Coinbase opts for remote working after Covid-19
Coinbase opts for remote working after Covid-19

Coinbase opts for remote working after Covid-19

By Eleonora Spagnolo - 21 May 2020

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Even Coinbase opts for remote working after Covid-19. This was announced by CEO Brian Armstrong in a letter sent to his employees and shared publicly. 

The reason for this pioneering approach is explained in a long blog post on Coinbase. The pandemic has forced many companies to decentralize, and those who were prepared had a better chance of surviving than those who couldn’t or didn’t want to prioritize smart working. 

Bitfinex was a pioneer in this respect. The exchange led by Paolo Ardoino at the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic had announced they were operating in smart working.

Coinbase, which like many other exchanges has increased its activities during the lockdown, is taking a step forward: even when it is no longer needed, it will remain remote-first. 

This means that even new hires will be able to choose whether to work in the office or from home. Working from home involves a change of approach. However, says Armstrong, remote working is here to stay, as it is a great opportunity and an advantage: 

“This means that in the future, anyone who wants to, can continue to work from an office. That won’t change. What is changing is that (almost) any employee who prefers to work outside of an office, can. For many employees, it will probably be a mix of both. But for all of us, being remote-first requires a mindset and behavioral shift. It means that the employee experience should be the same, whether you’re in an office one day a week, five days a week, or never”.

Coinbase and remote working, a strategic and practical decision

On a practical level, smart working is an irrevocable step, this is because, as Brian Armstrong explains, the rules of social distancing require greater distances between employees, hence there wouldn’t be room in the offices in San Francisco, Coinbase’s headquarters.

On the strategic side, Coinbase has been partially engaged in smart working for years. When it became an obligation, they realized that it was less complicated than expected.

After all, says Armstrong, a company that wants an economically free world must accept the option of not working in an office. And even the “top levels” that Coinbase aims to hire could ask to work from home. 

What matters, explains Coinbase’s CEO, is not the place: 

“It will be about how you work, not where you work.”

From now on, therefore, Coinbase employees will be able to decide whether to work from home or in the office, and this will lead to Coinbase having smaller offices in different cities rather than one giant office. 

This will also mean changes in hiring criteria: the ability to communicate will become a central requirement. At first, Coinbase expects 20-60% of its employees to choose this way of working, before becoming the dominant choice. 

As part of this transition, Brian Armstrong announces that there will be a dedicated team that will identify the changes that need to be addressed in collaboration with the employees themselves. 

Coinbase, Covid-19 and a changing world

According to Brian Armstrong himself, this is not normal, being the result of a disruptive and violent pandemic like Covid-19. But it is also: 

“This is the beginning of a journey, this is how we’re finding advantage in adversity”.

It will be a journey that according to the CEO will lead Coinbase to set an example for other companies. It won’t be a challenge devoid of surprises, but Brian Armstrong promises to tackle them together with his employees. The same people who have made Coinbase one of the leading exchanges in the world.


Eleonora Spagnolo

Journalist passionate about the web and the digital world. She graduated with honours in Multimedia Publishing at the University La Sapienza in Rome and completed a master's degree in Web and Social Media Marketing.

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