Coinbase offers exit packages for staffers unhappy with no-politics stance


Coinbase offers exit packages for staffers unhappy with no-politics stance

Coinbase is offering "generous separation packages" to employees angry about CEO Brian Armstrong's public declaration that the cryptocurrency giant will keep out of political and societal issues such as the 'Black Live Matter' movement.

Coinbase losing about 5% of its workforce after CEO banns social media activism in the office

Coinbase’s CEO is banning social activism and politics in the office. The decision resulted in the departure of at least 60 employees. CNBC’s Kate Rooney reports. For access to live and exclusive video from CNBC subscribe to CNBC PRO:

Coinbase is offering to pay employees who decide to quit the cryptocurrency company after it discouraged employee activism and discussing of political and social issues at work.

CEO Brian Armstrong told Coinbase staff in an email that the company would offer severance packages for anyone “who doesn’t feel comfortable with this new direction.” The pay packages range from four to six months, depending on how long an employee had been with the company.

“Life is too short to work at a company that you aren’t excited about,” Armstrong said in the email, which was previously reported by The Block. “Hopefully this package helps create a win-win outcome for those who choose to opt out.”

The message came days after Armstrong published a blog post clarifying the company’s stance of non-engagement on social and political issues.

Specifically, Armstrong said that the company “won’t debate causes or political candidates internally,” and will not engage when the issues are “unrelated to our core mission, because we believe impact only comes with focus.” The cryptocurrency company is “laser focused” on the use of digital currencies, and on profits, Armstrong said.

The co-founder pointed to “internal strife” at Silicon Valley giants such as Google and Facebook that “engage in a wide variety of social activism, even those unrelated to what the company does.”

“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.”

The approach stands apart from many Silicon Valley companies, which have embraced social justice causes in the wake of widespread protests over racial injustice this year.

For instance, Google this week announced an extensive $310 million program to bolster diversity and inclusion at the company as part of a lawsuit settlement with shareholders who alleged the company did not take complaints of sexual harassment and discrimination seriously enough. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, meanwhile, recently tightened restrictions on discussing political and social issues on the company’s internal message boards, but stopped short of discouraging or banning them entirely.

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