Olaf Carlson-Wee

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Olaf Carlson-Wee
Born1989 (age 34–35)
Northfield, Minnesota, United States
Alma materVassar College

Olaf Carlson-Wee (born 1989) is an American entrepreneur and the CEO of cryptocurrency fund Polychain Capital, which he founded in 2016.[1] He was the first employee of Coinbase.[2] Carlson-Wee was named in the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in 2018.


After graduating from Vassar College in 2012, he joined the cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase in 2013 as the first employee of the company. He was paid in bitcoins for three years.[3]

He left Coinbase and founded Polychain Capital, a cryptocurrency investment firm, in 2016.[4] The firm secured investments from venture capital firms Sequoia Capital, Union Square Ventures and Founders Fund.[5][6] Polychain claimed $1 billion in assets in 2017 but the total dropped to $592 million at the end of 2018 as the value of its holdings fell.[7] The firm managed assets worth $4 billion in April 2021.[8]

In July 2017, Carlson-Wee appeared on the cover of Forbes with the cover line, "Craziest Bubble Ever".[8] In 2018, he was named in the Forbes 30 Under 30 list.[9][10] He featured in Fortune magazine's 40 Under 40 in 2018.[11]

Carlson-Wee was again profiled as part of Forbes’s Blockchain 50 2022[12] and in a related Forbes video feature.[13]

In a 2022 interview with David Pearce for Interview Magazine, Carlson-Wee discussed his ambitions to improve the world through technology following his success in the cryptocurrency sector, stating that his aim is to address the deepest problems of the human condition through technological advancements.[14]


  1. ^ Copeland, Rob (2018-09-11). "Olaf Carlson-Wee Rode the Bitcoin Boom to Silicon Valley Riches. Can He Survive the Crash?". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2021-05-15.
  2. ^ "Polychain CEO on Coinbase IPO". www.bloomberg.com. Retrieved 2021-08-24.
  3. ^ Huddleston, Tom Jr. (2021-04-14). "Coinbase's first employee in 2013 cold-emailed the founders for a job — and was paid in bitcoin for 3 years". CNBC. Retrieved 2021-05-15.
  4. ^ "Bitcoin Will Never Be a Currency—It's Something Way Weirder". Wired. ISSN 1059-1028. Retrieved 2021-08-24.
  5. ^ "Has Crypto's Crown Prince Finally Grown Up?". Fortune. Retrieved 2021-05-15.
  6. ^ "Crypto Hedge Fund Polychain Says It Won't Proceed With IPO". www.bloomberg.com. Retrieved 2021-05-15.
  7. ^ Chernova, Yuliya (2019-04-12). "Crypto Fund Polychain's Assets Drop 40% From $1 Billion Mark". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2021-08-24.
  8. ^ a b Ehrlich, Steven. "Olaf Carlson-Wee Explains Why DeFi And NFTs Will Succeed Where ICOs Fell Short". Forbes. Retrieved 2021-05-15.
  9. ^ Service, Ross Torgerson Forum News. "Moorhead native's Bitcoin brilliance propels him onto prestigious Forbes '30 under 30' list". Bismarck Tribune. Retrieved 2021-05-15.
  10. ^ "30 Under 30 2018: Finance". Forbes. Retrieved 2021-05-15.
  11. ^ "Olaf Carlson-Wee". Fortune. Retrieved 2021-05-15.
  12. ^ Ehrlich, Steven. "How Crypto's Original Bubble Boy Rode Ethereum And Is Now Pulling The Strings Of The DeFi Boom". Forbes. Retrieved 2023-04-13.
  13. ^ Ehrlich, Steven. "Video: Olaf Carlson-Wee: From Crypto Bubble Boy To DeFi Pioneer". Forbes. Retrieved 6 May 2022.
  14. ^ Pearce, David (2022-02-23). "After Winning Big on Crypto, Olaf Carlson-Wee Wants to Change the World". Interview Magazine. Retrieved 2023-05-01.