Near Foundation to Cut 40% of Its Team Amid Financial Stability

NEAR protocol banner with "Laid Off"inscribed in the background

The Near Foundation, a Web3 powerhouse, stunned the crypto world by slashing its workforce by 40%. While its 305 million NEAR tokens and $900 million war chest seem secure, the move raises questions about its focus. Is it doubling down on tech, or preparing for a leaner, meaner future in the ever-shifting Web3 landscape?

The Job Cut

The Near Foundation, a key player in the Web3 space, made a surprise announcement: a 40% workforce reduction impacting 35 employees. This move, primarily affecting marketing, business development, and community teams, comes despite the foundation’s strong financial position boasting over $285 million in fiat currency, 305 million NEAR tokens (valued at $900 million), and $70 million in investments and loans.

The Near protocol engineering team, responsible for the platform’s core functionality, remains untouched. This suggests a strategic shift towards internal streamlining and prioritizing core development over aggressive expansion.

Post Lay-Off Support

The January 11 release by Illia Polosukhin, CEO of NEAR Foundation, marginally rendered said,

“As part of this realignment, NEAR Foundation will reduce its team by approximately 40%, impacting 35 colleagues, primarily across the marketing, business development, and community teams. The NEAR Protocol Engineering Team at Pagoda will continue to operate as it has.” It added that the organization will support the affected staff to help then find other opportunities within the NEAR Ecosystem.

The reasons behind the reduction remain unclear, but speculation points towards the recent governance changes within the Near Protocol. Illia Polosukhin, the NAER co-founder who became its CEO in November 2023 may have signaled a new vision and strategy for the foundation’s future.

The NEAR Foundation Treasury Remains Strong 

However, the financial health of the Near Protocol paints a different picture. With ample reserves and a diverse portfolio of investments and loans, the decision could be interpreted as a show of confidence in the platform’s long-term viability.

The Near Protocol boasts a robust financial position with fiat currency reserves exceeding $285 million. This substantial reserve is deemed sufficient to cover operational expenses for a minimum of six months. The protocol further demonstrates its strength with over 305 million NEAR tokens in circulation, currently valued at $900 million based on prevailing market prices.

Noteworthy Investment Partnerships

Additionally, the protocol has secured noteworthy investments and loans totaling over $70 million from esteemed partners such as Coinbase Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, Polychain Capital, Alameda Research, Multicoin Capital, Pantera Capital, Digital Currency Group, ConsenSys Ventures, Electric Capital, Multicoin Capital Partners, Digital Currency Group Ventures, ConsenSys Capital Partners, and Electric Capital Partners.

Regardless of the internal dynamics, the Near Foundation’s reputation and influence in the broader Web3 landscape hang in the balance. As a prominent advocate for innovation and adoption since 2019, their contributions to DevX, scalability solutions, open-source software, and decentralized applications are undeniable.

Author: Jinka

Jinka is a self-trained crypto journalist, passionate about happenings in the industry.