Employees are pushing Coinbase to remove three top leaders over actions "that have led to questionable results," according to a now-deleted petition that was first published on Mirror.xyz. CEO Brian Armstrong said the public petition with those demands is "really dumb on multiple levels."
The petition, titled "Operation Revive COIN," called for Chief Operating Officer Emilie Choi, Chief Product Officer Surojit Chatterjee and Chief People Officer LJ Brock to be fired from Coinbase. Employees listed eight plans they said were carried out under those executives' direction, including Coinbase's struggling NFT marketplace; the decision to rescind new job offers; and a since-reversed push to hire for thousands of roles "despite the fact that it is an unsustainable plan and is contrary to the wisdom of the crypto industry."
Employees also alleged a "generally apathetic and sometimes condescending attitude" from the three executives and wrote that the company has been unable to put out "any higher or better quality products and services" despite hiring more employees.
A screenshot of the petition was posted on Blind, and the original petition from Mirror.xyz was archived on the Wayback Machine. The screenshot indicates that the petition was first posted Thursday evening.
The petition stated that the executives' actions have hurt employees, company shareholders who have seen Coinbase's stock fall and the company itself. Coinbase's "plummeting stock value and bad workplace management led to low morale and the threats of losing top talent," it said. The employees are asking for the executives to be ousted in a "vote of no confidence."
"We hope to find people who have had experience in the crypto space and can run such a company more responsibly," employees wrote in the petition. CEO Brian Armstrong was not mentioned in the petition.
In a series of tweets posted hours after the petition was first posted, Armstrong said the vote of no confidence should be on him and not other executives. "Who do you think is running this company? I was a little offended not to be included :)," he wrote.
Armstrong added that if employees aren't confident in their leaders, they should quit. He criticized those who publicly shared the petition, saying it harms fellow co-workers, shareholders and customers. "It's also dumb because if you get caught you will be fired, and it's just not an effective way to get what you claim to want," he wrote.
"There is probably lots we can be doing better, but if you're at a place where you want to leak stuff externally then it's time for you to go. You're hurting yourself and those around you," Armstrong added.
Coinbase has been slowly letting out tough news over the past few weeks. In its first-quarter earnings call, Armstrong stood by plans to triple its workforce, saying Coinbase was "greedy when others are fearful." But as crypto asset prices continued to tumble and trading volumes fell, the company announced a hiring freeze. At first, Coinbase assured incoming hires that they would not be affected, but plans changed again last week when Coinbase took back some offers, giving those who lost jobs before they even started a month's worth of severance.
A representative for Coinbase did not answer a request for comment. Chatterjee and Choi did not respond to requests for comment, and Brock could not be reached for comment.
Correction: An earlier version of this story misquoted a tweet. This story was updated on June 10, 2022.