Brian Armstrong is the CEO of Coinbase, the world's biggest exchange for trading digital currencies such as Bitcoin and Ether. He is responsible for introducing much of America and the world to cryptocurrency.
Coinbase, which provides one of the largest cryptocurrency trading platforms in the world, was reported to have achieved a valuation of $1.6 billion during its $100 million capital raise in August 2017.
Armstrong posted a blog on September 27, 2020 titled "Coinbase is a mission focused company." After acknowledging the walkouts Armstrong highlighted the following statement, "Broader societal issues: We don’t engage here when issues are unrelated to our core mission, because we believe impact only comes with focus." On September 30 Armstrong followed up with a letter to employees offering those who were dissatisfied a severance package. He also said that by staying with the company an employee was affirming their support for the "culture shift" away from social and political activism. In an October 8, 2020 blog post Armstrong reported that roughly five percent of the employees (at least 60 persons) had taken the severance offer.
In early October 2020 the public learned through leaks to the media that Armstrong had provoked a walkout (which consisted of engineers closing their laptops due to their working from home during the novel coronavirus stay-at-home mandate) in June after the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis sparked widespread protests. According to CoinDesk, Armstrong resisted signaling publicly support for the movement Black Lives Matter, although he did tell Coinbase staff he acknowledged black lives do matter (lower case). On June 4, 2020 Armstrong tweeted "I want to unequivocally say that Black Lives Matter." The Block Crypto also first reported in October that a person had informed them that hundreds of employees had taken part in the walkout.
Armstrong steered the company to becoming a publicly traded company through a direct listing on Nasdaq on April 14, 2021. Subsequent filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission showed that he sold about 1.5% (749,999 shares) of his holdings that first day for about $291.8 million.
Brian Armstrong attended Rice University in Houston, Texas, where he received a Bachelors Degree in 2005 and a Masters Degree in 2006.