Job Insecurity at Cryptocurrency and Other Tech Firms Leaves International Students at Risk

Read original article on Study International.

Picture this: you’ve accepted a job offer to work at a reputable company and you’re due to start in two weeks. What could go wrong?

That’s what international graduate Chung Wook Ahn in the US thought. In February, Chung said he accepted an offer to work at Coinbase — an American company that operates a cryptocurrency exchange platform — and was excited to start after his graduation in May 2022.  However, just two weeks from the mutually agreed start date, Chung claims he received an email from Coinbase informing him of his job offer rescission due to a hiring freeze impacted by the crashing prices of cryptocurrencies.

Feeling devastated and lost, Chung is now forced to look for another position. He has only 90 days to do so before his Optional Practical Training (OPT) visa expires — which means that he would have to leave the US or face deportation. Chung is one of the hundreds of graduates who allegedly had their job offers rescinded days before their start date. Frustrated graduates took to LinkedIn to share their experiences. Some of them claimed they had bypassed many lucrative job opportunities to work at Coinbase. They also seek help from their LinkedIn connections for a potential job position.

Tianqi (Andy) Wu — one of the international graduates affected by Coinbase’s hiring freeze — said in his LinkedIn post: “Yesterday I received an email from Coinbase telling me that my offer was rescinded due to drastic changes in the company’s hiring plans, right after I found my dream apartment in Seattle and started packing for relocation.” “For this opportunity at Coinbase, I cancelled several virtual on sites from other companies and declined graduate school offers.”

Another graduate Tianyou Xiao said he is desperate to find a position before his OPT expires. “My legal status is now in the wind as I am currently on F1 OPT. My Employment Authorisation Document (EAD) card starts in mid-July 2022, so I have very limited time to find another position to stay in the US,” shared Xiao.


Coinbase is one of a growing number of tech companies laying off workers, freezing hiring, and, at worst, rescinding offers. While these companies are coming under fire, with some issuing social media apologies, it is uncertain that these companies will face significant consequences given the high demand (particularly from new grads) for lucrative tech jobs at large and reputable companies — especially if these companies are the ones most likely to sponsor visas.

Nevertheless, the importance of LinkedIn, and networking at large, has proved itself now more than ever. With the ability for posts to go viral through boosting (e.g. “commenting for reach”), LinkedIn could be one of the fastest ways to find a new opportunity. Candidates who are willing to share their personal stories and articulate their interests, skills, and values may be able to move through screening processes faster than simply applying through the application portal and waiting.

Despite the swirling stories of job loss — each one devastating and worthy of restoration — recruiters are reporting that tech hiring is not slowing down overall amidst looming economic downturn. The employee remains in the driver’s seat, with the exception of certain companies whose business is more volatile or hiring more aggressive. Predicted to change, however, are compensation packages. Companies looking to conserve cash may offer equity-heavy packages, and total compensation may deflate as labor costs tend to stabilize during recessions.

By Erin Lee (She/Her)
Erin Lee (She/Her) Career Coach