Chicago-based trading firm Jump Trading has made the decision to separate Wormhole, its cross-chain protocol, from its operations. According to Bloomberg, Wormhole will now function as an independent entity, led by senior Wormhole employees.
CEO Saeed Badreg and COO Anthony Ramirez, among other senior Wormhole staff, have reportedly taken the reins to run Wormhole as an independent company. This move comes as Wormhole, previously part of Jump Crypto, the digital asset division of Jump Trading, has experienced a contraction throughout the year. The decision to decouple Wormhole is seen as part of a broader strategy by Jump Trading to navigate the unpredictability of cryptocurrency markets.
Earlier in the year, Jump Trading terminated its longstanding partnership with Robinhood, citing a significant decline in crypto trading volume on the platform. The move to separate Wormhole suggests a strategic shift in Jump Trading’s approach to its digital asset division.
Following the separation, sources indicate that the workforce at Jump Crypto has experienced a reduction of approximately 50%, down from its peak of around 150 employees in 2022. The exact number of employees departing Jump as part of this move is not clearly specified.
In 2021, Jump Trading acquired Certus One, a crypto firm, and integrated the team responsible for developing Wormhole. Wormhole, described as a crypto “bridge,” functions as software that connects different blockchains, like Ethereum and the Jump-backed Solana, to facilitate seamless transactions.
However, in February 2022, Wormhole’s software fell victim to cyber attackers who exploited security vulnerabilities, resulting in the theft of cryptocurrencies valued at around $320 million. This incident was part of a series of significant attacks on crypto bridges in the early months of 2022, with some attributed to the North Korean group Lazarus Group.
Despite Jump’s swift intervention to recover the lost funds within a day, the hack on Wormhole remains the second-largest exploit in the history of decentralized finance (DeFi). This incident underscores the ongoing challenges and risks associated with security vulnerabilities in the crypto space.
Sources also mentioned that Jump is closely monitoring the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) decision regarding the approval of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) directly invested in Bitcoin. If the SEC approves a Bitcoin ETF, Jump may consider revitalizing its cryptocurrency business, indicating a potential shift in strategy based on regulatory developments.
Earlier this year, nine employees from Jump Crypto, who were involved in the Pyth Network—a financial data feed operating on blockchain technology—left to establish the project as an independent entity. This trend of projects becoming independent entities reflects a broader pattern within the crypto industry.