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Brian Armstrong Net Worth, Crypto and NFT Investments

The net worth of Brian Armstrong is estimated to be $2.2 billion in 2023. He joined the league of Billionaires owing to the success of the crypto exchange he co-founded, Coinbase. As of 2023, the cryptocurrency exchange is the largest in the United States and the second-largest behind Binance globally based on trading volume. 

Brian Armstrong

The crypto exchange went public in a direct offering on Nasdaq on April 14, 2021. The development surfaced shortly after it reached a market capitalization of $100 billion. During that period, the net worth of Brian Armstrong received a significant boost that saw it skyrocket from $1 billion to $6.5 billion. The net worth of Brian Armstrong fluctuates mostly owing to the business condition of Coinbase. He owns 19% of shares in the company, and his investment portfolio is heavily dominated by this stock.

Owing to that, the net worth of Brian Armstrong plummeted rapidly in 2023. Coinbase struggled for most of 2023, due to the insolvency crisis that rocked many businesses in the crypto space. Also, the dip in the price of crypto assets affected the free flow of Coinbase’s regular business activities. The situation saw the net worth of Brian Armstrong dip from $6.6 billion in the previous year to $2.2 billion in 2023.

Brian Armstrong’s Net Worth

YearNet Worth
2019$1.3 billion
2020$1 billion
2021$6.5 billion
2022$6.6 billion
2023$2.2 billion

Early Life

Brian Armstrong was born on January 25, 1983, in California. His knowledge of advancing technology can be attributed to the profession of his parents. Both Brian Armstrong’s father and mother were engineers. He attended Bellarmine College which is a Catholic all-male private secondary school.

Thereafter, he moved to Rice University in Texas and bagged a double bachelor’s degree in economics and computer science. While at the University, he set up a business that focuses on establishing a connection between tutors and students. He bagged a bachelor’s degree in 2005 and then earned a master’s degree the following year. 

Brian Armstrong moved to Bueno Aires, Argentina where he worked with an educational company. Later on, Brian Armstrong decided to focus on developing softwares. In the early stages of his career, he worked as a developer with International Business Machines Corporation (IBM). The firm specializes in computer hardware, middleware, and software, and provides hosting. Also, it offers consultation services in sectors ranging from mainframe computers to nanotechnology. 

Likewise, Brian Armstrong served in a consultant capacity at a popular accounting firm, Deloitte. However, during this period, he came across the Bitcoin whitepaper. The encounter gave Brian Armstrong his first exposure to cryptocurrency. This encounter provided him insights into how virtual currency can break the barriers of sending money across borders. 

In 2011, Brian Armstrong landed a software engineer role with Airbnb. During this period, he learned about the payment systems of the 190 countries Airbnb operated in at the time. He realized the difficulties of sending money to various regions, most especially South America. With his discovery of how cryptocurrency could solve this problem, Brian Armstrong decided to develop a tool that could address the deficiency. Therefore, he dedicated his time to writing codes in Ruby and Javascript to develop a platform where people could buy and keep their crypto assets. 

Despite having an idea of what he intended to build, Brian Armstrong lacked the financial power to execute the project. In 2012, he participated in the Y Combinator startup accelerator program. Luckily, he received about $150,000 from the accelerator program. The funds provided him little backing to develop the project that would later become Coinbase. Wanting more, Brian Armstrong took to Hacker News to seek a co-founder that’ll help kick-start the project properly. He met Fred Ehrsam who eventually became his co-founder for the Coinbase project in a Reddit subgroup. 

Early Days of Coinbase

Meeting Fred Ehrsam led to the launching of Coinbase in 2012. Initially, the project kick-started as a platform for crypto enthusiasts to trade BTC and other virtual assets. Meanwhile, prominent British programmer and Blockchain.info co-founder Ben Reeves was supposed to be Brian’s Armstrong partner on the project. Their collaboration didn’t materialize because he held a different perspective on how the project should work. 

A few months after its official launch, Coinbase added support for the purchase and sale of BTC using bank transfers. In May 2013, Coinbase acquired $5 million from a series A investment round. The funding round was led by Fred Wilson from the venture capital firm Union Square Ventures. Furthermore, during the last month of the year, Brian Armstrong received strong financial backing for his project. Meanwhile, venture capital firms Andreessen Horowitz, Union Square Ventures (USV), and Ribbit Capital invested $25 million into Coinbase. With the funds, the firm employed its first member of staff, Olaf Carlson-Wee, who graduated from Vassar College.

