Brian Armstrong

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Youtube Video
Foundation 35 interview with Brian Armstrong

Brian Armstrong (born January 25, 1983) is a blockchain technology and cryptocurrency entrepreneur based out of San Francisco, California. ​​​He is currently the CEO​ and Co-founder​ of the digital asset platform​, Coinbase​. [9]​ [8]​ [1]

Early Life

Brian Armstrong grew up in San Jose, California​. While in high school, he developed an interest in computer technology ​and started learning Java​ and CSS. Armstrong's first job in high school was designing websites​ for small businesses in San Jose. He was working out of his neighbor's garage at the time. [16]​ [11]​ [21]


Brian Armstrong speaking on a panel at TechCrunch Disrupt​ [28]

In 2005, Brian Armstrong graduated from Rice University​ in Houston, Texas​ with a bachelor's degree​ in Computer Science​ and Economics​. He graduated from Rice with a master's degree​ in Computer Science​ in 2006. [1]​ [10]​ After college, Brian Armstrong spent a year living abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina​. [16]​ [21]


Pre-Blockchain Career

In 2003, Brian Armstrong co-founded University Tutor with John Nelson, while he was still a junior at Rice University. University Tutor is a website designed to help parents and students find tutors in their area. Tutors are able to create profiles on the site listing their services, prices, qualifications, and more information. Armstrong was the CEO of the company from August 2003 to May 2012. [11]​ [1]


In the summer of 2003, Armstrong worked as an Intern Team Lead at IBM​. In this role, he developed a number of Java​tools for network-attached storage devices​. [1]​ [10]


Brian Armstrong's first position after college was working as a Consultant​ for Deloitte​ focusing on enterprise risk management​ from July to November 2005. [1][10]


From 2010-2012, Armstrong was a software engineer​ at Airbnb​ working on fraud prevention​ and internal tools for moving money around as Airbnb has operations in more than 190 countries. Through this experience, Armstrong realized how many barriers and delays there were in moving around money across borders. [17]​ [11]

Blockchain Technology Career

Youtube Video
CNBC​: Coinbase CEO: Everybody Is Interested In Digital Currency These Days

In late 2010, Armstrong, first read Satoshi Nakomoto​'s research paper​ about Bitcoin​. After reading the paper, he became excited about Bitcoin's potential as an open payment network for the whole world where transactions can be fast, cheap, and global. [17]​ [12]


He spent the next three months understanding Bitcoin "it took me another three months to fully wrap my head around it." He then spent another six months thinking about Bitcoin before he was ready to build a prototype. Armstrong built an Android OS​ app​ called Bitcoin Android, however it didn't work very well. [17]


Through the process of building, Armstrong realized that there was a need for a hosted, trusted, secure platform that everyday people — businesses and consumers — could use to integrate Bitcoin payments because it was a little bit too technical for most people to understand. This is the idea that eventually became Coinbase​. [17]


In June 2012, Brian Armstrong co-founded the digital asset platform, Coinbase with Fred Ehrsam​ with the mission of creating an open financial system. Coinbase began with Bitcoin​ trading and later expanded to offer other digital assets including Ethereum​, Litecoin​, and Bitcoin Cash​. In August 2017, Coinbase was valued at $1.6 billion following a $100 million funding round. By May 2018, Coinbase had 10 million customers across 32 countries, providing custody for more than $10 billion in digital assets. [18]

Youtube Video
GiveCrypto.org Launch Dinner


In June 2018, Brian Armstrong and Rose Broome​ founded GiveCrypto​, a non-profit​ dedicated to distributing cryptocurrency​ to people living in poverty​. Armstrong personally donated $1 million of cryptocurrency to GiveCrypto. [20]​ [19]


In December 2014, Brian Armstrong was awarded BizWorld.org’s Education Riskmaster Award for his entrepreneurial success as the CEO and Co-founder of Coinbase. BizWorld.org, is an international nonprofit​ providing entrepreneurship​programs for elementary and middle school children. [13]


In 2017, Armstrong and Ethereum​ founder, Vitalik Buterin​ were both ranked number 10 on Fortune​'s 40 under 40 list. [8]

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Created: 09/04/2015 06:49:08 AM UTC
Last Modified: 07/09/2018 01:49:58 AM UTC