NEAR Foundation has decided to lay off nearly half of the team, saying its internal processes were moving too slowly.
In a blog announcement on Jan. 11, NEAR Foundation, a non-profit entity behind the NEAR protocol, said it had slashed 40% of staff (or 35 jobs), impacting marketing as well as communication and business development teams.
Illia Polosukhin, CEO of NEAR Foundation, said the decision was made in response to feedback from the NEAR Foundation Council that the foundation “has not always been as effective as it could be, sometimes moving too slowly and trying to do too many things at once.”
“Following this review, we have decided to significantly consolidate the core Foundation team to focus on a narrower and higher-impact set of activities.”
The NEAR Foundation CEO noted that the engineering team will continue to operate as usual, adding that the foundation will provide support to affected employees. Polosukhin also reiterated that the foundation’s treasury remains “strong and well-managed,” with over $285 million held in fiat, more than $1 billion in NEAR tokens, and $70 million of investments and loans.
NEAR Foundation has become the latest crypto firm of the trend, where several firms have undergone reorganizations, often involving layoffs. In November 2023, NFT marketplace OpenSea downsized its workforce by half as part of a “2.0 strategy” focused on community, product, and reliability.
In October, Parity Technologies, a blockchain infrastructure provider behind the Polkadot ecosystem, also experienced organizational changes. However, the company denied rumors of laying off approximately 300 employees, clarifying that any adjustments to its workforce would be gradual and aligned with its new decentralized approach, involving various entities funded by the ecosystem.