Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has taken major U.S. crypto exchange Coinbase to task over its open letter to employees published on Sept. 28.
The letter, written by Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong, explained why the firm intends to avoid political and social distractions, and instead focus on its core mission of building an open financial system for the world.
The new direction has met with strong support in some quarters and pushback from others.
In a Twitter post to his 4.7 million followers, Dorsey argues that “Bitcoin (aka crypto) is direct activism against an unverifiable and exclusionary financial system.” He goes on to add that the exchange cannot simply ignore social issues as this will leave its customers behind:
#Bitcoin (aka “crypto”) is direct activism against an unverifiable and exclusionary financial system which negatively affects so much of our society. Important to at *least* acknowledge and connect the related societal issues your customers face daily. This leaves people behind: https://t.co/0LMlF1qcmG— jack (@jack) September 30, 2020
Dorsey has long taken an active involvement in the cryptocurrency space, and Twitter itself has been criticized for favoring progressive over conservative political views in its moderation process. But Dorsey’s opinion urging greater political engagement was not well received by the crypto community with the overwhelming number of replies agreeing with Armstrong’s approach.
The vice president of venture capital firm Founders Fund, Mike Solana, did not agree with Dorsey opposing “a corporate trend away from polarizing political statements and dramatic displays of culture war pageantry.” Solana contrasted this apolitical approach with Twitter’s business model and suggested Dorsey was “a man who makes hundreds of millions of dollars fueling political polarization.”
Adam Draper, the son of famed crypto investor Tim Draper, praised the Coinbase approach, comparing Armstrong to Michael Jordan for his single-minded focus on advancing the virtual currency sector:
“This is thought leadership. We get things done when we are all focused on a unified mission. Brian is Jordan in his prime right now. If anyone is selling shares of Coinbase, I’ll buy.”
Dorsey wasn’t entirely without support, however:
Wow @jack just nailed it: Cryptocurrency is inherently about the social impact of finance and trust. These are irreducibly social issues, politics par excellance! https://t.co/J4oBViMhz0— harryhalpin (@harryhalpin) September 30, 2020
Coinbase has offered any employee who fundamentally disagrees with Armstrong’s position a severance package of up to six months. The email added: “It’s always sad when we see teammates go, but it can also be what is best for them and the company.”