5% of Coinbase Employees Take Severance Offer Over ‘Apolitical’ Stance

Coinbase lost 60 employees out of 1,200 after an updated mission statement from CEO Brian Armstrong sparked heated debate about how companies should respond to today's charged politics.
In a company-wide memo from CoinDesk, Armstrong announced to employees that 5% of the company's workforce had accepted the severance package offered last week. The deadline for employees to show interest in the package was Wednesday, and Armstrong expects the number to be higher after a "handful of other conversations" are completed.
"I know there have been many difficult conversations to clarify what our apolitical culture means in practice," wrote Armstrong. “It was great to see the whole team come together to gain understanding and to support each other. Getting through is not easy, but I think it will make us have a stronger and more united team. "
Related: Read between the lines of Brian Armstrong's Mission Memo
Armstrong said the company could have done a "better job" of helping Coinbase's operations group and managers understand the new mission. He also said that the exit package was primarily adopted by people who were not part of Coinbase's "underrepresented minority" and that Coinbase would "continue to monitor this closely to ensure we create a diverse, inclusive environment in which to live." to whom all human beings feel they belong. "
Coinbase employees speak
An employee of the company, who spoke to CoinDesk on condition of anonymity, said the severance package was mostly handled by engineers - as opposed to less mobile workers like customer support. Another source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the departures were fairly evenly distributed.
I am concerned that the severance package was too good.
I am concerned that the severance package was too good.
Another employee was surprised to hear the number of people who had left. "I am concerned that the severance package was too good," he said.
Related: Coinbase's 'Mission' violates the spirit of Bitcoin
Read more: Coinbase is offering a severance package to employees who are not satisfied with the “non-political” mission
In his Thursday memo, Armstrong also made it clear that the new mission would not mean that employees should not "have to pretend there is no policy".
"We support each other during difficult times and hold current affairs conversations like any other team," Armstrong wrote in the memo. "We have just made the decision not to commit ourselves as a company outside of our mission."
While it is clear that employees are not allowed to talk about politics on general Slack channels and need to establish separate non-general channels to talk about politics, it is not clear what is political and what is apolitical. As CoinDesk reported on Friday, employees were told that a #spaghetti-monster-for-president-slack channel would comply with the new policy.
Read more: Coinbase employees have started taking severance packages
"There hasn't been any real clarity since last week," said one engineer. "Nobody in leadership seems to be able to define this as they are in the same boat as the rest of the staff and are trying to make sense of Brian's limited statements."
Armstrong said in the memo that he recognizes that what counts as politics is "a blurred line".
"Our goal is not to look for violations, but to help employees adapt to these clarified expectations," he wrote.
Armstrong also said that in the future, cultural norms at Coinbase will be reformulated and clarified as the company scales.
"I am very excited to move forward as #OneCoinbase to pursue our vision of economic freedom for every person and every company," he concluded.
Zack Seward contributed to the coverage.
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5% of Coinbase employees accept a severance offer with an "apolitical" attitude
5% of Coinbase employees accept a severance offer with an "apolitical" attitude

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