Our weekly roundup of news from East Asia curates the industry’s most important developments.
Huobi’s disgruntled employees
According to local media reports, cryptocurrency exchange Huobi Global has terminated all year-end employee bonuses and benefits, as well as axed its entire core development staff located in mainland China. The laid-off staff will be instead switched to “advisory contracts” that do not receive protection under Chinese labor laws. Employees also claim that their leftover paid vacation days and sick leave days for 2022 were set to zero without prior notification.
Moreover, executives allegedly imposed a messaging ban on all major Huobi employee chat groups. In response, employees reported formed a 400-member strong “rights maintenance group” and have since sought the advice of counsel in the labor dispute. One employee reportedly wrote:
“I love my company and my job; at the same time, I support all decisions that benefit the company, and I know that with economies recessionary everywhere in the globe, Huobi management staff must tighten their belts, and I can understand the lack of year-end bonuses. That said, I cannot accept the unreasonable swap of employment contracts. I will fight this to the end.”
However, it appears that employees still received the short end of the stick. On Jan. 6, Cointelegraph reported that Huobi laid off 20% of its workforce while denying insolvency rumors. But at the time of publication, sources say that the exchange is operating at a loss of $10 million per month.
Founded by Chinese entrepreneurs Leon Li and Du Jun in 2013, Huobi relocated its registrar to Seychelles following China’s Bitcoin ban. Last October, its founders reportedly sold 100% of their stake to Chinese blockchain personality Justin Sun, who also founded the Tron network and is the CEO of BitTorrent. Sun claims merely to be an “adviser” to Huobi, currently the 17th-largest cryptocurrency exchange worldwide by 24-hour trading…