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  1. 1. What are these cryptocurrencies?
  2. 2. Bitcoin - the story of a technological revolution
  3. 3. Satoshi Nakamoto, who is the creator of Bitcoin?
  4. 4. Vitaly Buterin – the creator of Ethereum
  5. 5. What is blockchain, and how does it work?
  6. 6. What is an NFT token?
  7. 7. What is money?
  8. 8. Cryptocurrencies vs fiat money, which will win?
  9. 9. What is DeFi (Decentralized Finance)?
  10. 10. DeFi: opportunities, advantages and disadvantages of decentralized finance
  11. 11. What is an altcoin?
  12. 12. Stablecoins - What are they?
  13. 13. Cryptocurrency wallet - what is it?
  14. 14. Why do we talk about bull and bear markets?
  15. 15. Security in the crypto market - what rules are worth following?
  16. 16. What is the seed phrase in cryptocurrencies?
  17. 17. Dogecoin and memecoin - what are they?
  18. 18. What is a Ponzi scheme?
  19. 19. What is a Soft and Hard Fork?
  20. 20. Blockchain - examples of use
  21. 21. Is blockchain safe?
  22. 22. What are the types of blockchain networks?
  23. 23. What is blockchain network congestion, and how does it work?
  24. 24. Cryptocurrency wallets: Hot Wallet vs. Cold Wallet - key differences!
  25. 25. Cryptocurrency wallet diversification
  26. 26. Halving Bitcoin - what is it, and how does it affect the price?
  27. 27. Blockchain versus databases: key differences!
  28. 28. How do you transfer cryptocurrencies?
  29. 29. The most important cryptocurrency acronyms/slang you need to know!
  30. 30. The memecoin story: madness or great investment?
  31. 31. What is Ethereum? 
  32. 32. Everything you need to know about gas fees in Ethereum!
  33. 33. Gavin Wood: Blockchain Visionary and Co-Founder of Ethereum
  34. 34. Decentralized Apps – what are they?
  35. 35. What is Proof of Work (PoW) and what is Proof of Stake (PoS)?
  36. 36. What is the Proof of Authority (PoA) consensus mechanism?
  37. 37. What is Proof of Burn (PoB)?
  38. 38. What is a whitepaper? What is its purpose, and how do you write it?
  39. 39. Smart Contracts - what are they?
  40. 40. Know your customer (KYC) and Anti-money laundering (AML) what are they in the cryptocurrency industry?
  41. 41. Blockchain and NFT games - how to make money on them?
  42. 42. Liquidity in the cryptocurrency market
  43. 43. Inflation and its effects on financial markets
  44. 44. What is stagflation and why does it have a negative impact on the market?
  45. 45. What are utility tokens and what use do they have in the cryptocurrency sector?
  46. 46. What is cryptocurrency mining?
  47. 47. What is the mining difficulty?
  48. 48. What is compound interest, and how does it work?
  49. 49. What Are Privacy Coins and Are They Legal?
  50. 50. What is CBDC - central bank digital money?
  51. 51. What is Cryptocurrency Airdrop all about?
  52. 52. Key differences between ICO, IEO and STO
  53. 53. What are decentralized DAO organizations, and how do they work? What are DAO tokens?
  54. 54. What is EURT? How does it work?
  55. 55. What is the difference between Circulating Supply and Total Supply?
  56. 56. Snapshot from the world of cryptocurrencies - what is it?
  57. 57. What is the Fear and Greed index for cryptocurrencies?
  58. 58. APR versus APY: what is the difference?
  59. 59. What is an Initial Farming Offer (IFO)?
  60. 60. What is Regenerative Finance (ReFi)?
  61. 61. Who Is Craig Wright, the Alleged Creator of Bitcoin?
  62. 62. What Is Bitcoin (BTC.D) Dominance?
  63. 63. Michael Saylor, Self-Proclaimed Bitcoin Maximalist
  64. 64. Bitcoin Pizza Day
  65. 65. AI blockchain - a new look into the future?
  66. 66. What is WorldCoin? Everything you need to know about this cryptocurrency!
  67. 67. Azuki NFT collection guide: everything you need to know about it!
  68. 68. The 10 most expensive non-fungible tokens (NFTs) ever!
  69. 69. The Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) - the story of the popular NFT collection!
  70. 70. CyberPunks - the story of the most popular NFT collection in the crypto industry!
  71. 71. NFT Art: The digital art revolution - history and examples!
  72. 72. Who is Changpeng Zhao, CEO of Binance?
  73. 73. Who is Brian Armstrong - CEO of Coinbase?
  74. 74. Who is Galy Gensler and the SEC? How does the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) affect the cryptocurrency market?
  75. 75. Web3's most popular social media platforms! Will they replace the platforms we know?
  76. 76. What is IoT - the Internet of Things?
  77. 77. On-chain analysis in the cryptocurrency world: Everything you need to know about It
  78. 78. Can you pass on your cryptocurrencies after death? How do you pass on a cryptocurrency inheritance?
  79. 79. What is the Howey test? What application does it have in cryptocurrencies?
  80. 80. The use of blockchain technology in the world of sport
Lesson 73 of 80
In Progress

