Brian Armstrong, CEO of the world’s second-largest crypto exchange Coinbase, announced on Twitter that he will sell off about 2% of his Coinbase holdings to fund scientific research, sending the stock price tumbling amid an executive exodus in the crypto industry.
Armstrong tweeted on Friday, “I’m passionate about accelerating science and tech to help solve some of the biggest challenges in the world. To further this, I’m planning to sell about 2% of my Coinbase holdings over the next year to fund scientific research and companies like NewLimit + ResearchHub.”
According to Forbes, Armstrong holds about 19% of Coinbase’s shares, putting his holdings at around $2.7 billion. This would make his scientific donations worth around $54 million.
NewLimit and ResearchHub are both bankrolled by Armstrong, with the former dedicated to extending human life using “epigenetic reprogramming,” and the latter set up to reward the “open sharing and discussion of academic research” through its own crypto token, ResearchCoin (RSC).
The CEO attempted to quell any doubts as to his confidence in Coinbase or crypto, writing that he intends to be CEO of Coinbase “for a very long time” and still is “super bullish on crypto and Coinbase.”
“I’m fully dedicated to growing our business and advancing our mission, but I am also excited to contribute in a different way,” he added.
For the avoidance of doubt, I intend to be CEO of Coinbase for a very long time and I remain super bullish on crypto and Coinbase. I’m fully dedicated to growing our business and advancing our mission, but I am also excited to contribute in a different way.
— Brian Armstrong (@brian_armstrong) October 15, 2022
Coinbase stock dropped almost immediately following his tweet on Friday, from around $71 to the current price of $63.62, or almost 10%.
This follows the lackluster performance of Coinbase stock recently, which has barely budged from its $65-70 range since May. The stock is currently down 81% from its high of $342.98 last July.
Coinbase’s stock tends to trade in tandem with crypto prices and is often used as a bellwether for investor confidence in the wider crypto industry.
Executive exodus in the crypto industry
Investor jitters in Coinbase are likely compounded by the multiple chief executives leaving their posts throughout the crypto industry in the past few months.
The list has included Michael Moro, formerly the chief executive at crypto lender Genesis, and Sam Trabucco, the co-CEO at Alameda Research, crypto billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried's hedge fund.
Just last month, Jesse Powell, co-founder of crypto exchange Kraken, also stepped down as the company's CEO, and Brett Harrison, president of FTX US, announced his resignation as well.
Coinbase is the only major crypto exchange that has gone public in recent years, subjecting itself to the capriciousness of the stock market.