Coinbase Founders' Photo Goes Viral as Crypto Platform Hits $100bn Valuation

Founded in a shared bedroom 9 years ago, the company has seen $100bn after going public.
Chris Young
Coinbase's foundersJohn Elrichman/Twitter

A tweet showing Coinbase's co-founders on the day the company was founded in 2012, has gone viral as the crypto platform provider reached a value of over $100bn after going public.

In what has been touted as a "landmark" moment for cryptocurrency, and the latest Silicon Valley success story, the San Francisco-based company became the first major crypto firm to go public on Wednesday, April 14.

As a report by The Independent explains, Coinnbase shares opened at $381 on the Nasdaq Global Select Market early on Wednesday, and went as high as $429 — taking it past the $100bn valuation mark, as per Bloomberg — in the first few minutes of trading. It ended the day at $328.28, which values the company at $85.8bn.

The company was founded in 2012 by current CEO Brian Armstrong and Fred Ehrsam — pictured above in a tweet by Bloomberg anchor Jon Erlichman — as a platform designed to make cryptocurrencies easy to use.

As Coinbase’s Brian Armstrong, owns around 40 million shares in the firm, the move propelled him up in the rankings of the world's richest people, with a fortune of $16bn. 

"Hopefully Coinbase going public and having its direct listing is going to be viewed as kind of a landmark moment for the crypto space," Brian Armstrong, Coinbase’s chief executive, told DealBook’s Andrew Ross Sorkin in a CNBC interview.

The company went public in the wake of a recent surge in Bitcoin popularity following electric automaker Tesla's recent $1.5 billion investment in Bitcoin — seeing the digital currency soar in value — and subsequent endorsements from its founder Elon Musk on social media.

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Cryptocurrency will 'redefine money and information'

Coinbase co-founder Fred Ehrsam has since been posting about the humble beginnings of the company, which is remote-first, has no physical HQ, and provides exchange services for owners of various cryptocurrencies.

When Ehrsam and Armstrong founded the company, bitcoin was "worth $6 and only known by a few nerds on the internet," Ehrsam tweeted"Beginnings were not glamorous," he continued, as Coinbase "launched out of a two-bedroom apartment we shared with another company."

Back then, "bitcoin was the crazy idea that the world could have a digital money for everyone," Ehrsam continued. The goal, however — to "make crypto easy to use" — has launched the company to a $100bn valuation only 9 years later.

"Crypto will redefine money and information, the two fundamental ways the world coordinates," Ehrsam said.

Ehrsam also recalls the fact that bitcoin lost one-third of its value in 2018 as people "thought bitcoin was dead" — leading to over a third of Coinbase's employees leaving at the time.

Ehrsam left the company in 2017 to co-found crypto-asset investment firm Paradigm, but he has remained on the board and owns around 6 percent of the company's stock, according to Forbes.

Brian Armstrong also tweeted a series of 25 numbered posts, in which he acknowledged the role of the mysterious founder of Bitcoin, who goes under the pseudonym of Satoshi Nakamoto.

Coinbase added 13 million new individuals to its userbase this year, giving it a total of 56 million users. The company's revenue more than doubled to $1.28bn in 2020, and it made a profit after making a loss the previous year.

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