Sixty Coinbase employees have accepted a purchase offer after CEO Brian Armstrong announced a controversial new policy to curb political activism within the company. Armstrong revealed the figure in a Thursday email to employees.
Armstrong announced the new policy after the summer last week when many technology companies faced pressure to be more vocal on their employees’ social justice issues.
Armstrong wrote in a September 27 blog post, “While I think these efforts are well-intentioned, they both have the potential to destroy a lot of value on most companies by distracting and creating internal divisions.” “We’ve seen what internal conflict in companies like Google and Facebook can do for productivity. I believe most employees don’t want to work in these segmentation environments.”
The post indicated a backlash among liberals on Twitter, but Armstrong did not return. To show that he was serious, Armstrong offered Coinbase employees a generous severance package — four to six months’ pay — if they were not comfortable with the new policy.
Armstrong wrote, “Life is too short for a company you’re not excited about.”
Now Armstrong says 60 employees accepted the package. Armstrong says the company accounts for about 5 percent of its headcount. Some more employees are still in discussions with the company and may accept it in the coming days.
Armstrong wrote, “For those of you who have decided to move forward, I want to thank you for your contribution to Coinbase.” “And for those of you choosing in the next chapter, I want to thank you for your faith and commitment to this mission.”
Armstrong said people in Coinbase’s “under-represented groups” did not accept the proportionate buyout offer. Armstrong said he is committed to “creating a diverse, inclusive environment where everyone feels they belong.”
And while Coinbase is discouraging most forms of political advocacy, Armstrong accepted one exception: cryptocurrency itself is “inherently political.” Armstrong wrote that he is “political about this particular area as it relates to our mission.”