Coinbase, the bitcoin bank valued at $8 billion and expected to go public in 2021, is going through an internal identity crisis.
It started back in June, amid the nationwide protests over the death of George Floyd, when Brian Armstrong, the company’s extremely introverted cofounder and CEO, was asked a question at an employee town hall about why Coinbase had not shown public support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Armstrong declined to give a clear answer, according to crypto news site The Block, and his avoidance resulted in a virtual walkout by “hundreds” of Coinbase’s 1,100 employees on June 3.
The next day, Armstrong tweeted, “I want to unequivocally say that Black Lives Matter.” He added: “I’ve been watching the events of the last few weeks unfold – I really did not know what to say about it for a long time, and I’m still not sure I
Welcome back to Human Capital, a weekly digest about diversity, inclusion and the human labor that powers tech.
This week, we’re looking at a number of topics because a lot went down. Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong took a controversial stance on social, Clubhouse found itself under scrutiny again, but this time around anti-Semitism and a new site launched that sheds light on some of the negative experiences of underrepresented people in tech. Meanwhile, the founder from Ethel’s Club unveiled Somewhere Good, which aims to provide a safe social platform for people of color. The timing couldn’t be better.
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Coinbase CEO’s stance on societal issues stirs up controversy
Over the weekend, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong said the company does not engage on border societal issues
(Bloomberg) — Coinbase Inc.’s clampdown on discussing politics and activism at work — and the offer of severance packages to employees who don’t want to comply — continues to ripple through the cryptocurrency exchange and Silicon Valley.
Many employees were shocked by Chief Executive Officer Brian Armstrong’s blog post imposing the rules Sunday, and some are concerned that he is trying to stymie discourse that should be happening, according to two people familiar with the situation who asked not to be identified. Neither knew of anyone taking an exit package from the San Francisco-based company, but employees have until Oct. 7 to apply.
Jack Dorsey, Twitter Inc.’s CEO and a noted Bitcoin advocate, criticized Armstrong’s ban on politics, saying late Wednesday the change runs counter to the core principles of cryptocurrencies. Other veterans of
You’d be excused for not following the recent brouhaha associated with Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong’s announcement that the company would no longer play politics. The statement, posted to Medium on Sunday, is a doozy.
“In short, I want Coinbase to be laser focused on achieving its mission, because I believe that this is the way that we can have the biggest impact on the world. We will do this by playing as a championship team, focus on building, and being transparent about what our mission is and isn’t,” Armstrong wrote.
He rattled off a number of examples of this, culminating in something that gave many pause: “We don’t engage here when issues are unrelated to our core mission, because we believe impact only comes with focus.”
Armstrong’s post is a direct reaction to the Black Lives
Crypto exchange Coinbase is building a new “Platforms” team and has hired two executives from Venmo and Adobe to join this team.
Shilpa Dhar, former head of product at Venmo, has joined Coinbase as VP of product. Ravi Byakod, former head of commerce engineering at Adobe, has joined Coinbase as VP of engineering.
Dhar and Byakod will lead Coinbase’s Platforms team and help the company focus on creating a “strong, scalable, and compliant infrastructure that can keep up with the growing cryptoeconomy,” said Surojit Chatterjee, chief product officer at Coinbase.
Before Venmo, Dhar worked for PayPal for more than ten years, and Byakod has had stints at Google, eBay and Flipkart.
It is unclear what specific products the Platforms team would build, but it hints at scaling the Coinbase Commerce platform since Dhar and Byakod have experience in leading commerce platforms.
The Coinbase Commerce platform helps merchants accept crypto payments.