The exodus has begun at Coinbase, with dozens of employees having taken CEO Brian Armstrong up on his offer for a severance package. And while breaking up is never easy to do, the talent pool has been greeted with open arms by the cryptocurrency community.
Tyrone Ross is behind digital investment platform Onramp Invest. After he heard about Clem Freeman, a software engineer at Coinbase whose last day of work is Oct. 9, he spotted an opportunity. Ross reached out to Freeman on Twitter, offering an audience with the startup. While Freeman has yet to respond to Ross, Onramp is hiring for a couple of positions and Coinbase alum appear to be at the top of his list. Ross told BeinCrypto,
“I am currently building @Onrampinvest, which will be a platform for advisors to onboard clients into bitcoin. I would love to hire a CTO level candidate from Coinbase and perhaps a product manager.”
Coinbase chief Brian Armstrong opened a Pandora’s box when in September he announced the cryptocurrency exchange is a “mission-focused company” and therefore any discussion about politics was frowned upon. According to reports, the decision was prompted by an employee walk-out that was in response to the company’s posture on the Black Lives Matter movement.
The reactions to Coinbase’s mission statement were a mixed bag of cheers and criticism, and Armstrong followed up by offering any employees who wanted to part ways a “generous exit package” as an encore. So far, 60 employees, or 5% of the company’s workforce, have taken Armstrong up on his offer.
Onramp Invest’s Ross shared his thoughts on the situation, telling us,
“I think BA has a right to lead CB in that direction if he so chooses, and I think employees should have the right to opt and leave as many are doing. I can not (as a Black man) and will not lead that way, but that is the beauty of leadership and America. We can do it however we’d like!”
New Protocols on the Way?
The Coinbase departures may have also paved the way for new protocols to make their way into the cryptocurrency ecosystem. Tony Sheng, co-founder of Cozy Finance, which builds risk management software for DeFi, also had a message for former Coinbase employees. He predicts that Armstrong’s generous severance package will fuel the creation of multiple “important” protocols that he suggests “might not have otherwise existed.” He thanked Coinbase for the fortuitous opportunity, inviting Coinbase alum to contact him to explore their options.
The cryptocurrency space has demonstrated a certain resilience throughout the pandemic. It has not been uncommon to hear about companies and projects that are hiring while much of the global economy is still reeling from massive unemployment. Based on the response so far, the former Coinbase employees should have no trouble finding a place to land.