New York Times looks into accusations of racism at Coinbase

Coinbase hiring statistics show that hiring is continually below average in terms of people of color.

Black employees claim to be treated unfairly, individually and systematically.

Does society’s view of corporate social responsibilities encourage unprofessional behavior?

Coinbase founder Brian Armstrong and the company’s “celebrity culture” leave the company exposed to accusations of racism.

Coinbase , the largest U.S. cryptocurrency exchange by volume, was the subject of a Nov. 27 New York Times article on racial issues within the company. The media point to waves of departures of black employees and a still low percentage of hires of people of color.

Coinbase denies en bloc

Coinbase denies that there are systematic racial issues in the business. The company reportedly hired outside consultants and conducted internal investigations into complaints from current and former black employees. However, these reviews could not confirm the allegations.

Coinbase’s hiring records show that black employees consistently make up around three percent of its workforce. Depending on the field chosen in official employment statistics , this represents between half and a third of the sector average. In addition, business expansion had no effect on this percentage. The authors note that other tech companies, such as Square, PayPal, and Twitter, have made efforts to increase the share of black employees in their businesses.

A tormented summer

Systematic racism became a hot topic at Coinbase in early summer 2020. The police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota sparked months of protests. It has also led to a reexamination of systematic racism in many communities and businesses in the United States.

According to the article, black Coinbase employees were offended by the silence of their own superiors on this issue. After a meeting arranged with company executives, Brian Armstrong said:

There was this outpouring of questions like, „Why doesn’t society cover me?“

After summer comes autumn

The rapprochement process did not last long. A subsequent email mentioned a diversity and inclusion plan, but also an intensification of the tutorial aspect, which goes directly against the company’s ethics of: “What can you bring from the first day? ” In September, however, in a blog post , Brian Armstrong decided to focus on the business and its mission.

The New York Times article focuses on one line in particular from this post: “We don’t engage here when the issues are not related to our primary mission.” According to the article, that single sentence angered many employees.

Coinbase’s vision, broad or narrow?

His September post outlines Brian Armstrong’s vision for the company, its employees, and their relationships with the outside world. In particular, Mr. Armstrong views Coinbase, as argued by its articles and other communications, as a result of a narrowly defined interpretation of the company’s goals and mission as openly stated in its documents.