America’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, Coinbase recently fired staff in the customer support, compliance and fraud departments, according to a Yahoo Finance report. While the company confirmed the downsizing but declined to divulge any information on the headcount, there are indications that the toll affected not less than 15 employees.
An insider at Coinbase who preferred to remain anonymous was quoted by Yahoo stating:
“People here are pretty upset about it, and so far senior leadership is handling communication poorly.”
With a staff strength of 550 employees, showing just 15 persons the exit door may look insignificant. Nevertheless, downsizing of any proportion at Coinbase would surely attract attention especially at a time when observers presume the company is gearing to go public. Sequel to the sum of $500 million raised from a group of private investors this month, the company’s valuation rose to $8 billion.
The company also replaced former board member David Marcus from Facebook with Chris Dodds, a member on the board at Charles Schwab.
According to the report, Coinbase made it known through a statement that the co-location of certain teams tends to yield greater efficiency and motivation. The statement further reads:
“We’ve learned that certain teams who are co-located are more efficient, effective and happier in their roles. So moving forward, some teams – including Support, Fraud, and Compliance – will only hire employees into Coinbase offices.”
The digital assets platform also hired former Salesforce and Twitter executive, Tina Bhatnagar, to oversee customer service. Based on the statements released by Coinbase, it’s obvious a good number of those who were dispensed off their services were remote employees.
They were part of the customer service team hired during the company’s initial growth phase in 2013. At the time, the exchange had stated that it was “building a remote customer support team to accommodate our growing user base.” That notwithstanding, some remote employees were given the option of relocating to a Coinbase office.
The report also noted that Coinbase acknowledged the improvement in its customers’ services. Coinbase included in the statement saying:
“Our average time to first response via email is under four hours, under three minutes on the phone, and 90% of all cases are resolved within 48 hours.” Coinbase also added that it would “continue to be open to remote employees” for jobs that are “hard to fill locally to an office.”
A Reflection on Market Conditions
The downsizing of its staffs also reflects on current market conditions. There was a surge in the cryptocurrency market at the end of 2017 which elicited companies in embarking on massive recruitment. During the rush, Coinbase had to deal with the enormous task of signing up 50,000 new customers.
This further helped it in building out that decentralized customer support team. The tide has, however, turned against it, with the prices of cryptocurrencies dipping since the beginning of the year. Bitcoin (BTC) has lost a significant value bringing it to 62% this year; Bitcoin Cash (BCH) has felt the same toll by 82%, and Ether (ETH) has seen over a 79% decline from its January price. To make matters worse for Coinbase, trading volumes are generally down
Coinbase currently boasts of 25 million users with a vast network of offices in New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Portland, Oregon, Tokyo, Dublin, and London. In January, Coinbase buoyed its technical strength with the recruitment of a former Salesforce and Twitter executive Tina Bhatnagar.