Blockchain Smartphone Maker Sirin Labs Cuts 25% Of Workforce

Blockchain, News | April 18, 2019 By:

Smartphone maker Sirin Labs has laid off 25 percent of its workforce after sales of its blockchain smartphone failed to meet expectations.

Sirin Labs is the flagship startup of Moshe Hogeg and the Singulariteam investment fund he founded together with Kenges Rakishev, his billionaire Kazakh partner. Sirin Labs, which raised over $157 million in its initial coin offering (ICO) in December 2017, launched its blockchain smartphone, called Finney, in November 2018, priced at $999. Finney comes with a Token Conversion Service (TCS), an embedded cold storage wallet and a proprietary decentralized application (DApp) store. It recruited Argentinian soccer star Lionel Messi as an ambassador for its brand.

In an interview with Israel-based news outlet Globes, Sirin Labs confirmed that it has laid off 15 of its 60 employees, stating that “the global market is not in the best state,” and that “sales are not what we expected.” The firm also denied recent reports that it had failed to pay its staff, saying that the employees had now been reimbursed for March and April.

According to the Globes report, Sirin Labs is not Hogeg’s first startup to lay off employees or close down its activity. In 2018, STX Technologies Limited (Stox), which develops an open source prediction market platform, closed down its activity in Israel and laid off all of its employees. In 2017, Mobli, a social mobile photo and video-sharing website founded by Hogeg in 2010, closed down after having reported raising $86 million.

Earlier this year, a Chinese cryptocurrency investor sued Hogeg for allegedly misusing funds raised in Stox’s ICO. After raising $34 million in its ICO, the investor alleged that Hogeg only invested $5 million of this total in the company and used the rest to invest in other ICOs, including that of messenger app Telegram.