‘Quit and find a company to work at that you believe in!’: Brian Armstrong responds to petition that calls for ouster of Coinbase execs

June 10, 2022, 8:53 PM UTC

In a series of tweets on Friday, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong shot back at the creator of a now-deleted employee petition that called for the ouster of three top executives at the crypto exchange.

The billionaire CEO wrote that the petition was “really dumb on multiple levels,” and that any criticism should be directed at him and not his C-suite. He also doubted why anyone who supported the position would continue to work there. 

“Quit and find a company to work at that you believe in,” Armstrong wrote.

The petition, entitled “Operation Revive COIN” which appears to have been published Thursday on the writing NFT platform, did not mention Armstrong, but called for Chief Operating Officer Emilie Choi, Chief Product Officer Surojit Chatterjee, and Chief People Officer LJ Brock to face a vote of no confidence and be removed from the company.

The writers of the anonymous petition said that the executives should be removed because they executed plans and ideas that led to “questionable results and negative value.” Among several complaints, the document pointed to the rollout of Coinbase’s NFT platform, which has struggled to attract users, and aggressively hiring for thousands of roles in a way that they said was “unsustainable”  and “contrary to the wisdom of the crypto industry.” 

The petition was deleted after it was posted, but a screenshot of it was saved on the Wayback Machine, a website that archives past versions of websites.

Armstrong wrote that posting the petition publicly was unethical and not an effective way to instill changes in the company. He also seemed to imply that whoever posted the petition would be fired, and said the company’s culture is to “praise in public, and criticize in private.”

“If you’re unhappy about something, work as part of the team to raise it along with proposed solutions (it’s easy to be a critic, harder to be a part of the solution),” Armstrong tweeted. “If you can’t do that and you’re going to leak/rant externally then quit. Thanks!”

A spokesperson for Coinbase directed Fortune to Armstrong’s tweets and declined to comment further.

Coinbase, which recently became the first crypto company to be named to the Fortune 500, has faced criticism in recent weeks as the crypto market faces a downturn. In May, The Information reported that the company was testing an app for employees to give each other scores during meetings on traits like “clear communication” and “positive energy.” 

And after originally planning to triple its headcount going into 2022, the company announced in May that it would slow hiring because of “market conditions.” The company, which had 3,730 employees at the end of 2021 hired 1,200 in the first quarter of this year. Just weeks after first announcing its hiring slowdown, the company said its hiring freeze would extend into the “foreseeable future” and that it would rescind some job offers. 

Pulling job offers for candidates who had rejected other positions to work at Coinbase, or had quit other jobs prompted outcry, especially after the company had said in an email it would not be rescinding jobs from employees who had already received offers
The employee petition pushing to ouster Coinbase’s top executives comes at a time when many in the crypto space are feeling anxious over what analysts say could be a prolonged crypto winter. Despite being the largest U.S.-based crypto exchange, Coinbase is no exception to crypto’s current instability. The company recorded a $430 million loss in the first quarter of this year, its first since it went public via a direct listing last year, as trading volume dropped on the exchange.

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