Crypto Firms Don’t Prefer Corporate Headquarters When Taking Over Remote Work

  • The passion for crypto combined with the telework boom could lead to more startups leaving headquarters.
  • Coinbase and Binance are two industry leaders who have already done this.
  • It’s a departure from the Web2 era of Silicon Valley, where Apple and Meta have built flashy home bases.

According to an exchange estimate, Binance is one of the biggest players in the crypto world. It may be worth $300 billion, but you’ll notice something unique about the company: it has no physical headquarters.

The company’s lack of established headquarters put the venture in hot water, with regulators saying it made it harder to oversee. But the exchange isn’t the only crypto company to consider a headquarters redundant – Coinbase has also recently gotten rid of it in favor of moving away from its San Francisco home base altogether.

In recent months, crypto companies have begun to pave the way for leaving the sprawling, sluggish, flashy hubs of Web2 companies like Apple, Google, and Meta, which spend billions on Silicon Valley command centers.

But Web3 successors, imbued with the remote first principles of the decentralized movement and fueled by the rise of remote working during the pandemic, could spell the demise of Headquarters, which has always served as a physical beacon of the burgeoning tech world. .

Coinbase, Binance and Kraken sue for mixing HQs

coinbase san francisco office

In 2018, a sign reading “Initial Chocolate Offer” was hung at Coinbase’s San Francisco office.

Christie Hemm Klok for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Coinbase may have gone without HQ, but that wasn’t always the case. The exchange named it a high-rise home base in San Francisco as of 2014, and at the time it was complete with Silicon Valley-like perks like “games room, candy room, free meals, and a fully stocked fridge,” according to a company blog post.

However, nearly a year after the pandemic, Coinbase has announced that it has permanently closed its San Francisco office to “remote priority” and will no longer have a physical headquarters. The company reiterated these plans in its S-1 before going public in April 2021.

“We’ve committed to not having headquarters, and it’s important to show our decentralized workforce that no place matters. [sic] Coinbase tweeted in May 2021. (The company was founded in Delaware.)

Other crypto exchange Kraken followed suit by eliminating its headquarters in April, and CEO Jesse Powell said the shutdown was specifically a response to criminal incidents that affected its employees as they entered the San Francisco office, adding that Kraken “has no plans”. establish a new, official global HQ.”

And then, of course, there’s Binance, which avoided questions about exactly where the company wore its hat long before the pandemic.

“Wherever I sit, there will be a Binance office,” he said at a conference in 2020.

Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao has run into problems with regulators in China, as well as officials in Malta, who say Binance does not have the proper license to operate its business there – and that’s partly due to regulatory woes. the company is not registered anywhere.

Currently, Binance’s parent company, Binance Holdings, appears to be based in the Cayman Islands, where officials told the Wall Street Journal the exchange was not registered to operate.

Zhao acknowledged in September 2021 that if Binance is to get along with global regulators, the company will likely need to establish some sort of physical home base and become a centralized entity.

“As the biggest player in the industry, we need to prepare ourselves for this change,” Zhao told the South China Morning Post at the time. “We’re making changes to make it easier to work with editors.”

He told Fortune in April that Binance will announce a location for a real HQ “very soon.” He hasn’t revealed where he is yet.

‘Crypto spirit’ is remote compatible by default

This does not mean that major crypto players do not have physical headquarters. Bahama-based exchange FTX has just opened its new headquarters in Chicago, NFT marketplace OpenSea has a home base in New York for its 93 employees, and Ripple is still headquartered in San Francisco.

But the decentralized ethic of the industry and the teleworking boom that has taken over business in general is the perfect storm for Web3 gamers who want to shuffle a global hub if they want to.

For some companies, like Coinbase, they’ve found that the concept of headquarters “is against our culture,” according to the company’s CEO, Brian Armstrong.

In early 2021, Armstrong said, “Giving up a formal headquarters is more in line with the spirit of crypto built on the inherent benefits of decentralization.” Said.

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