Coinbase’s first employee in 2013 cold-emailed the founders for a job — and was paid in bitcoin for …

After becoming employee No.

Though it’s unclear how much bitcoin Carlson-Wee currently owns, during that time — from 2013 to 2016 — the price of bitcoin fluctuated dramatically.

After talking to Ehrsam on Skype for roughly 20 minutes, Carlson-Wee said the Coinbase co-founder invited him in for an in-person interview in San Francisco .

“Bad customer experiences will eventually be forgotten but a security incident will not be forgotten,” Carlson-Wee told Y Combinator.

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Here was the math problem, according to Carlson-Wee: “So there are 100 lockers in a row.

Carlson-Wee did his best to focus on the problem, because he felt that having the correct answer ready by the time Ehrsam brought fellow co-founder Brian Armstrong in to meet Carlson-Wee would really “seal the deal” and land him a job.

“The number of factors determines whether a locker is open or closed because that’s the number of kids that interacted with it,” he said.

“I worked really hard because I knew this was the final test.

Carlson-Wee was Coinbase’s sole customer support employee until the company had 250,000 users, he said.

Called Polychain Capital, the fund manages assets valued at more than $300 million, according to Forbes, and it’s landed investments from Ehrsam as well as venture capital firms like Sequoia Capital and Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund.

In 2020, Armstrong received criticism for actively discouraging Coinbase employees from voicing political opinions, or engaging in activism around political or social issues, in the workplace.

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