Audio of a meeting held by Coinbase’s CEO has been released to the press, with some concerned about possible retaliation by the company.
Coinbase management recently intervened to try to curb the socio-political debate within the company, forcing the team to focus on the company’s mission rather than politics. Coinbase co-founder and CEO Brian Armstrong then held a meeting in the form of an ‚Ask Me Anything‘ session to discuss changes in the company’s culture with its employees. The audio from this meeting, held on October 1, was then forwarded to Motherboard, the technology portal of the Vice Media publishing group.
„[The audio from] an internal meeting, obtained from Motherboard, clarifies how Coinbase management was accused of ‚obstructing internal debate‘ and forcing employees to delete political messages from Slack.
Motherboard then submitted a request for clarification, to which Coinbase replied: „these accusations are extreme and absolutely false. Coinbase did not specify which of Motherboard’s various allegations it was referring to.
Armstrong led the online meeting, convened to establish the basic rules for Coinbase employees, and invited staff to share their thoughts on changing the company’s values.
On 27 September, Armstrong published a post on the company Crypto Genius blog detailing how Coinbase would focus its efforts on achieving the company’s core mission, which he said had been lost sight of during a troubled and hyper-political year. In keeping with this new approach, the company would now refrain from taking a political stance when it was not directly linked to the crypto world, and would also stipulate that employees should not focus on issues and topics unrelated to crypto currency during working hours. Approximately 5% of Coinbase’s staff subsequently accepted the management’s proposed exit, thus leaving the company.
Motherboard reported that Coinbase also required staff to cancel a number of policy related conversations published internally on the Slack messaging platform. Coinbase’s leadership reported that they have spoken to specific staff members about the importance of deleting certain content.
Armstrong said at the meeting that the „silent majority“ of staff had sided with him in this new direction, but Motherboard pointed out that this did not allay fears of reprisals against employees expressing opinions that were not in line with management’s demands.
Motherboard reported that employees feared that the leadership would begin to observe their every move and monitor their messages, some of which are exchanged via workers‘ personal devices.
„A former Coinbase employee, to whom Motherboard provided anonymity for fear of reprisals by the company, left the company after the AMA. The former employee stated that these assurances were insufficient and that the workers feared they would be monitored and censored“.