Chicago-based trading firm Jump Trading has decoupled Wormhole, its cross-chain protocol.
Bloomberg reported on Friday that Wormhole would be run as an independent entity by senior Wormhole employees.
Citing people with knowledge of the matter, Bloomberg said that senior Wormhole staffers including CEO Saeed Badreg and COO Anthony Ramirez had recently to run Wormhole as an independent company.
Wormhole, formerly a part of Jump Crypto, the digital asset division of Jump Trading, has experienced a contraction throughout the year as its parent company scaled back its involvement due to concern surrounding the unpredictability of cryptomarkets.
In August, Jump terminated its longstanding partnership with Robinhood after the trading app witnessed a 43% decline in crypto trading volume in the spring.
In the aftermath of the separation, the workforce at Jump Crypto has undergone a reduction of approximately 50%, down from its peak of around 150 employees in 2022, according to sources familiar with the matter. The exact number of employees who departed Jump as part of the move remains unclear.
In 2021, Jump acquired Certus One, a crypto firm, and integrated the team responsible for developing Wormhole. Wormhole, categorized as a crypto “bridge,” serves as software connecting disparate blockchains, such as Ethereum and the Jump-backed Solana, facilitating streamlined transactions.
However, in February 2022, cyber attackers exploited security vulnerabilities in Wormhole’s software, pilfering cryptocurrencies valued at around $320 million. This incident was part of a series of substantial attacks on crypto bridges in the early months of 2022, with some being attributed to the North Korean outfit Lazarus Group.
Despite Jump’s intervention to recover the lost funds within a day, the hack still stands as the second-largest exploit in the history of DeFi.
Bloomberg’s sources also highlighted that Jump is closely observing the SEC’s decision regarding the approval of exchange-traded funds directly invested in Bitcoin. In the event of SEC approval for a Bitcoin ETF, Jump may consider reinvigorating its cryptocurrency business.
Earlier this year, nine employees from Jump Crypto involved in the Pyth Network — a financial data feed operating on blockchain technology — departed to establish the project as an independent entity, mirroring the process unfolding with Wormhole.
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