In a blog post on Feb. 25 titled “Coinbase is a decentralized company, with no headquarters”, CEO Brian Armstrong stated that the firm has moved to a ‘remote first environment’.
No HQ = Decentralized?
He added that 52% of their employees have joined the company in a ‘post-office world’ and 95% of them have the option to work from home. Originally based in San Francisco, many company employees have dispersed across the globe since the beginning of 2020.
“It has helped us attract top talent. One of the best parts about being a decentralized company is that we can hire more of the best people.”
This does not make the company decentralized in crypto terms, as the respondents to the tweet pointed out.
Despite being one of the largest fiat to crypto onramps in the world, Coinbase has garnered a reputation for terrible customer service, higher than industry average fees, and questionable reliability when markets are volatile.
As we’ve moved to a remote first environment, we realized that we no longer have a headquarters located in any one city. https://t.co/8SpdJgylx1
— Coinbase (@coinbase) February 24, 2021
Coinbase Customers Lash Out
The barrage of comments came thick and fast and took aim at everything from customer support to the now predictable service outages during large crypto asset price movements.
“Also you have zero customer support (automated copy paste emails do not count), I guess you can call that decentralised too.”
Another Coinbase customer claimed that he had lost almost a thousand dollars in trading fees with just an $8,000 investment.
Someone else questioned the suspension of XRP stating that the company is still very centralized in the United States. Another disgruntled user stated;
“Coinbase [has come] a long way since 2011 in [the] crypto world. Unfortunately, [its] reputation [has become] tarnished due to unacceptable level of customer service and ignoring your most valuable asset – [the] customer.”
The majority of the complaints were regarding unanswered email and customer support inquiries though there were plenty of mentions of the frequent service outages;
“No headquarters. No customer service. No service at all when the market moves… Good for you coinbase.”
One respondent pointed out it was just a ploy to use a popular word at the moment just like the last bull run when companies added blockchain to their names.
At the time of writing, around 12 hours after the blog post was published, there were too many replies to read, and the vast majority of them were negative. It appears that Coinbase, which still has a number of whale investors, has also decentralized itself from its customers.