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Coinbase announces plans for 'remote-first' work policy in light of COVID-19

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Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong announced Wednesday that the exchange company is moving to a remote-first policy in light of COVID-19, meaning most employees will have the option to work from home.

In an announcement shared today, Armstrong said Coinbase is planning for the future to look different in light of the coronavirus pandemic. 

"Over the last two months, I have come to believe that not only is remote work here to stay, but that it represents a huge opportunity and strategic advantage for us," he wrote in the announcement.

Employees will still be able to work in an office, but they will now have the option to work remotely, or split their time between time working in and out of the office. Armstrong said the transition thus far has been less complicated than expected. Coinbase has been toying with the idea of remote-first work prior to the pandemic, according to the announcement.

It's a notable development, given that other exchange companies have maintained a remote-first policy since before the global pandemic. The most public example is perhaps Binance, which has long boasted of its "decentralized" nature. 

In February, Coinbase shared a four-tiered plan to stem the spread of coronavirus among employees. Phase three instituted a required work from home policy.

Now, with six-foot distancing measures, Armstrong said Coinbase wouldn't have the space to observe the protocol in its current space if every employee were in office. With the new policy, Armstrong said the plan is to have physical offices in major cities, but spread locations.

"Over time, the vision is to have one floor of office space in ten cities, rather than ten floors of office space in one city," he wrote.

Once distancing restrictions are lifted, Armstrong estimates anywhere from 20-60% of Coinbase current workforce will work remotely, and the firm is forming a team to oversee the transition.

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