Last week, I shared that Coinbase is a mission focused company. The post received quite a bit of attention, and sparked a lot of debate about how companies should operate.

We subsequently decided to make a generous exit package available to any employee who didn’t feel they could be on board with this direction. Today, I sent the following email to the company. Hopefully it sheds some light on how it has unfolded.

Hi team,

I wanted to send you a follow up now that the deadline has passed for people opting in to the exit package.

I know there have been many difficult conversations happening to help clarify what our apolitical culture means in practice. It’s been great to see the whole team come together to reach understanding here, and support each other through it. It’s not easy to get through, but I think it will result in us having a stronger and more united team. …

There have been a lot of difficult events in the world this year: a global pandemic, shelter in place, social unrest, widespread protests and riots, and west coast wildfires. On top of that we have a contentious U.S. election on the horizon.

Everyone is asking the question about how companies should engage in broader societal issues during these difficult times, while keeping their teams united and focused on the mission. Coinbase has had its own challenges here, including employee walkouts. …

Coinbase is an exciting and unique company and as we continue growing, it’s important that we create a strong culture. A few years ago, I wrote in the Coinbase culture doc:

Hire builders
We hire people who are passionate about creating new products with technology. We look for entrepreneurs who are comfortable with ambiguity. We prefer to work with people who actually execute toward ideas, instead of just coming up with them. When the creative moment strikes, we try not to let big company process get in the way or slow them down.

Today, I want to expand on this concept, and flesh out what it means to hire builders, so that people thinking of joining Coinbase can make an informed decision. …

I sent the note below to employees earlier today. I’m sharing it publicly here in case others find it helpful.

People are trading and using cryptocurrency more and more during this economic crisis we’re in, getting interested in sound money and what the cryptoeconomy can offer. Coinbase is continuing to hire and grow during this time period. If you’re interested in helping create this new culture with us, please check out our open roles (soon to be updated with more remote positions).

Hey all,


  • After the restrictions of quarantine are over, Coinbase will embrace being “remote-first,” meaning we will offer the option to work in an office or remotely for the vast majority of roles.

Companies are thinking about how and when to have employees come back to work. Due to social distancing requirements, many are realizing that they will only be able to have up to 50% of employees return to offices at most.

At the same time, many companies are realizing that remote work has worked better than they expected. They are now asking themselves whether they should keep some portion of their work force remote indefinitely.

For most companies, it will be a mix of remote and in-office. Here’s why:

  • Some employees are unable to stay remote indefinitely, because they are in difficult situations at home (studio apartment, no dedicated working space, distractions etc). Even when schools reopen and caregivers return to work, this will only partially alleviate the problem. …

Coinbase is operating important infrastructure for the economy during these trying times. I wanted to share a few updates on how we are keeping employees safe and ensuring that we are serving our customers.

We’ve published our internal planning and comms around COVID19 here in case it is helpful for other companies.

Supporting our employees

My first priority is the health and safety of our employees. That is why we have mandated that everyone globally who can work from home do so. …

Image for post
Image for post

Today we’re announcing that Surojit Chatterjee is joining Coinbase as our new Chief Product Officer after spending 11 years at Google. Coinbase is a product-led company, and Surojit will play a critical role in making the cryptoeconomy accessible to millions more people through Coinbase’s suite of products.

Most recently, Surojit was Vice President of Product at Google, where he led Google Shopping, which helps people discover and compare products on Google. Before leading Google Shopping, Surojit was the Head of Product at Flipkart, a popular Indian e-commerce site, leading product management, user experience, product operations, and data science. …

Yesterday I recapped the last decade in crypto. Today, let’s look ahead to the future and what I think will happen in the 2020s. Of course, no one can predict the future with much accuracy, but one way to predict it more accurately is to invent it!

In short, I think over the next decade we’ll see a blockchain, that is both more scalable and includes privacy features, reach about 1B users by the end of the decade (up from about 50M at the start of the decade). Adoption will happen both in emerging markets, where the financial systems are most broken, and from a crop of new crypto first startups producing products people want. By the end of the decade, most tech startups will have a crypto component, just like most tech startups use the internet and machine learning today. …

It was December of 2010 when I first read the Bitcoin whitepaper, while at home visiting my parents for the holidays.

As we wrap up the decade, here are my quick thoughts on how things have progressed.

Note: this post is inspired by Fred Wilson’s post for tech more broadly. Tomorrow I’ll post a follow up on what I see happening in crypto in the decade to come.

  1. Bitcoin did not fail (as many predicted)
    It’s easy to forget, but throughout much of the decade, it was a frequently debated question about whether Bitcoin would even survive. Maybe a flaw would be found in the protocol, maybe it would be outlawed, or maybe it would all go to zero since it had no intrinsic value (of course, we crypto folks were quick to point out that the dollar isn’t backed by anything either). There were over 379 articles written, prematurely declaring the end of Bitcoin. Not only did Bitcoin survive, it thrived, becoming the top performing asset of the decade. …

There is a lot of variety in how companies are run. Some companies have design, legal, engineering, or ops act as final decision makers on new product features. Some companies have a single decision maker while others opt for committees or “two in a box” decision making.

Each of these can work, and there is no right or wrong answer. But it is important to have a clear policy/philosophy in each company so that everyone is on the same page about how work gets done.

At Coinbase, our philosophy is to use product leads as DRIs (directly responsible individuals) on all projects which impact customers.


Brian Armstrong

Co-Founder and CEO at @Coinbase. Creating an open financial system for the world. Join us:

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store