Coinbase, one of the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchanges, is closing down its Chicago office, Chicago Business reports. This office was used mainly to attract institutional investors and asset management firms.
“Coinbase has consolidated our matching engine efforts into our San Francisco office. This means we are shutting down the matching engine efforts in the Chicago office,” said spokeswoman Rachel Horwitz. She also confirmed that high-frequency trading is not a priority for Coinbase anymore.
Almost a year ago, Coinbase announced it is opening a new office in Chicago in an ambitious bid to attract large institutional investors and local talent. Moreover, the San Francisco-based company intended to use Chicago as a central hub for some “back-office technology behind the company’s products”.
“The talent that’s here in Chicago, you can’t find anywhere else. And especially getting as many of the key staff as we need. It’s really exciting to be able to build it here,” said Paul Bauerschmidt, who led the Chicago operations for Coinbase, previously known for his role as a head of the CME Group’s swap execution business.
The latest decision will halt plans to expand the Chicago office from current 30 employees to around 100 in three years, as initially planned. In a statement, Coinbase also noted about 30 employees are affected, although the company keeps adding talent in other parts of the business.
“We have made the difficult decision to consolidate the matching engine efforts and thus wind down the matching engine team in Chicago. We will look to relocate a small number of Chicago-based matching engine employees to San Francisco,” said the company.
Many were skeptical at Coinbase frenetic pace of expansion as the company tripled the number of employees in 2018. Closing down an office which has been operating for less than a year will not look great with investors.
Coinbase adds that it intends to keep some of its sales staff in Chicago, and plans to expand its offices in New York, London, and Portland.