One of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges on the planet recently put out a statement indicating that they would remain ‘apolitical’ amidst the storm of politics and socio-political activism sweeping the globe. The statement seemed to come as an effect from rumblings inside, and left a harsh mandate.
Now, after the CEO of the company said that anyone who wanted to maintain their activism, which would inevitably link them to political affiliations, could leave, there have been some employees who have decided to take their stance rather than employment.
According to multiple Coinbase workers, the plan to offer a clean exit for mission-dissenting staffers has been in the works for six months. So far, at least three people in the 1,200-person firm have taken the severance package, one of these sources told CoinDesk late last week.
It all stemmed from a blog from the CEO that stated that Coinbase was ‘mission-focused’ and that hinted at activism as a distraction from that mission. The conversation went deeper for those at the company as a memo said those who wanted to maintain their activism would have to take a severance.
This appeared to be in ration, and it has since emerged that Coinbase engineers closed their laptops one day over the summer after Armstrong wouldn’t say “black lives matter” externally amid social unrest over police killings of unarmed black men and women.
Armstrong recently clarified in company meetings that he could say “black lives matter” (lowercase) and admit to societal injustice but not “Black Lives Matter” (uppercase) and associate himself with the social movement for racial equity. On the day of the walkout Armstrong tweeted:
Doing nothing is a stance
The issue has become that Armstrong’s strong stance on doing nothing has become a disruptive force more than allowing activism to flourish.
“I think that if he was trying primarily to communicate this to employees and had consulted and listened to really anyone who might be sensitive to the concept of selling this to his employees, this could have blown over and turned into something banal and corporate,” the employee said.
Still another employee said that the timing of the policy’s release was bad. It came at the end of the third quarter, amid rumors of the firm going public, and after a Louisville grand jury failed to charge police officers for murder in the controversial killing of Breonna Taylor, it was explained by Coindesk.
“I don’t think it was targeted at Black Lives Matter in general,” the employee said of the blog post and new company mission. “We just have a lot of projects we need to get done.”