Coinbase, the cryptocurrency exchange, has been in the news lately for taking the stance that politics is a distraction and telling their employees to stop talking about it.

This comes from the direction of the CEO, Brian Armstrong, who is the exact type of guy who is relatively unaffected by the current political issues that people feel the need to talk/do something about.

When I first heard about this, my first reaction was “well of course the Bay Area crypto company would have a ridiculous position like this.” I mean, were we expecting anything better? But this guy just keeps doubling down on this even after the expected backlash.

Let’s talk about the problems with his terrible position:

  1. Many people who aren’t in his position cannot afford to ignore politics like he can.
  2. Coinbase is a cryptocurrency exchange. Cryptocurrency is inherently political. The entire point was a statement against government banking systems right?
  3. Telling the people who work for you to shut up and do the work, especially during times like this, is tone deaf, short sided, and basically just outright stupid.

Vice published an article today about leaked audio recordings showing outright censorship inside the company at this point:

“There’s fear from employees about monitoring in all channels, including private ones,” the former Coinbase employee told Motherboard. “The biggest fear is that employees will be confronted on what they say or do on their work and personal devices—work systems are often on personal devices. This already happened when writers of old Slack posts were confronted by leadership and asked to delete posts.”

Terrible.

I have a Coinbase account for some random small amounts of crypto I’ve collected over the years. I never thought Coinbase was a great company (again, it’s a Bay Area cryptocurrency company) but I’m definitely moving my holdings somewhere else. At this point probably just to my own wallet, not an actual exchange.