At the start of 2014, Coinbase had already grown to have about one (1) million active users on its platform. In January 2014, Coinbase Global, Inc. was incorporated in Delaware as a holding company for Coinbase and its subsidiaries. Due to that, Coinbase became a subsidiary of Coinbase Global. Also, the firm went on to insure all the BTC on its platform and enhanced its security mechanism. 

Without a doubt, 2014 proved to be a prosperous year for Coinbase and Brian Armstrong. During this year, Coinbase focused on expanding its services. This led to the acquisition of the blockchain explorer service Blockr and the web bookmarking company Kippt. That year, the exchange collaborated with Overstock, Dell, Expedia, Dish Network, and Time Inc. encouraging them to accept payments in BTC. Also, during the year, Coinbase added a feature that allowed users to pay for BTC through traditional payment systems like Stripe, Braintree, and PayPal. During the year, the net worth of Brian Armstrong went up slightly. 

The company waxed stronger in 2015. Draper Fisher Jurvetson, the New York Stock Exchange, and some notable banks invested $75 million in Coinbase. The firm launched the Coinbase exchange in January 2015 for professional BTC traders in the United States. Brian Armstrong extended the services of the crypto exchange into countries like Canada and Singapore in September 2015. 

In 2017, the New York State Department of Financial Services gave approval to Coinbase to offer Ethereum and Litecoin trading services. Thereafter, in the same year, Coinbase added support for Bitcoin Cash. The following year, the exchange also added support for ERC-20 tokens. However, in 2019, the exchange halted trading on the Ethereum Classic citing an attack on the network. 

Coinbase: During and Post COVID-19 Periods

In May 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Coinbase shifted to remote work and no longer had a recognized headquarters. The move was inspirational to some other crypto firms who followed suit. Later, the firm was subjected to investigation by the Office of Foreign Assets Control due to concerns that Coinbase may have provided its blockchain service to blacklisted individuals and companies.

In March 2021, Coinbase agreed to pay $6.5 million to settle regulatory claims that it reported misleading information about its trading volumes. However, the firm managed to forge ahead focusing on expansion. Consequently, Coinbase extended its services into India and hired personnel for IT services, including engineering, software development, and customer support operations. Due to that, Coinbase revealed plans to open a physical office in Hyderabad.

In April 2021, Coinbase enjoyed significant growth as it reported a nine-fold increase in first-quarter revenue. The increase represents $1.8 billion, compared to $190.6 million recorded in the previous year. However, several reports attributed the increase in the price of Bitcoin for the surge in its revenue during that period. That year, the net worth of Brian Armstrong soared from $1 billion to $6.5 billion. 

During the month, the cryptocurrency exchange went public and it became listed on Nasdaq. Coinbase was valued to be around $47 billion. In May, Coinbase eliminated salary and equity negotiations during recruitment, citing salary disparities between women and minorities. According to the announcement, the firm said employees in the same position, in the same location, receive the same salary and equity offer.

In September, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission reportedly threatened to file a lawsuit against Coinbase. The regulator made the move in an attempt to stop the crypto exchange from launching its crypto lending and borrowing product known as Lend. The crypto exchange felt the SEC was biased owing to how other firms were allowed to offer similar services without restraints.

During the Super Bowl LVI, Coinbase gained huge media attention due to its 60-second commercial. Many referred to the advert as the most effective commercial during the event. The advertisement pulled so much traffic that the landing page of Coinbase received 20 million visitors within a minute. This huge influx triggered the crash of Coinbase. Similarly, the advert pushed the iOS app of the exchange from No. 186 to No. 2.  

In May 2022, Coinbase-backed Mara acquired $23 million with the intention of building an African crypto exchange. Surprisingly, the following month, Coinbase reduced its workforce by 18% which is about 1,100 full-time employees. The firm cited the general downturn in the price of crypto assets as the reason for the layoff. During the second quarter of the year, Coinbase announced that it lost $1.1 billion during that period. Consequently, the firm laid off another 950 members of staff at the start of 2023. The development also affected the net worth of Brian Armstrong.

Meanwhile, amid the slight recovery in the market around mid-2023, Coinbase released the mainnet of its layer2 network; Base, for developers. The unveiling came alive after the exchange completed the full development of the network, ensuring it is compatible to meet users’ demands. It is worth mentioning that Base is designed to run as a secure, low-cost, builder-friendly Ethereum L2. It is built on the OP Stack. Initially, the testnet of the project was made available in February 2023, providing developers with first-hand experience. As it is, the project is expected to launch fully in August for general availability and usage.

Controversy

In December 2017, Coinbase became the subject of an insider trading investigation from regulators. The investigation surfaced shortly after the exchange listed Bitcoin Cash. The listing was followed by some price abnormalities which triggered the investigation. In February 2018, Coinbase was criticized for overcharging users who attempted to purchase cryptocurrency through their credit and debit cards. Coinbase admitted the glitch but cited that the issues surfaced from card issuers. This comment triggered a response from Visa who in turn shifted blames on Coinbase, stating that the exchange didn’t provide a good enabling structure. 

In March 2018, reports surfaced that there was an increase in the number of monthly complaints from customers. According to the report, the complaints increased from 100 to 889 within a month. More than 400 of the complaints queried delays in the payment of withdrawals by Coinbase. The issue painted the exchange in a bad light. In June 2019, the exchange endured an attempt by hackers to exploit the platform. Though, the Coinbase security team moved swiftly to block the attempt, thus, ensuring that the exchange didn’t lose a dime to the attack. 

Also in 2019, The firm became the subject of stern controversy after it acquired Neutrino. The newly acquired firm was reported to have a connection to a hacking team that was alleged of offering internet surveillance technology to governments with poor human rights records. Consequently, Brian Armstrong admitted that Coinbase misjudged the firm. He went on to assure users that any Neutrino staff who previously worked at Hacking Team will not be part of Coinbase.

In 2020, Brian Armstrong was criticized internally for failing to make a statement about the Black Lives Matter movement. In response, the CEO maintained that Coinbase will always distance itself from such social activism due to the exchange’s apolitical culture. During that period, some employees criticized Brian Armstrong, stating that he treated them unfairly because of their gender and race. During the year, reports surfaced that as of 2018, the crypto exchange pays workers based on their gender and race. The reports indicated that women were underpaid compared to males holding similar roles. More so, the reports alleged that Coinbase mostly pay its black employees less compared to others holding similar positions as well. 

The United States Office of Foreign Assets Control reviewed Coinbase in March 2021. The regulator raised concerns about an allegation that the exchange may have provided blockchain services to blacklisted individuals and organizations. Shortly after that, Coinbase accepted to pay $6.5 million to settle claims that the exchange wasn’t truthful with details about its trading volumes. 

On March 2023, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission served Coinbase a Wells notice. The notice was aimed at notifying Coinbase about potential enforcement against its staking service. Coinbase in response stated that the regulator doesn’t have enough premises to take such action. Due to that, it filed a lawsuit against the SEC. Consequently, Coinbase prayed to the court that it should compel the SEC to clearly define its regulation for the crypto industry. 

Is Brian Armstrong Pro Crypto?

Brian Armstrong has always been bullish about cryptocurrency. He is always confident in its capability to transform the financial arena. His interest in crypto could be traced to as early as 2010 when he stumbled upon the Bitcoin whitepaper. According to findings, he came across the whitepaper on Hacker News, regarded as one of the most notable tech accelerators at that time. Recall that the document entails relevant information about the crypto is capable of relegating age-long intermediaries in the traditional banking system.

Armstrong picked interest in studying the document and focused more on how the decentralized nature of crypto could advance the financial arena. Before coming across the document which introduced the world to the capability of crypto, the Coinbase founder was already fed up with the complications ravaging the traditional banking system. The prevalence in the banking system at that time made it easy for Armstrong to pick interest in crypto, seeing it as a big solution to the problems. Since that time, he has continued to advocate and support cryptocurrency and its underlying technology, blockchain.

He has, over the years, been dedicated to fostering the widespread adoption of cryptocurrency. He believes every critical stakeholder in the industry must always unite to educate potential investors about digital assets and their potential. The Coinbase CEO said, “We started out with a no. This is not going to change. We had the burden of proving to them this was a good decision to make.”

Armstrong believes the industry will witness more adoption if potential investors are encouraged to see the prospects associated with crypto investments. As a leader in the industry, he also committed himself to spreading the gospel of crypto to the whole world. The CEO is notable for leveraging his growing influence to educate investors on the ability of Bitcoin to disrupt the existing system. He said; “if you’re someone in the business of verifying transactions on a proprietary network, the invention of Bitcoin cannot be safely ignored. It will change or disrupt the providers of most proprietary payment networks in the coming years.”

Amid the growing institutional adoption of Bitcoin, Armstrong was not surprised. He has always spoken about the benefits that companies enjoy by virtue of their embracement of Bitcoin. Then, he said; “it’s really hard to argue that Bitcoin doesn’t have many legitimate benefits to companies that are legal businesses when you have Dell and Expedia and all these companies now accepting it.” Also, at the time the publisher of Time embraced BTC, the influential CEO was happy, believing the development could impact readers and the media community at large.

Apart from educating potential investors about Bitcoin, Armstrong has shown a remarkable commitment to fostering its accessibility. Driven by this desire, he founded Coinbase. Armstrong’s intention was to leverage the nature of cryptocurrency to provide financial freedom for the people. So, he believed founding a crypto exchange would help him achieve that ambition. Coinbase provided easy enablement for investors to trade cryptocurrencies. It is worth mentioning that the establishment of this project significantly fosters crypto access and adoption across the globe. Today, the firm boasts of 89 million users in more than 30 countries, thus contributing to the net worth of its founder, Brian Armstrong.

The Coinbase CEO has always been vocal amid the ongoing regulatory scrutiny in the industry. Over time, he advocated for a clearer regulatory framework, particularly in the United States. Recall that following the rising exploitations and collapse of numerous crypto projects, regulators across the globe have chosen to inflict stringent regulations on the industry. Armstrong has no doubt about the potential of the crypto industry to bounce back from its 2022 downturn. Amid the FTX crisis, he encouraged investors not to be deterred by the prevailing situations in the industry, insisting that the market would recover.

It is not in doubt that the odds in the industry heightened the call for its full regulation. This thus births arguments about how crypto offerings should be classified. While regulators, particularly the United States Security and Exchange Commission believe crypto offerings are securities and should be under its purview, critical actors in the industry feel otherwise. The controversy over how to define crypto offerings formed the basis of the numerous lawsuits in the industry. Recently, the Coinbase CEO dragged SEC for its efforts to classify crypto under securities. He said; “If we end up in court we may finally get the regulatory clarity the SEC refuses to provide. But regulation by litigation should be the last resort for the SEC, not the first.”

Armstrong believes the United States has not done enough to provide clearer crypto regulations. Lamenting the development, he noted that “what happened as a result of this lack of regulatory clarity in the US is that it became more profitable for companies to incorporate offshore and try to serve the world from these kind of favorable havens. And so that didn’t really benefit customers or investors in the US. In fact, it caused them more harm. They were pushed into these offshore things that were not regulated. It didn’t benefit American companies because, again, it harmed our ability to build our companies in the US.”

Meanwhile, Armstrong has continued to heap praises on the United Kingdom for its efforts towards initiating clearer regulations for the industry. Unlike the U.S, he believed the United Kingdom has shown commitment to adopting rules capable of safeguarding the industry and its users. It is worthy of note that the regulatory development encouraged Armstrong to increase his investment in the country.

Brian Armstrong Crypto and NFT Holdings

As a critical stakeholder in the industry, Brian Armstrong holds several crypto assets in his personal investment portfolio. At the moment, we cannot confirm the exact worth of the crypto assets in his personal wallet. This is because the information is not in the public domain and Armstrong has always chosen to conceal it. However, it is certain that the influential CEO owns a significant amount of crypto assets, particularly Bitcoin.

Our findings traced the genesis of Armstrong’s investment in BTC to 2012 when it traded around just $6. Apart from being one of the earliest investors in the crypto, it is very certain that the influential CEO must have made huge proceeds from his investment. This is due to how the crypto had soared aggressively from 2012 till date. It spiked from its small $6 value to thousands of dollars after a decade. So, early investment in the crypto translated into a landslide gain for its investors, including the Coinbase CEO. By virtue of this, we can confirm that the proceeds from the investment contributed largely to the net worth of Brian Armstrong. This thus means the Coinbase CEO should make the next list of famous Bitcoin investors across the globe.

Apart from his personal investment, Armstrong has also leveraged Coinbase to invest in cryptocurrency. Just about two years ago, he announced that the exchange would buy $500 million worth of crypto assets. Then, Armstrong allocated 10% of the exchange’s profit to buy the assets, including BTC. So, we can confirm Coinbase as one of the notable institutional investors in Bitcoin. Apart from Bitcoin, the exchange also bought Ethereum and other DeFi-oriented coins. He was confident the investment would yield dividends as the market matures. Certainly, we can affirm that Coinbase’s investment in crypto has impacted the current net worth of Brian Armstrong.

