Mapping out the Coinbase Mafia

Quick Take

  • The “Coinbase Mafia” are influential ex-employees of Coinbase, the $8 billion cryptocurrency exchange
  • Former employees have gone on to found Litecoin, Polychain Capital, and Scalar Capital

Coinbase, the $8 billion cryptocurrency exchange, is the 1,000-pound gorilla of the crypto world. Founded in 2012, Coinbase’s mission was to bring cryptocurrency to the masses. It came close to completing that mission during the Bitcoin bull market of 2017 when its mobile app climbed to the number one spot on the Apple app store. Through lobbying groups and its investment arm, Coinbase has systematically broken down the barriers to crypto and, in turn, built a legion of 20 million users. It is the only exchange that plays an active and important role in shaping the industry we now know as crypto.

One of the largest effects that Coinbase has had on the industry, however, is through its former employees. These employees have started multi-million dollar hedge funds, venture firms, and billion dollar protocols and are so influential in the industry that they have been unofficially dubbed the “Coinbase Mafia” — after the widely known PayPal Mafia.

We have compiled a graphical representation of the Coinbase Mafia. The people listed in the graph are all former Coinbase employees and founders of companies in the crypto-ecosystem.¹ Elon Musk, Peter Thiel, and their ilk should watch the throne.

¹ We did not include founders Jonathan Solomon (Digital Mint) and Patrick Lorio (MerkleX) because their companies have not publicly disclosed any funding.