Hao Jia was so convinced in the potential of cryptocurrencies that he  passed up a job at a large tech firm, Oracle, to take another offer he  received in early April to be a software engineer at one of the buzziest  crypto startups, Coinbase.

But last week, Jia was one of a number of employees who received an  email from Coinbase rescinding their job offers. For Jia, that not only  meant losing a job but also, possibly, a visa.

After initially planning to hire up to 2,000 more employees this year,  citing "enormous product opportunities ahead," Coinbase has abruptly  shifted course.

In recent days, the cryptocurrency exchange, which was once valued at  nearly $100 billion, has rescinded offers, implemented a hiring freeze  and laid off 18% of its work force.

In a company-wide email sent Tuesday to employees announcing the mass  layoff, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong pointed to a possible recession  looming and growth that happened "too quickly."

Employees learned they had lost their jobs after finding themselves  locked out of their work emails. "I realize that removal of access will  feel sudden and unexpected, and this is not the experience I wanted for  you," Armstrong wrote.

The sudden reversal in hiring at Coinbase mirrors a broader trend in the  crypto sector. A growing number of startups are slashing staff in order  to survive a possible prolonged downturn in the crypto market and the  broader economy

creating a sense of whiplash in the process among the many workers who  joined these businesses with the belief that crypto was the next big  thing.

In a tweet Saturday,  Crypto.com CEO Kris Marszalek announced that the Singapore-based  exchange will be laying off about 260 workers, or 5% of its workforce.

Another large exchange platform, Gemini Exchange, announced last week that it would be laying off 10% of staffers.

And Crypto lending platform BlockFi said it is cutting around 20% of its workforce.