$120 Million: Coinbase Buys Earn.com in Largest-Ever Acquisition

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Coinbase has officially embarked on a shopping spree.

The San Francisco-based company on Monday announced its second buyout in less than a week, revealing that it had acquired fellow cryptocurrency startup Earn.com, confirming months-long rumors that the two companies were quietly holding such discussions.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but TechCrunch reports that it provided investors — who had collectively given Earn.com nearly $120 million in funding over the years — with a positive return on their investment. That’s in line with earlier reports, which said that the total compensation package would likely exceed $120 million.

Earn.com has had an eclectic history. Formerly known as 21 Inc., it launched as a much-hyped Bitcoin mining startup but ultimately evolved into a cryptocurrency-based professional networking platform that allows users to earn Bitcoin by answering emails and completing other similar tasks.

The company has said it is developing an ERC20 token to power its platform in place of Bitcoin, which is notable given that Coinbase recently announced its intention to add full support for ERC20 tokens to its suite of products. However, Earn.com said in a blog post discussing the acquisition that it will put its token launch “on the back burner” as it integrates its platform into Coinbase’s ecosystem.

Interestingly, Coinbase’s blog post announcing the acquisition spends far more space discussing former Earn.com CEO Balaji Srinivasan, who will join Coinbase as its first chief technology officer. Prior to leading Earn.com, Srinivasan was a partner at Andreessen Horowitz, and he is Coinbase’s most high-profile “acqhire” to date.

The deal was Coinbase’s second acquisition in as many business days. On Friday, the company announced that it had purchased Cipher Browser, a mobile Ethereum wallet that also allows users to access decentralized applications (DApps).

The company’s sole employee — creator Peter Kim — joined Coinbase as an engineering team lead and will work to integrate some of Cipher’s features into Toshi, Coinbase’s mobile DApp browser.

As CCN reported, Coinbase also recently launched its first venture capital fund — Coinbase Ventures — which will provide industry startups with $15 million in early seed financing.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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Josiah is an assistant editor at CCN. A former ancient and medieval literature teacher, he has been reporting on cryptocurrency since 2014. He lives in rural North Carolina with his wife and children. He holds investment positions in bitcoin and other large-cap cryptocurrencies. Follow him on Twitter @Y3llowb1ackbird or email him directly at josiah.wilmoth(at)ccn.com.