Ethereum Merge Dramatically Raise Stakefish’s Profile, But 25% Of Its Employees Left Anyway | Cryptocurrency

On the very day that the Ethereum merger dramatically increased the importance of validators in the blockchain ecosystem, one of the biggest – the stake – was in chaos.

More than 25% of its workforce, according to people familiar with the matter, have been fired or resigned, including two high-level departures: chief strategy and operations officer Jun Soo Kim and chief protocol officer Daniel Hwang.

CoinDesk spoke to four current and former employees for this story, all of whom took issue with how the layoffs were handled. One of the employees asked not to be identified because he had signed a nondisclosure agreement. In total, just as Stakefish was poised to reap big rewards for securing Ethereum’s new minerless network, eight employees were laid off and three others resigned from the company.

According to these employees and internal messages reviewed by CoinDesk, the workers were not informed that they would be terminated until a few days before their termination date, September 15. It was also the day of the Ethereum merger – precisely the event stakefish had spent years laying the crucial groundwork for, because on that day Ethereum officially transitioned from being run by miners to validating operators like stakefish.

When asked for comment via messaging service Telegram, Chun Wang, CEO and Founder of stakefish, wrote, “It is normal in a bear market to reduce team size and optimize costs. He added: “Only non-technical positions are laid off. We are always working hard to hire more developers and devops.

Kim’s resignation in particular marks a blow to the stake, which offers customers the chance to help secure proof-of-stake blockchains like the newly revamped Ethereum in exchange for rewards. According to former employees, Kim, whose resignation will take effect in October, was seen as a potential replacement for Wang and served as an interim CEO of sorts whenever the company founder was absent.

Kim told CoinDesk that he decided to leave in order to start his own business.

Hwang, the only Stakefish senior executive to be included in the layoffs, chose to resign rather than accept a two-week severance package, which he told CoinDesk he considered “insulting.” . Another employee who spoke to CoinDesk said he received the same offer. (For comparison, Coinbase, the cryptocurrency exchange that laid off 18% of its workforce earlier this year, offered its employees a minimum of 14 weeks of severance pay.)

Hwang said he was told he would be fired by Andrea “Dimi” Di Michele, one of his direct reports. Dimi, who was named Hwang’s replacement and was one of Stakefish’s longest-serving employees, resigned from the company a few days later.

“They gave two days notice,” Dimi told CoinDesk. “I don’t want to throw shade at the stake – that’s not my intention – but I think what’s happening is not fair,” he said. “In general, the stake had a great opportunity to do something big,” he added. ” I am very disappointed. »

Ethereum’s move from a proof-of-work to a proof-of-stake system has handed the reins of the second-largest blockchain from miners to validators who “stake” ether (ETH), the native currency of Ethereum. ‘Ethereum, sending it to an on-chain address where it cannot be bought or sold. Stakefish, which sets up interest-bearing validators on behalf of its clients, controlled around 2% of all staked ETH at press time. It’s also a major validator in other ecosystems, including Cosmos, Polkadot, Polygon, and Solana.

Stakefish is based in the British Virgin Islands and has coworking spaces in Palo Alto, California, and Seoul. Most of its staff work remotely.

Wang, the founder of stakefish, co-founded F2Pool, the third largest Bitcoin (BTC) mining pool. Employees told CoinDesk that the two companies frequently collaborate and share resources.

As news of the layoffs spread throughout Stakefish, several employees took to the company’s Slack messaging platform to air their grievances about how the information had been communicated to employees.

“I must express my opinion that this layoff is being implemented in a horrendous manner,” one employee wrote. “Keeping everything secret makes the words of senior management untrustworthy. This only lowers morale and employees don’t know what to expect next. Lower morale, more people will decide to go. Maybe that’s the goal?

“I understand the decision, but the implementation of this decision by HR has been, for lack of a better word, horrible,” replied another employee. “Letting people know in a staggered fashion that they have to be fired with 2 days notice, as if rumors and news like this don’t get out of hand in a company, is absolutely amazing. »

This employee said he heard about the layoffs during a call with his team. “After pushing further, we found that the people currently on this call hadn’t yet heard that they were in fact being fired, which as you can understand left us all in awe,” they wrote. they wrote.

“To date, 1 member of the marketing team has not yet been contacted by anyone to be fired tomorrow,” replied a third employee.

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Ethereum Merge Dramatically Raise Stakefish’s Profile, But 25% Of Its Employees Left Anyway | Cryptocurrency


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