Major cryptocurrency exchange Huobi has recently dismissed 60% of its workforce in Brazil, a country it entered a few months ago. While the motive behind the move is currently unclear, competition in the country could be the culprit.
According to local news outlet Portal do Bitcoin, Huobi Brazil’s CEO Frank Tao confirmed over the phone that 6 of the exchange’s 10 employees in the country have been dismissed. They were warned in late October and early November that their contracts wouldn’t be renewed.
Per the report, one ex-employee that asked not to be identified claimed most of those that abandoned the workforce were hired as freelancers, and that management and operations-related positions that were most affected. The source reportedly added:
“I was surprised at the dismissal. It was nothing about the market. Probably an external factor. In September the team was closed. By October, they decided not to continue with their local operations. It was an order that came from the head office.”
Tao reportedly didn’t offer the news outlet any additional comments regarding the move. According to Portal do Bitcoin, he argued he was in a meeting at the time, and never picked up the phone again. The motives behind Huobi’s decision are currently unclear.
As CCN covered, the popular cryptocurrency exchange entered the South American country back in May of this year. At the time, reports revealed it was marketing its platform in Brazil, and was attempting to recruit regional staff.
Some in the country believed the exchange was going to force local exchanges to step up their game thanks to the massive liquidity of its international platform. Per the local news outlet’s report, however, it never added fiat currency trading pairs and, presumably, ended up falling behind.
Notably, Brazil’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, Mercado Bitcoin, fired “at least” 20 of its employees last month, in a move the exchange claimed to be making as it was focusing on “professionalization, better governance, and more agility in customer service.” In both cases, the employees that were let go hadn’t been working at the exchanges for a long time.
Brazil’s biggest investment firm, XP Investimentos, also launched a cryptocurrency exchange in the country this year, called XDEX. While it does offer fiat trading pairs, it doesn’t let users deposit or withdraw bitcoin. So far it appears to be healthy, as it has even launched its own mobile app.
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