Smart contracts auditing firm Hosho has laid off 80 percent of its staff, citing an increased amount of automated tooling, the firm’s co-founder and president Hartej Sawhney told Cointelegraph on Feb. 1.

Sawhney noted that while Hosho has laid of a significant portion of its team, it continues to be one of the leading firms in the industry of smart contract auditing and security, specifically in penetration testing.

The Hosho president explained that the staff reduction was caused by a complex set of circumstances, including the downturn in the amount of initial coin offerings (ICO), which is in part due to the major 2018 crypto bear market.

Speaking to Cointelegraph, Sawhney emphasized the fact that Hosho has been actively increasing scales of automated tooling implementation, while at the same time seeing a much smaller number of smart contracts audits. In this context, auditing work by a large number of engineers has become unnecessary, Sawhney said, stressing that the main goal now is to keep the company going.

Sawhney noted that Hosho intends to figure out the perfect number of employees that should be kept in the company, at the same time maintaining and developing the momentum of the work, as well as its brand and level of audit reports.

With that, Sawhney revealed that Hosho is planning to expand its presence from the already tapped markets of North America and Europe to the Southeast Asian market, looking to employ new ambassadors.

The crypto bear market of 2018 has caused a wave of layoffs in the crypto and blockchain industry. In late 2018, Cointelegraph reported on alleged layoffs at major blockchain software firm ConsenSys, with sources familiar with the matter claiming that the amount of employees that is set to be fired is anywhere between 50 and 60 percent out of the entire team of 1,200 people. However, the company eventually claimed that the recent layoffs did not exceed 13 percent of staff.

Yesterday, top Canadian crypto exchange Coinsquare was reported to have laid off almost 30 percent of its staff, including its chief financial officer (CFO) and chief operating officer (COO).

Earlier in January, Swiss crypto exchange ShapeShift laid off a third of its team, as revealed by the exchange’s CEO Erik Voorhees.