Brian Armstrong (businessman)

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Brian Armstrong
Armstrong in 2018
Armstrong in 2018
Born (1983-01-25) January 25, 1983 (age 39)[1]
EducationRice University (BA, MS)
OccupationCEO of Coinbase
Known forExecutive
Websitewww.brianarmstrong.org

Brian Armstrong (born January 25, 1983) is an American business executive and investor who is CEO of cryptocurrency platform Coinbase.[1] He received media attention for his policy of keeping the workplace free of political activism.[2][3]

Early life and education[edit]

Armstrong was born on January 25, 1983, near San Jose, California; both of his parents were engineers.[4] He attended Rice University in Texas, and earned a dual bachelor's degree in economics and computer science in 2005, followed by a master's in computer science in 2006.[4][5] While at Rice, he started a business matching tutors to students, and after graduating, spent a year in Buenos Aires while working for an education company. While in Buenos Aires, he saw firsthand the effects of hyperinflation that were affecting Argentina at the time.[4]

Career[edit]

Brian Armstrong (center)

Armstrong's early career included working as a developer for IBM and consultant at Deloitte. In 2010, he came across the Bitcoin white paper published under the alias Satoshi Nakamoto.[4] In 2011, he joined Airbnb as a software engineer, and was exposed to payment systems in the 190 countries Airbnb operated in at the time.[6] While at Airbnb, he saw the difficulties of sending money to South America.[4] He began working weekends and nights to write code in Ruby and JavaScript to buy and store cryptocoins. In 2012, he entered the Y Combinator startup accelerator and received a $150,000 investment, which he used to fund Coinbase.[4][7]

Coinbase[edit]

In 2012, Armstrong and Fred Ehrsam co-founded Coinbase, as a way for cryptocurrency enthusiasts to trade bitcoins and other digital currencies.[8] Armstrong was its first CEO.[8] A 2018 funding round valued the company at $8.1 billion, and in December 2020, the company filed with the SEC to go public through a direct listing.[9][10][11] Following a direct listing in April 2021, Coinbase's market capitalization rose to $85B,[12] and according to Forbes, as of May 2022, Armstrong has a net worth of $2.4 billion.[13]

Book/Documentary[edit]

Armstrong appeared in the 2014 American documentary The Rise and Rise of Bitcoin.[14]

He was also featured as the main protagonist in the 2020 nonfiction book Kings of Crypto: One Startup's Quest to Take Cryptocurrency Out of Silicon Valley and Onto Wall Street.[15]

ResearchHub[edit]

Armstrong 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.[7]

Political views[edit]

Armstrong wrote a blog post [16] in September 2020 calling Coinbase a "Mission Focused Company", discouraging employee activism and discussion of political and social issues at work.[17][3] He offered generous severance packages for Coinbase employees uncomfortable with this policy;[2] as a result, sixty employees (amounting to 5% of the company) left Coinbase.[18] Prior to this, Armstrong supported the Black Lives Matter movement and tweeted when George Floyd was murdered: "I've decided to speak up. It's a shame that this even needs to be said in this day and age, but racism, police brutality, and unequal justice are unequivocally wrong, and we need to all work to eliminate them from society."[2]

Recognition[edit]

In 2017, at age 34, Armstrong was ranked #10 on Fortune's 40 under 40 list.[19]

In 2019, Armstrong was named to Time magazine's 100 Next list.[20]

In 2021, Forbes named Armstrong #1 on its Crypto Rich List, with an estimated net worth of $6.5 billion as of February 2021.[21] He was also listed 60th on the Forbes 400 list of the richest people in America.[22]

Philanthropy[edit]

In 2018, Armstrong was the first cryptocurrency executive to sign the Giving Pledge, when he pledged to give away the bulk of his wealth to philanthropic causes.[8] He also set up a philanthropic effort called GiveCrypto.org, to allow people to make public or anonymous donations to help others living in poverty.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Brian Armstrong". AZ Coin News. November 24, 2019. Retrieved March 10, 2021.
  2. ^ a b c "Coinbase CEO discourages politics at work, offers generous severance to employees who want to quit". CNBC. September 30, 2020. Retrieved March 10, 2021.
  3. ^ a b "Taking a Stand Against Social Stances". The New York Times. September 30, 2020. Retrieved March 10, 2021.
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Bitcoin's Guardian Angel: Inside Coinbase Billionaire Brian Armstrong's Plan To Make Crypto Safe For All". Forbes. February 19, 2020. Retrieved March 10, 2021.
  5. ^ "Crypto Profiles: Brian Armstrong, The Founder of Coinbase". Blockonomi. April 9, 2018. Retrieved March 10, 2021.
  6. ^ "Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong to talk the future of cryptocurrency at Disrupt SF". TechCrunch. May 16, 2018. Retrieved March 10, 2021.
  7. ^ a b Kruppa, Miles (March 5, 2021). "Coinbase founder rides crypto boom to Nasdaq listing". Financial Times. Retrieved March 11, 2021.
  8. ^ a b c d "Newly Minted Billionaire Coinbase CEO Is Already Tired of His Wealth". Observer. December 26, 2018. Retrieved March 11, 2021.
  9. ^ "Cryptocurrency start-up Coinbase valued at $8 billion despite bitcoin's plunge". CNBC. October 30, 2018. Retrieved March 11, 2021.
  10. ^ "Bitcoin's Guardian Angel: Inside Coinbase Billionaire Brian Armstrong's Plan To Make Crypto Safe For All. In 2021 Coinbase is building a IT support center in India so they can make customer service even worse than it currently is". Forbes. February 19, 2020. Retrieved March 4, 2021.
  11. ^ "Coinbase reveals direct listing application with SEC". The Economic Times. February 25, 2021. Retrieved March 10, 2021.
  12. ^ Paul Vigna (14 April 2021). "Coinbase Fetches $85 Billion Valuation in Market Debut". The Wall Street Journal.
  13. ^ "Forbes Profile". Forbes. Archived from the original on 13 May 2022. Retrieved 12 May 2022.
  14. ^ "Bitcoin documentary must watch, You Should Know About It". Charlotte Stories. September 10, 2020. Retrieved March 10, 2021.
  15. ^ Roberts, Jeff (December 15, 2020). Kings of Crypto: One Startup's Quest to Take Cryptocurrency Out of Silicon Valley and Onto Wall Street. Harvard Business Review Press. p. 188.
  16. ^ "Coinbase Is A Mission Focused Company".
  17. ^ "Can a company really be 'apolitical' in 2020?". Fast Company. October 9, 2020. Retrieved March 10, 2021.
  18. ^ "60 Employees Leave Coinbase Over CEO's Pledge To Be Apolitical". Forbes.
  19. ^ "40 Under 40". Fortune. 2017. Retrieved March 10, 2021.
  20. ^ "Brian Armstrong". Time. 2019. Retrieved March 10, 2021.
  21. ^ "Brian Armstrong". Forbes. Retrieved March 11, 2021.
  22. ^ "Forbes 400 list". Forbes. Archived from the original on 11 January 2021.

External links[edit]