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Hong Kong Crypto Layoffs: Singapore’s Amber Group Downsizes Workforce

Amber Group

Singapore-based digital asset management firm Amber Group has reportedly cut its Hong Kong staff by half, from 80 to 40 people.

According to a report by the South China Morning Post, Amber has cut its compliance workforce in Hong Kong to just five people from 20, and made its entire auditing team redundant.

The report also states that payments to many of the company’s third-party vendors have been delayed, in some cases by up to six months.

Amber was founded in 2017 in Hong Kong, but later moved its head office to Singapore. The company had previously stated that it had 100 employees in Hong Kong and that it was “preparing itself for an extremely conservative position.”

In an effort to reduce costs, Amber has also moved its local offices from Hong Kong’s central business district to lower-priced facilities in Causeway Bay.

In December, Amber shut down its crypto exchange WhaleFin and cancelled the exchange’s £20 million ($25 million) a year advertising deal with the English Premier League soccer team Chelsea FC for the 2022-23 season.

Despite these challenges, Amber became a unicorn, a privately-owned startup with a valuation of over $1 billion, in June 2021 after closing a $100 million Series B fundraising round and stating plans to go public within a few years.

The digital asset industry has been hit hard by the recent failures of Bahamas-based FTX cryptocurrency exchange, BlockFi Inc., Hong Kong-based AAX, and the recent reports of U.S.-based crypto lender Genesis preparing to file for bankruptcy.

Last week, the largest U.S.-based crypto exchange Coinbase Global Inc., also cut its remaining workforce by a further 20%.

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