In recent weeks, digital currency exchange giants Coinbase have been copying the business models laid down by net-based behemoths Google and Amazon and snapping up promising startups and fledgling tech businesses. However yesterday (Monday 16) Coinbase took the plunge and splashed out $120 million on crypto-networking stars Earn.com, by far their most serious purchase
Rumors had been circulating for some time about the possible Coinbase acquisition of Earn.com, and on Monday April 16, those rumors were confirmed when the currency exchange giants reputedly paid out $120 million for the crypto networking site. While neither party has given a precise purchase price, reputable crypto-gossip source TechCrunch.com are claiming that $120 million is indeed the figure involved.
Also, Coinbase have taken Earn.com’s CEO Balaji Srinivasan and made him their chief technology officer, with Coinbase co-founder Brian Armstrong describing him as “one of the most respected technologists in the crypto field and is considered one of the technology industry’s few true originalists.”
Who Are Coinbase?
Coinbase Inc. is an American digital currency exchange company that acts as a platform for the purchase and exchange of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin. Using Coinbase, these digital currencies can be traded and exchanged for official fiat currencies such as pounds sterling, Yen, Euros and US dollars.
Established in June 2012 by Brian Armstrong and Fred Ehrsam, Coinbase has its headquarters in San Francisco, California. By 2013 Coinbase was attracting tremendous interest and major investment from venture capitalists. $5 million came from Union Square Ventures, $25 million from a trio of investment firms, and in 2015, $75 million by a consortium that included the New York Stock Exchange and several major US banks. This investment has paid off handsomely, and Coinbase are now a billion-dollar company, with 13.3 million regular users across 32 countries.
Who Are Earn.com?
Earn.com (formerly 21.co) is a social networking website where users can earn payments in Bitcoin by replying to emails and completing required tasks, and by inviting more people to join Earn.com.
Go to the Earn.com homepage and you will see an ultra-minimalist design that features a small box of text in the center of the screen, and an ever-changing smartphone screen to the left. That text simply says “Earn Bitcoin. Earn bitcoin by replying to emails and completing tasks. Keep the money, or donate it to charity.”
You can then click on the “Start earning” button.
Further exploration reveals that Earn.com:
“allows senders to pay users in digital currency for replying to emails and completing tasks. Relative to the status quo, the introduction of payments benefits both normal email users and large-scale senders of commercial emails.”
In a nutshell, if you need to earn extra money and have some free time on your hands, you can earn payments in Bitcoin during that free time simply by replying to emails. These emails might be surveys, they may be other tasks and requirements, but successfully completing them results in a payment in Bitcoin.
Who Is Balaji Srinivasan?
Some might speculate that Coinbase bought Earn.com primarily to get their hands on CEO Balaji Srinivasan, rated one of the most knowledgeable people when it comes to blockchain technology. Of his recruitment, Srinivasan admits he was a willing participant, and in an interview with Fortune said:
“Everyone is aligning behind Coinbase as the winner of blockchain in the U.S. As you’ve seen and continue to see, it has become a magnetic node. A lot of talented people are coming here.”
Srinivasan was alluding to host of high-level recruits made by Coinbase recently, including Asiff Hirji, formerly of Hewlett Packard, who is now chief operations officer, LinkedIn’s Emilie Choi, now vice president of corporate and business development, Twitter’s Tina Bhatnagar, now vice president of operations and technology, and Facebook’s Rachael Horwitz, now Coinbase’s vice president of communications.
Srinivasan teaches courses at Stanford University, and has long been considered one the world’s foremost experts on cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. In 2017 Srinivasan spoke at Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen, Colorado. It was there that Srinivasan famously spoke of a future which was a Matrix-like virtual reality in which people would need to transact in an international, virtual currency, like Bitcoin.
And it was in Aspen where Srinivasan made what might yet become a prophetic quote:
“Facebook for almost 10 years was called a fad and a bubble. Then it became this gigantic thing. Blockchain is just like that.”