. The crypto exchange has laid off employees from across different departments including communication.
“We got a call on Friday morning and they told us we are being fired. This is a recession period and it is difficult to get a job now. Also, no severance pay has been announced,” one of the former employees on condition of anonymity said. When asked whether Binance and WazirX have resolved their ownership issue, the sources said talks are still on and nobody knows when and how it will be resolved. Soon after the ED probe, Binance, the largest crypto exchange, has disowned WazirX and also ceased off-chain fund transfer between the exchange and WazirX.
WazirX, in a statement, said, “The crypto market has been in the grip of a bear market because of the current global economic slowdown. The Indian crypto industry has had its unique problems with respect to taxes, regulations and banking access. This has led to a dramatic fall in volumes in all Indian crypto exchanges.” It said the exchange’s priority is to be financially stable and to achieve this they had to reduce staff to weather the crypto winter.