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Amber Group is cutting its Hong Kong workforce in half as crypto winter continues to dampen the market.
The Singapore headquartered unicorn, which started in Hong Kong, will cut its staff size to 40 on its home turf.
Jobs affected include IT, risk management and compliance. Its entire internal audit team has also reportedly been made redundant. Over the past few months, Amber cut its compliance team from over 20 to under 5 globally.
In Hong Kong itself, Amber has moved its Central office to Causeway Bay to cut costs and has delayed payment of bills to third-party vendors including consultants. Some are in arrears for up to six months.
Amber said the firm is “anticipating and preparing itself for an extremely conservative position, so that it can go the long mile, even if it means having to go back to core business fundamentals during this period.”
Its retail operation WhaleFin is also shutting down and the group will terminate its sponsorship deal with Chelsea FC which saw the WhaleFin logo displayed on the team’s jersey sleeves.
In December, the Temasek-backed crypto firm laid off hundreds of employees, with the headcount at some of its teams being cut by 50%. Amber had previously cut 30–40% of its overall headcount in September.
That same month, rumours circulated on Twitter suggesting that Amber “lost all of their funds” on FTX and “is closing down.” At the time, Amber emphasised that it “has no exposure to Alameda or $FTT. But similar to most trading firms, we have been an active trading participant on FTX. While we have significantly reduced our exposure over the course of the week, we still have withdrawals that have yet to be processed.”
Amber claimed their exposure to FTX represents less than 10% of their total trading capital.
However, later that month, Amber acquired crypto options trading platform Sparrow ahead of completing a US$300 million Series C funding round. The round was led by Fenbushi Capital US, with participation from “other crypto-native investors and family offices”.
Not only did the surprise funding come amid troubled times for Amber Group, with the company facing allegations of a potential insolvency, it also followed the untimely death of its 30-year-old co-founder Tiantian Kullander, which happened just days before.
Read more: Amber Group Closes US$300M Funding Round