Several Kraken employees will reportedly remain in the Middle East and North Africa, with regional managing director Benjamin Ampen likely to leave following the transition.
Cryptocurrency exchange Kraken has reportedly closed its office in Abu Dhabi less than 12 months after receiving regulatory approval to operate in the region.
According to a Feb. 2 report from Bloomberg, Kraken shut down its Abu Dhabi office, laying off roughly eight people on the team focused on the Middle East and North Africa, or MENA. The exchange had been licensed to offer services in the Abu Dhabi international financial center and Abu Dhabi Global Market since April 2022 — prior to the market downturn affecting many crypto firms.
As part of the shutdown, Kraken reportedly suspended support for transactions in the local dirham currency. However, existing users in the region will still have access to the platform using other fiat currencies. Several employees will also reportedly remain in the area, with Kraken MENA managing director Benjamin Ampen likely to leave following the transition.
The reported move in the Middle East followed Kraken announcing in November it planned to cut its workforce by 30% — more than 1,000 people — in an effort to survive the crypto winter. Kraken co-founder Jesse Powell described the layoffs as taking the exchange back to its size in 2021, when it rapidly expanded. Powell announced in September that he planned to step down as CEO but stay on as board chair.
Kraken also pulled out of Japan as of Jan. 31, marking the second time the exchange withdrew from the major Asian economy since April 2018. The firm said in December that the move was part of resource allocation, citing “current market conditions in Japan” and a “weak crypto market globally.”
Cointelegraph reached out to Kraken, but did not receive a response at the time of publication.