- Kraken’s CEO is offering four months’ pay for employees who don’t agree with his values to leave.
- The program is dubbed “Jet Ski,” and employees have until June 20 to take part, the New York Times reported.
- “We want it to feel like you are hopping on a jet ski and heading happily to your next adventure!” read a memo about the project.
Kraken, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, will pay employees four months’ worth of wages to leave if they disagree with its values, according to The New York Times.
In a Wednesday report detailing internal cultural turmoil at the company, the publication cited interviews with Kraken employees who recounted “hurtful” comments around preferred pronouns and demeaning statements toward women, among other incendiary remarks, made by CEO Jesse Powell.
The employees also said Powell held a companywide meeting on June 1 in which he unveiled the program, called “Jet Ski,” designed to incentivize employees to leave if they don’t believe in Kraken’s crypto-typical libertarian principles, the Times reported.
A 31-page document, known as “Kraken Culture Explained,” positioned the program as a “recommitment” to the company’s core values. Employees have until June 20 to participate in the buyouts, the Times reported.
“If you want to leave Kraken, we want it to feel like you are hopping on a jet ski and heading happily to your next adventure!” read a memo about the buyouts, according to the Times.
Kraken did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment.
On Monday, Kraken executive Christina Yee wrote in
to employees that the “CEO, company, and culture are not going to change in a meaningful way,” urging workers to go “somewhere that doesn’t disgust you,” the Times reported.
In anticipation of the articles’ publication, Powell said on Twitter Wednesday that “most people don’t care and just want to work, but they can’t be productive while triggered people keep dragging them in to debates and therapy sessions. The answer for us was to just lay out the culture doc and say: agree and commit, disagree and commit, or take the cash.”
“20 people out of 3200” employees weren’t on board with the company’s values, Powell said, while noting there were “a few heated debates.”
Anti-establishment sentiment is common in the cryptocurrency and other decentralized finance spaces. It’s given the industry common ground with some conservative figures who decry “woke” ideals in favor of what they view as free speech.
Powell’s Kraken culture manifesto includes a section entitled “we don’t forbid offensiveness,” stresses the importance of having a “tolerance for diverse thinking,” and said “law-abiding citizens should be able to arm themselves,” according to the Times.
Powell isn’t alone in his stance. Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has similarly said a “woke mind virus” is hurting business at streaming giant Netflix, which also shared a culture memo with employees in May.
The company told employees to quit if they don’t agree with the content that it showcases, such as controversial comedian Dave Chappelle’s program, which caused backlash over jokes about transgender people.
Musk retweeted the news with the caption, “Good move by @netflix.”