Argentine crypto exchange Buenbit lays off 45% of staff due to tech industry downturn

Argentine crypto exchange Buenbit lays off 45% of staff due to tech industry downturn

The company will focus on its current operations in Argentina, Mexico and Peru and freeze earlier plans to expand into other countries.

Argentina-based cryptocurrency exchange Buenbit has laid off 45% of its staff, the company told CoinDesk on Monday.

According to the company, the team now consists of 100 people across its operations in Argentina, Mexico and Peru. The company declined to specify the number of employees laid off, but mathematically, a 45% reduction would mean that about 80 employees were let go.

Buenbit CEO Federico Ogue said in a Twitter thread Monday that the decision was made due to the "global upheaval" in the tech industry, adding that the reduction plan the company has been working on for months is not related to the recent collapse of UST and Luna. As of July 2021, Buenbit said it had 400,000 customers.

Ogue said Buenbit will now focus exclusively on its existing operations in Argentina, Mexico and Peru and put its expansion plans on hold (Ogue told CoinDesk in 2021 that Buenbit was considering launching operations in Colombia and Brazil). It will also work to "maintain a self-sustainable and efficient structure."

Last July, Buenbit raised $11 million in a Series A funding round led by Libertus Capital, in which Galaxy Digital, FJ Labs and Amaiya Management also participated.

In March, the company had given users the opportunity to purchase UST, stating that they could earn a return of up to 18% by wagering.

The company had originally planned to raise funds within a year of the Series A, Ogue said last year, and was considering acquisitions to accelerate growth.

Matias Nisenson, a venture capitalist who had invested in Buenbit, said Monday on Twitter that startups like Buenbit may have had plans to raise more capital to continue growing, but that they face a changing macro environment and investors who are more risk averse.

According to Nisenson, Buenbit had two options. The first is, "I stay as I am and pray that someone gives me capital to maintain my structure. With that option, there's a good chance I'll collapse and have to lay off 100% of my team."

The second option, Nisenseon said, is "I do what I need to do to make my business sustainable without outside capital, even if that means laying off 50% of my team today. Any experienced executive will choose option B; it's the lesser of two evils, as painful as it may be."