Week in Review - Another brutal week for crypto and crypto companies

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By Greg Kumparak

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Hi all! Welcome back to Week in Review, the newsletter where we recap the most read stories to cross TechCrunch over the last week. Our goal: If you’ve had a busy few days, you should be able to click into this on Saturday, give it a skim, and still have a pretty good idea of what went down this week.

I’ll be AFK for the next two newsletters, with the excellent Henry Pickavet subbing in for me while I’m gone. Henry is one of the best humans I know — so be nice!

The most read story this week, unfortunately, was one of layoffs — specifically, layoffs at Coinbase. The crypto exchange announced on Tuesday that it’ll be laying off 18% of its workforce, with CEO Brian Armstrong saying the company “grew too quickly” in the last year and a half.

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Image Credits: Namthip Muanthongthae / Getty Images

other stuff

Kaiser breached: Oof. One employee email account hacked, nearly 70,000 patient records potentially exposed. In a notice sent to impacted patients, Kaiser says the “potentially exposed” data included names, dates of service and lab test results.

More layoffs: Coinbase wasn’t the only company to disclose layoffs this week. Real estate tech companies Redfin and Compass both confirmed cuts of around 450 employees each, while Canadian fintech Wealthsimple laid off nearly 160.

Spotify buys a voice-simulation company: In 2014, Val Kilmer underwent a tracheotomy as part of his treatment for throat cancer. For his role in the recently released “Top Gun: Maverick,” London-based startup Sonantic was asked to re-create Kilmer’s voice with AI. This week, Spotify announced that it is acquiring Sonantic. Why? They’re not getting too specific, but it’s not too hard to think of ways Spotify could put realistic-yet-simulated voices to use — think indie audiobooks or auto-generated podcast commercials.

Elon sued over Dogecoin: Is it Elon’s fault that Dogecoin — a cryptocurrency that started as a joke — massively spiked in value and then imploded? A class action lawsuit filed in Manhattan this week claims Musk “used his pedestal as World's Richest man to operate and manipulate the Dogecoin Pyramid Scheme for profit, exposure and amusement” and seeks damages of $258 billion.

The SpaceX letter: On Wednesday of this week, employees at SpaceX published an “open letter” to the company’s internal chat system that said “Elon's behavior in the public sphere is a frequent source of distraction and embarrassment” and asked SpaceX to “swiftly and explicitly separate itself from Elon’s personal brand.” By Friday morning, at least one of the employees involved in the letter had been terminated, with SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell calling it “overreaching activism.”

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audio stuff

Did work say it’s time to head back to the office? Need something to listen to on the commute? Ever wondered what your favorite TechCrunch writer sounds like? Good news! We’ve got podcasts. A whole bunch of them, actually. (Fun fact: given that we’re spread out all over the world, many of us have talked to each other more on podcasts than we have in real life.)

This week Lucas and Anita talked with the inimitable Aaron Levie (CEO of Box) about his thoughts on web3 — specifically, why it won’t work. Check it out on Chain Reaction.

added stuff

Want even more TechCrunch? Head on over to the aptly named TechCrunch+, where we get to go a bit deeper on the topics our subscribers tell us they care about. Some of the good stuff from this week includes:

Which visa is best for bootstrapping a startup?: Immigration attorney Sophie Alcorn is back with another edition of the “Dear Sophie” advice column, this time helping a German founder figure out the right way to navigate bootstrapping a startup in the U.S.

Brex exits the SMB market. What next?: This week Brex announced that it’s largely stepping out of the small- to medium-sized business market, with plans to cut services for its smaller customers come August 15. Alex and Mary Ann take a look at what this could mean for the market — and Brex’s competitors.

What's the catalyst behind the crypto crash?: Cryptocurrency prices continued to slide this week. Why? In this week’s edition of The Exchange, Alex gives an overview of some of the biggest “issues that are currently tripping up the web3 market.”

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