Sixty Coinbase employees accepted a takeover offer after CEO Brian Armstrong announced a controversial new policy limiting political activism within the company. Armstrong leaked the figure in an email Thursday to employees.
Armstrong announced the new policy last week after a summer when many tech companies have come under pressure from their employees to become more outspoken on social justice issues.
“While I think these efforts are well-intentioned, they have the potential to destroy a lot of value in most companies, either by being a distraction or by creating an internal division,”
The post sparked a reaction among liberals on Twitter, but Armstrong didn’t hold back. To show he was serious, Armstrong offered Coinbase employees a generous layoff package, ranging from four to six months’ salary, if they were not comfortable with the new policy.
“Life is too short to work in a company you’re not thrilled with,” Armstrong wrote.
Now Armstrong says 60 employees have accepted the package. Armstrong says that’s about 5 percent of the company’s workforce. A few other employees are still arguing with the company and may accept it in the next few days.
“For those of you who have decided to move forward, I want to thank you for your contributions to Coinbase and we wish you the best,” Armstrong wrote. “And for those of you who are opting for the next chapter, I want to thank you for your trust and commitment in this mission.”
Armstrong said that “people from underrepresented groups” at Coinbase did not accept the purchase offer in disproportionate numbers. Armstrong said he is committed to “building a diverse and inclusive environment in which everyone feels they belong.”
And while Coinbase is discouraging most forms of political defense, Armstrong acknowledged one exception: that cryptocurrency itself is “inherently political.” Armstrong wrote that it is “OK to be political on this particular area because it relates to our mission.”