Crypto: The Strange Story of Coinbase’s First Employee

Nostalgic for “Questions to a Master”, here is an exercise that you might like. Who am I ? I am the first employee of Coinbase, hired when it started in 2013. It is a cold email and ” boringly long sent to Fred Eshram and Brian Armstrong who gave me this post. Of course, I had just graduated in sociology at the time, and that allowed me to work at Coinbase for more than 3 years. I had been paid in BTC at the time. Now I head an empire, Polychain Capital, a $300 million fund management company. Who am I ?

Olaf Carlson-Wee, the longest motivational email in history?

A place in the Guinness Book of Records would have been one of the best rewards for Olaf Carlson-Wee, the first employee of Coinbase, the diversification-loving exchange. It is about him that we are talking about in this article.

Fresh out of Vassar College, sociology degree in hand, Carlson-Wee decided to cold email Coinbase with his 90-page thesis attached.

Fortunately, this thesis was about bitcoin” and the wider implications of open source funding “.

Future Coinbase Employee #1 explains:

I literally cold emailed them [email protected] and I said, ‘I love bitcoin. Here is my thesis. I am ready to do any work.’ »

Result: Ehsram had given him a truly brutal math problem ” to solve. Once this problem was solved, he was asked to meet the famous Brian Armstrong for an hour-long interview.

Brian’s questions were really intense: ‘What do you want with your life?’ ‘What motivates you as a person?’ ‘Name a belief you hold that is extremely unpopular?’ He really wanted to know me”he said.

After this successful job interview, Olaf Carlson-Wee was hired as Coinbase’s first employee. He was assigned to the customer service of the irreplaceable American exchange long before the latter registered 250,000 users.

I did customer support on my own until we had 250,000 users. It was a marathon. It was 12 hour days that responded quickly “, he had breathed during an interview with Y Combinator.

Olaf Carlson-Wee, from employee to CEO

The first Coinbase employee paid in bitcoin

Strong in math, a valiant sociologist and a good communicator, Carlson-Wee had admitted that he received a starting salary of $50,000 when he started at Coinbase. Except that by then the Eshram-Armstrong duo had decided not to pay him in fiat, but…in bitcoins.

Take our calculator: If bitcoin traded at $13 in 2013, it could have touched the equivalent of 3,800 BTC in a year. Also, let’s not forget that the price of bitcoin has fluctuated. A year later it had reached $1,100 returning to $1,000 per share. piece in 2016, the year he ended his adventure at Coinbase.

Ultimately, it is difficult to measure the amount of cryptocurrency holdings in Olaf Carlson-Wee’s wallet. But he is absolutely sure that his crypto wallet is among the richest of all time. Some sites like How Worth value this man at $900 million right now.

From the first Coinbase employee to the founder of Polychain Capital

Surely, many of you envy this status as the first employee of Coinbase paid in bitcoins. Even he did not know that BTC would be valued at $69,000 during his November 2021 ATH.

Note that Carlson-Wee chained ranks of promotions at her first employer as well. We have known him as head of customer service at the stock exchange without the help of subordinates. He was then given the title of Chief Risk Officer for Coinbase.

Strong in math and a true computer whiz, Carlson-Wee left Armstrong’s firm with some experience and crypto assets. Enough to create Polychain Capital, a hedge fund dedicated to cryptocurrencies, which managed a $600 million funding round in 2018. Also note that this first employee of Coinbase is a co-founder of Filecoin, Inchain, Boost VC and Protocol Labs. A great success story to which we will soon add more details.

Sources: How Worth; CNBC; CryptoSlate; Business Insider

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Mikaia ANDRIAMAHAZOARIMANANA avatar

Mikaia ANDRIAMAHAZOARIMANANA

The blockchain and crypto revolution is underway! And on the day when the effects will be felt on the most vulnerable economy in this world, against all hope, I will say that I had something to do with it

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