Coinbase CEO Took Home $60 million in Compensation in 2020

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In Brief
  • Coinbase paid its CEO $60 million in compensation last year.

  • The news comes as the exchange is quickly becoming the main port of entry into the cryptocurrency market for billionaires and institutions.

  • As Coinbase prepares for its IPO, it begins to rival Binance, for the title of top exchange in crypto.

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Coinbase’s CEO was compensated to the tune of $60 million from the top cryptocurrency exchange last year.

A Golden Rocket to the Moon

Coinbase Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Brian Armstrong, received just under $60 million in compensation from the top-cryptocurrency exchange in 2020.

The gold-plated package includes $57 million in stock options, $1 million in annual salary, and $2 million described as “other compensation.”

Interestingly, Coinbase assessed the stock options at “fair value,” but they could be worth more if valued at the market price. This means the final total could eclipse even $60 million.

Moreover, other executives received similar high-value compensation packages. Chief Product Officer Surojit Chatterjee received just under $16 million for 2020, with Paul Grewal, Chief Legal Officer, receiving $18 million.

Chatterjee’s package has a similar make-up to Armstrong’s: stock options and salary. However, Grewal also received direct stock worth $7.6 million. In total, Coinbase paid its top-three executives nearly $100 million in 2020.

The Custodian of Billionaires

Indeed the top-tier compensation packages come at a time when Coinbase is performing extremely well.

According to its 2020 accounts, the cryptocurrency exchange saw $1.28 billion in revenue last year, a 140% increase on 2019’s $534 million. Furthermore, net income more than quadrupled from $30.4 million in 2019 to $128 million in 2020.

The figures mark the explosive growth in demand for cryptocurrency on exchanges as bitcoin (BTC) continues to set new highs. The total market capitalization for all cryptocurrencies rose to $2 trillion last week amidst all-time highs across the board.

Accordingly, this performance attracted several billionaires and billion-dollar institutions who ended up using Coinbase’s custodial services to buy the leading cryptocurrency.

Coinbase Custody allows large cryptocurrency purchases to be made “off-market” or “over-the-counter” (OTC). This allows large orders to avoid significantly altering a cryptocurrency’s price.

Coinbase vs Binance

Coinbase, already one of the top cryptocurrency exchanges in the space, is growing to rival Binance, the top exchange by volume.

With it opening to more and more cryptocurrencies last year, as well as introducing Coinbase Pro and Coinbase Custody, it is quickly attracting a large crowd of users.

This is one of the reasons why the exchange was valued at over $100 billion in a private Nasdaq sale. This figure could even increase when it launches its initial public offering later this year.

Nevertheless, Coinbase still has to rival the Binance Universe. Binance, with its plethora of product offerings, is on a mission to “exchange the world.”

However, it appears that Coinbase is also doing the same.


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Emmanuel entered the cryptocurrency space in 2013 as a cryptocurrency broker. He is a crypto-enthusiast, entrepreneur, and investor, who has built and led several projects and communities in the space. He is CEO and co-founder of Provence Intelligence, a boutique crypto-consultancy firm that aims to bridge the gap between the cryptocurrency and DLT space and the traditional world. Interests include DeFi, non-blockchain DLTs, and the synthetic derivatives space.

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