Job Cuts at Circle and Dapper Labs: Bear Market Not Over

Even the crypto giants are not immune to market pressures. Recent reports have highlighted significant workforce reductions at two major blockchain companies, Circle and Dapper Labs, despite their substantial fundraising successes.

Circle, a leading stablecoin issuer, has recently reduced its workforce slightly to maintain a “strong balance sheet”. The company has raised a total of $1.1 billion in funding over 11 rounds, with the latest funding raised on April 12, 2022, from a Private Equity round.

Despite this financial backing, the company has found it necessary to reduce or end investments in non-core activities and reduce operational expenses, which includes a marginal reduction in headcount. However, Circle continues to identify new areas for investment and hire in key areas of focus on a global basis.

Similarly, Dapper Labs, known for developing popular NFT collectibles such as CryptoKitties and NBA Top Shot, has announced its third round of staff layoffs in less than a year as a reflection of the broader slump in the crypto and NFT markets.

The company has let go of 51 employees, representing around 12% of the company’s staff. This comes despite Dapper Labs raising a total of $612.5 million in funding over seven rounds, with the latest funding raised on November 21, 2022.

Although Bitcoin price has been above $30,000 for nearly 20 days and some traders have anticipated a bull market, the workforce reductions at both Dapper Labs and Circle remind us of the ongoing challenges in the crypto market overall and the bearish market is not over yet.

Image source: Shutterstock


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Pro sports leagues are no longer resisting NFTs: Dapper Labs

Dapper Labs, the firm behind NBA Top Shot, said that pro sports leagues are no longer resistant to exploring nonfungible tokens (NFTs) now that the sector is hot.

Speaking at Yahoo Finance’s All Markets Summit on Monday, Dapper Labs’ head of partnerships, Caty Tedman, said that the stance of professional sporting organizations suddenly shifted regarding NFTs amid the sector’s booming growth in early 2021, stating:

“The conversation has shifted dramatically, where I think there’s a little bit of an understanding that there’s something here. I meet very little resistance these days that NFTs are a thing.”

Dapper emerged as a pioneer in officially licensed sports NFTs when it launched NBA Top Shot in late 2020. The firm has since inked partnerships with other major sporting franchises, including the National Football League (NFL), the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), the Spanish soccer organization La Liga and the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).

Speaking on Dapper’s initial discussions with the NBA, Tedman recounted that the organization expressed apprehension over the fact that NFTs had not yet been proven to work as a means for sports merchandising, stating:

“At that time, it was a lot of explanation and we spent a lot of time with lawyers and people in finance to talk about what it looks like to have secondary revenue.You don’t have secondary revenue on merchandise […] what does it look like to have ownership in perpetuity of assets for consumers.”

Tedman added that Dapper had been “lucky to start with the NBA” as the organization’s associate vice president of Global Partnerships & Media, Adrienne O’Keeffe, was open to exploring NFTs.

Related: Nifty News: The rise of environmentally-focused NFT collections

According to data from CryptoSlam, NBA Top Shot NFTs have generated more than $32 million worth of secondary sales in October, with the figure representing a 58% increase compared to the month before.

Cointelegraph reported last week that daily trade volume for NBA Top Shot NFTs surged more than 440% after the project launched its retro “Run It Back 2005–06” packs on Oct. 15.

Despite the surging growth in October, trading volumes are still well below the


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Nifty News: DJ Paul Oakenfold to launch album on Cardano, NFL confirms NFTs, and more

Cardano’s daggy dad turns DJ

Cardano founder Charles Hoskinson has teamed up with legendary electronic dance music (EDM) DJ Paul Oakenfold to launch a tokenized album on Cardano.

Oakenfold is a three-time Grammy Award nominee and his career in the music industry spans back to the early 1980s. His upcoming album dubbed “Zombie Lobster” was announced during the Cardano summit on Sept. 27.

