If you are interested in dipping a toe in the waters of the digital currency bitcoin, the easiest way is to buy some bitcoin, and arguably the best-known service for that is Coinbase.
The company launched four years ago today, and was one of the earliest bitcoin wallets—that is, simply, a place to buy and hold bitcoin. By being early to the craze, Coinbase became one of the most recognizable and respected brands in the bitcoin industry, it raised nearly $107 million in venture capital (by far the most raised by any bitcoin startup until 21 Inc. came along), and its co-founders, Brian Armstrong and Fred Ehrsam, became influential names in the business.
Lately, the narrative about the bitcoin world has shifted to blockchain, the decentralized, peer-to-peer, open-source technology that powers bitcoin. (For an explainer, check out this video.) The idea of blockchain came about side-by-side with bitcoin in 2009, but now major banks and financial institutions are gaga over the idea of using blockchains to speed up their transaction processing—closed, private blockchains without bitcoin.