Employees of the American crypt exchange Coinbase went on strike in early June after CEO Brian Armstrong refused to answer a question about the Black Lives Matter. This was reported by The Block with reference to its sources.
During an internal Q&A session Armstrong was asked what he thought about the Black Lives Matter. He said that he did not have an answer to that question. Another source said that Armstrong had misunderstood the question whether he was asked about the Black Lives Matter movement or about the Black Lives Matter Foundation, a non-profit organization that advocates a wide range of socio-political changes in the United States.
According to sources, „hundreds“ of employees participated in the strike that took place after the 3 July session. The strike took the form of a work stoppage, as most Coinbase employees work remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The next day Armstrong published the following tweet: „I want to make it clear that Black Lives Matter [black lives are important]. I have been watching the developments. I really did not know what to say about it and I am still not sure what I know. But I am learning […] I feel it is my duty to support all the employees at Coinbase, especially our black employees who are experiencing something that I will never fully understand.
According to Axios, several Coinbase employees left the company because Armstrong did not immediately publicly support the Black Lives Matter. According to Axios sources, „Armstrong argued that a public statement in support of BLM would be divisive.
On 27 September he published an open letter in which he stated that the company would avoid political and social activism and focus on its main mission – „to create an open financial system for the world“. Any employee who disagrees with Armstrong’s position was offered severance pay for up to six months.
According to The Block, during a discussion of Armstrong’s letter, an employee challenged the company’s mission to create an open financial system because the company „serves mainly white and wealthy Americans“.