Ripple founder Brad Garlinghouse has voiced his opposition to the non-political workplace stance announced by Coinbase founder Brian Armstrong in September.
Speaking to CNBC on Oct 26, Garlinghouse stated that he believes that tech companies have an “obligation” to be part of the solution to social issues.
On Sep 27, Coinbase founder Brian Armstrong published a highly polarizing blog post stating that Coinbase is a “mission-focused” company that will not emphasize or engage in social activism or political discussions in the workplace.
Most fair and balanced article I've seen on my mission focused blog post. Well written. https://t.co/b4j4SptEMV— Brian Armstrong (@brian_armstrong) October 22, 2020
The Great Coinbase Debate
BeinCrypto reported on Sep 29 that Coinbase banned all overt political activity in its workplace, stating its desire to be a company that focuses only on making good products and being profitable. Mixed reactions greeted the announcement, varying from enthusiastic agreement to angry condemnation.
Garlinghouse has become the latest high profile Silicon Valley figure to voice his opposition to the stance adopted by Coinbase. Garlinghouse told CNBC that he doesn’t agree with that position.
An excerpt from the interview reads as follows:
“We think about our mission as enabling an internet of value but we seek positive outcomes for society. I think tech companies have an opportunity — but actually an obligation — to lean into being part of the solution. The sad reality is — and I say this as a long-time veteran of Silicon Valley — some of these (societal) problems are, at a minimum, exacerbated by the tech platforms themselves.”
Head to Head
Shortly after Armstrong’s initial blog post was published, the company offered a severance package to employees who wished to leave due to the new policy.
The package included four months worth of pay for employees who had been with the company for up to three years and six months of pay for those who had been at Coinbase longer than three years.
It also gave these employees six months of health insurance through the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). CNBC reports that roughly 5% of the company’s total workforce took this offer and exited. Armstrong reportedly claimed this as a victory for the “silent majority” within the firm.
“I think tech companies have an opportunity — but actually an obligation — to lean into being part of the solution,” @bgarlinghouse says— Ryan Browne (@Ryan_Browne_) October 26, 2020
A Ripple spokesperson tells me the company is offering employees paid time off to vote and volunteer in the upcoming presidential election
Ripple on the other hand, is known to operate from the other end of the corporate political engagement spectrum. According to CNBC, the company actively promotes corporate activism in line with the thoughts expressed by Garlinghouse.
Among other things, Ripple is offering its employees paid time off to vote and volunteer in the upcoming Nov 3 U.S presidential election.