Crypto Exchange Coinbase Shuts Down Chicago Office

News | April 24, 2019 By:

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase is reportedly closing its Chicago office and laying off 30 engineers.

The Chicago office, also known as Coinbase Markets, was opened in May 2018 to expand its trading products. At the time, Derek Groothuis, head of engineering for Coinbase Markets, said that a big part of bringing Coinbase Markets to Chicago was the technical talent available in the city, adding that “Chicago has a really strong technical community, particularly in the financial world, across a pretty broad range of different financial companies and activities.”

In a recent statement, Coinbase said it would shut down the Chicago office and scale back plans to build a new “matching engine” product aimed at high-frequency trading. While the closure of the office is a setback, the company said that they will continue to hire new employees in their other office locations.

According to reports, Groothuis, along with product lead Paul Bauerschmidt, will be leaving the company, but employees that are not part of the matching engine team would continue working at Coinbase.

“We have made the difficult decision to consolidate the matching engine efforts and thus wind down the matching engine team in Chicago,” Coinbase said. “We will look to relocate a small number of Chicago-based matching engine employees to San Francisco.”

The Block reported that the decision to wind down the Chicago team was made at the executive level and it’s unclear if employees had any indication the firm was considering axing the unit. The Block estimated that the matching engine team’s salaries alone could have totaled upwards of $6,000,000 last year, without accounting for bonuses, rent for the office, or the cost of technology.