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Unconfirmed: Insights and Analysis From the Top Minds in Crypto

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Oct 2, 2020

Frank Chaparro, director of news at The Block, discusses a controversial blog post by Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong about how the company intends to take an apolitical stance, the pushback it received afterward, and the company's offer of generous exit packages for employees who disagree:

  • why CEO Brian Armstrong wrote the blog post stating it would be taking an apolitical stance during these socially and politically tumultuous times
  • why the company then offered a generous exit package to employees who disagreed with it
  • which social and political issues caused the divisions at Coinbase
  • how a question about Black Lives Matter at a a company all-hands back in June began the series of events that resulted in this blog post
  • why employees walked out earlier this summer
  • why Armstrong did tweet about the Black Lives Matter movement
  • how the stance Armstrong took in the blog post is not a surprise to those who know his personality 
  • why the reactions to the blog post were so wide-ranging
  • how this affects Coinbase's place in the wider world of investment, which has seen a greater interest in environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing
  • why Coinbase's plans to go public in the next year or so might have affected Armstrong's decision to take the apolitical stance
  • what happened in another all-hands meeting on Thursday to discuss this issue
  • plus, we talk about the DOJ and CFTC charges against BitMEX, how Frank talked with BitMEX cofounder and CEO Arthur Hayes last night, and whether it seemed Arthur had any awareness this was coming

 

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Episode links: 

Frank Chaparro: https://twitter.com/fintechfrank

The Block: https://www.theblockcrypto.com

 

Coinbase blog post: https://blog.coinbase.com/coinbase-is-a-mission-focused-company-af882df8804?gi=2f36a2277d05

 

CoinDesk on the blog post: https://www.coindesk.com/coinbase-has-drawn-a-line-in-the-sand-for-its-activist-employees

 

What sparked the walkout: https://www.theblockcrypto.com/post/79517/a-question-about-black-lives-matter-sparked-an-employee-walkout-at-coinbase-this-summer

 

Erica Joy’s tweet thread on the Coinbase engineering walkout: https://twitter.com/EricaJoy/status/1310741842594426880

 

Paul Graham’s tweet: https://twitter.com/paulg/status/1310583298666696705?s=20

 

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s response to Brian’s blog post: https://twitter.com/jack/status/1311423420274372608?s=20

 

Axios article: https://www.axios.com/coinbase-controversy-b707973c-0f24-4d1e-9690-78ac5fdb94e7.html

 

Coinbase offers severance package https://www.theblockcrypto.com/post/79247/coinbase-offers-exit-package-for-employees-not-comfortable-with-its-mission

 

How Coinbase's apolitical stance could affect its IPO: https://www.theblockcrypto.com/post/79127/a-blog-post-by-coinbases-ceo-has-raised-a-fury-will-it-affect-a-potential-ipo

 

The Interface on Brian’s blog post: https://www.getrevue.co/profile/caseynewton/issues/coinbase-bans-politics-281784

 

Links from news recap: 

https://unchainedpodcast.com/up-to-10-years-in-prison/