In the last year, the NEAR blockchain’s daily user count has surged. Averaging around a million per day in recent weeks, only Tron (TRX) and BNB chain regularly have more daily active addresses than NEAR, which has also registered significant growth in transaction activity.
And yet, despite the apparent strength of the ecosystem, the NEAR Foundation has reduced its headcount by 40%. Do the layoffs suggest the Web3 non-profit is in trouble?
In a blog post explaining the recent job cuts, NEAR Foundation CEO Illia Polosukhin said the decision followed a review of the organization’s activities, which concluded that a leaner team, more focused on high-impact tasks would be able to achieve its goals faster.
Accordingly, the layoffs will mostly affect the Foundation’s marketing, business development and community teams, while the engineering department remains unaffected.
Pointing to the organization’s changing role as the NEAR ecosystem evolves and further decentralizes, Polosukhin said: “Over time, the Foundation’s footprint will continue to contract.”
In the early months of 2023, an avalanche of Web3 job cuts appeared to suggest an industry in crisis. After the previous year’s crypto winter, dwindling investment and diminished treasury funds forced many businesses and non-profits to lay off staff.
Often blaming market conditions, 58 crypto firms laid off more than 5,000 employees last year, with nearly half of all job cuts occurring in the first quarter. Meanwhile, amid more bullish crypto markets and an uptick in venture capital investment, in rhe fourth quarter, there were only 276 jobs cut across eight crypto firms.
With many analysts and investors expecting the crypto market to grow in 2024, a strong bull run could catalyze an increase in Web3 investment. After last year’s mass layoffs, more favorable market conditions could boost growth in the sector and create new jobs to replace those lost previously.
Although no industry is immune from the influence of financial markets, Web3 businesses have proven especially vulnerable to boom and bust cycles created by volatile cryptocurrency prices. If the years ahead bring market gains and Web3 growth, responsible employers should make the most of it by preparing for the bad times that could follow.