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Coinbase says 60 employees are leaving over its apolitical stance

October 9, 2020, 2:25 PM UTC

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Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong started a maelstrom when he said his company would engage “minimally” around politics. Those who didn’t agree, he said, could leave.

On Thursday, Armstrong revealed in a blog post just how many took him up on the offer: About 60 employees, or 5% of Coinbase’s staff, took up the exit package that offered severance of between four to six months. The figure, he added, could be higher as some negotiations are wrapped up.

Armstrong’s initial missive reportedly came after employees called for the company to say the words “Black Lives Matter.” Coinbase hesitated to comply—apparently over concerns whether the phrase would also mean support for defunding the police—but Armstrong eventually did on Twitter after a virtual walkout. Then Coinbase tightened its guidelines on discussions around politics at work, culminating in Armstrong’s post, according to Wired

In that message, Armstrong said that it had been a distraction for companies to engage in a wide variety of social activism. But ironically, by attempting to free Coinbase of any political stance, he has made it the center of a political conversation. 

Now the question is, what will it do when the next sociopolitical issue crops up?

UNICORN FACTORY: At least four new unicorns crossed my radar this week alone. There was Unqork, Tipalti, and Dialpad on Tuesday, not to mention MessageBird on Thursday. It seems like a robust time for unicorn creation. 

But what does the data say? According to numbers from Pitchbook, some 93 unicorns globally have been created so far this year, or about one every three days. And while the assembly line is going strong, figures are still trending below that of 2019, an outsized year for new unicorns. Some 106 companies crossed the $1 billion threshold by the end of the third quarter in 2019.

Lucinda Shen
Twitter: @shenlucinda


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