The first two weeks of 2024 have been full of excitement and upheaval in the world of cryptocurrency. The US approval of BTC ETFs has caused major market volatility, but things seemed to be settling down until a fresh setback hit the crypto sector. Near Foundation, a non-profit organization based in Zug, Switzerland, has announced plans to lay off 40 percent of its workforce as part of an internal restructuring effort.
On January 11, Near Protocol revealed that it was letting go of 35 employees from its marketing, business development, and community teams. The foundation explained its decision, citing feedback from the NEAR Foundation Council (NFC) that they had not always been as effective as they could be, often moving too slowly and trying to do too many things at once.
It’s worth noting that Near Protocol did not report any losses in 2023, and actually ranked third on a list of top ten blockchains by Unique Active Wallets (UAWs) in 2023, according to a DapperLabs report. The foundation’s treasury remains strong, with over $285 million in fiat, 305 million NEAR tokens worth over $1 billion, and $70 million allocated to investments and loans.
Despite the layoffs, the Near Foundation is focused on consolidating its core team to work on a narrower and higher-impact set of activities, and has promised to support affected colleagues in finding new opportunities within the NEAR ecosystem and the Web3 industry.
In 2023, Near Protocol managed to secure promising partnerships with projects such as South Korean metaverse platform Zep and China’s Alibaba Group, aiming to foster Web3 growth in Asia. Overall, the announcement of the layoffs may have put a damper on the excitement in the cryptocurrency world, but Near Protocol remains committed to its mission.
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In conclusion, the layoff of Near Protocol’s workforce marking 2024’s first major layoff in Web3 serves as a reminder of the volatile and rapidly evolving nature of the blockchain industry. It highlights the need for companies and employees to remain adaptable and prepared for potential market shifts. As the sector continues to develop, it will be crucial for stakeholders to prioritize flexibility, resilience, and strategic planning in order to navigate the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.