Joseph Lubin ConsenSys dividing in two

ConsenSys splits in two, cuts 14% of staff

The once-sprawling Brooklyn-based Ethereum incubator is turning itself into a software company and an investment firm

ConsenSys, the Ethereum-focused startup incubator founded by Joseph Lubin, is undergoing another contraction. 

According to an announcement Tuesday, the Brooklyn, NY-based company will divide itself into two parts—a core software business that will retain the ConsenSys name and a venture arm that will operate as ConsenSys Investments. The firm plans to reduce headcount by 14% in the process. 

“Over the past year, ConsenSys undertook a deep strategic review and articulated two separate strategies to grow and support the ecosystem as a software company and a separate investment company,” the company said. 

ConsenSys’ core software business will be composed of mainly Infura, PegaSys, MetaMask, and Codefi, a software stack providing tools for Ethereum developers, decentralized finance companies, and startups. The business will also help finance firms build and operate blockchain solutions, ConsenSys said.   

Meanwhile, ConsenSys Investments will focus on “early-stage equity, liquid digital assets, and strategic opportunities,” the firm said.

In the coming months, ConsenSys will “finalize the transition from its venture production model and spin out a number of its internally funded projects into the ConsenSys Investments portfolio.” 

How many people the company is actually letting go is a question. ConsenSys told Modern Consensus via email that it is not sharing the actual number of staff being let go, or even how many people it employs. But the company reportedly had 900 employees as of July 2018. That was before it went through a restructuring known as “ConsenSys 2.0” later in the year. That was when ConsenSys first began to spin out its large portfolio of blockchain projects. It also let go of 13% of its staff, estimated to be around 117 employees.

An Ethereum co-founder, Lubin was named a crypto billionaire by Forbes in early 2018 for his vast reserves of ether (ETH). He founded Consensys in October 2014, shortly after Ethereum completed its ICO, selling ether at around 30 cents per token. In addition to getting a portion of premined ETH for his role as cofounder, Lubin was rumored to be one of the top buyers in the crowd sale. 

At one point he described ConsenSys as an “organism” to build the application and infrastructure for a decentralized world with people as its “cells or neurons” organizing themselves into organs. 

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Amy Castor has more than 20 years' experience in journalism. Her work on crypto and blockchain has appeared in consumer and trade publications throughout the U.S., including CoinDesk, Forbes, Bitcoin Magazine, and The Block.