Brian Armstrong is a billionaire American business executive and investor who is CEO of cryptocurrency trading company Coinbase. He received media coverage for his policy of keeping the workplace free of political activism.
Education and early life
Armstrong was born on January 25, 1983, near San Jose, California, to engineer parents. 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. While at Rice, he started a business matching tutors to students, and after graduating, spent a year in Buenos Aires while working on an education company. While in Buenos Aires, he saw the effects of hyperinflation that were affecting Argentina at the time.
In 2012, Armstrong and Fred Ehrsam co-founded Coinbase, as a way for cryptocurrency enthusiasts to trade bitcoins and other digital currencies. Armstrong was its first CEO. 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. Following a direct listing in April 2021, Coinbase's market capitalization rose to $85B, and Armstrong's total net worth passed $10B.
Armstrong appeared in the 2014 American documentary The Rise and Rise of Bitcoin.
He was also featured as the main protagonist in the 2020 novel Kings of Crypto: One Startup's Quest to Take Cryptocurrency Out of Silicon Valley and Onto Wall Street.
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.