Multiple Coinbase employees have gone on record explaining a clean exit offering for staffers that don’t agree with the exchange’s mission. This clean exit has been in the works for the past six months, now, and three people within the 1,200-strong firm have already taken the package.
Politics Is Everywhere
This was caused thanks to Brian Armstrong, the CEO of Coinbase, publishing a blog post that actively discouraged bringing politics to bear in the office. He went as far as offering severance packages for the various employees that disagreed with this new apolitical standing. Three employees with the agreement of being anonymous, explained that Armstrong, alongside other managers within Coinbase, had been planning this move for six months, now.
The plans for the company’s new position were put in place by Armstrong after a number of Coinbase engineers refused to work. This was due to Armstrong refusing to say “black lives matter” externally when civil unrest over the killing of unarmed black men and women was at its peak.
Trying To Stay Out Of The Chaos
Recently, Armstrong was forced to clarify in his company meetings of his dilemma. While he could very well say “black lives matter” in lowercase, meaning commenting around the societal injustices, he couldn’t say “Black Lives Matter,” as in associating himself with the overall social movement. On the day of the walkout, Armstrong tweeted a thread explaining his position about the matter.
I want to unequivocally say that Black Lives Matter.
— Brian Armstrong (@brian_armstrong) June 4, 2020
Another source, one familiar with the inner workings of the San Francisco-based crypto exchange, explained that this policy comes as a response to the polarizing political conversations occurring across the entire company’s venues, Slack channels included. The source highlighted that this was the main concern, as opposed to the walkout event itself.
The policies stipulate that employees are still fully allowed to have political conversations within the non-general channels, such as those created by employees. This comes by way of the source, as well.
One of the employees stated that Armstrong could have dodged controversy, if the man had opted to communicate this new direction to the company by internal-only channels. Staffers revealed that they were aware of this move one week before the public blog post.
Regardless of the possible “best” way to handle this, in this political climate, it would’ve been more damaging to not make an outright stance, as opposed to taking an outright apolitical stance. With the polarizing politics of this day and age, if people aren’t with you, they’re seen as against you. Regardless of how sad a mentality that is, Armstrong has decided to make a public side of it, to try and let everyone know which “side” he is on, even if that side is a lack of sides altogether.