Cryptocurrency Exchanges

Coinbase Closes Chicago Office, Fires 30 Employees

April 23, 2019

Coinbase Closes Chicago Office, Fires 30 Employees

Leading United States-based crypto exchange Coinbase has closed its Chicago office and scaled back its development of its matching engine. This news comes via a Fortune report published earlier today.

According to the report, Coinbase will scale back its high-frequency trading matching engine that was previously based in Chicago, and try to relocate a small team of matching engine team employees to the company’s headquarters in San Francisco. All in all, Coinbase laid off some thirty engineers.

Per an article from local news site Chicago Inno, when Coinbase announced the opening of the Chicago office last May, it planned on hiring 100 employees over the next three years, the majority of whom would be engineers. In the report, Paul Bauerschmidt, co-head of the just-closed Chicago office, spoke highly of the city’s ability to attract top-tier talent.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Bauerschmidt was the former managing director of Eris Exchange, and the executive director of CME Group. Leading the office with Bauerschmidt was Derek Groothuis, who previously worked as a software engineer at DRW. Both will be leaving the company following the closing of the Chicago office.

A Coinbase spokesperson reportedly told Fortune that though closing the Chicago office is a setback, the company will continue to hire new employees in their other offices. The spokesperson went on to note that the company will now focus on developing new products, and will be diverting their attention away from high-frequency trading.

Crypto-focused news site, The Block, reported this morning that the decision to close the Chicago office was made by company executives, and it is not known whether employees had any idea that their jobs were at risk. The article notes that the annual salary for a matching engineer could be anywhere in the $200,000 – $400,000, plus a 20% premium that goes to recruiters. All in all, total team salaries could reportedly have reached $6 million.