Crypto Exchange BitMEX Cuts Staff as It Pivots Back to Derivatives Strategy

Cryptocurrency exchange BitMEX has reduced its workforce as it pivots back to focusing on derivatives trading, a spokesperson told CoinDesk.

The extent of the layoffs was not revealed. A BitMEX spokesperson dismissed a report suggesting that 30% of its staff had been let go.

The changes follow last week's departure of CEO Alexander Hoeptner, who joined in late 2020. Hoeptner replaced Arthur Hayes, who was sentenced to a 12-month probation order after violating the U.S. Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) during his tenure at the exchange. Shortly after joining, Hoeptner outlined a strategy to see BitMEX become "more than a derivatives exchange" with a focus on spot trading, custody and brokerage.

"We are going to refocus on liquidity, latencies and a vibrant derivatives community including BMEX Token trading," BitMEX said in a statement shared with CoinDesk. "As an undesirable consequence, we had to make changes to our workforce. Our top priority is to make sure all employees who will be impacted have the support they require."

BitMEX, based in the Seychelles, was the largest crypto derivatives exchange in 2018 and 2019 before losing market share to FTX, Binance and ByBit. It created the perpetual swap contract, a form of futures contract without expiry that is now used across the crypto industry.

UPDATE (Nov. 2, 09:38 UTC): Adds details of BitMEX's Beyond Derivatives strategy.