In a text message to Reuters, Huobi’s advisor Justin Sun confirmed that the crypto exchange plans to dismiss 20% of its employees this quarter.
“The planned layoff ratio is about 20%, but it is not implemented now. With the current state of the bear market, a very lean team will be maintained going forward,” a Huobi spokesperson told The Block.
“The personnel optimisation aims to implement the brand strategy, optimise the structure, improve efficiency, and return to the top three.”
Tron founder Sun sits on Huobi’s global advisory board. For the past few days, he’s been battling rumours of Huobi’s insolvency on Twitter. Crypto sleuth Colin Wu reported that Huobi employees were told they would be paid in tether (USDT) or USD coin (USDC) instead of fiat.
According to an internal email seen by The Block, employees are required to create a Huobi account to claim salaries, which will all be paid in tether. Following protests by staff, sources told Twitter account BitRun that “all communication and feedback channels with employees” had been blocked.
Wu further claimed at the end of December that several sources revealed Huobi planned to cancel year-end bonuses, will cut senior exec salaries, and decided to “lay off the team of 1,200 people to 600-800 people” — a 50% drop. While the staff cuts turned out to be 20%, The Block confirmed Wu’s reports that year-end bonuses and exec salaries had been slashed.
This sparked concern on Twitter, with several users urging Huobi customers to remove all funds from the crypto exchange. Huobi’s token (HT) price dropped 12% on Thursday, following a series of tweets by Sun that attempted to dismiss concerns.
He reassured users that Huobi had “the best security record in the industry with no security incidents for 10 years.”
“The security of users’ assets will always be fully protected,” he added (translated from Chinese).
Huobi’s internal chaos has investors losing faith in Sun’s other venture, Tron. Its TRX token is down 7.2% in the past 24 hours.