Kraken, one of the top cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, has denied rumors that it had laid off hundreds of its staff and was about to shut down its operations in the Canadian city of Halifax
The U.S.-based exchange clarified that it wasn’t in the process of closing shop at the service center due a security breach. As it stands, therefore, the platform continues to provide its users services as usual.
The alleged shut down gathered momentum on social media and in crypto circles, causing alarm within the crypto community.
The rumor surfaced on Reddit
The rumor about the impending shut down first appeared on Reddit, where a user claimed that the exchange had “just laid off hundreds of people in response to a security [breach].”
The alarming post quickly caught the attention of the community, receiving hundreds of comments.
The rumor received even more impetus when one of the Reddit users posted what appeared to be the situation on the ground.
“MysteriousPlankton”, probably one of the affected employees at the center, wrote that Kraken officials at Halifax had asked staff to voluntarily resign and accept an eight-week “severance package” pay.
The post also added that those who did not accept these terms by last Friday risked being laid off.
He further stated that:
“Security everywhere, required to hand in door fobs. Sitting in the lunchroom, get told that due to volumes being down (both trading and support ticket), and in light of the opening of a new office in Asia, we need to reduce costs, and layoff of recently hired (<3 months, approx 57 people) was not enough.”
Another post claimed that the lay-off was massive, with almost every section of the back-office workforce affected.
According to the user, those affected included employees in the KYC/AML compliance section, security and investigations, and the deposit/withdrawal teams.
Kraken denies rumors
Kraken acknowledges that it has laid-off a number of its staff at the Canada-based offices, but denies rumors that it was due to an imminent shut down of operations.
It has also clarified that its network at the service center did not suffer any security breach.
“We can confirm that we are not shutting down any operations in any specific place, and there has been no security breach. Everything is fine & secure.”
The circulation of the rumors on social media also caught the attention of the company’s co-founder and CEO Jesse Powell. In a tweet, Powell also dispelled the false claims about a shutdown or occurrence of a security breach.
He, however, acknowledged that indeed the exchange had laid off a number of employees at the Halifax office. According to him, the firm cut the client service personnel by about 10 percent as a cost-saving measure.
Powell denied the allegation that the lay-off involved hundreds of people. He also stated that the decision to cut personnel size did not involve other teams within the office, emphasizing that the company was, in fact, hiring globally.
Kraken has since made it clear that it only sent home 57 employees saying that “business needs change”. The company’s tweet also confirmed that it gave the affected employees a soft landing in terms of a severance package.
In July, the platform published a blog post in which its CEO explained that Kraken took the issue of customer service very seriously.
He said that security and customer service were the two areas the exchange wanted to streamline in preparation for massive crypto adoption in the next few years.
“Customer service is deeply important to Kraken. It is core to our brand and company culture. Security first and customer service second.”
The firm announced at the start of the year that it would expand its team by hiring over 800 new employees by the end of 2018. That could yet still be the goal, part of the global hiring initiative alluded to by the co-founder Jesse Powell.
Founded in 2011, the San Francisco-based exchange is the leading bitcoin exchange as per volume and liquidity in euro. It also offers bitcoin margin trading and allows leveraged trading of up to 5x.