The NEAR Foundation, the entity behind the Layer 1 blockchain blockchain NEAR, announced plans to downsize its team as it shifts focus towards a more narrow set of activities. 

In a Jan 11 update, CEO Illia Polosukhin said that NEAR plans to reduce its team by around 40%, which would impact 35 members of the team across marketing, business development, and community teams. 

“The NEAR Foundation will provide support to affected colleagues during this time to help them find new opportunities in the NEAR ecosystem, the Web3 industry, and beyond,” said  Polosukhin.

The decision appears to have stemmed from an internal review of the Foundation’s activities, which revealed that it had not been as effective as it could have been.

“Following this review, we have decided to significantly consolidate the core Foundation team to focus on a narrower and higher-impact set of activities,” Polosukhin added. 

He clarified that the NEAR Treasury remains in a strong position, with over $285 million in fiat currency, and 305 million NEAR tokens, worth over $1 billion at the time of writing. The Treasury also holds $70 million worth of investments and loans. 

In November, crypto market making firm Wintermute alleged that the NEAR Foundation and its subsidiary Aurora Labs failed to honour a redemption deal worth $11 million. 

Wintermute founder and CEO Evgeny Gaevoy shared details of a transaction related to NEAR’s now defunct stablecoin USN, which would have allowed Wintermute to redeem USN for USDT on a 1:1 basis.

“Upon submitting our redemption, NF [NEAR Foundation] refused to honor their commitments. 2.5 months later, we haven’t received any USDT for the USN sent to them in August,” said Gaevoy.