73. Who is Brian Armstrong – CEO of Coinbase?

Brian Armstrong is the CEO and founder of Coinbase, the largest exchange in the United States. He is often regarded as one of the most influential figures in the cryptocurrency industry.  It is no surprise as his strategic approach to dealing with the SEC has been adopted by other exchanges, making him a voice for the industry.

He is credited with creating the first-ever US cryptocurrency exchange, Coinbase, which has played a significant role in the mass adoption of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology in the financial services sector. Brian actively promotes a pro-cryptocurrency environment and supports regulatory efforts in the United States

When discussing Brian Armstrong, it is impossible not to mention Coinbase, the exchange he founded in 2012. Coinbase is a centralized exchange for digital assets (CEX) and is one of the most popular and widely used platforms for trading, buying, and selling cryptocurrencies.

Under Armstrong’s leadership, the exchange expanded its cryptocurrency services, introducing, products like Coinbase Wallet and Coinbase Pro a platform for more experienced crypto traders. Notably, Coinbase became the first cryptocurrency platform in the United States, to go public, via a direct listing on NASDAQ. The event took place in 2021.

And with this lengthy introduction, but what an interesting introduction, we come to the substance – who is this interesting, charismatic figure that is Brian Armstrong?

The early life of Brian Armstrong

Armstrong was born on January 25, 1983, in California. He is the son of engineers and followed in his parents’ footsteps in his education. He pursued studies in computer science and economics at Rice University, earning both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in computer science.

During his time at Rice, he interned at IBM and later worked for Deloitte & Touche in the risk management department. While working, he launched his first venture, While working, he launched his first venture,, a website that connected students with independent tutors worldwide. By 2012, Brian Armstrong was serving as CEO of the company, which was later acquired by Johnson Educational Technologies LLC in 2014.

His next entrepreneurial endeavour was the philanthropic platform GiveCrypto. The aim of the platform was to provide cryptocurrencies to people who were in distress. At the same time, the future CEO of Coinbase honed his entrepreneurial skills, working as a software developer and consultant at Airbnb, IBM, and Deloitte.

However, 2012 was the pivotal year for Armstrong. He left his previous pursuits and, along with Fred Ehrsam, co-founded Coinbase, providing Americans and crypto enthusiasts worldwide with accessible trading of digital assets.

Brian Armstrong’s views

Armstrong in his interviews and speeches very often emphasises that through Coinbase he wanted to create a global, open financial system. At the same time, one that would drive innovation and freedom. And that is exactly what it is. Coinbase follows the market and cryptocurrencies.

The CEO of exchange wants to promote crypto assets as investment vehicles. He wants to create a new financial system parallel to traditional finance. We believe he will realise his goal.

