Robinhood Lays Off 23 Percent of Its Staff, Blaming Crypto Meltdown

Robinhood, the trading app that popularized one-click trading and helped fuel last year’s meme stock frenzy, said on Tuesday that it was laying off about 23 percent of its work force.

Vlad Tenev, the chief executive of Robinhood, said in a blog post that the layoffs would affect employees across the company, especially those in operations, marketing and program management roles.

Robinhood did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The announcement followed closely on the heels of cuts in April, when Robinhood laid off 340 workers, or about 9 percent of its employees at the time. Since then, Mr. Tenev wrote, further worsening of the economy, including inflation and the crash of the crypto market, has “reduced customer trading activity and assets under custody.” The price of Bitcoin has fallen by more than half this year, to about $23,000 per coin. The cryptocurrency rose as high as $66,000 in late 2021.

In his memo on Tuesday, Mr. Tenev said the company misjudged the economy and trading activity. “As CEO, I approved and took responsibility for our ambitious staffing trajectory — this is on me,” he wrote.

In early 2021, Robinhood became a key player in the meme stock craze, when investors banded together to drive up the stocks of companies including the video game retailer GameStop and the movie theater chain AMC. On Jan. 27, 2021, GameStop closed up nearly 1,800 percent from a few weeks before, a record high. Then, Robinhood restricted trading in some meme stocks. The restrictions led the stocks to plunge. Lawsuits, a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation and congressional hearings soon followed.

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