It is worth mentioning that Armstrong has also invested in NFTs. His investment in the digital collectibles could be traced to 2021 when Coinbase was preparing to go public. At that time, he collaborated with DJ DAVI, also known as David Khanjian to mint a collection of electronic music NFTs. The collection was released on Zora.co, a Coinbase Ventures-backed company. Explaining the inspiration behind the minting of the collection, Armstrong said; “I listened to a lot of electronic music with no vocals as I was coding up the early versions of Coinbase, and always enjoyed David’s music. (no vocals because I couldn’t concentrate with other words in my head).”

Armstrong said 99 percent of the innovative efforts towards minting the NFT collection came from DJ DAVI, stressing that all the proceeds will go to him.

In 2023, the Coinbase CEO also announced another investment in NFTs. Then, he launched a collection, “Stand With Crypto” amid the regulatory issues in the industry. The collection was launched on Zora and its proceeds would be given to vetted organizations.

Crypto and NFT Projects Featuring Brian Armstrong

Due to the growing reputation of Brian Armstrong in the crypto community, the Coinbase co-founder has been able to attract numerous projects in 2023. One of these projects is BRIAN, a token based on Coinbase’s layer2 network, Base. Despite launching within a short period, BRIAN has benefitted from the hype around Base. Today, it is one of the tokens that are enjoying the attention of investors.

Likewise, a community-driven meme coin; $BRIAN hit the crypto market landscape around May 2023. The token joined the growing list of crypto projects that have featured Brian Armstrong. Like other meme coins, $BRIAN is driven by the activities of its community. The token, according to its website, embodies the spirit of Brian Griffin an anthropomorphic family dog renowned for his eloquence and witty repartee.

Also, there are also a few NFT collections featuring Brian Armstrong. One of the collections is known as “Stand with Crypto” NFT. The collection was launched in solidarity with the industry amidst the regulatory clampdown. It has a blue shield which indicates that crypto supporters are a major part of the industry. But, the collection has no utility.

The second collection linked to Brian Armstrong was launched in 2021 through a collaboration with DJ DAVI. The theme of the NFT is “building with technology and the spirit of not giving up.”

Wall Street Memes is one of the most promising crypto projects that will likely to feature Brian Armstrong soon. The presale round of the $WSM token started off in an explosive manner. On a daily basis, the token recorded $300,000 in sales and $1.3 million in less than a week after its official launching. This outstanding feat placed it as one of the leading crypto presales. Due to that, $WSM offers huge potential of providing high returns for holders even before it gained mainstream attention. The success of the token can be attributed to its fast-growing community. Indeed, without a doubt, $WSM is on course to be the next cryptocurrency to explode. Visit wallstmemes.com to take advantage of the fast-growing project. 

Brian Armstrong’s Net Worth – Our Verdict

Here, we establish that Brian Armstrong is one of the biggest names in the crypto industry, with a larger portion of his net worth domiciled in Coinbase, a leading crypto exchange co-founded by him. He saw what anyone else could not see in the Bitcoin document, thereby prompting him to develop a platform capable of aiding crypto trading. Within just a few years, he was able to steer Coinbase to success as it became the second-leading crypto exchange across the globe behind Binance. The net worth of Brian Armstrong fluctuates mostly owing to the business condition of Coinbase. He owns 19% of shares in the company, and his investment portfolio is heavily dominated by this stock. Through Coinbase, he invested in numerous crypto-oriented projects. Certainly, the future performance of Coinbase and its investments will continue to impact the net worth of Brian Armstrong.

Over the years, Armstrong maintained his position as one of the leading proponents of a clearer crypto regulations. At a time, he invested in an NFT collection to commend the resilience of the industry amidst the numerous regulatory clampdowns, particularly in the United States. He believes only a clear regulatory framework could enhance the operations of firms and safeguard consumers from the risks enveloped in the market. Recently, Coinbase and Armstrong filed a lawsuit against SEC, seeking an order to compel the agency to clearly define its regulations for the industry. The outcome of the lawsuit will certainly impact the regulatory landscape in the industry.

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FAQs

What was the 2021 net worth of Brian Armstrong?

The 2021 net worth of Brian Armstrong was $6.5 billion.

How did Brian Armstrong get to know about Bitcoin?

Brian Armstrong came across a Bitcoin whitepaper on Hacker News, a notable tech accelerator at that time. He picked an interest in studying the document and this formed the basis of his knowledge about the token.

What is the percentage of Brian Armstrong’s shares in Coinbase?

According to credible sources, he owns 19% of the shares in Coinbase.