$1.5 Billion NFT Startup Candy Digital Announces Massive Layoff
Candy Digital, a digital collectible company offering digital assets for fans and collectors, cut off a significant portion of its workforce yesterday.
Some employees who were part of the layoffs revealed that they were notified on Monday morning. The layoffs reportedly affected more than a third of the company’s approximately 100 employees.
Community Content Manager Matthew Muntner, one of the departing employees, tweeted that he was among those affected.
“I hate that I have to share this as much as I loved my job at Candy Digital but I was part of the layoffs that occurred earlier today,” he said.
Candy Digital is a sports and entertainment non-fungible token (NFT) startup. Launched in 2021, the company was last valued at $1.5 billion and is backed by Fanatics and was co-founded by Gary Vaynerchuk and Mike Novogratz.
The cutting comes amid a “layoff spike” in the IT industry. In the aftermath of Elon Musk’s acquisition, Twitter laid off almost half of its workers earlier this month. Lyft and Stripe recently fired off more than 10% of their respective workforces. Even Apple and Amazon, two of America’s largest public companies, have implemented hiring freezes.
The layoffs have been especially severe in NFTs and cryptocurrencies, which were already in fast decline before the FTX crash put the market into chaos.
Dapper Labs, the NFT platform behind NBA Top Shot and NFL All Day, revealed a 22% employee reduction earlier this month. Top Shot sold $1.5 million in October 2022, a 99.3% decrease from $224.1 million in February 2021.
Candy Digital began in June 2021, while sports NFTs were still trendy. Fanatics is the largest stakeholder, with Galaxy Digital and Gary Vaynerchuk as equity partners.
Candy Digital reported in October 2021 that it has secured $100 million at a $1.5 billion valuation in a Series A investment headed by Insight Partners and Softbank’s Vision Fund 2.
Candy began its operations with the official Major League Baseball license and has since released a variety of collections based on the league and its teams. Since then, the company has launched more sports licenses, including a collaboration with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), all of NASCAR’s teams (though not the league itself), and a number of university players.
The brand has also stepped out into the world of entertainment-themed digital collectibles, notably through a partnership with Netflix that produced a number of “Stranger Things” NFTs.
In order to market tokenized images, Candy also collaborated with the stock photography agency Getty Images. Candy’s NFTs were minted on the Palm network, which is an Ethereum-compatible sidechain network.
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