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:

The Block:

Coinbase blog post:

CoinDesk on the blog post:

What sparked the walkout:

Erica Joy’s tweet thread on the Coinbase engineering walkout:

Paul Graham’s tweet:

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s response to Brian’s blog post:

Axios article:

Coinbase offers severance package

How Coinbase’s apolitical stance could affect its IPO:

The Interface on Brian’s blog post:

Links from news recap: