Brian Armstrong is an American entrepreneur who co-founded Coinbase, the largest cryptocurrency trading platform in the United States. He was on top of the Crypto Rich list last February of 2021, where he had a net worth of $6.5 billion.
As of 2023, Brian Armstrong has a net worth of $1.5 billion according to Forbes. His wealth has taken a huge hit with the sell off in the market but he still retains his billionaire status.
He currently owns a 16% stake in Coinbase and has sold roughly 3% of his equity over the last year. Coinbase earned $322 million in profits against total revenue of $1.3 billion in 2020. Forwards to 2023 and the company is heavily losing money.
Born on January 25, 1983, in San Jose, California, Brian Armstrong’s parents were both engineers. He graduated from Rice University with a degree in economics and computer science. After college, he got a master’s degree in Computer Science. While attending university, he gained experience working as an intern developer for IBM. He was tasked with designing java-based tools for Network Attached Storage Devices.
At that time, Armstrong also co-founded an online tutoring directory called UniversityTutor.com. The website aimed to provide a free platform to help customers and tutors find, match, and work with each other both offline and online. He led the company for eight years and remained its CEO until 2012, when he started Coinbase.
How He Made His Money
He discovered Bitcoin in 2010 after reading Satoshi Nakamoto’s whitepaper. Working as a software engineer at Airbnb in 2011, Armstrong became aware of the difficulties of payment systems that ran across 190 countries worldwide. He decided to come up with a solution to make it easier for people to buy and sell cryptocurrencies.
He partnered with Fred Ehrsam, and they started the crypto trading platform in May 2012. A year later the company was already managing $25 million, which gave them a valuation of $143 million. By 2014, Coinbase hit 1 million users and formed partnerships with established companies like Expedia, Dell, Dish Network, and others.
Growth and Investor Confidence
By 2017, Coinbase achieved Unicorn Status, making it the first crypto startup to reach a valuation of $1 billion or more. Since then, the company has developed a reputation as one of the safer crypto exchanges.
The company went public on the NASDAQ at $380 per share in April 2021. At one stage the company had a market cap of $112 billion and Armstrong was among the 70 richest people in the world. Since then, the share has collapsed and Coinbase is now valued at $8 billion. Despite, the huge drop investors like Cathie Wood are continuing to buy shares.
Contrary to what others are saying, Armstrong wasn’t an overnight success. He has already been in the business of startups even when he was still in high school. Today, Coinbase serves more than 90 million customers, helping them trade 100’s of cryptocurrencies.