Guru's Verification engine ensures consistency, confidence, and trust in the knowledge your organization shares. Learn more.

Coinbase COVID-19 Email Send (3.2.20)

Return to the overview COVID-19 Coinbase Response Overview

Subject: An update on the coronavirus

Hey all,


  • While the overall risk of COVID-19 to Coinbase employees remains low, it is increasing and we strongly encourage you to prepare for the next phase of this crisis, which will likely involve both community transmission and state/local government actions, such as school closures or movement restrictions.

  • Employees that are likely to get sick more easily or for whom getting sick would be particularly problematic should now work with their manager to move to 100% Work From Home (WFH). See our guide to effectively reducing your risk of bringing COVID-19 home (spoiler alert: working from home is only a part of the solution!).

  • Business travel is now restricted to essential travel only. Travel to China, Hong Kong, Japan, Italy, and South Korea remains completely restricted.

  • We strongly encourage you to minimise personal travel. If you are going somewhere, please flag any personal travel to—or layovers in—countries on the restricted list to GSOC so we can help you make a plan (instructions here).

  • Stop by #ask-security with questions and for weekly updates.

There has been a lot of news on coronavirus out in the last week. It can be a stressful mental place to be. (If you’re up for reading more about it, this twitter thread is a great summary of how to cope and WHO also has a nice PDF on coping with stress in the face of an outbreak). Your health and safety are a core priority of Coinbase. This update includes a number of additional proactive measures we’re taking to ensure that you can all manage your risk and that Coinbase can continue to serve our customers effectively.

A core intent of these notes to you all is to continue to share how Coinbase is responding to this moment and what you can do. We want to remain on the cutting edge of responding to COVID-19, while ensuring that our response is based on fact and science, and avoids both panic and apathy. By transparently sharing this with you all, we hope we can be a trusted source of information in an otherwise crowded information environment. Any time you have questions, you can reach us at @GSOC or #ask-security.

Finally, please remember to be sensitive to others as we all continue to talk about COVID-19. Just because you are in a low risk group doesn’t mean all your coworkers are, or that they aren’t living with someone who is. Please also remember that COVID-19 doesn’t care about your skin color, what your nationality is, or where you live. The best way for all of us to get through this crisis is to listen to the science and operate as a community, not allow fear to drive make-believe wedges between us.

Coinbase has 3 guiding principles as we continue to move forward:

  1. Keep Coinbase employees safe

  2. Continue to serve Coinbase customers with highest standards

  3. Do our part to slow community spread of the virus where there appear to be outbreaks, so that the most vulnerable people are able to get the care they need

The current situation

We are continuing to see the global spread of COVID-19. In fact, we are starting to see the first documented instances of community transmission in the areas of our Portland and SF offices. We’ve seen a handful of cases in Chicago and just saw the first case in New York. We continue to see community transmission in Japan. We’ve not seen community spread yet in Dublin or London, and have seen public health officials in both areas take rapid and effective testing and containment measures. Elsewhere around the world, the outbreak continues to accelerate, except in China where they seem to have successfully slowed the spread.

The US is not testing as broadly as we should be at this point, so the full scope of the outbreak is likely not yet documented sufficiently. Much more extensive testing capacity is coming online in the coming week and we are likely to see the case count in the US jump significantly once that happens.  

The best time to prepare was last week. The second best time is right now. This weekend saw a huge uptick in individuals stockpiling goods to hedge against a broader quarantine and enable effective social distancing. As a reminder, we encourage people to ensure they have adequate supplies of food, medicine (in particular, prescription medication) and critical household goods (think batteries, trash bags, hygiene supplies, etc.) to last at least 30 days. Review our in-depth guide to learn more.

What we know

See my previous message for a summary of what we know, and our FAQs for specific questions. The studies that have come out in the last week have re-confirmed things we already know about the virus.  

What we’re doing

As of this week, if you are likely to get sick more easily, or if getting sick would be particularly problematic, we want you to work with your manager to WFH. If a local school closure impacts your family, you should also work with your manager to WFH.

Examples of this could include people who are already immunocompromised or live with people who are, people who are single parents or primary caregivers, people who are pregnant or live with those who are. It can also include people/teams who are critical single points of failure in the company, whose absence for a couple of weeks could impact our customers. PLEASE NOTE, if you move to working from home but don’t otherwise adjust your life, you will not be effectively reducing your risk. Please read our guide to social distancing and make sure you are adjusting your life to protect yourself and your family.

As of this week, we’re restricting all business travel to essential trips only. If you think a trip is absolutely essential, please work with your leadership team member to validate that assumption prior to scheduling. Previously announced travel bans remain in effect.  

Please consider using video conferencing instead of travel. If you’re planning personal travel to—or layovers in—any country on the restricted list, please reach out to @GSOC so we can work with you. You can find instructions for flagging travel for us here.

We’re moving toward virtual interviewing, asking you all to minimize external visitors (including canceling in-office events) and spinning up a visitor screening program, which will include a set of questions when visitors sign in and will expand to include temperature screening in SF.

Recruiting is working to move all interviews to virtual interviews, starting with SF, Tokyo and Portland. We’ve started the migration but likely won’t be all the way there for a week. If you use an in person tool (e.g. whiteboards) you think will be hard to replace, please ping Grant directly. For all offices, please minimize the number of external visitors you bring into our space. Until further notice, we will not be hosting external events in Coinbase space. If you can do a meeting via video conference, please do so. Our guest check in system will now ask visitors about their travel history. We will additionally roll out an airport-style thermal imaging screener in SF, because of the higher concentration of employees, contractors and guests. If we flag a visitor via the envoy or temperature screening program, we will let their host know, deny entry to Coinbase space, and ask the host to reschedule the meeting via video conference. If we flag an employee via the temperature screening we will ask them to work from home.

We have spun up a working group to proactively prepare for moving one or more offices to full work from home postures.

This working group is identifying specific risks and mitigations that we need to get in place to ensure Coinbase continues to function smoothly, for example, how we would manage recruiting operations, onboard new hires, etc.  

We’ll continue sharing bi-weekly updates on the coronavirus situation in #ask-security, so please join that channel to ask any questions you might have beyond the below FAQs. If you have questions that are specifically about work travel, please post those in #ask-travel.