Every aspect of the album will be tokenized on the Cardano blockchain, including cover art, tracks, sleeve notes and remixes. The album is part of a release from an NFT project named “Starship Universe”, which is operated by music entrepreneur Alon Shulman, who manages DJ’s such as Carl Cox.

Starship Universe will reportedly release thousands of NFTs on Cardano, as part of the collaborative partnership. “I’m excited to welcome Starship Universe as it lands on Cardano and we open up new frontiers together,” Hoskinson said.

While a release date for the tokenized album hasn’t been set, Hoskinson teased on Tuesday that it is coming soon, after he changed his Twitter profile picture to a photo of himself working a DJ turn-table.

DJ Chaz the Hosk-Cat (Twitter)

Become a Stoner Cats star

Mila Kunis’s Stoner Cats — the NFT project tied to an animated cartoon series that clogged the Ethereum network during its first drop — is offering two members of the community a chance to feature as guest stars for the second episode.

The audition was announced on Oct. 1 and is calling for people to read lines for two guest characters named “Employee” and “Delivery Guy.” The chosen voice actors will also receive a free NFT from a future Stoner Cats drop, and receive an acting credit on IMDb.

Wannabe voice actors have until midnight on Saturday (PST) to submit their line reads and must record three different variants of each line.

The Stoner Cats show is voiced by a long list of celebs such as Kunis, her husband Ashton Kutcher, Jane Fonda, Seth MacFarlane, Chris Rock and even Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin. The first collection of 10,420 NFTs was dropped in July, and sold out within 35 minutes.

NFL confirms partnership with Dapper Labs

The NFL and Dapper Labs have confirmed rumors they are parnering to launch tokenized collectibles.

According to a Sept. 29 announcement, the partnership will see the creation of digital highlight NFTs in a similar fashion to the widely popular NBA Top Shot marketplace.

“The irreplaceable nature of the NFT captures what is special about sports fandom,” said Steve Scebelo the President of NFL Players Inc. “Our players are immensely excited for the NFLPA […] to make this significant push into the digital collectibles market.”

Henry Lowenfels, the chief product officer at OneTeam Partners, who handles digital licensing for the NFL Players Association, said in an interview with GamesBeat they are hoping to replicate the “provenance” of NBA Top Shot with the NFL’s collectibles.

“The games are played pretty much every Sunday during the season, and these moments can be dropped at the same time and be the topic of conversation for the week,” he said.

“I view this as the early innings of blockchain-based products in the same way that people were using the internet in 1993. It was mostly technologists and early adopters of the technology. People want to spend on the things they love,” he added.

Related: Ripple launches $250M fund for NFT creators

DC enters the NFT sector

WarnerMedia’s superhero comic giant DC is giving away free NFTs as part of its upcoming DC FanDome event on Oct. 16.

According to a Sept. 29 report from Variety, DC has partnered with Palm NFT Studio to release tokenized comic book covers depicting superheroes such as Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman and Harley Quinn.

Comic Book NFTs (DC Comics)

“This drop pays homage to our 87-year history while visualizing a future in which NFTs play a foundational role in novel ways of interacting with DC content and unlocking new experiences,” said Jim Lee, DC’s publisher and chief creative officer.

The NFT drop will go live on Oct. 5, and the tokens will be issued to users who register for the free virtual FanDome event that will be hosted on multiple platforms this month including Twitch and YouTube.

Palm NFT Studio chief content officer Matt Mason, told Variety that varying rarity levels “will make the less-common NFTs more valuable, and the entire collection will grow in importance to fans as it becomes clearer that this drop represents the start of an entirely new chapter for DC Comics, and the use of blockchain as a medium for fan engagement and storytelling.”


Social media platform TikTok has announced its first foray into the NFT market with a new collection inspired by its leading trendsetters such as Lil Nas X, Bella Poarch, Brittany Broski and Curtis Roach.

Cointelegraph reported on Sept. 30 that Twitter unveiled an in-development tool that will enable users to display a verified NFT as their profile picture.