Singapore-Based Crypto Unicorn Amber Group Cuts Hong Kong Workforce, Reports SCMP

Singapore-based digital asset manager, Amber Group, has cut its Hong Kong staff by half to 40, while shedding risk management, audit and compliance jobs, to try to weather a price slump of cryptocurrencies and a cascade of bankruptcies in the sector, according to a report in the South China Morning Post on Wednesday, citing a person with knowledge of the developments.

See related article: Amber Group launches CreatorFi NFT initiative to connect traditional crypto worlds

Fast facts

  • The SCMP report said Amber cut its Hong Kong compliance workforce to five from 20 people and laid off its entire audit team. It did not mention the operations of the Singapore headquarters or the total number of Amber staff.

  • Payments to many of the company’s third-party suppliers have been delayed, in some cases for up to six months, the report said, citing one person who declined to be identified as not authorized to speak to the media.

  • The report said Amber, which was founded in 2017 in Hong Kong and later moved its headquarters to Singapore, told the SCMP on Jan. 13 that it had 100 employees in Hong Kong and was “preparing for a position extremely conservative.”

  • Amber, whose inventors include Sequoia Capital China and Singapore’s Temasek Holdings, had moved its local offices from Hong Kong’s central business district to cheaper facilities in Causeway Bay to cut costs, according to the report.

  • Amber shut down her cryptocurrency exchange WhaleFin in December and canceled its £20 million ($25 million) a year advertising deal with English Premier League soccer club Chelsea FC for the 2022-23 season. according to an earlier report by Bloomberg.

  • Amber went Unicorn, a privately owned startup with a valuation of over $1 billion, in June 2021 after closing a $100 million Series B fundraising round and declaring plans to go public by few years.

  • Following the failure of Bahamas-based cryptocurrency exchange FTX in November, exchange BlockFi Inc. filed for bankruptcy, and around the same time, Hong Kong-based exchange AAX shut down services to clients with reports unlikely to reopen. It was reported on Thursday morning that US-based crypto lender Genesis was preparing to file for bankruptcy.

  • Last week, the largest US-based cryptocurrency exchange, Coinbase Global Inc., reduced its remaining workforce by an additional 20%.

  • The total market capitalization of cryptocurrencies has plunged 56% from a year ago to $966 billion.

See related article: Hong Kong arrests two on suspicion of involvement in AAX digital asset fraud

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