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Culture at Coinbase

By Brian Armstrong


, June 9, 2021

, 3 min read time

The following cultural tenets describe how we treat each other and operate day-to-day at Coinbase. Outlining our culture helps everyone — from candidates to new leaders to veteran employees — understand how we interact and get work done in service of our mission. Some of these ideas are more aspirational than others, meaning they represent where we would like to be, not necessarily where we are today. Our goal as a team is to continually get closer to this ideal.

We published the first version of our culture doc in July 2019. Today’s update has many of the same themes. It’s important to occasionally revisit and refresh these organizational artifacts to see what’s working, what’s not, and where we want to be in the future. The most significant change in this version was incorporating our four company values. We regularly heard questions about how our values were different from our culture doc, but the distinction never felt major. Our values are deeply ingrained in our culture and are important guideposts for how we work, hire, develop, and promote. With this update, there is now a single document describing how we work at Coinbase and what we value in our people.

I hope sharing this document will reinforce the importance of building the culture to our current employees, attract new employees who want to work in a culture like this, and inspire other companies who are working to build unique cultures of their own.


Clear communication

We are direct and succinct. We share information efficiently, improving collaboration and productivity. We practice active listening.

Efficient execution

We have a bias for action. We complete high quality work quickly. We focus on the 20% of work that will get us 80% of the impact.

Act like an owner

We take 100% responsibility for achieving the mission. We seek to improve all aspects of our company even in ways that are not explicitly part of our job. We run through brick walls.

Top talent

We take extraordinary measures to have exceptional people in every seat. We ask whether each candidate will raise the average on the team before making an offer. We cast a wide net, to attract candidates from every background, focusing on both skill and culture alignment. We actively coach and develop. Unremarkable performance gets a generous severance package.

Championship team

We are a winning team, not a family, and have high expectations for performance and delivering results. We’re stronger together so we choose to focus on what unites us, and not what divides us. We have an intense work culture, and are regularly pushed out of our comfort zones. We take rest seriously, to improve productivity over the long term. Coinbase should continually earn employees’ commitment and, likewise, expects employees to earn their seat at the company.

Continuous learning

We’re humble, and value learning over being right. We embrace delivering and receiving candid feedback, and see every setback as an opportunity to learn. We are crypto-forward, work hard to understand the evolving crypto landscape, and incorporate what we learn into our work.

Customer focus

We are deeply focused on solving our customers’ problems with technology. We strive to build products that are easy to use, trusted, and that our customers love. We obsess over quality and craft in our products; getting the details right really, really, matters.

Repeatable innovation

We are builders, leveraging technology to improve the world, constantly shipping ideas vs just discussing them. We know that companies must continually reinvent themselves to avoid stagnation. We have a high tolerance for failure, investing 10% of our resources in venture bets that are uncomfortably ambitious.

Positive energy

We are optimistic about the future and determined to get there. We co-create solutions instead of choosing blame and criticism.

Mission first

‍Our mission is ambitious and important. We don’t engage in social or political activism that is unrelated to our mission while at work. We seek to make the workplace a refuge from division, so we can stay focused on making progress toward the mission.

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Brian Armstrong

About Brian Armstrong

Brian Armstrong is the Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder of Coinbase. As CEO, Brian is responsible for Coinbase’s consumer and institutional arms, which offer an entire suite of products that make accessing cryptocurrencies easy and secure, in addition to new products that operate at the frontiers of crypto and blockchain. Before co-founding Coinbase, Brian worked as a Software Engineer at Airbnb. He holds three degrees from Rice University: Bachelor’s of Computer Science, Bachelor’s of Economics, and a Master’s of Computer Science.