On Thursday Before he could start his new job at Coinbase, Sam Maher received an email with the subject “Update your Coinbase offer.” The update was that there was no offer. In response to “current market conditions,” the startup had eliminated a number of incoming positions, leaving Maher suddenly unemployed and feeling as if he had been broken by email.
The same email reached hundreds of other potential Coinbase employees, who had start dates from the following week until the end of the summer. Vijay Duraiswamy, a software development manager, had already begun the process of embedding in a laptop issued by the company. Others had signed leases, moved to different cities, or taken expensive vacations to celebrate their new job. Coinbase now offered compensation and an apology.
By the end of the week, LinkedIn was inundated with posts from rejected Coinbase workers who looked angry and confused. Coinbase had planned to hire 2,000 employees by 2022 and had already hired about 1,200 in May. If the company had to shrink, shouldn’t it have done so before making so many job offers? “One of the representatives I spoke to later told me that it was a‘ prudent ’decision on his part regarding the current market situation,” a software engineer wrote on LinkedIn. “I am left speechless by the irresponsibility that Coinbase has shown in the management of recruitment and I am left helpless in the face of my current situation.”
Ashutosh Ukey had accepted the offer to work on Coinbase in March. He had applied for doctoral programs, but working for the start of cryptocurrency seemed “a unique opportunity.” Coinbase’s remote work policy also allowed him to move wherever he wanted, and he quickly signed a lease for an apartment in Dayton, Ohio, to be closer to his girlfriend.
When the startup withdrew its offer last week, Ukey began to panic. He has lived in the United States since the age of 8 but does not have a green card. Instead, he has a STEM OPT visa, an extension of a student visa for STEM students, which only offers him a few months off. He says recruiters have started contacting him, but he’s not sure he can stay in Dayton with a totally remote job. “I have no idea where I’ll be in a couple of months,” he says.
Duraiswamy, the software development manager, has an H-1B visa, which is common among foreign tech workers. The visa allows them only 60 days off. “I’m not too worried about my job prospects, but I’m cautious, as I’m still in a long queue waiting for my green card,” says Duraiswamy, who left a job at Amazon to join Coinbase. At least three other canceled job vacancies have affected people with immigrant visas, according to public posts on LinkedIn.
Startups are, by definition, venture capitalists. Most of them fail, leaving employees with little or no remedy; Businesses are not even required to pay severance pay in most states. However, several of the people who accepted job offers on Coinbase said they did so because it looked like the startup had reached a level of maturity. It debuted on the public market in 2021 and hit a staggering $ 86 billion. Coinbase was in hyper-growth mode and things looked promising, especially when many people signed up for their job offers earlier this spring.