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Kraken Announces Hiring Push; Publishes Anti-Woke Manifesto

3 mins
Updated by Kyle Baird
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In Brief

  • Kraken is bucking the trend of exchanges laying off workers, with a 500+ strong hiring program.
  • The company also released an anti-woke culture document that is causing a stir.
  • Workers who don’t like the document have been invited to hop on their jet ski and leave.
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With Coinbase, BlockFi, and Crypto.com all cutting staff, Kraken has reaffirmed its intention to fill 500+ roles before the year is out. 

Although crypto jobseekers may rejoice at the news, not everyone is happy with the announcement. As part of the hiring push, the company also released a company culture document, which rails against silicon valley’s standards of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

The anti-woke manifesto which is titled “Kraken Culture Explained,” reveals that there is only one mission at the company and that is to “accelerate the worldwide adoption of cryptocurrency.” 

Everything must support that goal, which means that there is no place at the firm for political activism outside of cryptocurrency advocacy

Coining their own definition of diversity Kraken explains: “We reject the myopic view that ‘diversity’ can be captured by a short checklist of obvious physical features. Silicon Valley’s view of diversity in the world is dangerously limited, a commodification of individuals, and a disturbing reflection of profound ignorance.  Viewed through a global lens, diversity is infinite.  We place an emphasis on equality of opportunity, regardless of background.”

Company CEO Jesse Powell explained why he felt the document was necessary.

“We’ve got people in 70+ countries, speaking 50+ languages in the company, trying to build products for people in 190,” said Powell in a Twitter thread on Wednesday. “Differing perspectives will be shared. That’s DIVERSITY. It’s not always easy. You’ve gotta be resilient, humble, open and highly tolerant of differing norms.”

According to Powell, around 20 members of its current 3,200-strong workforce do not hold to the mission statement, and they are welcome to leave. Powell says these specific workers are upset about issues such as pronouns, who can use the n-word, differences in human sex, and being “harmed” by “violent “words.

These same issues are directly tackled in the Kraken Culture Document which echoes Powell’s personal opinions. It states:

– We give each other the benefit of the doubt

– Everyone is responsible for their own feelings

– Being offended doesn’t necessarily make you right

– Being offended doesn’t necessarily make you “harmed”

– Words nor silence are ever “violence”

– We say why we disagree and calmly challenge ideas with logic, reason, and better ideas

– We do not call someone’s words toxic, hateful, racist, x-phobic, unhelpful, etc.

Jet ski away

On June 15, the New York Times ran an expose on Kraken, having interviewed five workers disaffected by the company’s stance.

Prior to publication, Powell branded it a “hit piece” as the CEO attempted to get out in front of the news. In the article, work conversations were leaked from the company’s internal Slack channels.

In one conversation Kraken workers discussed a video in which two young women are asked if they would rather have $100 or a bitcoin. Both women opt for the $100 despite being informed that a single bitcoin is worth far more.

According to the NYT, the employee who shared the video added, “But this is how the female brain works.” The report went on to allege that this sparked a furious debate at the company before Powell stepped in to say, “Most American ladies have been brainwashed in modern times.”

It is said that the CEO’s intervention failed to calm workers.

Powell is also said to have been at the center of a number of other controversies including dismissing any notion that workers might be allowed to “customize” their pronouns. In the end, Powell stated that those who disliked his views could jump on Kraken’s jet ski program, collect four months’ pay and get out.

Powell said, “we want it to feel like you are hopping on a jet ski and heading happily to your next adventure!”

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Robert D Knight
Robert D Knight is a journalist and copywriter who has specialized in crypto for over four years. His varied experience includes freelancing, in-project contracts, agency work, and PR, giving him a holistic view of the blockchain industry.
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