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The ‘Brilliant Asshole’ Who Almost Blew Up Coinbase

Jeff Roberts, staff writer at Fortune and author of the recent Audible book, “Kings of Crypto: Coinbase and the Coming Disruption of Finance,” discusses Coinbase’s past, present and future. In this episode, we cover: 

  • when Coinbase duped Apple with its app and eventually got kicked out of the App Store
  • when Coinbase’s hot wallet got hacked
  • how CEO Brian Armstrong handled challenges like the Bitcoin block size debate and an IRS summons on all its customers’ activities for years
  • how it handled the competition from Binance
  • why that led to “screaming in the board room” 
  • the “complete mercenary” and “brilliant asshole” who tore the leadership ranks apart and led to a number of departures by top execs
  • why Brian and JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon met privately
  • where Coinbase goes from here

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Thank you to our sponsors! 

Crypto.com: https://crypto.com

Nexo: https://nexo.io

Episode links: 

Jeff Roberts: https://twitter.com/jeffjohnroberts

Kings of Crypto on Audible: https://www.amazon.com/Kings-of-Crypto/dp/B085PY7S7H

Harvard Business Review edition: https://www.amazon.com/Kings-Crypto-Startups-Cryptocurrency-Silicon-ebook/dp/B085TRJY8X

Jeff’s interview with Coinbase cofounder Fred Ehrsam at Consensus: Distributed: https://www.coindesk.com/video/the-kings-of-crypto-an-inside-look-at-the-history-of-coinbase 

JPMorgan banks Coinbase: https://www.wsj.com/articles/jpmorgan-extends-banking-services-to-bitcoin-exchanges-11589281201

Brian Brooks becoming acting comptroller of the Office of the Currency: https://www.coindesk.com/a-former-coinbase-lawyer-is-about-to-become-acting-head-of-us-bank-regulator

Coinbase going remote-first: https://blog.coinbase.com/post-covid-19-coinbase-will-be-a-remote-first-company-cdac6e621df7

Links from news recap:

https://unchainedpodcast.com/90-million-down-the-toilet/

 

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