Long before the mass market meme days of Dogecoin and PooCoin, before the words cryptocurrency and blockchain had entered the general lexicon, a Vassar College student wrote his 2012 senior thesis on a new technology called bitcoin. And to prove his love, that self-proclaimed “lover of crypto” also took his first job’s salary entirely in bitcoin.
That early adoption obviously paid off well for the student, Olaf Carlson-Wee, who was born and raised in Minnesota by Lutheran pastors of Norwegian ancestry. He became the first employee of Coinbase — now a $100+ billion cryptocurrency exchange — by cold-emailing the founders, and turned his meager salary into a bitcoin fortune worth hundreds of millions. After leaving Coinbase, Carlson-Wee went on to launch crypto-centric hedge fund Polychain Capital, which now operates out of one of San Francisco’s snazziest skyscrapers.
Today, at 32, Carlson-Wee is as well known for his idiosyncratic attire — he regularly wears colored nail polish, neon tracksuits, and multiple earrings — as he is for his crypto devotion, for which wannabe blockchain moguls regard him as an oracle and hero. Now set for life, the youthful CEO remains based in NorCal’s Bay Area but has just tossed out $28.5 million for a part-time L.A. home, this one a decidedly flashy mansion perched in the hills directly above L.A.’s bustling Sunset Strip.
While it’s easily one of the biggest prices paid for a Hollywood Hills home in recent years, that $28.5 million actually represents a big loss for the seller — “X-Men” director Simon Kinberg. Completed in 2017, Kinberg purchased the spec-built estate in early 2018 for a whopping $31.5 million, remaining in residence until earlier this year. But now that he’s engaged to acclaimed poet-activist Cleo Wade, with whom he shares a baby daughter, Kinberg has paid $15.5 million for a similarly large but decidedly more family-friendly Brentwood estate.
But as a bachelor pad, the Carlson-Wee estate is hard to beat. Sited atop one of the area’s largest promontories, the 1.07-acre property includes a 12,000-square-foot contemporary mansion with unstoppable views spanning the entire L.A. basin, from the Downtown L.A. skyline to the Pacific Ocean and Catalina Island.