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Coinbase confession: “The most intense place I’ve ever worked”

Coinbase confession: "The most intense place I've ever worked"
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If your staff often complain about working conditions and long hours on anonymous forums, it probably doesn’t make sense to deny that you expect them to work very hard (even if the forum is loaded with 5*positive ratings since the bad reviews pointed out). Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase used a different approach. Its approach appears to be that attacking is the best defense, while also giving employees extra leave.

In a post on the Coinbase blog yesterday, LJ Brock, a Coinbase chief operating officer who worked at Citadel in a previous existence, took the direct approach. “The bottom line: We work incredibly hard at Coinbase — for most of us, Coinbase is the most intense place we’ve ever worked,” Brooke said. “This intensity is only amplified by the current moment in coding, often resulting in long days and long weeks.”

Coinbase is not the only crypto company where things can be stressful. Since the cryptocurrency markets do not close on the weekends or in the evenings, there can be no respite for the people who work in them. “We always need to keep up with the market,” Cameron Dickey, head of EMEA sales for the B2C2 crypto market maker, told us last November. “There is no real proximity. – If you are into crypto sales, you are in touch 24/7 365 days a year, including birthdays and Christmas.”

Coinbase is making sharpness a part of its offer for new employees. Working at Coinbase is relentless because “the enormous opportunity before us requires the best of us every single day,” says Brock. “We don’t count from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or a 40-hour week—many days and weeks are long, because that’s what it takes to get the job done.”

Likewise, B2C2’s Dickey says the benefits of working in cryptography far outweigh any drawbacks. “We are part of a frontier ecosystem. One day, all markets will work this way.”

All of this reminds us a bit of the app-based bank Revolut, which has long taken no effort to deny that its primary focus is “getting the bullshit done.” Founder Nikolai Storunsky said in 2017 that the main team at Revolut are working 12 days for 13 hours, adding that many of them also work on weekends. Last year, Revolut was worth $33 billion.

Coinbase’s current valuation is $55 billion and a JPMorgan analyst Kenneth Worthington anticipates that this will increase despite the recent declines in the value of the major crypto tokens.

If you are a stockholder, extensive work can be beneficial. Brook says Coinbase sets “uncomfortably ambitious” goals and encourages its employees to “act like an owner.” However, Brook says the company is also alert to the risk of employee burnout because employees are unwilling to take time off for fear of being left behind or being overburdened. On their colleagues, the solution turns out to be “recharge weeks” as Coinbase is almost completely shut down. In 2021 there were two of these. In 2022, there will be two more (four in total). He adds sympathetically: We’ve encouraged employees to schedule vacations during recharge weeks when they can, but we know that’s not always possible, and that’s okay.”

Novice bankers who work themselves more than 40 hours a week may want banks to do something similar, but clients likely won’t accept the absence of the team. For now, if you want four weeks off, in addition to your standard vacation time, Coinbase seems like your best bet. Brooke notes that they tripled their number last year and have hundreds of job openings for “exceptional” people — as long as they’re not looking for a 9-5.

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