Ethereum blockchain startup and venture capital firm ConsenSys has laid off 13 percent of its global workforce as it attempts to stem costs and refocus its core vision.
Problems at the company, formally called Consensus Systems Inc., were first detailed in a Forbes article Wednesday that described ConsenSys as having a “weird operating structure.” Both former and current employees said that Chief Executive Officer Joe Lubin (pictured) fails to take leadership, the company suffers from a “lack of traditional structure,” and it fails to hold employees accountable for their actions.
It’s not clear whether those management issues or simply the free-fall in cryptocurrency prices this year was the main driver of the layoffs.
ConsenSys is a somewhat strange company to begin with and could best be described as a hybrid between startup and venture capital firm. Having launched with a crowdfunded token sale in 2014, a predecessor to what became known as initial coin offerings, ConsenSys both designs its own Ethereum-based blockchain platform and invests in companies that use its blockchain.
The company’s portfolio is fairly broad as well, with stakes in more than 50 startups such as Open Mineral, an online metal and mineral exchange based in Switzerland that partnered with ConsenSys in July.
Officially, the layoffs related to what the company describes as “ConsenSys 2.0,” which will see projects “continue to be evaluated with rigor, as the cornerstone of ConsenSys 2.0 is technical excellence, coupled with innovative blockchain business models.”
The buzzword-rich gobbledygook gets better. ConsenSys also said that “ConsenSys is dedicated as ever to our mission of supporting and growing the Ethereum community and #BUIDLing the decentralized future together.”
Ethereum has had a rough year, dropping from a high of nearly $1,400 to $88.32 as of 7:45 p.m. EST today.
ConsenSys raised money in Ethereum and Lubin himself is said to own large amounts of the cryptocurrency. Ethnews noted that “at one point, Lubin was estimated to have made as much as $5 billion in the crypto boom, which led some at ConsenSys to believe that funding would continue to be essentially unlimited for the foreseeable future.”
With its price down more than 90 percent, the article continued, “it is unknown when [Lubin] sold his earnings (or how much he sold).” That makes gauging Lubin’s wealth – and the depths of ConsenSys’ pockets — difficult.
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