Mark Zuckerberg announces Meta layoffs in leaked video. (CNBC)

Meta Lays Off More Than 11,000 and FTX Shakeup Tanks Crypto

A crypto company shakeup tanks the market and stirs up the Fed. Meta lays off more than 11,000 people. And industry expert Tom Ffiske quantifies the water level rising over virtual land. Good news? Yeah, we’ve got that, too.

An Eye on the Charts

Major tokens, which had been well in the green last week, took a nosedive this week. The reason is multipronged. First, the problem was news that FTX, one of the two largest crypto exchanges that has been gobbling up other crypto companies in recent months, was insolvent. It looked like rival Binance would buy it, but they later pulled out. The price shock has been called the worst 24 hours in Crypto.

The good news is that as this roundup is being written, major tokens are back in the green on day-to-day. It could be a sign that people are buying the dip or it could be a sign that the economic dust of the FTX/Binance shakeup has already settled. The bad news is that the dip is still deep: BTC is below $18k and ETH is below $1.4k. Will crypto recover? Probably. Will it recover soon? Probably not.

An Eye on the Fed

While all of that drama was playing out, reports started circling that FTX was under investigation by government agencies. It was partially due to those reports that Binance reportedly decided not to go through with the acquisition. The investigation had reportedly been underway for some time, but it is also possible that the company’s recent financial woes exacerbated the situation.

That question is arguably moot. Whenever Fed investigations of FTX began, this isn’t the end. A number of commentators and regulators — perhaps most notably Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren — have used the drama as an opportunity to levy calls for government enforcement in the crypto space.

Other Fallout

This drama didn’t happen in a vacuum — the rest of the crypto world kept spinning for better or worse. For example, an Epoch is coming on the Solana blockchain. During these periods, Solana tokens can be staked or unstaked. While many are expecting a move out of the system, the Solana network is downplaying the event. Solana is down over 40% on the week — worse than BTC or ETH.

Elsewhere in the crypto world, networks and exchanges are reportedly freezing FTX accounts including Tether, which is also reportedly freezing withdrawals on Solana. Twitter has reportedly stopped work on a crypto wallet, further driving down the value of DOGEcoin. The memecoin rallied last week on news of Elon Musk’s purchase of the birdsite, which has since made massive layoffs.

Meta Layoffs

Unfortunately, bad news extends to immersive tech as well as crypto — though unrelated. Meta announced the lay off of some 11,000 employees. The move to make the tech giant “more capital competitive” didn’t target XR — in fact, quite the opposite.

The company’s “long-term vision for the metaverse” was identified as a “high priority growth area.” As such, it was less impacted, but impacted nonetheless. Zuckerberg identified reasons for the layoffs as being a return to pre-pandemic e-commerce figures, changes in ad revenue, increased competition and “macroeconomic downturn.”

Virtual Land Is Shrinking

Following reports that a number of virtual worlds have surprisingly low regular usership, industry expert (and all-around good-guy-to-know) Tom Ffiske did some research into the trend. His findings? Initial buzz might be dying down and that “macroeconomic downturn” Zuckerberg was talking about is no joke. What might help? More clear-cut utility and connection to other immersive experiences.

Good News Bites

It’s not all bad news. Here are a few spoonfuls of sugar to help that medicine go down: