The Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong said that internal political and social activism distract employees from the company’s core mission and cause. Armstrong’s comments have sparked a debate while getting mixed responses from other industry veterans.
In a blog post on Sunday, September 27, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong wrote to his employees that he won’t allow any political discussions or social and employee activism in the workplace. In an email to staff, the CEO also said that they are willing to offer severance packages to those “who don’t feel comfortable with this new direction”.
Based on the employee’s past association with Coinbase, the severance packages range between four to six months of compensation. The Coinbase CEO wrote:
“Life is too short to work at a company that you aren’t excited about. Hopefully, this package helps create a win-win outcome for those who choose to opt-out.”
Armstrong also added that the company’s only focus at this point is digital currencies and profits. He also defended Coinbase’s stand on non-engagement in political issues by pointing out the “internal strife” at other tech giants like Facebook and Google.
“While I think these efforts are well intentioned, they have the potential to destroy a lot of value at most companies, both by being a distraction, and by creating internal division,” Armstrong said. “I believe most employees don’t want to work in these divisive environments.”
Google shareholders had recently complained of the company not taking enough measures to handle discrimination and sexual harassment. The search engine giant had to announce a $300-million program to promote diversity in a lawsuit settlement with shareholders. Although Facebook has also tightened restrictions for internal political discussions in the workplace, it hasn’t completely banned them.
Brian Armstrong’s Decision Sparks Debate, Sees Mixed Responses
Brian Armstrong’s decision to prohibit political and social activism has sparked debate in the community. While some popular personalities applauded Armstrong for the new policy, others didn’t agree. Popular investor Paul Graham spoke in favor tweeting:
Yet again, @brian_armstrong leads the way. I predict most successful companies will follow Coinbase’s lead. If only because those who don’t are less likely to succeed.https://t.co/3wKYAej7qO
— Paul Graham (@paulg) September 28, 2020
However, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey criticized the decision saying its against the core principle of cryptocurrencies i.e. freedom. He further argued that the whole purpose of cryptocurrencies is social activism. He tweeted:
#Bitcoin (aka “crypto”) is direct activism against an unverifiable and exclusionary financial system which negatively affects so much of our society. Important to at *least* acknowledge and connect the related societal issues your customers face daily. This leaves people behind: https://t.co/0LMlF1qcmG
— jack (@jack) September 30, 2020
Coinbase is one of the largest crypto exchanges and digital asset services platform with over 35 million users. The latest decision comes as there’s a huge movement within tech companies to represent their employees’ believes.
Bhushan is a FinTech enthusiast and holds a good flair in understanding financial markets. His interest in economics and finance draw his attention towards the new emerging Blockchain Technology and Cryptocurrency markets. He is continuously in a learning process and keeps himself motivated by sharing his acquired knowledge. In free time he reads thriller fictions novels and sometimes explore his culinary skills.