MOST startups proudly announce their presence on buildings, billboards and any surface offering visibility. Not Coinbase, a crypto-currency startup. Visitors to its headquarters on a high floor of an office tower in San Francisco find themselves before an unmarked door and doorbell. They are asked to confirm by intercom which firm they intend to see. An online search for Coinbase shows its offices at a different location, a diversion tactic to keep away disgruntled crypto-currency investors, thieves who are trying to get access to crypto-assets, and other malefactors.
Such inconspicuousness contrasts with the company’s high profile. Coinbase is one of Silicon Valley’s fastest-growing young firms and by far the most prominent business to emerge from the mania around crypto-currencies. The six-year-old startup, an online brokerage for buying and selling bitcoin and other crypto-currencies, claimed a valuation of $1.6bn when it raised $100m from venture capitalists last year. It reportedly now has…