Brian Armstrong reflects on Coinbase's origin story

Episode 97 of Season 4 of The Scoop was recorded remotely with The Block's Frank Chaparro and Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong.

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The cameras have been rolling over at Coinbase, CEO Brian Armstrong revealed last Friday, when he announced the release of Coin: A Founder’s Story — a feature-length film over three years in the making.

In this episode of The Scoop, Brian Armstrong sits down with host Frank Chaparro to share his thoughts on Coinbase’s new film, including his take on how some of the thornier moments of Coinbase’s history are portrayed. 

As Armstrong explains, he decided to produce the $2 million film because he wanted to “demystify” the ups and downs of taking a company public:

“I decided to make this film because I wanted to tell the story of what it really is like to create a tech company — all the way from being on your laptop and writing the first few lines of code, to going and becoming a public company.”

The film candidly portrays highlights, such as the moments before Coinbase’s public listing, as well as controversies, such as Armstrong declining to answer a question about the BLM movement at a company all-hands meeting, as well as Coinbase’s controversial acquisition of Neutrino — a market intelligence firm with members linked to selling spyware to countries like Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Venezuela. 


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Ten-time Emmy-award-winning producer Greg Kohs had full creative control over Coin, and Armstrong himself “didn't have the ability to change anything.” 

With that being said, Armstrong thinks Kohs accurately represented Coinbase’s story, and he’s happy with how it turned out:

“He did show people who disagree with us, people who thought that we had made mistakes, but I actually thought it was a very fair take — and so I'm happy with how it turned out.”


This episode is brought to you by our sponsors Tron

About Tron
TRON is dedicated to accelerating the decentralization of the internet via blockchain technology and decentralized applications (dApps). Founded in September 2017 by H.E. Justin Sun, the TRON network has continued to deliver impressive achievements since MainNet launch in May 2018. July 2018 also marked the ecosystem integration of BitTorrent, a pioneer in decentralized web3 services boasting over 100 million monthly active users. The TRON network completed full decentralization in December 2021 and is now a community-governed DAO. | TRONDAO | Twitter | Discord |

© 2023 The Block. All Rights Reserved. This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

About Authors

Davis Quinton is the Director of Podcasts at The Block and runs our flagship podcast called The Scoop, hosted by Frank Chaparro. Since joining The Block as an 'intern' in early 2022, he has worked closely with leaders across departments to translate The Block's written content into engaging multimedia formats. He holds a degree in Social Research & Public Policy from New York University in Abu Dhabi and is based in Sydney, Australia.
Frank Chaparro is the Editor At Large at The Block. Chaparro started his career at Business Insider, where he specialized in the intersection of digital assets and Wall Street, market structure, and financial technology. Soon after joining Business Insider out of Fordham University, Chaparro was interviewing top finance and tech executives, including billionaire Mark Cuban, “Flash Boys” star Brad Katsuyama, Cboe Global Markets CEO Ed Tilly, and New York Stock Exchange President Tom Farley. In 2018, he become a sought after reporter in the crypto world, interviewing luminaries such as Tyler Winklevoss, the cofounder of Gemini, Jeremy Allaire, the CEO of Circle, and Fundstrat head Tom Lee. He runs his own podcast The Scoop and writes a biweekly eponymous newsletter. He leads special projects, including The Block's flagship podcast, The Scoop. Prior to The Block, he held roles at Business Insider, NPR, and Nasdaq. For inquiries or tips, email [email protected].