While more than $600 billion of cryptocurrency wealth has been wiped out in the last several months amid a market meltdown, the man who facilitates a big chunk of the nation’s cryptocurrency trading has become a billionaire.
In late October, Brian Armstrong, the CEO of cryptocurrency exchange operator Coinbase, oversaw a financing round in which the company he cofounded raised $300 million at a valuation of $8 billion. At that valuation, Armstrong’s stake in Coinbase is worth an estimated $1.3 billion, after applying a customary discount for privately held companies. In January, Forbes had estimated that Armstrong’s net worth was between $900 million and $1 billion.
It is possible that Armstrong’s personal cryptocurrency holdings have taken a financial hit due to the plunging value of bitcoin, ether and other cryptocurrencies over the last several months. Armstrong cofounded Coinbase in 2012, and the company was so intertwined with the cryptocurrency mania that followed that it even paid many of its employees in bitcoin. Armstrong, 35, did not respond to requests for comment for this article.
But Coinbase, which is based in San Francisco, has continued to solidify its position as the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the U.S. and post eye-popping financial results. It has more than 20 million users, is extremely profitable and will likely generate $1.3 billion of revenue this year.
With those kinds of numbers, Coinbase was able to attract Tiger Global Management to lead its recent investment round, and other big names like Wellington Management and Andreesen Horowitz also participated. To get a sense of what has gone on at Coinbase in the last year, its last investment round, which took place in August 2017, valued the firm at $1.6 billion.