Crypto Exchange Coinbase Lays Off 18% of Workforce

    Photo: AP [via The Washington Post]

    The Facts

    • Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong announced on Tues. that the company would cut roughly 1.1k of its approximately 6.1k employees, or 18% of its workforce, in anticipation of a potential recession and "crypto winter."

    • "Crypto winter" is a reference to a period of dramatic and sustained declines in cryptocurrency valuations. The last was in 2018 before cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin started to gain broader adoption.


    The Spin

    Establishment-critical narrative

    Coinbase executives like Armstrong profited to the tune of $1.2B from their stock options after the IPO, but when times get tough the belt-tightening falls on rank-and-file employees who were cut off from their company email and new hires whose offers were rescinded despite recent assurances to the contrary.

    Pro-establishment narrative

    Coinbase isn't the first crypto company to announce layoffs with the Fed tightening interest rates, markets in decline, and prospects for crypto in the dumps. But Coinbase employees were given at least 14 weeks of severance and many are already fielding calls from recruiters in a tight labor market.

    Narrative C

    Even another "crypto winter" won't mark the end for growth and innovation in the space. Venture capitalists are currently backing a flurry of deals and former Coinbase employees are likely to be snapped up quickly. But will Coinbase's reputation survive this ugly affair?


    Establishment split

    CRITICAL

    PRO

    More neutral establishment stance articles

    Sign up to our daily newsletter