Crypto Trading Firm Amber Group Ditches $25M Chelsea Sponsorship Deal Amid Layoffs: Report

Singapore-based cryptocurrency trading firm Amber Group is terminating a $25 million sponsorship deal with football club Chelsea FC, according to a Bloomberg report, citing a source.

Amber Group, which is backed by Temasek and Sequoia Capital, is also laying off around 300 staff to slash its workforce to less than 400, at its peak it employed more than 1,100, the report said.

The sponsorship saw Chelsea show the logo of Amber’s WhaleFin trading platform on their shirts for the duration of the current 2022/2023 season.

The decision to reduce its workforce and scrap the sponsorship, which was announced just seven months ago, comes during a cyclical lull in the crypto market that prompted the collapse of numerous key companies including FTX, BlockFi and Celsius Network.

The crypto trader is also winding down its retail operations, a move that will see its customer base fall to around 100 from hundreds of thousands as it focuses on institutional investors and family offices.

Amber also raised just half of a planned $100 million round and halted its expansion plans, according to a FT report.

On-chain analysts have suggested that Amber Group may follow in the footsteps of Alameda Research, the trading firm tied to FTX that imploded last month, with crypto sleuth lookonchain claiming that Amber Group has just $9.46 million in assets.

Annabelle Huang, Managing Partner at Amber Group, denied those claims by saying on Twitter that the business continues to "operate business as usual," and that"withdrawals are open as usual."

Dozens of Amber Group employees in Shenzhen are yet to receive severance payments that were promised on December 5, a former worker told the South China Morning Post.

Amber Group did not immediately respond to CoinDesk's request for comment.