Brian Armstrong Net Worth 2024: The Man Behind Crypto’s Rise

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Brian Armstrong is an American entrepreneur and investor. He is the co-founder and CEO of Coinbase, which is the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the United States.

Armstrong is considered to be one of the most influential people in the crypto industry. He is known for his outspoken nature on crypto regulation and workplace political activism. 

Armstrong’s net worth was estimated to be around $9 billion as of May 2024. 

Brian Armstrong key facts

NameBrian Armstrong
Birth dateJanuary 25, 1983
Net Worth$8.7 Billion* (approx.)
BirthplaceSan Jose, California
EducationRice University, Houston
Known forCo-founder of Coinbase
Marital statusReportedly married to Raline Shah, an Indonesian actress
*as of May 14, 2024

Brian Armstrong net worth 2024

Brian Armstrong’s Net Worth is currently (May 2024) estimated to be around $8.7 billion. Most of his wealth comes from his Coinbase ownership, which is reportedly about a 19% stake.

Armstrong’s Net Worth was estimated to be around $6.6 billion when the crypto market was at its peak in 2021. 

His estimated net worth collapsed to between $2.2 billion and $2.6 billion in 2022 due to the slide in shares of his publicly traded company following allegations that Coinbase failed to prevent money laundering on its exchange.

Coinbase shares were trading close to $40 at the end of 2022, compared to over $200 now.

Early life, education and career

Born in 1983 near San Jose, California to engineer parents, Armstrong earned a dual bachelor’s degree in economics and computer science from Rice University. In 2006, he completed his master’s in computer science from the same university.

While he was studying, Armstrong started a business (UniversityTutor.com) to connect tutors with students. He served as the company’s CEO until 2012, when it was later acquired by Johnson Educational Technologies LLC.

After completing his education, Armstrong worked for a year in an education company in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He started his career as a software developer at IBM in 2003, and then worked for Deloitte & Touche in the enterprise risk management division.

In 2011, Armstrong joined AirBnB as a software engineer, where he worked on payments systems. During his tenure at AirBnB, Armstrong noticed the challenges of sending money to South America. This inspired him to work extra hours to write code in Ruby and JavaScript to buy and store cryptocurrencies.

Along with being a successful entrepreneur and investor, Armstrong is a known philanthropist. He was the first figure in the crypto space to sign The Giving Pledge, a commitment to give away the majority of his wealth. He is also known for establishing GiveCrypto.org with the objective of giving cryptocurrency donations to poor people.

Not much is known about Armstrong’s personal life. There were rumors that he was dating Raline Shah, an Indonesian actress. Some also say that the two got married, but there is no evidence to support this.

What attracted Brian Armstrong to crypto?

Armstrong’s first real interaction with the crypto space was in 2010, when he came across the Bitcoin whitepaper. Intrigued by the potential of crypto , he wrote code to buy and store tokens during his weekends and nights whilst working at AirBnB.

In 2012, he joined Y Combinator’s prestigious startup accelerator program, which awarded him $150,000 to launch Coinbase.

Coinbase – Armstrong’s source of wealth

Armstrong co-founded Coinbase in 2012 with Goldman Sachs trader Fred Ehrsam, and has grown it into one of the most popular platforms for buying, selling and storing cryptocurrencies. The company was launched out of a two-bedroom shared apartment. 

Armstrong applied for Y Combinator incubation, but was asked to find a co-founder in just three days. He posted the same on Hacker News, and the post went viral, including on Reddit. This is when he met Ehrsam.

Crypto.com vs Coinbase | Coinbase's flag against NYSE's flag
Source: Shutterstock

Both had a bullish view of Bitcoin and the crypto space in general. Together they secured $150,000 in funding from the startup incubator program at Y Combinator to launch Coinbase.

Ben Reeves, a British programmer and Blockchain.com co-founder, was also reportedly interested in working with Armstrong. However, the two split up before the funding due to differences of opinion on the functionality of the Coinbase Wallet.

Coinbase was the first crypto exchange to go public, listing on the NASDAQ stock exchange in April 2021. It briefly touched a valuation of $100 billion soon after it went public.

Companies founded by Brian Armstrong

Armstrong has founded or co-founded the following companies:

  • Armstrong started UniversityTutor.com while he was studying at Rice University to connect tutors with students. The company was acquired by Johnson Educational Technologies LLC in 2014.
  • Co-founded Coinbase with Fred Ehrsam in 2012. Armstrong remains the CEO of Coinbase, which is the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the United States.
  • Armstrong co-founded ResearchHub in 2020. A scientific research site similar to GitHub, ResearchHub aims to make research papers freely available. It is a free platform for all users.
  • Armstrong co-founded NewLimit in 2021 with Blake Byers, a venture capitalist. NewLimit is a biotechnology company with a focus on boosting human health span by targeting the aging process. In May 2023, the company raised $40 million in a Series A investment round.

Awards and achievements

Following are Armstrong’s major awards and achievements so far:

  • With a market cap of $50 billion in 2024, co-founding Coinbase Armstrong’s biggest achievement so far.
  • Ranked #10 on Fortune’s 40 under 40 list in 2017. This list recognizes the most influential young businesspeople in America.
  • Found a place on Time magazine’s 100 Next list in 2019. This list recognizes “100 rising stars who are shaping the future.”
  • In 2020, he was featured in a non-fictional book titled “Kings of Crypto: One Startup’s Quest to Take Cryptocurrency Out of Silicon Valley and Onto Wall Street.”
  • Topped Forbes’ Crypto Rich List and listed 60th on Forbes 400 list of richest people in America in 2021.

Controversy and criticism

Armstrong attracted controversy in September 2020, when, in a blog post, he discouraged employee activism and political discussions at work. 

Armstrong even offered severance packages to Coinbase employees who weren’t comfortable with that, resulting in 5% of the workforce leaving the company. 

Despite this, Armstrong has reportedly supported the Black Lives Matter movement and has also been vocal about racism and police brutality.

However, a December 2019 report from The New York Times claimed that the salary of black and female workforce employees at Coinbase is disproportionate to their white and male counterparts.

FAQs

Who is the owner of Coinbase?

Brian Armstrong is the CEO and co-founder of Coinbase, and owns about 19% of the company’s shares. Fred Ehrsam, another co-founder, and Andreessen Horowitz, a venture capital firm, are other major shareholders of Coinbase.

Who is the richest blockchain developer?

Changpeng Zhao, who is the founder and former CEO of crypto exchange Binance, is considered to be the wealthiest person in the crypto space. Brian Armstrong is the second richest person in the crypto industry.

How many Bitcoins does Brian Armstrong have?

About a couple of years back, Armstrong tweeted that his company Coinbase holds about 2 million Bitcoins worth $39.9 billion as of September 30, 2022. He also shared the company’s shareholder letter, highlighting the company’s consolidated list of assets.

At the time, Armstrong shared the information on BTC holdings to dispel any ‘fear, uncertainty, and doubt’ (FUD).