Near Foundation to Let 40% of Staff Go

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  • The Near Foundation has cut its workforce by 40% following a review
  • The foundation said it was responding to criticism about its effectiveness and speed
  • This decision follows the foundation’s earlier positive outlook over the crypto winter

The Near Foundation, which oversees the Near Protocol and associated entities, has announced it is to reduce its headcount by 40% a year after saying it was ready for the crypto winter. The foundation said in a statement that it had taken recent criticism that it had not always been “as effective as it could be” and sometimes moved “too slowly” on board, and as such is realigning its approach partly by streamlining staff numbers. In January 2023 the protocol said that it was “committing to develop resilience and strengthen its foundations for the future” during the crypto winter.

Foundation Acknowledges Flaws

The Near Foundation informed the community of its plans to downsize in a post published yesterday. In the update, the foundation said that it had taken on board criticism from Near-connected projects and had taken the feedback on board: 

With the NEAR Foundation Council (NFC), we’ve conducted a thorough review of the Foundation’s activities. During this process, we heard feedback that the Foundation has not always been as effective as it could be, sometimes moving too slowly and trying to do too many things at once.

The foundation added that, following the review, it has decided to “significantly consolidate the core Foundation team to focus on a narrower and higher-impact set of activities,” which will see approximately 40% of staff leave the foundation. This equates to 35 staff, “primarily across the marketing, business development, and community teams.”

Positive Outlook Was Misplaced

The move comes almost a year after Near wrote a sponsored piece for Coindesk about how it was prepared for the 2023 crypto winter, in which it said it was “continuing to move forward with its objectives and committing to develop resilience and strengthen its foundations for the future.” In addition, the piece offered the prospect of a bright future for the Near Foundation:

In the dark days of crypto winter, the NEAR Foundation continues to shine light on the protocol’s supporters and aims to sharpen its focus on several key areas as the Web3 world waits for spring.

Clearly, while the foundation was shining lights on Near’s supporters it was leaving its own projects in the dark.