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Brian Armstrong: Bubble beater
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Brian Armstrong: Bubble beater

Uncertainty defines the cryptocurrency market. But here’s one thing that’s for sure: Amid all that mania and volatility, Brian Armstrong—the co-founder of Coinbase, a crypto broker and exchange—is a billionaire.

Before co-founding Coinbase in 2012, Armstrong was a computer-science and economics student at Rice University and then, briefly, a software engineer at Airbnb. Coinbase attracted around 30,000 users its first year; today it has more than 20 million.

At one point last year, Coinbase was the most downloaded iPhone app in America, and it reportedly generated $1 billion in revenue in 2017. Investors valued the business at over $8 billion in October—an increase of more than 400 percent in a little over a year—making Armstrong’s stake in the firm worth an estimated $1.3 billion. Coinbase achieved that lofty valuation despite the latest crash in cryptocurrencies, with bitcoin, the largest crypto asset, down nearly 71 percent this year as of November 30.

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