Coinbase Freezes Hiring, Scuttles Aspiring Career Plans

Bloomberg — Coinbase Global Inc. (COIN) was seen as a gateway to a promising career in cryptocurrencies. Now, would-be hires whose offers have been rescinded are rushing to make alternative arrangements after the company’s abrupt termination to expand their ranks.

An Illinois computer science major regrets giving up his Ph.D. offer. Plenty of foreign workers face deadlines finding sponsors for their work visas. Some are even rethinking their decision to join the cryptocurrency industry after experiencing its brutal boom-and-bust cycles firsthand.

Many were caught off guard last week when they received an email from the largest US cryptocurrency platform rescuing bids and announcing a hiring freeze for the “immediate future”. In a blog post, Coinbase Chief People Officer LJ Brock said that while the company did not “take this decision lightly,” it is the most prudent given market conditions. Coinbase declined to share the total number of rescinded deals. However, a job portal created by the company for the affected candidates had more than 330 people registered on the first day of launch.

“I got fired before I even had a chance to prove myself,” said Conner Hein, 22, who graduated from the University of Michigan in May. It accepted an offer from Coinbase in February, after which it said it turned down offers from PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN).

Attracted by Coinbase’s “remote-first” policy, he has been shopping between Chicago and Austin.

Hein, a self-proclaimed “indecisive” believer in cryptocurrencies who sees promise in the technology but dislikes its get-rich-quick schemes, said he would now “look twice” if a prospective employer is connected to the chain. of blocks or cryptocurrencies. Coinbase management failed to plan the airstrip accordingly, making promises it was unwilling to keep, he said.

“I’ve always had my doubts,” he added. “I just didn’t think the cryptocurrency sector was going to come down so hard.”

Along with the plunge in cryptocurrency prices, Coinbase shares have gone from one of the stock market’s most anticipated debuts to one of its most spectacular declines in just over a year. The company grew to 4,948 full-time employees from 1,700 a year ago.

But now, his hiring freeze comes after broad cryptocurrency market declines and subsequent discouragement have prompted other companies such as Gemini Trust Co. and Mercado Bitcoin SA owner to cut jobs.

visa problems

The situation is even more dire for would-be hires on work visas, who make up a sizable portion of the talent pool for tech jobs in the United States. Ashutosh Ukey, 23, moved to the US from India when he was 8 years old. He now has about 150 days to find a new visa-sponsored job.

In his job search, he was deciding between offerings from Coinbase and a computer science Ph.D. program at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. “I was curious and interested in learning about cryptocurrencies, and learning from one of the major players was a unique opportunity”said.

For Ukey, a job at Coinbase meant not only a ticket to join the next big tech company, but also the chance to get an employment-based visa.

“I would say that my experience with Coinbase took me away from working in crypto,” said Ukey. “For the immediate future, I’m looking at more established tech companies.”

On LinkedIn, posts from international job candidates in a similar situation are getting a lot of shares. In response, Coinbase’s Brock said on Twitter: “We recognize that this is a particularly difficult situation for those seeking to enter or remain in the United States on work visas.”

In addition to severance pay and job search support, the company is providing legal services to those with visa problems, Brock said.

Expansion in India

The hiring freeze could spell further trouble for Coinbase’s growth, especially when it comes to global expansion. In April, CEO Brian Armstrong announced a major hiring plan at its India tech hub, tripling the number of employees to around 1,000 within a year.

Gaurav Rawal, a 24-year-old software engineer from Bengaluru, was to join Coinbase in India. He had resigned from his previous job, but days before his start date, his offer was rescinded.

The recruiter had recently assured him of his start date. “Even he (the recruiter) had no idea,” Rawal said in an interview. “The whole Indian team had no idea what had happened.”

This article was translated by Estefanía Salinas Concha.

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