Coinbase Global Inc. has had a tough time lately as falling cryptocurrency prices dampened commercial interest and prompted the company to scale back its rapid hiring plans.
The company also appears to be suffering from some internal tensions, judging by a petition posted on the decentralized publishing platform mirror.xyz which called for the removal of several Coinbase COINs,
frames. The petition appears to have since been taken down, but Coinbase Chief Executive Brian Armstrong linked a site referencing an archived version of it while criticizing the initiative in posts on Twitter Inc. TWTR on Friday,
The anonymous petition is said to be from employees and asking for a “vote of no confidence” that would remove Chief Operating Officer Emilie Choi, Chief Product Officer Surojit Chatterjee and Chief Human Resources Officer LJ Brock. They were considered “the most prominent executives who executed plans and ideas that led to questionable results and negative value”, including a controversial performance appraisal system and hiring approach. The petitioners challenged Coinbase’s “aggressive” hiring ambitions as well as its decision to rescind the offers, which led to negative publicity.
‘I thought it was a bad joke’: they gave up other job offers to work for Coinbase and are now unemployed
Armstrong, for his part, joked on Twitter that he was “a little offended” that he was not included in the list of leaders the petitioners hoped to see replaced.
Overall, however, he found the petition “really stupid on many levels”, writing that employees shouldn’t work at a company if they don’t trust its leaders and saying that while the comments are the welcome, the “culture of Coinbase is to praise in public”. , and criticize in private.
According to Armstrong, human psychology makes “people want to start pointing fingers and finding someone to blame” in a down market, and the remote work trend has complicated things by making people feel less connected to each other.
“Being physically separated every day can contribute to this unhealthy us versus them mentality,” he wrote. “People forget that we are on the same team.”
He took issue with the “leaks” and specifically dedicated his attention to talking about Dot Collector, a performance review tool that lets people give real-time feedback while they’re at work. A report from The Information in May said Coinbase was testing a version of the tool that would allow people to rate how their colleagues and managers exemplify company values during the workday.
Armstrong said on Twitter on Friday that Coinbase had “tested many different HR tools/vendors over the years” and that two teams used Dot Collector for maybe a quarter. The company “found that people weren’t using it much, and when they did, most of the feedback was positive.”
Armstrong’s thread included several suggestions that employees inclined to publicly criticize company policies or leak information would be in a better position to find work elsewhere.
This isn’t the first time Armstrong has encouraged employees to find an exit. In 2020, amid protests related to the police killing of George Floyd, Armstrong detailed his policies against social activism for Coinbase and tries to avoid the policy being discussed in the workplace, and asked all workers who disagreed with the policy to resign. At least 60 employees have done so.
Coinbase recently instituted a hiring freeze that included the cancellation of previously accepted offers. The company had 4,948 employees as of March 31, nearly triple the number it had a year earlier.
A Coinbase spokesperson declined further comment. Coinbase shares ended Friday’s session down 7.9% and have lost 66% in the past three months as the S&P 500 SPX,
fell about 8%.