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Coinbase chief hits out at NYT over forthcoming article alleging racism

Coinbase chief hits out at NYT over forthcoming article alleging racism

Coinbase has alerted employees to an upcoming story in the New York Times alleging racist behaviour at the company, which has suffered a backlash against its refusal to be drawn into political and societal issues, such as the Black Lives Matter movement.

In October, around 60 of Coinbase's 1200 employees took up CEO Brian Armstrong's offer of an exit package for those unhappy with the cryptocurrency exchange's stance over Black Lives Matter.

Armstong's declaration was made in the wake of a reported walkout by some engineers in response to his refusal to recognise the campaign.

Set to appear in print on Sunday, the New York Times report is expected to quote three former Coinbase employees and a former contractor by name as well as rely on information from other current and former employees, including leaked content from Slack, internal company meetings, and documents.

A significant portion of the story also focuses on major changes to Coinbase's compliance and CX orgs that took place in 2018.

"The story will likely imply that Black employees were discriminated against during this process; this is false," states Armstrong in a memo to employees. "The story will also likely allege that a number of Black employees and contractors referenced in the story filed complaints with the company. In reality, only three of these people filed complaints during their time at Coinbase. All of those complaints were thoroughly investigated, one through an internal investigation and two by separate third-party investigators, all of whom found no evidence of wrongdoing and concluded the claims were unsubstantiated.

"Overall, we expect the story will paint an inaccurate picture that lacks complete information and context, despite our best efforts to fact-check details of the story with the reporter. That said, we know the story will recount episodes that will be difficult for employees to read.

"We don’t care what The New York Times thinks. The most important thing we care about is you, our employees, and what you think.

"We do not accept intolerant behavior. And we are committed to the refreshed Belonging, Inclusion and Diversity strategy we rolled out earlier this quarter."

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