Coinbase, America’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, has made headlines in recent weeks to change an internal culture that has effectively informed employees that there will be no room for social engagement within the walls. Moreover, a recently leaked voice shows that the majority of employees agree with the new trend.
The company’s “apolitical” position was announced by CEO Brian Armstrong in a message posted on the exchange’s mid-platform on September 27. The Armstrong report pointed to an extremely challenging year that hurt many economies, companies and individuals around the world, which also led to many social problems.
In the US context, the tragic death of George Floyd due to the mistreatment of a Minneapolis police officer in May 2020 sparked the #BlackLivesMatter movement and subsequent nationwide protests and demonstrations. Many Americans have chosen to unite and oppose racial abuse and inequality.
Armstrong’s post demonstrates the company’s commitment to “focus on achieving its mission,” which is to create an open world financial system, giving people access to cryptocurrencies to achieve financial freedom.
The CEO then emphasized his belief that providing employees with opportunities to spend time in social activities and for other reasons can interfere with the company’s goal of developing its capabilities, products and services. Armstrong highlights other Silicon Valley companies actively promoting and engaging in social engagement before explaining why Coinbase took a different approach:
“The reason is that while I believe these efforts are well-intentioned, they can destroy a lot of value in most companies, both through distraction and by creating internal divisions.”
Moreover, according to the CEO, “most employees will not work in this challenging environment.” He also stated that employees “want the workplace to be a refuge from an increasingly divided world.” Thus, Armstrong explained that Coinbase will focus little on reasons that are not directly related to mission, which include political decisions, nonprofit activities, broader social issues, and political reasons.
The CEO acknowledged that the company may be involved in government cryptocurrency policy, but will not be involved in non-industry related matters. Coinbase will also continue to contribute to the Pledge 1% program and GiveCrypto.org, but will no longer participate in this area.
Cointelegraph reached out to Coinbase for comment but received no response during the press conference.
5% of employees choose post-service benefits
Following his blog post on Medium, Armstrong sent an internal employee an email suggesting that anyone unhappy with the company’s changing cultural policies could opt for a layoff package to leave the company.
The letter offered a four-month salary package for employees who have worked for the company for less than three years. Employees with over three years at Coinbase wanted a six-month pay package. Those who opt for the packages will also receive six months of health insurance through the US government’s COBRA program.
The letter was allegedly sent to staff on September 30th, and those interested in accepting the final package were given a week to make a final decision and submit the required paperwork before the October 7th deadline.
Despite the relatively short time frame, Armstrong revealed that 60 employees decided to leave the company in a follow-up blog post on Oct.8. That number accounted for 5% of Coinbase’s employees, while the CEO also mentioned that many employees have shown an interest in leaving the company. …
Among those who left the company is Vice President of Business and Data Deng Yu, who announced his resignation in a LinkedIn post on October 7. VP said he will continue to work with Coinbase through the end of 2020 to complete the transition before it leaves. … Clem Freeman, a software engineer for Coinbase, also publicly announced that he would be leaving the company on Twitter, stating that he disagrees with “some of the changes the administration recently made.”
Recent events on Coinbase and subsequent interactions are still ongoing and it is not clear what the main impact will be on the business. Ideologically, this move has been met with controversial comments and reactions from famous people in the broader crypto community.
Coinbase received an anonymous investment from world famous tennis star Serena Williams and her company Serena Ventures VC, which was announced in April 2019.