Coinbase stock pops on plans to slash workforce


Singapore has granted Coinbase regulatory approval to run cryptocurrency-related services in the island state. It is a big win for Coinbase as it continues to expand internationally despite continued pressure on the crypto market.

Jakub Porzycki | Nurphoto | Getty Images

Shares of Coinbase closed up 12% on Tuesday after the cryptocurrency exchange announced it will cut 20% of its workforce.

The company, which reported a head count of roughly 4,700 employees in September, said it will eliminate around 950 positions. Coinbase slashed 18% of its workforce in June during a collapse in its stock and crypto prices.

Early in 2022, Coinbase said it planned to add 2,000 jobs across product, engineering and design. CEO Brian Armstrong said he’s now trying to shift the culture at Coinbase to “get back to its start-up roots” of smaller teams that can move quickly. 

“With perfect hindsight, looking back, we should have done more,” Armstrong told CNBC in a phone interview. “The best you can do is react quickly once information becomes available, and that’s what we’re doing in this case.”

Coinbase is the latest tech company to cut jobs after going on a hiring spree during the Covid pandemic. On Wednesday, Amazon said it would eliminate 18,000 jobs, more than it initially estimated in 2022, and Salesforce said it reduced its headcount by more than 7,000, or 10%. Elon Musk slashed about half of Twitter’s workforce after taking the helm as CEO in October, and Meta cut more than 11,000 jobs, or 13%. Crypto companies Genesis, Gemini and Kraken have also reduced their workforces. 

Coinbase’s stock jump Tuesday extended its rally from Monday, when shares of the exchange soared after JMP analysts said they believe the company has the potential to thrive in the long term.

The analysts maintained their outperform rating on the stock and said they remain excited about the “real-world innovation” taking place in the crypto industry. Following the spectacular collapse of the crypto exchange FTX in November, the analysts said, they recognize that the fallout has set the industry back significantly, possibly by years.

However, the analysts said the crypto asset class remains in its infancy and they believe “declaring victory on either side at this early stage is unwise.”

“While this is clearly a period of stress for the industry, we believe the strongest companies (including Coinbase) will survive and even thrive in the long term,” they wrote in a note Monday.

— CNBC’s Kate Rooney contributed to this report.

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