eBay Fires Staff of NFT Marketplace KnownOrigin in Recent Layoffs, Plans to Dismiss 1,000 Employees

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by Tolu Ajiboye · 3 min read
eBay Fires Staff of NFT Marketplace KnownOrigin in Recent Layoffs, Plans to Dismiss 1,000 Employees
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Reports suggest that eBay is reducing the KnownOrigin team via multiple layoffs, and will fire more of its own core staff.

According to reports, American multinational e-commerce giant eBay Inc (NASDAQ: EBAY) has reportedly initiated layoffs affecting several members of staff at NFT marketplace KnownOrigin. A source familiar with the matter told NFTgators that many of the staff handling Web3 operations at KnownOrigin have left.

eBay acquired the Manchester-based NFT marketplace in June 2022 to immerse itself in the then-growing world of NFTs and digital collectibles. At the time of the acquisition, KnownOrigin had generated over $30 million within a year and recorded a tenfold increase in the number of creators and collectors. Per the acquisition, KnownOrigin’s intellectual property and its team joined eBay’s Web3 division, extending an existing partnership with music NFT company OneOf. eBay continued expanding its reach into NFTs after the KnownOrigin acquisition by spending $295 million on TCGplayer, a trading card marketplace.

eBay Organizing KnownOrigin via Layoffs Despite Recent Push into Web3 and AI

Last February, KnownOrigin launched a feature that allows approved creators to mint and deploy their work via smart contracts. It also allows artists to split their earnings and royalties among co-creators. Earlier that month, KnownOrigin had announced a recruitment exercise, advertising several roles. Openings included Content Designer, Artist Liaison Manager, Crypto Counsel, Senior Product Designer, Tech Lead, Head of Community, Marketing Campaign Executive, and Senior Engineer.

However, it would seem that these investments have not paid off and the e-commerce giant is shedding weight. The source claims that the layoffs have affected Stefanie (Stef) Jay, the business and strategy officer appointed for KnownOrigin in May 2021. In addition, KnownOrigin founder David Moore has now allegedly “been made redundant”.

“Many within the company are unhappy, blaming the lack of leadership and strategy for the layoffs. There are internal criticisms, even at senior levels, questioning the qualifications of the current head of Web3 as well as eBay’s strategy team,” the source noted.

A screenshot of a message allegedly from David Moore, possibly sent internally, confirmed the problems at KnownOrigin and eBay. Moore described the layoffs as “brutal”, but thanked the team for the privilege of “working alongside some of the brightest & creative minds [in] Web3”.

eBay’s push outside traditional e-commerce stretches to artificial intelligence (AI). Last year, eBay acquired Certilogo, a product authentication company powered by AI. The company, headquartered in Milan, uses advanced machine learning algorithms to authenticate customer purchases. This helps eBay’s fight against counterfeiting, especially in the fashion industry, which can erode public trust.

More eBay Layoffs

Unfortunately, the company is planning to embark on more layoffs. In an official note sent internally to the workforce in January, CEO Jamie Iannone stated the need to reorganize the team for more nimble operations. According to Iannone, one of the changes required for this is a round of layoffs.

“The most significant and toughest of these decisions is to reduce our current workforce by approximately 1,000 roles or an estimated 9% of full-time employees. Additionally, we plan to scale back the number of contracts we have within our alternate workforce over the coming months,” said he.

Iannone promised that in the near future, staff will see a “more focused, agile, and responsive eBay”, better positioned to advance the company’s purpose.

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