- Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong wrote in a blog post over the weekend that corporate activism was a “distraction” from his company’s mission of increasing global access to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.
- Mentioning charged topics like the police killing of Breonna Taylor and the upcoming presidential election, Armstrong implied that employees who wanted their company to be focused on social issues should find work elsewhere.
- Some in the startup and venture capital world were outraged, pointing out that Armstrong tweeted “Black Lives Matter” in June.
- Others cheered Armstrong, like investor Paul Graham.
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The CEO of cryptocurrency broker Coinbase Brian Armstrong stirred outrage and praise from Silicon Valley over the weekend by coming out with a hard line against employee activism at work in a Medium post Sunday.
Mentioning hot-button issues like the police shooting of Breonna Taylor and the upcoming U.S. election, Armstrong said he wanted Coinbase to be “laser focused on achieving its mission.” Coinbase facilitates financial transactions in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum, with an aim of spreading access to them across the globe. Armstrong characterized anything else besides that core mission as “a distraction.”
“We’ve seen what internal strife at companies like Google and Facebook can do to productivity,” Armstrong wrote, “and there are many smaller companies who have had their own challenges here. I believe most employees don’t want to work in these divisive environments.”
Armstrong strongly implied that Coinbase employees unhappy with his anti-activism stance would be better off not working there.
“But for some employees, working at an activism focused company may be core to what they want, and we want to prompt that conversation with their manager to help them get to a better place. Life is too short to work somewhere that you aren’t excited about, and