Coinbase was seen as a gateway to a promising career in cryptocurrencies. But some who were offered and accepted jobs from the largest U.S. cryptocurrency exchange were caught flat-footed when they received an email earlier this month rescinding job offers and announcing a freeze on hiring for the “foreseeable future.”
“I got laid off even before I got a chance to prove myself,” said Conner Hein, 22, who graduated from the University of Michigan in May. He accepted an offer from Coinbase in February, after which he said he turned down offers from PricewaterhouseCoopers and Amazon. Drawn by Coinbase’s remote-first policy, he has been city-shopping between Chicago and Austin.
Along with the plunge in crypto prices, shares of Coinbase have gone from one of the stock market’s most hotly anticipated debuts to one of its most spectacular crashes during the downturn dubbed “crypto winter.” The company ballooned to 4,948 full-time employees, from about 1,700 a year ago. In addition to rescinding job offers, Coinbase will lay off 18% of its staff. Two other big names in crypto, BlockFi and Crypto.com, also announced steep job cuts.
Hein, who calls himself a “hesitant” crypto believer, sees promise in the technology but dislikes its get-quick-rich schemes. He said he’d now “look twice” if a prospective employer is related to blockchain or cryptocurrencies. Coinbase management failed to plan the runway appropriately, making promises it couldn’t keep, he said.
“I’ve always had my hesitations,” he said. “I just didn’t think the crypto industry would drop this hard.” — BLOOMBERG NEWS