15 things you didn’t know about Brian Armstrong and Coinbase

The next wave of web, that is hoped to be “the Google of Cryptocurrency”, yes, we are talking about the biggest U.S. Bitcoin exchange- COINBASE. Brian Armstrong together with Fred Ehrsam co-founded Coinbase in July 2011 as a Bitcoin marketplace that would enable people to purchase the cryptocurrency.

Here is a glance of 15 things that you might not know about Brian Armstrong and Coinbase:

  • The origin of Coinbase

It was around the Christmas of 2010 when Brian came in contact with Bitcoin. He realized the lack of Bitcoin exchange marketplaces and saw it as a chance. By 2012, Brian and Fred registered Coinbase for the Y Combinator Start-up Incubator Program (the one famous for having invested in popular start-ups like Dropbox, Weebly, Reddit, Airbnb). However, the complete launch of the company happened in October 2012 when it began its Bitcoin buying and selling services through bank transfers.

  • Brian was a budding Entrepreneur since his High school period

Brian started learning Java and CSS as early as in his high school. He even designed websites for midget businesses in San Jose area. These were the first few paying jobs that he worked from his neighbor’s garage.

  • Those previous experiences that led to origination of Brian Armstrong- CEO of Coinbase

During his Bachelor’s program, Brian worked for 4 months as an Intern Team Lead at IBM in San Jose where he developed numerous Java-based tools for Network Attached Storage devices. As an Enterprise Risk Management Consultant, he worked for Deloitte and Touche. In august 2003, Brian along with John Nelson founded a global marketplace where parents and students can locate independent tutors. This was called UniversityTutor.com. Brian worked as a CEO of this company from 2003-2012. He also worked for Airbnb as a software engineer for a short period of 1 year before establishing Coinbase. In a way, with a double major in economics and computer science, Brian had always actively pursued a career in tech industry and this led to the enhancing of the personality presently known as the CEO of U.S. biggest cryptocurrency exchange ‘Coinbase’.

  • The prominent investors of Coinbase

The size of Coinbase has rocketed over a short period of time. This was possible because of the notable investors and venture capitalists that invested in Coinbase over the years. In 2013, Brian and Coinbase were able to firm a $5 million Series A investment from Union Square Ventures (USV). By December, Ribbit Capital and Andreessen Horowitz associated with USV imbued a total of $ 25 million in Coinbase. Several banks in partnership with the New York Stock Exchange and Draper FISHER Jurvetson invested a whooping amount of $75 million in the company making it the first Bitcoin exchange to be a recipient of direct investment from a major financial institution in January 2015.

  • The Litecoin creator’s brief role in Coinbase

Upon its creation, the third person to be appointed to work on Coinbase platform was Charlie Lee, the creator of Litecoin. Charlie left his job at Google to work with Brian as a Director of Engineering in his company. He worked till June 2017.

  • Regulations and securities of cryptocurrency by Coinbase

Coinbase follows protocols that are similar to those used in banking industry and all its operations are supervised to eliminate potential losses. It also propounds future services that include crypto securities trading, margin and over-the-counter trading. The company has acquired securities dealer Keystone Capital Corp., Venovate Marketplace, Inc., and Digital Wealth LLC so as to become a fully- synchronized broker-dealer.


Coinbase has done 1st of its kind deed in crypto-ecosystem to establish a new cryptocurrency charity fund- THE GIVECRYPTO. It is a philanthropic venture to financially authorize people with direct cryptocurrency distributions. This nonprofit venture’s goal is to give 100% of its cryptocurrency contributions to impoverished people, a selfless goal that simultaneously drives cryptocurrency’s real-world utility and has already raised $ 1 million from prominent cryptocurrency community under the guidance of Brian Armstrong and partner Rose Broome.


In a cryptocurrency world, to attain the UNICORN status, a company should be valued at $1 billion or more. Coinbase attained a valuation of $1.6 billion in august 2017, making it the first startup to attain the prestigious status. Coinbase also became the most downloaded app on iphone in the US in 2017.

  • Coinbase v/s John Doe summons

During the period 2013-2015, Coinbase had to fight back against the Internal Revenue Services (IRS) and its wide-ranging summons. IRS demanded a “John Doe Summons” providing a detailed personal information for more than 1 million customers. Coinbase won a victory but only had to provide information about accounts that conducted Bitcoin transactions, either through exchanging Bitcoins for dollars or through sending and receiving coins from another bitcoin user, worth $20,000 and above. But through it all Coinbase customer base has continued to outpour and the company has resumed to charge fees that are high, at least by traditional brokerage standards.

  • On the list of Fortune’s 40 under 40

This year’s Fortune’s list of 40 under 40 had the usual big hitters like Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg at no. 2 and Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom at no. 1. What particularly protruded this time around was the presence of Coinbase co-founder Brian Armstrong who came in at no. 20, one spot ahead of Rihanna. This was the first time that cryptocurrency industry figures bagged places relatively high up.

  • New members in Coinbase family

Coinbase has recently declared a new product in their escort, Coinbase Custody, which is a platform aimed at supporting institutions. They are planning to reinforce all the major digital assets, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, ERC20 Tokens and more. Possibly hundreds of cryptocurrencies will be accessible for sale if they plan to offer all ERC20 Tokens. Coinbase has launched more cryptocurrencies for the U.K. pound sterling (GBP). British customers will now be in a position to trade altcoins Ethereum(ETH), Ethereum Classic(ETC), Litecoin(LTC) and Bitcoin Cash(BCH) for GBP, In addition to the existing Bitcoin(BTC).

  • Brian Armstrong’s net worth

Brian Armstrong has a net worth of approx. $900 million – $1.1 billion. This makes him among the top 10 wealthiest personalities of cryptocurrency world.

  • Coinbase owns the private keys to your accounts

Coinbase always controls your stash and monitors it. It monitors your purchases and if anything goes wrong from your side , then the company may freeze your account and may close it. You might get your money back in your bank account but Coinbase does not obey the general rule of decentralization.  In a way, whenever you buy a Bitcoin, the company holds the private keys to your account and you are given the public keys.

  • Advantages of using Coinbase
  1. Coinbase is accessible in 30 countries so you can reciprocate Bitcoins in 159 various fiat currencies.
  2. Coinbase is extra secured with its partners like New York Securities and backed by major banks.
  3. They are financed as well as licensed making them one of the best brokers for cryptocurrencies in the world.
  4. They are also engulfed with credit cards that makes the transactions faster.
  5. They have a spectacular set of algorithms that makes them safe from hackers as well as potential loss of cryptocurrency.
  • Disadvantages of Coinbase
  1. If they feel that you are involved in any illegal activity, they can even freeze and close your accounts.
  2. If you use fiat money, it can take up to a week for your Bitcoins to process.
  3. When you are trading large sums on a daily basis, you are going to be considered to be at high risk and they may closely monitor your account or even close it.


Despite of all the interims that Coinbase has faced, it has continued to grow and Brian is a wad of optimism. The company’s best interest is to advocate for less restrictions. Brian has faith in making Bitcoin completely legal and even actual currency control for some countries in the coming future. He also believes that Bitcoin will transcend the dollar as a reserve currency in coming 10-15 years.