OpenSea Cuts Half of Workforce in NFT Marketplace Restructuring
OpenSea, one of the most prominent NFT marketplaces, has announced a significant restructuring effort that involves laying off approximately half of its workforce. While the company did not disclose the exact number of employees affected, the decision is part of a broader plan to focus on the development of a next-generation version of the platform. Devin Finzer, co-founder and CEO of OpenSea, shared the news and the company’s rationale in a Twitter thread.
OpenSea’s journey began in 2017 when it launched its beta version, becoming one of the pioneers in the NFT space at a time when web3 technology was in its infancy. Over the years, OpenSea has played a pivotal role in advancing web3 by introducing decentralized marketplace smart contracts, safety measures against scams and bad actors, OpenSea Deals for P2P NFT swaps, and OpenSea Studio, allowing creators to publish without coding.
We’re proud to have built the first marketplace for NFTs, launching OpenSea beta back in 2017 when web3 was still in its infancy.
Back then, there were only a few projects on OpenSea, web3 didn’t work at all on mobile, and the term “NFT” was just being invented.
— Devin Finzer (dfinzer.eth) (@dfinzer) November 3, 2023
Despite its significant contributions to the NFT ecosystem, OpenSea acknowledged that it had often felt like a follower rather than a leader, prompting the need for change. The company decided to reevaluate its operating culture, product, and technology from the ground up, culminating in a strategic shift towards “OpenSea 2.0.” This new version promises improvements in technology, reliability, speed, quality, and overall user experience.
OpenSea’s plan to innovate faster and respond to user needs more effectively entails downsizing the team and establishing a closer connection with the user base. As part of this transition, OpenSea bid farewell to a number of its team members, a decision Devin Finzer described as the most challenging aspect of the restructuring. He expressed gratitude for the contributions made by departing team members and emphasized that their departure was not a reflection of their capabilities.
OpenSea is making these changes with its community in mind, reaffirming its commitment to supporting existing products while iteratively testing OpenSea 2.0 in public. The company aims to remain nimble, attentive, and focused throughout this transformation.
OpenSea’s recent actions follow its meteoric rise during the NFT market boom in 2021 and 2022, where it consistently recorded billions of dollars in monthly trading volume for various tokenized collectibles. This success led to substantial funding, with OpenSea securing $300 million in a Series C round in January 2022, valuing the company at $13.3 billion. Paradigm and Coatue co-led the funding round.
However, the NFT market faced headwinds in mid-2022, coinciding with a broader downturn in cryptocurrency prices. OpenSea attracted criticism for considering a change in its approach to creator royalties, which are fees paid back to creators from secondary market sales. These developments prompted OpenSea to reassess its strategy and embark on the journey to redefine its position in the NFT industry.
OpenSea’s commitment to innovation and improving the NFT experience for its users is evident in its recent restructuring efforts. As it works on OpenSea 2.0, the company remains determined to adapt and evolve in a rapidly changing landscape while remaining thankful for the support of its community and the contributions of its departing team members.
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