As per Bloomberg Kraken, crypto exchange based out of Abu Dhabi UAE has closed its office  while Chainalysis lays off 4.8 percent of its global workforce, but continues to hire in the MENA region.

Kraken has closed its  third office in less than a year. The first one was its headquarters in San Francisco, then Japan and now UAE.

Kraken had received a full license to operate in the UAE in April 2022.  With these closures have come layoffs. Kraken announced back in November 2022 that it would be laying off 30 percent of its workforce, equivalent to 1,100 employees.

As per Bloomberg, Kraken laid off the majority of its team in the MENA region, a total of 8 people. Benjamin Ampen, managing director for the region, will stay with the firm. On the Abu Dhabi market registry, Kraken is no longer listed as an active exchange.

In addition the exchange has suspended support for transactions in the AED, but clients in the region will still be able to use other products and services. That doesn’t require a local license, the spokesperson said.

In parallel, Chainalysis which last year had hinted to opening an office in the UAE hiring many employees as a prelude, also lays off part of its workforce globally but not in the UAE nor in the MENA region.  Actually while Chainalysis is laying off about 44 of its 900 employees, 4.8% of its workforce, it is continuing to hire for its operational expansion in the MENA region.

Sources close to Chainalysis within the UAE told LaraontheBlock that Chainalysis are actually hiring in the MENA region given the growth of crypto in countries such as Morocco with the potential to see KSA and Qatar on boarded into the crypto ecosystem in the future.

In an official statement, Chainalysis confirmed that it did not open its office in the UAE yet. It also stated with regards to the layoffs, “Chainalysis announced reorganization primarily impacting our go-to-market team – in order to meet new challenges and opportunities in the market. As a part of this reorg, some folks will have new roles, responsibilities, and reporting lines. Unfortunately we will also part ways with some incredibly talented people within our team. Chainalysis is well capitalized and will continue to hire and build out teams aligned with our refocused strategy in 2023.”

In July 2022, The UAE’s Ministry of Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy and Remote Work Applications signed a preliminary agreement with blockchain data platform Chainalysis to provide virtual training programs for the country’s government entities.

So while some crypto entities close their offices and lay off employees in the MENA region, others continue to hire because the MENA region is a crypto growth market! So is it really the fault of the crypto winter or is it the fault of internal organizational issues and maybe even slow crypto regulation? 

Whatever the case while we say goodbye to Kraken, we welcome Chainalysis and many others to come!