The company laid off 18% of its staff and is preparing for a “cryptowinter.”
Brian Armstrong, the CEO of cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, wrote in a blog post that he made a “difficult decision” to cut staff by about 18% amid the bitcoin plunge. That’s about 1,100 people, according to the WSJ.
In an internal email accessed by Vice, Armstrong said that the downsized employees would receive notice of the layoff in their emails because they had already been disconnected from Coinbase with “sensitive” customer information to “ensure that no one makes a rash decision that will harm the business or themselves” – that is, to avoid leaks.
Armstrong has expressed a negative attitude toward internal leaks before. When an alleged Coinbase employee published an anonymous blog post disagreeing with the company’s decision and calling for the firing of several senior executives, the CEO tweeted that he would fire whoever wrote it if he found out. “Fire yourself and find a company you believe in!” he added.
In early June 2022, Coinbase announced a hiring freeze and cancellation of several offerings amid a general downturn in the cryptocurrency market and the company’s revenue. Armstrong admitted that he thought Coinbase had “over-hired” and said each new hire made the company “less effective, not more.” He added that he is now preparing for “the worst” potential outcome.
On June 10, employees drafted an open petition: they demanded that top managers be fired because of decisions “not in the best interest of the company.” In particular, the signatories believe that the management’s work has tarnished the company’s image, led to a decline in shares, and threatened the loss of top talent.