In brief

  • Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong says employees can choose where they want to work.
  • The San Francisco crypto exchange plans to decentralize and have small offices in 10 cities.

Coinbase employees can continue to work from home even after the novel coronavirus quarantine was lifted, its CEO Brian Armstrong said today. 

"Post COVID-19, Coinbase will be a remote-first company," Armstrong wrote on Twitter today.

On March 16, San Francisco, where the popular cryptocurrency exchange is headquartered, became the first city in the US to restrict all but essential activities. 

Coinbase had no option but to tell its employees to work remotely. The experience, Armstrong, said in a letter to staff, which he shared on the Coinbase blog, had a “silver lining.”

Overall, he said, "it’s been less complicated to transition than we would have expected.” 

In the future, Coinbase employees will be able to choose whether they want to work in the office or remotely, the letter stated. 

There were practical considerations to the matter. Even as many states begin the process of reopening, businesses still have to take precautions. Armstrong stated that maintaining six feet of separation in the office would be challenging. He added that “even if we moved into every floor of our SF HQ, we wouldn’t have enough space to bring all current SF employees back, let alone hire more.” 

He highlighted the decentralized benefits in the letter. “A mix of in-office and remote work allows us to ‘de-risk’ centralizing too much in a single location.” 

Though it wasn’t clear what risks he was alluding, too, eventually, the company plans to maintain one floor of office space in 10 cities, as opposed to 10 floors of office space in one city, Armstrong said. “We’re estimating that between 20–60% of the company will work remotely to start (once the restrictions of COVID-19 are lifted). If this is a success, we expect our remote population to grow organically.” 

Coinbase is not the only company weighing the advantages of working remotely. Recently Twitter also informed employees that many of them would be allowed to work from home permanently, even after the pandemic subsides.