Exclusive: Employees of Crypto Firm Koinly Reveal Shocking Details About Surprise Company Layoffs – Executives Kept in the Dark?

Source: AdobeStock / kieferpix

Koinly, a crypto tax reporting platform, has laid off 14% of its team, citing "the intensifying bear market" – but several employees have claimed that the cuts affected more people and were carried out unprofessionally with poor communication.

“In a bid to combat the challenging conditions facing the cryptocurrency market and economy at large, Koinly has today announced a round of job cuts to its global team,” said a press release on Tuesday.

Founder and CEO of the company, Robin Singh, explained that the job cuts are a response to the ongoing market downturn, worsened by the infamous collapse of the FTX exchange.

According to Singh,

“We are seeing fewer people reporting crypto on their tax returns, mostly because there are a lot of losses this year.”

The press release added that investors are unaware that filing losses on their tax returns would benefit them long-term, as these can be used to offset gains in future years.

Employees strike back

The short press release came – coincidentally or not – at the time when the word got out about potential whistleblowers. 

A few days before the official announcement, Cryptonews.com heard from five current and former employees under the condition of anonymity, regarding their experience at Koinly, specifically the layoffs.

Their experiences are largely similar or the same. Among the allegations made, the staff members claim that Koinly had no communication with the employees regarding the layoffs, that they weren’t officially informed when their colleagues were let go, and that they were kept in the dark during the entire process, causing a constant state of uncertainty over their employment and a huge amount of stress.

The sources claim that the layoffs were a surprise even to a number of Koinly executives. An employee revealed, 

"It is hard to know how many people have been let go over the past week/months as there has never been any communication either before or after. You only find out that someone has been fired when you go to message them and their slack is no longer active or if someone else tells you," 

In addition, it was announced that two offices, Sydney and London, would be closed and that these regions would shift to fully remote work, according to several employees.

There are additional allegations that, while the company recently fired a higher number of employees, there was already a high rate of staff turnover for several weeks or even months. While the company claimed that it fired 16 employees, sources suggest that the actual number is significantly higher and affected a wide range of staff, including employees who had been with the company for less than three months and management.

Some employees, including those in management positions, are now apparently leaving the company due to dissatisfaction with how it is being run by Singh and the lack of opportunity to provide input or express their opinions.

More details revealed 

Sources claim that the company, and specifically the CEO, communicates exclusively through Slack, and that once an employee is laid off, their Slack access is immediately revoked, cutting their main method of communication and source of further information.

An employee claims that Singh recently announced two key changes via Slack: the company would become remote-first, and there would be no more regional teams.

A former employee alleges that Singh sent a general message on Slack stating that the London office would work fully remotely because it was their preference, based on a prior survey. However, no downsizing was mentioned. The same evening, the former employee claims, "half of the London office was let go."

The communication issue was then compounded when Singh allegedly told employees to contact their line managers for further details, but no line managers had any information, leaving employees unsure about their employment and causing a great deal of stress.

"But no line manager had any clue what was going on. so ppl were left to wonder for weeks what this means for them, and slowly people started getting fired." 

According to the sources, some line managers were fired as well. 

One source suggested that Koinly has been dealing with a lack of budget even before the FTX incident, and added that,

"I have seen colleagues disappear from one day/hour to another. Without any communication from the top management or HR to reassure those of us who would stay."

Another employee claimed that many in the management team, including the Head of Tax, Head of Sales, Head of Marketing, VP Product, Head of Business Development, and Product Managers, were let go as well.

The employee stated that no one knows why Koinly felt the need to let people go, adding,

"The process alone was horrific due to the complete lack of any communication and the fact that it was done over a week and a half, so people were coming in each day scared that they were going to be next. Some people were even told they were not being let go only to be so a few days later."

There are also allegations against CEO Robin Singh himself.

One person said that "the lack of direction and understanding of how to run a company was shocking." Another added that there is a "consistent lack of leadership and direction, manipulation, pitting people against each other, false promises, narcissistic behavior from senior stakeholders, and blame put back on employees who were the ones hurt the most."

"The company is a complete mess. There is no plan, no strategy, and every decision is made by Robin alone. No one else has any input, say, or power, and is unable to disagree with him or they will be let go," a third person said.

Koinly responds

In an effort to verify the above-mentioned claims, Cryptonews.com contacted the company with specific questions related to these allegations.

Koinly did not provide direct answers to most of the questions, instead issuing a statement that it is a remote-first company and that its teams from around the world can work remotely.

The company also stated that the Sydney office remains open, while only the London office will close in April 2023.

It added that,

"The decision to close the UK office comes after a poll where our UK team indicated they have a preference towards remote work whereas the Sydney team preferred the office. The closure of our London office is not a direct result of the layoffs."

Additionally, in regard to the layoffs, Koinly contradicted the numbers suggested by the sources, claiming that "only 3 contractors have had their contracts ended," only one of which was ended due to the layoffs. 

"The figure we have shared is accurate and already includes the one contractor, hence the total impacted was 16, as stated."

Those affected will be paid on their regular pay date or within the next two weeks, which "was already communicated to those that were let go," the company said.

Given the serious nature of the allegations made by the sources, Cryptonews.com will update the article with any additional comments from either side.

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