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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

In June, a group of Coinbase employees walked out after CEO Brian Armstrong did not immediately commit to making a public statement in support of Black Lives Matter.

Why it matters: The crypto "unicorn" is now offering severance packages to employees who no longer feel aligned with the company’s apolitical culture and mission, which Armstrong clarified Sunday in a blog post.

  • Armstrong wrote that Coinbase will not engage in political activism beyond issues that directly impact the company, and that employees shouldn't engage in political discussions at work.
  • Sunday’s post drew a range of responses. Some praised Armstrong for his approach, while others viewed it as thinly-veiled tolerance for bigotry.

What happened: The June 4 walkout followed an "ask me anything" session between Armstrong and company employees, which took place in the wake of George Floyd's murder.

  • One source says Armstrong argued making a public statement in support of BLM would be divisive. However, another source says the question was specific to the BLM organization and its policy positions, rather than broader anti-racism sentiment. The company declined to comment when asked by Axios.
  • Shortly after, employees convened online to discuss the meeting, and several senior managers encouraged co-workers to partake in a virtual walkout that day.
  • A number of employees took part, though the exact number is unclear.
  • Later in the day, Armstrong posted a series of Twitter messages in support of BLM.
  • The next day, he sent emails to employees apologizing for his handling of the topic during the meeting and assuring them of the company's commitment to an inclusive workplace (including specific actions). Company executives later held a meeting with its internal group for employees of color.

It's worth noting that, several days prior to the meeting, Armstrong had sent a company-wide email acknowledging how "many of you are hurting, and that we, as Coinbase leadership, are here to support you.”

Since then: Employees have been told to keep political discussion out of company-wide communication channels, and initial comments pushing back on the blog post were removed from Slack allegedly for that reason, per a source.

  • The proposed severance packages, also reported by other outlets, includes four to six months of pay, six months of COBRA coverage, and a seven-year window to exercise stock options.
  • Employees have until Oct. 7 to make a decision and a company meeting is scheduled for today to address questions.

What they’re saying: “It's clear internally that this is all about the BLM walkout,” one current employee tells Axios.

  • Other sources, however, suggest this is part of Armstrong's longstanding discomfort with politics in the workplace, exacerbated by the upcoming election.

Go deeper

Alphabet workers announce a union

Photo: Mason Trinca/Getty Images

A group of more than 200 employees at Google's parent company announced on Monday that they've signed union cards with the Communications Workers of America, forming the Alphabet Workers Union.

Why it matters: This is the largest and most high-profile unionization effort among tech workers to date. The tech industry has historically eschewed unions, unlike other sectors like the auto industry.

Wildfires ravage communities in Northern California as thousands evacuate

Firefighters monitoring the scene as flames from the Dixie Fire jump across highway 89 near Greenville, California, on Tuesday. Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images

Two massive California wildfires have triggered new mandatory evacuation orders for thousands of people and destroyed homes and businesses in the state's north overnight.

Details: The Dixie Fire, California's biggest blaze, razed houses and businesses as it ripped through the town of Greenville and surrounding areas in Plumas County Wednesday night. The rapidly spreading River Fire burned "multiple" homes as it tore through Placer and Nevada counties, KOVR notes.

Updated 2 hours ago - Sports

Olympics dashboard

The U.S. women's team celebrates during a game against the Netherlands on July 30, 2021 in Yokohama, Japan. Photo: Logan Beerman/ISI Photos/Getty Images

⚽: U.S. women's soccer team beats Australia, wins bronze

🥇: Ryan Crouser breaks his own Olympic shot put record to win gold for U.S.

🛶: U.S. teenager Nevin Harrison wins first Olympic women's canoe 200m

🏐: U.S. Olympic beach volleyball duo one step away from realizing gold medal dream

📷: In photos: Tokyo Olympics day 13 highlights

Go deeper: Full Axios coverage