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Top Headlines for 20 June, 2022

Hundreds of New Crypto Jobs Despite Layoffs

A study conducted in June 2022 by Crypto Jobs List revealed openings for over 500 cryptocurrency-related positions.

Researchers browsed ads on the employment website Indeed, finding 569 new jobs posted in one week, compared to 388 published the week before.

In the same month, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao announced on Twitter that his company had 2,000 openings. Similarly, with over 144 new ads in seven days, London-based Deloitte had the most crypto-related jobs in the study, and fintech startup Block, which was founded by former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, came in second with 59 spots. The majority of positions listed offered their employees the chance to work from home. However, this month’s sharp market downturn has forced major companies like Coinbase, Crypto.com and BitMex to lay off substantial numbers of their employees.

NYTimes Reports Kraken CEO Sparked Culture War

On 20 June 2022 the NY Times reported that Jesse Powell, CEO of crypto exchange Kraken, has stoked a culture war within his organization.

Powell allegedly voiced controversial “libertarian philosophical values” and had even released a 31-page document outlining his views. The CEO of one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the U.S., Powell had apparently questioned his employees’ use of preferred pronouns by saying, “If you can identify as a sex, can you identify as a race or ethnicity.” He further opined on “who can refer to another person as the N word” and said that “the questions about female intelligence compared to men’s were not as settled as one might have initially thought.” The comment about women’s mental abilities was related to a specific incident in which two women had said they would rather have $100 than a Bitcoin that could be traded for more than $40,000 at the time.

Powell later defended himself by explaining that only 31 people out of Kraken’s global staff of 3200 disagreed with his perspective. He dismissed the ongoing debate, which had caused some of the employees to resign, as “first world problems standing in the way of helping billions of people.” The resignations have come at a time that falling Bitcoin prices have led many of Kraken’s competitors, including Coinbase, Gemini, BlockFi and Crypto.com, to lay off large numbers of their employees.

Bitcoin Falls to Cost Price for Miners

A report published by Bitcoin financial technology firm NYDIG in 20 June 2022 reveals that public mining companies have quadrupled the sale of their Bitcoin holdings to meet operational expenses.

NYDIG gathered this information from financial statements released by publicly listed mining companies. Data from cryptocurrency analytics company CoinMetrics also indicates that miners have started moving bitcoins to exchanges in order to address rising energy and payroll expenses as BTC continues to lose value against fiat.

Since the last halving event on 11 May 2020, the amount of bitcoin miners can receive per block has been reduced to 6.25 BTC, increasing their risk during bear markets and damaging their profitability. At the end of May 2022, publicly listed miners held around 46,594 BTC worth $1.5 billion at the time.

Russia Launches Blockchain to Replace Swift

Rostec Group, Russia’s state-owned military technology company, announced the development of CELLS, an industrial blockchain designed to facilitate international payments without relying on SWIFT gateways.

Rostec’s executive director Oleg Yevtushenko described it as a blockchain-based digital payment system that “can be used as a full-fledged replacement for SWIFT” and that can “eliminate the risk of sanctions.”  The sanctions imposed by Western countries in response to the war in Ukraine has excluded Russian banks from the SWIFT payment network.

Since the war started, Moscow has been looking for an alternative payment system to facilitate international trade. CELLS will enable Russia to pay for imports in ruble instead of the U.S. dollar. It will also allow foreign countries to pay for their imports from Russia in their national currencies as well. The platform will support wallets for managing digital currencies and can facilitate about 100,000 transactions per second.