Tennis all-star Serena Williams appears to have dropped her investment in Coinbase.
As reported by Business Insider the website of Williams’ venture firm no longer displays Coinbase within its investment portfolio.
Although, it’s not clear how much money the venture capitalist firm invested into Coinbase, things seem to have changed as the company is now removed from Serena Ventures investments website.
This comes after a recent statement from Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong, which called to ban employee activism at the exchange, noting the firm would focus solely on its financial mission and remain apolitical. Armstrong said in an open letter the exchange would not engage in “broader societal issues” or entertain employee discussions about these issues.
CoinDesk reported, Armstrong planned the company’s shift after several Coinbase engineers protested for Armstrong to publicly say “Black Lives Matter.” The CEO refused at the time to get involved in the political quagmire that has engulfed the U.S. However, Armstrong later tweeted out “Black Lives Matter” and cleared the air about why he had remained quiet about the movement for Black Americans against police brutality.
I want to unequivocally say that Black Lives Matter.
— Brian Armstrong (@brian_armstrong) June 4, 2020
Political polarization in company chat rooms were also said to have influenced Armstrong’s decision. Where as Armstrong’s decision to change the company’s policy around activism might not be aimed at Black Lives Matter. Many may see a different story. It’s important to mention that Serena Williams is a supporter of Black Lives Matter and well known to be an activist.
Following his call for Coinbase to be apolitical Armstrong has since taken backlash for his stance. Including from employees themselves which have resigned. It’s estimated that at least 5% or roughly 60 employees at Coinbase have quit over Armstrong’s statement.
Those 60 employees were all offered severance pay for disagreeing with Coinbase’s new shift to “an apolitical culture.”
Thus far it has just been employees but could Coinbase soon face divestment from other investors besides Serena, which would change its $8 billion dollar evaluation? How will Coinbase’s statement of being apolitical and focused solely on its financial mission, affect the fact the company just announced it would be going public on the stock market Q4 or Q1 2021? Only time will tell.
Although, in an article in Bloomberg Law, Louis Lehot of L2 Counsel said Coinbase was “archetypal for the sort of company that might consider a direct listing.” Reuters confirmed Coinbase has begun that process. However, no details of its status are publicly known.
Bitcoin is currently trading at [FIAT: $11,385.19] DOWN -1.4% in the last 24 hours at the time of this report according to Coingecko.