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The Humbling of Coinbase – The New York Times

The bloat was particularly severe on Coinbase’s customer service team. New employees often felt that they did not have enough to do. “I was getting maybe four phone calls a day for a while,” said David Visini, a customer service representative who was laid off. “It was dead, dead, dead.”

Choi, the chief operating officer, acknowledged that Coinbase had “overhired” during the pandemic and said it was difficult to integrate new recruits into a remote environment.

“I don’t know if we had the right set of tools to set them up for success,”[ads1]; she said.

The crypto market crashed in May, causing Coinbase’s share price to drop around 60 percent. In the first quarter, Coinbase’s revenue fell 27 percent from a year earlier, to $1.17 billion, even as expenses more than doubled to $1.72 billion.

Competitors seem to be doing better. FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried said in an email that his financial results had been “ballpark-like” to last year, when the company posted a profit of about $350 million. Binance, the largest exchange in the world, declined to disclose revenue figures. But in June, the company’s founder and CEO, Changpeng Zhao, announced that he is hiring for 2,000 vacancies.

That month, Coinbase employees circulated a petition calling for the removal of several top executives. Mr. Armstrong responded aggressively Twitter, and asks disgruntled employees to quit. But at a staff meeting, he and other executives struck a more conciliatory note, saying employees should have faith in crypto and that the company would emerge stronger from the turmoil, according to two people who attended.

A few days later, the company laid off 1,100 employees.

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