Thursday, October 22, 2020

Coinbase hemorrhages employees following controversial culture stance

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After adjustments to company policies, popular U.S.-based crypto exchange Coinbase has seen backlash from employees who disagreed with the changes. 

Coinbase received national attention for a recent change to its policies, which required employees to avoid political and social distractions, and instead focus on its core mission of building “an open financial system for the world”. Multiple commentators, including Jack Dorsey of Twitter, found the new direction to be at odds with the cryptocurrency industry’s values.

“We subsequently decided to make a generous exit package available to any employee who didn’t feel they could be on board with this direction,” Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong said in a blog post on Oct. 8.

Armstrong’s post stated that 60 of the exchange’s staffers intend to depart from the company, equivalent to approximately 5% of the firm’s workforce. Additional workers have expressed interest in leaving as well, he said

The CEO said that despite concerns over the cultural shift disproportionately affecting the company’s “under-represented minority population”, people from such groups have not taken the severance package in disproportionate numbers.

In his clarifications to staff, Armstrong noted that employees should not have to pretend that politics don’t exist, and that crypto is an inherently political industry. He also saidthat “Yes, we are ok being political about this one particular area because it relates to our mission.”

In explaining how to know what is political, Armstrong declared that “We recognize it’s a blurry line, and ask that employees use good judgement. Our goal is not to look for violations, but rather to support employees in adapting to these clarified expectations.”

UPDATE Oct. 8, 18:12 UTC: This article has been updated with additional details. 

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