Coinbase Underpaid Women, Black Employees, NY Times Reports

The N.Y. Times' data included pay details for most of Coinbase’s roughly 830 employees at the end of 2018.

Dec 29, 2020 at 11:57 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 10:49 a.m. UTC

An analysis of internal pay data shows leading cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase underpaid its female and Black workers at a much greater rate than exists in the technology industry, the New York Times reported.

  • The report comes on the heels of another New York Times report in November that painted a picture of a company that “has long struggled with its management of Black employees.”
  • While Coinbase executives said at the time those complaints were limited to a few employees, the company's compensation data cited in the most recent report suggests that inequitable treatment of both female and Black workers was more widespread than acknowledged.
  • The timing of the back-to-back reports could hardly be worse for Coinbase, which earlier this month filed preliminary documents with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering, undoubtedly seeking to capitalize on the record surge in the price of bitcoin and the white-hot IPO market.
  • Even before the first New York Times story was published in November, Coinbase saw at least 5% of its staff depart in the wake of being asked to choose between accepting CEO Brian Armstrong's recently announced "apolitical" policy and leaving the firm. This latest story shows that the exchange's workforce problems aren't going away.
  • According to the data presented in the Times report, women at Coinbase were paid an average of $13,000, or 8%, less than men at a comparable jobs and ranks.
  • Meanwhile, Black employees were paid $11,500, or 7%, less than all other workers in similar jobs, the Times said.
  • The Times' data included pay details for most of Coinbase’s roughly 830 employees at the end of 2018.
  • In a letter to Coinbase employees regarding the most recent New York Times article, L.J. Brock, chief people officer, said Coinbase has been working to ensure equal pay for equal work as part of a broad review of the company's pay practices that began in 2018.
  • Brock said the company has been working over the past two years "to ensure our compensation framework is transparent" and "fair to all employees." He also said the company will "examine our pay through the lens of ethnicity/race, in addition to gender."
  • "Coinbase is committed to ruthlessly eliminating bias in all our internal processes," Brock wrote.

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