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OpenSea Navigates Rough Seas, Lays Off 50% Staff

NFTs | Nov 8, 2023

Unsplash Catherine Kay Greenup Rough sea - OpenSea Navigates Rough Seas, Lays Off 50% Staff

Image: Unsplash/Catherine Kay Greenup

OpenSea, a leading NFT marketplace, has cut its workforce by 50% and is hosting a strategic retreat to refocus on OpenSea 2.0 amidst a significant downturn in the NFT market.

The company, which was once valued at over $13 billion, has laid off approximately 50% of its staff, equating to around 100 individuals. This decision comes as OpenSea prepares to launch its ambitious OpenSea 2.0, a major overhaul aimed at reinvigorating the platform.

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The layoffs were communicated abruptly, with some employees reportedly losing access to OpenSea systems and their laptops within an hour of the announcement. This move has sparked a mix of reactions, with CEO Devin Finzer acknowledging the "painful, sad human element of these changes" and accepting responsibility for the layoffs.

Interestingly, the announcement was followed by an almost two-week-long company retreat at a $9 million mansion in West Hollywood, previously owned by celebrities Katy Perry and Russell Brand. This strategic gathering is intended to focus on OpenSea's new direction, with the remaining staff working on the OpenSea 2.0 vision.

The NFT marketplace has faced a significant downturn, with monthly trading volumes plummeting from approximately $1.2 billion in February 2022 to about $307 million as of October. This decline has been compounded by the rise of competitors like Blur and Magic Eden, which have gained market share and put OpenSea on the defensive.

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Despite the market challenges, OpenSea is pushing forward with its reorganization plan. The engineering and product teams will be streamlined, and the company is moving towards "radical transparency," opening up most channels on Slack to all employees. The goal is to reimagine the OpenSea experience, simplify the platform, and address user issues while delighting end-users with a fresh and innovative approach.

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