Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong
Coinbase offers to pay employees who decide to leave the cryptocurrency company after it discourages employee activism and discussing political and social issues in the workplace.
CEO Brian Armstrong told Coinbase employees in an email that the company would offer compensation packages to anyone “who is not feeling well with this new direction.”
“Life is too short to work for a company you don’t care about,” Armstrong said in an email previously reported by The Block. “We hope that this package helps to create a winning result for those who decide to give up.”
The announcement came days after Armstrong posted a blog post clarifying the company’s position on social and political disengagement.
In particular, Armstrong said the company “will not discuss causes or political candidates internally” and will not engage when issues are “unrelated to our core mission, because we believe the impact comes only with the focus” The cryptocurrency company is ” focused with the laser “on the use of digital currencies and on profits,” Armstrong said.
The co-founder cited “internal strife” against Silicon Valley giants such as Google and Facebook, which “engage with a wide variety of social activists, even those unrelated to what the company does.”
“While I think these efforts are well-intentioned, they have the potential to destroy great value in most companies, both through distraction and by creating internal division,” Armstrong said. “I believe most employees don’t want to work in these divisions.”
The approach differs from many Silicon Valley companies that have adopted social justice causes following widespread protests over racial injustice this year.
For example, Google this week announced an extensive $ 310 million program to strengthen diversity and involvement in the company as part of a lawsuit with shareholders who say the company does not take complaints of sexual harassment and discrimination seriously enough. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, meanwhile, recently tightened restrictions on political and social issues on the company’s internal bulletin boards, but stopped not discouraging or banning them altogether.
Armstrong himself was candid after the death of George Floyd and tweeted his support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
“I decided to speak. It is unfortunate that this even has to be said nowadays, but racism, police cruelty and unequal justice are unequivocally wrong and we must all work to remove them from society,” he said in a series of tweets.
Coinbase’s new policy immediately sparked a debate on Twitter. Some, such as investor Paul Graham, welcomed the position and predicted that “the most successful companies will follow the example of Coinbase.”
Others speculated that this would drive away technological talent and customers.
The San Francisco-based company is the largest cryptocurrency trading platform in the United States. It has raised more than $ 500 million in private funding from Andreessen Horowitz, Union Square Ventures and Tiger Global, among others, worth $ 8 billion, according to PitchBook.