Subscribe to the daily newsletter.

“Brutal layoffs” in Manchester: eBay responds to alleged issues with KnownOrigin

eBay HQ

Global online retailer eBay announced it would cut 1,000 jobs back in January, referencing how its overall headcount and expenses have “outpaced the growth” of the business. 

In a letter to staff, eBay’s CEO Jamie Iannone said the company would be scaling back the number of contracts it has within its “alternate workforce over the coming months”.

But it appears there’s trouble at eBay’s Manchester base too, following its acquisition of Manchester-based NFT marketplace KnownOrigin.

In messages seen by Prolific North, a senior staffer acknowledged that they were one of the casualties following a wave of redundancies, adding that the “level of layoffs within the team was brutal”.

When eBay acquired KnownOrigin back in 2022, the global giant had said the deal marked an ‘important step’ in its tech-led reimagination. But, according to one of our sources, over 30% of the Web3 team were recently “let go” with two senior KnownOrigin leaders either resigning, or made redundant.

eBay has declined to comment on these job cuts or the number of staff based in Manchester that may have been affected.

The relationship between KnownOrigin and eBay has also “soured” post acquisition, according to our source, and the future for NFTs on eBay’s website hangs in the balance as all plans for digital art have been “halted”.

A “lack of leadership and strategy” is to blame for the “chaotic layoffs”, our source added, and the business moved to focus on betas with the product scrapped last year, which has been “demoralising” for staff.

In a statement to Prolific North about its relationship with KnownOrigin and its Web3 ambitions, eBay denied this was the case.

A spokesperson for eBay commented: Embracing innovation is a cornerstone at eBay, including continued investment in Web3. We view this emerging technology as an exciting frontier of innovation for our marketplace and across ecommerce more broadly. 

“While we have shifted prioritisation to maximise growth in 2024, we remain committed to our Web3 strategy and continue to operate the platform. We look forward to sharing more about our continued ambitions in Web3 in the future.”

Related News