Brian is a vociferous advocate of regulating cryptocurrencies. He stresses the importance of regulatory clarity and balance in the government’s oversight approach to the crypto industry. Despite such views, the relationship between the exchange and the SEC is not a friendly one.

In 2023, SEC sued Coinbase, highlighting its disregard for securities regulations. This event only strengthened the stock market and demonstrated the charismatic nature of Armstrong, as we mentioned at the beginning of the lesson. History shows that Coinbase has successfully dealt with regulatory difficulties.

How did Coinbase come into being?

The road to founding the world-famous cryptocurrency exchange was not so straightforward and strewn with roses. At the very beginning, Brian approached the incubator Y Combinator with his idea. There, he was given an ultimatum – either he would find a co-founder within three days, or the stock market idea would be rejected.

The resourceful Brian placed an ad on Hacker News. He explained that he was looking for a co-founder and outlined his mission. The ad even went viral! It generated a huge amount of interest, especially on Reddit. And it was there that Armstrong met Ehrsam – a trader at Goldman Sachs. The duo bonded together and received funding from Y Combinator to the tune of US$150,000. Their adventure with the Coinbase exchange had just begun.

Interesting fact 1: If you imagine that the creators of the stock exchange pursued their idea in a skyscraper with dozens of offices, you are mistaken. The Exchange had its first headquarters in…a flat. But importantly – with two bedrooms! It introduced its services for buying and selling BTC via bank transfers. This was October 2012.

In May 2013, the founders of the exchange began fundraising extensively for its construction. They raised US$5 million in Series A investment from New York-based venture capital firm Union Square Ventures. The lead investor was Fred Wilson.

In the same year, the exchange raised a further 25 million from Andreessen Horowitz, Ribbit Capital and other investors.

The exchange currently has 76 investors, raising a total of US$498.7 million in funding across 18 rounds. In 2017, Armstrong’s partner left the firm. He continues to sit on the board and was a committee member.

After such great success, Coinbase has not settled on its laurels. Under the leadership of Brian, it is actively investing in other companies. The last such investment took place on 15 February 2023.

Sam Armstrong owns 19% of the stock exchange. According to Forbes reports, he has a net worth of nearly US$2.4 billion as of 2022.

Curiosity 2: On 14 April 2021, the exchange went public, via a direct listing on NASDAQ as COIN. It opened at US$381 per share, and the company gained a valuation worth US$99.6 billion. For a very short time, it reached a market capitalisation of USD 100 billion (a valuation that was 10 times higher than Coinbase’s last private valuation!). The exchange was competing with Facebook (Meta) and Airbnb, among others.

Let us return for a moment to the history of the Exchange. Its first employee was Olaf Carlson-Wee, back in the days when it was based in a flat. As the company grew, the structure evolved very quickly and, not long after its foundation, it already had more than 1,000 employees.

The exchange is emerging as a leader in the cryptocurrency industry, having survived many falls, cryptocurrency winters or booms. Not only does it still exist in the market, but it also has an extensive user base. Compared to others – the exchange’s strategies and promotions have often been unrivalled.


  • In 2017, during the BTC price crash, many employees of the exchange left.
  • The controversy surrounding the stock exchange emerged after The New York Times published a report in December 2018 which showed that the stock exchange was paying less to black employees.
  • At the time of the NFT boom in 2021, the exchange wanted to give away one of NFT’s most valuable collections, the Bored Ape Yacht Club.
  • During Super Bowl 2022, the exchange unveiled its state-of-the-art advertising. It depicted a dynamically bouncing QR code, after scanning which, people were redirected to a Coinbase promotional page. For signing up for an account on the exchange, they received US$15. The influx of new users was so great that the exchange’s website crashed.
  • According to him, open-source software is the only thing necessary to accelerate progress in science.
  • He was at the top of Fortune magazine’s “40 Under 40” list in 2017 and Time magazine’s “Next 100” list in 2019, and was also ranked 60th on Forbes’ “100 Most Influential Americans” list in 2021.