Feb 2, 2023
Kraken Shuts Abu Dhabi Office as Crypto Exchanges Keep Shrinking
(Bloomberg) -- Crypto exchange Kraken has shut its Abu Dhabi office less than a year after winning a local license, part of a retrenchment that involves cutting almost a third of its global workforce.
Kraken laid off the majority of its team focused on the Middle East and North Africa, affecting about eight roles, a spokesperson said. A registry for Abu Dhabi Global Market, where Kraken received a crypto license last April, no longer shows an active entity in the company’s name.
The exchange has suspended support for transactions in the United Arab Emirates’s currency, but clients in the region will still be able to use the platform. Customer deposits denominated in dirhams will be automatically converted into dollars and can then be withdrawn, the spokesperson said. Clients can also keep using other fiat currencies Kraken supports.
Turmoil in crypto markets last year prompted a wave of layoffs across the industry, with Kraken, Coinbase Global Inc., Crypto.com and Gemini announcing sweeping cost-cutting efforts. While prices of digital tokens have regained some ground so far in 2023, volumes remain thin, hurting exchange revenues.
Kraken plans to keep several employees based in MENA. Benjamin Ampen, managing director for the region, will stay with the firm to assist with the transition and will likely leave Kraken after that, the spokesperson said. Ampen declined to comment.
- Read: FTX Chaos Prompts Reckoning on Dubai’s Embrace of Crypto Giants
Like Coinbase, Kraken has rolled back global expansion plans, shuttering its operations in Japan at the end of last month. In late November, the firm announced plans to cut 30% of its global workforce — equating to roughly 1,100 people — in response to “current market conditions.”
(Updates to say Ampen is likely leaving in fifth paragraph.)
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