How Brain Armstrong & Fred Ehrsam Built Coinbase: The Success Story


Brian Armstrong is the co-founder of Coinbase, one of the most popular bitcoin exchanges in the world. His story is impressive, though: he’s made millions from a business that started with just three people. Here’s how you can learn from his success!



Brain Armstrong & Fred Ehrsam

Before a career in the startup world, Brian Armstrong studied computer science and economics at Rice University. He graduated in 2004.


He then worked as an engineer for Airbnb before becoming CEO of Coinbase in 2015, where he has led the company through significant growth phases over the years.


The story of Fred Ehrsam begins with his childhood. He was born in the United States, in Los Angeles, California. His parents were immigrants from Germany and had known each other since they were children.


As a child, he was shy and quiet but also very intelligent. He loved to draw and paint and developed a talent for this at an early age.


After high school, Fred went to college at Harvey Mudd College—a small liberal arts school near Claremont, California—where he majored in math and physics. While studying there, he became interested in computers.


He began working as a computer programmer for NASA’s Goddard Space Center in Washington, D.C., where he worked on several important programs, including Mars Pathfinder (the first rover on Mars).


After graduating in 1980, he moved back to Los Angeles, where his parents bought him an old house they had lived in when they were married many years earlier. The couple spent their time remodeling the home while Fred worked on software projects that would later become part of his career as an entrepreneur.




In 2005, he founded his first venture, The site was a tutoring website that helped students study for exams and prepare for exams by providing practice tests and other resources. It had been around since 2000, but Armstrong started it as a side project while working full-time at PayPal in 2006.


The site grew quickly after reaching $1 million in venture capital funding from Index Ventures and Union Square Ventures in 2009—it was sold to Chegg later that year for an undisclosed amount (after having raised another $3 million).




After that, Armstrong worked at Airbnb developing software related to improving trust and safety issues and helping to accelerate the company’s international growth.


Airbnb is a marketplace and hospitality service for travelers, enabling them to rent or book accommodations by the night or week worldwide. The company was founded by Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia, Nathan Blecharczyk, and other friends in 2008.

Brain Armstrong & Fred Ehrsam



You may be wondering what this has to do with Brain Armstrong. As we mentioned earlier, he was interested in bitcoin early on and started investing more and learning more about it.


Eventually, he decided it was time to start Coinbase with business partner Fred Ehrsam to make dealing with cryptocurrencies easier for everyday people.




When Coinbase launched in 2012, it was just a payment system for bitcoin, but it eventually expanded to other currencies like Ethereum and Litecoin.


Bitcoin has become a significant part of the world’s economy and technology landscape, but it was only sometimes so popular.


You might be surprised how far bitcoin has come since its early days as an anonymous cryptocurrency used by criminals on darknet marketplaces like Silk Road or AlphaBay (now shut down). If you had invested $100 into Bitcoin back then, your investment would be worth over $8 million today!


Coinbase users can now buy and sell cryptocurrencies using their Coinbase account on the web or mobile app at no additional cost compared with buying them directly from other exchanges such as Kraken or Gemini.


Coinbase users can now buy and sell cryptocurrencies using their Coinbase account on the web or mobile app at no additional cost compared with buying them directly from other exchanges such as Kraken or Gemini.




Brain Armstrong & Fred Ehrsam


Today an estimated 30 million customers are using Coinbase from all over the world.


The company has also added vault services for mining cryptocurrency and custody services for institutional investors looking to invest their money into crypto assets (which has helped legitimize the coin base even further than before).


They’ve raised over 200 million dollars since being founded back then!


The key takeaway is that if you’re interested in getting involved with this space, there’s no better place to start than Coinbase. The platform allows you to buy and sell digital currencies and securely store those assets on its servers until you decide what’s next with them (or until the platform goes offline).


With Coinbase, you can also use their platform to invest in other cryptocurrencies. This is a great way to start buying and selling assets in this space if you need clarification on which ones are worth looking into.




In 2014, the company partnered with numerous companies to incorporate bitcoin payments in their services; soon after, they launched a US-based bitcoin exchange for professional traders and obtained an investment from a venture capital firm. This platform eas called the Coinbase Exchange.


This feature alone skyrocketed the company’s potential and drew more users to the forum.


Due to brilliant features incorporated by the company, like low fees and the Coinbase Exchange, in 2018, their valuation increased to $8 billion and received a $300 million funding round led by Y combinator continuity, Wellington Management, and many others.


In 2019, Coinbase faced a severe challenge after they were attacked, jeopardizing all the users’ funds in their wallets. An attack of that magnitude could cost the company billions, potentially wrecking it. Due to the company’s competence, they could avoid it and prevent any cryptocurrency from being stolen.




Coinbase has dominated the cryptocurrency space since it was founded in 2012, but Binance has recently challenged it.


Binance debuted in early July 2018. They’re known for having a wide range of options and features unavailable on Coinbase. Binance’s advantages include trading multiple tokens and being accessible worldwide.


Coinbase has responded to the challenge by offering more account tiers and payment methods, including credit cards and PayPal. They have also added new coins to their platform since Binance’s arrival.


eToro is also a popular challenger, looking to take the crown from Coinbase regarding cryptocurrency trading platforms used by millions worldwide. There are multiple reasons eToro stands as a strong contender. It offers zero commission and a significantly reduced cost of trading.


Coinbase is a popular cryptocurrency exchange, and they are working on becoming the number 1 spot in the industry. They have been working hard to improve their service and make it easier for users to use their platform.


One of the significant changes that Coinbase has made is the introduction of Coinbase Pro.


This platform was created for professional traders who need more complex features than what Coinbase provides. The most notable feature is trade execution and price monitoring, which allows traders to see all their orders executed across all exchanges in real-time.


Coinbase offers loans, margin trading, futures trading, and arbitrage opportunities.




Brian Armstrong is an excellent example of someone who took their passion for technology and used it to create something that has made an enormous impact on the world. His founding partner Fred Ehrsam also depicts this zealous and persistent passion towards tech.


The story of Coinbase teaches constant adaptation; since many changes have been made from the original version of 2012 and what it is today, they prioritize what’s essential for the company and leave out what’s not.


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