Overcoming ShapeShift’s Crypto Winter and the Path Ahead

The latest crypto winter is upon us, and today ShapeShift felt the bitter frost.

Today, we let 37 employees go, reducing the size of our team by a third. It’s a deep and painful reduction, mirrored across many crypto companies in this latest bear market cycle.

Crypto, like the moon we strive toward, is a harsh mistress. We ride high and fast during the ascents, growing at rates unseen almost anywhere else in the business world (ShapeShift grew 3,000% in 2017). And when the markets turn, the crypto recession is similarly dramatic and severe.

None of it surprises those who have been through these cycles. But even with that experience, navigating these tumultuous seas is a continual lesson in humility.

As a company, our greatest and worst financial decision is the same: to embrace substantial exposure to crypto assets. Much of our balance sheet is comprised of them. We accept the volatility, we accept the risk. And our proclivity to attach our own fate to that of the crypto market is not altered by the recent pain.

Booms and busts are intrinsic to any frontier. And while comfort out here is elusive, passion and opportunity are abundant.

Regardless, separating so many from our team is painful. To those valued individuals who stepped off our ship today: I am sorry this happened. Your confusion, your sadness, your anger… all of it is understandable, and I am sorry to put you through it. Your contributions — of effort, of personality, of experience — remain part of our fabric. Though it has ended, we are improved by our time with you, and I hope you find yourselves improved by your time with us.

And to our loyal customers, to the industry, and to the incredible individuals and teams that continue to persevere through this winter with us: I’d like to reflect on the lessons learned, and provide a glimpse of the future toward which we’re building.