Nonfungible token (NFT) marketplace OpenSea has announced a workforce reduction, as it moves forward with its OpenSea 2.0 initiative. Co-founder and CEO Devin Finzer took to social media platform X (formerly Twitter) to share the news, revealing that the company would be operating with a smaller team.
OpenSea, which was founded in 2017 at the inception of the NFT boom, has been a prominent player in the NFT marketplace, functioning as an NFT trading platform similar to eBay and Etsy. The platform primarily conducts transactions in Ether (ETH), the native cryptocurrency of the Ethereum blockchain.
This marks the second time this year that OpenSea has implemented layoffs. In July 2022, the company reduced its workforce by 20%, citing the challenges of the crypto winter. At that time, OpenSea had a staff of 230 employees, according to reports. OpenSea has been navigating the changing dynamics of the NFT space as it evolves from a focus on collectibles to more diverse use cases, such as asset tokenization, identity verification, and document authentication.
A spokesperson from OpenSea shared insights on the recent layoffs, stating, “Today, we are making significant organizational and operating changes as we focus on building a more nimble — and ultimately better — version of OpenSea. We are immensely grateful for the contributions of those who are leaving OpenSea, and we are supporting them with a robust package consisting of both financial and non-financial support.”
The spokesperson further revealed that approximately 50% of OpenSea’s employees would be affected by the restructuring, with a particular emphasis on reducing the number of middle managers. Employees facing layoffs will receive four-month severance packages, accelerated equity vesting, and six months of continued healthcare and mental healthcare support.
In August, OpenSea faced criticism from the NFT community when it announced the retirement of its operator filter, a feature that allowed creators to blacklist marketplaces that did not enforce royalties. This move led to creators like Yuga Labs, known for popular NFT series like Bored Ape Yacht Club and CryptoPunks, gradually reducing their reliance on OpenSea’s Seaport marketplace smart contract.
As OpenSea embarks on the development of OpenSea 2.0, the company maintains its commitment to supporting existing products while iteratively testing its new platform in the public domain. OpenSea has listed 12 open positions on LinkedIn, with starting salaries ranging from $90,000 to $270,000, as it continues to evolve in response to the dynamic NFT landscape.