WazirX Lays Off 150 Employees Due To Market Pressures and India’s Harsh Tax Policy
According to a recent report, a large number of employees of cryptocurrency exchange WazirX have been laid off due to a bear market combined with India’s harsh tax policy.
The Indian exchange WazirX informed CoinDesk on October 1 that it had terminated many staff.
Three sources with knowledge of the situation informed CoinDesk that between 50 and 70 workers, or 40 percent of the 150 people employed by the exchange, were let go. The laid-off employees were informed on Friday that they would be paid for 45 days, that they would no longer be needed to report for work, and that their access would be revoked at the same time.
“The crypto market has been in the grip of a bear market because of the current global economic slowdown,(…). The Indian crypto industry has had its unique problems with respect to taxes, regulations and banking access. This has lead to a dramatic fall in volumes in all Indian crypto exchanges.”
According to the exchange, cutting staff and cutting costs will make it possible for them to ensure a stable financial source to serve customers. The situation is similar to the times the industry faced in 2018.
One of the sources said “the workforce has been cut from several departments including customer support, HR, and other departments. Managers, Analysts, Associate Managers/Team leaders were among those laid off.” The entire public policy and communication team was fired, according to another employee who lost his job.
The decline in trading volumes began shortly after India’s implementation of harsh crypto tax laws in March, 2022, when WazirX Co-Founder Nischal Shetty told CoinDesk “we have entered a period of pain.”
“The company was never really forthcoming or transparent with its financial position, either when it was doing well or now,” said one of the WazirX employees who lost his job “abruptly” on Friday.
WazirX daily trading volumes have been steadily declining from a one year high of 478 million on October 28, 2021 to 1.5 million on October 1, 2022, according to CoinGecko data. Trading volumes on some days have been lower than a million and “this is not enough to support operations,” the sources said.
WazirX has also been a target of a money laundering investigation launched by India’s Directorate of Enforcement, the Enforcement Directorate (ED), India’s financial crime-fighting agency, has frozen over $1.5 million in cryptocurrencies as part of a money-laundering probe into mobile gaming app E-nuggets.
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