Coinbase has confirmed that it’s opening a permanent Chicago office, and it’s planning to hire 100 employees in the next three years.

News broke earlier this month that Coinbase, a popular cryptocurrency company that lets you buy and sell bitcoin and other digital currency, was planning to launch a Chicago office in order to get closer to the city’s abundance of trading talent. Coinbase made its Chicago plans official on Tuesday.

The company has six people now, and it plans to have between 25 and 40 by the end of this year, said Paul Bauerschmidt, a longtime CME Group executive who was hired to lead Coinbase’s Chicago office. Coinbase plans to have a permanent Chicago office up and running by the end of the year, and in three years it expects to house around 100 workers.

This isn’t your typical Silicon Valley company opens a Chicago office story. Most coastal companies that come to Chicago start by hiring mostly sales staff. Coinbase is hiring almost entirely engineers in Chicago. Bauerschmidt said about 90 percent of the office will be developers. The Chicago office will be working on the company’s electronic marketplace, known as Coinbase Markets.

“Chicago is super valuable to us because of the talent that’s here,” Bauerschmidt said. “If you move to one of the coasts, you … will get access to talent, but it’s much harder to come by. And in Chicago we’ve got an incredible exchange and trading community.”

As cryptocurrencies like bitcoin have rocketed into the mainstream over the past two years, Coinbase’s popularity has grown with it. The company, which launched in 2012 and has raised over $225 million in venture capital funding, says it has over 20 million customers and stores more than $20 billion worth of cryptocurrency. The company has offices in San Francisco, New York, Portland and London.

Jim Dallke is the associate editor of Chicago Inno and Wisconsin Inno. As part of the team that launched Chicago Inno in 2014, and Wisconsin Inno in 2018, Jim covers the ins and outs of Chicago and Wisconsin's tech and innovation scenes. He's always looking for a good story. Get in touch: