Brian Armstrong is known in the crypto industry as the co-founder and CEO of Coinbase, a major cryptocurrency business that offers exchange, brokerage, and custody services to 100M+ verified users in more than 100 countries. Coinbase, which was established in 2012, went public on the NASDAQ in 2021 with the ticker COIN
|Source of Wealth||Investments, product development|
|Education||Rice University in Texas|
Armstrong attended Rice University in Texas, where he got bachelor's and master's degrees in economics and computer science in 2005 and 2006, respectively. During his time at Rice, he founded a business that matched students with tutors. After graduating, he spent a year in Buenos Aires working for an education organization.
After posting a Hacker News article seeking a co-founder to join the Y Combinator program, the article went viral. Armstrong is said to have gone on more than fifty dates before finding his ideal co-founder, Fred Ehrsam, on a Reddit subgroup. In 2012, Armstrong and Ehrsam created Coinbase to provide a platform for trading bitcoin and other virtual currencies among cryptocurrency enthusiasts. Armstrong served as the founding CEO.
In 2018, Coinbase was valued at $8.1 billion in a fundraising round, and in December 2020, it filed with the SEC to go public through a direct listing. After a direct IPO in April 2021, Coinbase's market valuation increased to $85 billion. According to Forbes, as of May 2022, Armstrong has a net worth of $2.4 billion. Armstrong also self-funded and founded the scientific research site ResearchHub, modeled on the GitHub code repository, as a way of making research papers available to the public.
In 2018, Brian Armstrong also founded the NGO GiveCrypto.org with the aim of financially empowering individuals worldwide through the distribution of cryptocurrencies. Later that same year, he signed the Giving Pledge, pledging to donate the majority of his wealth to philanthropic causes over the course of his lifetime.
In a blog post published in September 2020, Armstrong discouraged employee involvement and the discussion of political and social topics at work, referring to Coinbase as a "Mission Focused Business". Sixty employees, or 5% of the company, left Coinbase as a result of his offer of severance packages to those who were unhappy with the company's policies.
Armstrong has been featured in the 2014 documentary "The Rise and Fall of Bitcoin", the nonfiction book "Kings of Crypto: One Startup's Quest to Take Cryptocurrency From Silicon Valley to Wall Street", published in 2020, and the documentary "COIN: A Founder's Story", directed by Emmy winner Greg Kohs, which featured Armstrong and Coinbase.
Armstrong was born near San Jose, California, on January 25, 1983; both of his parents were engineers. He attended Bellarmine College Preparatory, a Catholic, all-male, private secondary school, during his high school years.