Different Directions

Market Meditations | June 16, 2022

This week, we look at Coinbase and Kraken — two big players who are handling this market period very very differently. First, we look at Coinbase’s layoffs, and then we will look at Kraken’s policies that are causing controversy.


  • Earlier this month, Coinbase announced that they would be extending their hiring freeze.
  • A recent email sent out to employees informed them that Coinbase will be cutting 18% of full-time jobs – roughly a cut of 1,100 employees.
  • Their CEO, Brian Armstrong, says, “While it’s hard to predict the economy or the markets, we always plan for the worst so we can operate the business through any environment.”
  • Coinbase says that these cuts are a result of growing “too quickly during the bull market.


  • While most other exchanges are laying off workers, Kraken is hiring – but not for workers who go against company values.
  • There is controversy surrounding Jesse Powell and his company’s vision. As a result, he is offering 4 months’ pay to employees who don’t agree with their principles to leave.
  • They explain their culture in a blog post saying things such as, “We do not call someone’s words toxic, hateful, racist, x-phobic, unhelpful, etc.” and “We do not demand respect, be we encourage offering it.”
  • While some pushed for change at Kraken, they were told that the company culture would not make meaningful change – they are a “crypto-first culture.

Though the markets are not trending upwards, we see two big exchanges handling these market conditions very differently in terms of their respective staffs.