In this edition of The Daily, we cover reports that the U.S. exchange Coinbase has laid off some of its remote workforce. We also look at news that Bitfury is considering holding an initial public offering like Bitmain. Also, a court in Moscow has reject an appeal against the ban imposed on the popular messenger Telegram.
Coinbase Lays Off 15 Employees, Report
California-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has reportedly laid off some employees this week. The cuts have affected its customer support, compliance, and fraud departments. According to sources quoted by Yahoo Finance, more than 15 people have been released from duties, mostly remote staffers. Coinbase has confirmed the layoffs but declined to specify the number.
The personnel cuts in the U.S. crypto company, which is thought to be preparing to go public, come after a major funding round this month that raised its valuation to $8 billion. The cryptocurrency trading platform employs around 550 people. Coinbase’s remote customer support team was built in the past few years to accommodate its growing user base. The exchange claims to have 25 million customers worldwide. The San-Francisco-headquartered business has offices in New York, Chicago, Portland, London, Dublin, and Tokyo.
According to the report, Coinbase’s new customer service executive, Tina Bhatnagar, wants to centralize the operations of the department. As a result, some members of the remote support team have been laid off, while others have been offered to relocate to one of the company’s offices. In a written statement, Coinbase commented: “We’ve learned that certain teams who are co-located are more efficient, effective, and happier in their roles. So moving forward, some teams – Including Support, Fraud, and Compliance – will only hire employees into Coinbase offices.”
Bitfury Considers Initial Public Offering
Mining hardware producer Bitfury is exploring a number of business options including an initial public offering (IPO). The IPO can be held in Amsterdam, London or Hong Kong, said sources familiar with the matter quoted by Bloomberg. According to the report, raising debt financing or selling a minority stake are also among the alternatives currently reviewed by the company. Some estimates suggest that the decision to go public could raise its valuation to between $3 and $5 billion.
Bitfury has so far declined to comment on the matter but the move wouldn’t be a huge surprise. Bitmain, the Beijing-based mining giant and hardware manufacturer, has already filed for an IPO and seeks approval to be listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange. In August, market observers predicted the Chinese company could raise up to $3 billion. Earlier reports were more optimistic. Bitmain’s listing is expected in the first quarter of 2019.
Moscow Court Turns Down Appeal Against Telegram Ban
The Moscow City Court has rejected a cassation appeal filed against the Russian blockade of Telegram, RIA Novosti reported quoting the court’s press secretary, Ulyana Solopova. The clampdown on the messenger, popular among crypto enthusiasts around the world, started with attempts by Russia’s telecom watchdog, Roskomnadzor, to restrict the service. They followed a decision issued by a district court in the capital city on Apr. 13, 2018, which came in response to Telegram’s refusal to hand over its encryption keys to the Federal Security Service (FSB). The agency insists the messaging app is used by terrorist suspects.
The city court now says that Telegram’s claimed inability to provide the keys is not a reasonable ground for non-compliance with the law. References to provisions safeguarding the privacy of correspondence have been rejected as well with the presiding judge stating that the information needed to decode the messages does not constitute a secret protected by the Russian constitution. The efforts to block access to the messaging platform have been largely unsuccessful. In August, Telegram agreed to share information with authorities in cases in which the court has issued an order.
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