Coinbase Acquires Earn.com; Adds Balaji Srinivasan as First CTO

Digital asset exchange platform Coinbase has acquired Earn.com, a startup that enables sending and receiving of digital currency payments for targeted microtasks. The deal, valued at $100 million, will put Earn.com CEO and co-founder Balaji Srinivasan at the helm as Coinbase’s first Chief Technical Officer.

Calling Srinivasan “one of the most respected technologists in the crypto space,” and “one of the technology industry’s few true originalists,” Coinbase co-founder and CEO Brian Armstrong wrote on the company blog that “as CTO of Coinbase, Balaji will serve an important role as the technological evangelist for the company.  Balaji will evangelize for both crypto and for Coinbase, educating the world and recruiting crypto-first talent to the company.”

Earn.com, the company Srinivasan co-founded, works by enabling senders to pay users in digital currency for replying to emails and completing tasks. Large-scale commercial email senders and average email users alike benefit from Earn.com’s paid email platform. Commercial senders can use the technology to pay email recipients to respond to surveys and messages recruiting, fundraising, and marketing products and services. Average email users can make money via their Earn.com accounts by replying to these emails, as well as use the prices on incoming email to prioritize and manage inboxes.

Srinivasan was a General Partner at Andreessen Horowitz when he became CEO of the bitcoin mining company that would become Earn.com. In 2015, he helped the company pivot to take advantage of the growing feasibility of Bitcoin micropayments by creating a new solution, paid email, that offered a new direction for the company and a clear use case for digital assets in micropayments.

“As of today, Earn,com is a fast-growing, cash-flow positive business with a multimillion dollar revenue run rate,” Srinivasan wrote in an article titled The Turnaround at Medium.com. “I think it’s fair to say that it’s one of the first truly useful blockchain-based applications, where users can earn money in their spare time while senders can pay people to actually reply to their emails and fill out their surveys.”

“We’re going to be doubling down on the Earn business within Coinbase,” Armstrong said. “(They) have built a paid email product that is arguably one of the earliest practical blockchain applications to achieve meaningful traction.”

The Earn.com acquisition and new CTO come amid a busy spring for the cryptocurrency platform. Earlier this month, the company announced the launch of Coinbase Ventures, a new venture fund to support early-stage cryptocurrency and digital asset-based startups, and added Rachael Horwitz as Vice President of Communications. In March, Coinbase unveiled a set of new tools to help cryptocurrency investors and traders remain compliant with tax laws, and introduced its Coinbase Index Fund to give crypto investors exposure to all digital assets listed on its exchange.

Coinbase began the year with another successful talent grab: acquiring the engineering team from Memo.AI. Founded in 2012 and headquartered in San Francisco, Coinbase demonstrated its Instant Exchange solution at FinovateSpring 2014. One of fintech’s more recent unicorns with a valuation of more than $1.6 billion, Coinbase has raised more than $225 million in funding and includes Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ), Institutional Venture Partners (IVP), Bank of Tokyo – Mitsubishi UFJ, and Andreessen Horowitz among its investors.

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  • Ephesoft Unveils Mortgage Document Capture Solution.
  • Coinbase Acquires Earn.com; Adds Balaji Srinivasan as First CTO.

Around the web

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  • Coindesk: Mastercard Eyes Blockchain for Fighting Fake Identities.
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This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

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  • Coinbase Launches Coinbase Ventures to Support Early-Stage Crypto Startups.
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Around the web

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This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

Coinbase Launches Coinbase Ventures to Support Early-Stage Crypto Startups

Volatility in cryptocurrency markets continues to spell opportunity for digital asset trading platform and cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase. The company announced on Friday that it was launching a new venture fund called Coinbase Ventures to support crypto-based startups.

“We’ll be providing financing to promising early stage companies that have the teams and ideas that can move the space forward in a positive, meaningful way,” wrote Coinbase Head of Corporate and Business Development and Business Operations Emilie Choi at the Coinbase blog. “At least in the beginning, our goal is simply to help the most compelling companies in the space to flourish. This means that we don’t have the strategic requirement of formalizing partner relationships with such companies, as some corporate venture programs do,” Choi explained. “Our focus is on building strong relationships and helping to spur on the development of the ecosystem.”

Interestingly, Choi added that some of Coinbase Ventures’ investments may be “in companies that ostensibly look competitive with Coinbase.” By way of explanation, Choi said Coinbase was “comfortable” investing in potential competitors because “we’re taking a long term view of the space, and we believe that multiple approaches are healthy and good.”

The launch of Coinbase Ventures comes amid a flurry of activity for the cryptocurrency exchange platform. A month ago this week Coinbase unveiled its Coinbase Index and Coinbase Index Fund, a market cap weighted index and related fund that provide investors with exposure to all the digital assets available on its GDAX exchange. More recently, Coinbase made available new tax tools to help cryptocurrency investors and traders comply with IRS guidelines as they relate to reporting gains from digital asset transactions.

Additionally, Coinbase announced support for the withdrawal of Bitcoin forks across its products “in the coming months”. The decision will make it easier for customers to withdraw assets associated with Bitcoin Forks, though Coinbase noted that supporting withdrawal for a bitcoin fork does not mean the asset will be available for trading on the platform. “Assets that are listed for trading will be independently evaluated using the Digital Asset Framework,” according to a post at the Coinbase blog. The company hopes that the simultaneous internal and external announcement would help it avoid the controversy surrounding the trading of Bitcoin cash last December.

Founded in 2012 and headquartered in San Francisco, California, Coinbase demonstrated its platform at FinovateSpring 2014. The company, which has raised more than $225 million in funding, launched its crypto eCommerce acceptance platform, Coinbase Commerce in February, and began the year with the acquisition of the engineering team from Memo.AI.  Named to the Forbes Fintech 50 for the second year in a row earlier this year, Coinbase earned unicorn status last August after closing a $100 million Series D round that boosted the company’s valuation to an estimated $1.6 billion. Founder Brian Armstrong is Coinbase’s CEO.

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This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

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This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

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Around the web

  • Ripple partners with Japanese banking consortium to launch mobile payments app, MoneyTap.
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  • TransferTo and Sentbe team up to provide real-time money transfers from South Korea to more than 60 countries.
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This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

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  • Two-time Best of Show winner Finn.ai launches Spanish-speaking virtual banking assistant with Nicaragua’s biggest bank, Banpro.
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  • Former LinkedIn executive, Emilie Choi, joins Coinbase as VP of Corporate and Business Development.
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This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

Coinbase Launches Crypto eCommerce Acceptance

Digital currency wallet Coinbase is expanding its horizons– and its potential client base– this week with the launch of Coinbase Commerce.

The new offering aims to enable merchants across the globe to accept Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Litecoin payments and deposit the funds directly into their personal wallets. Coinbase Commerce gives merchants full control of their own digital currency, since it is not a hosted service.

To sign up, merchants just need an email address and a smartphone and can directly integrate Coinbase Commerce into their existing checkout flow or add it as a payment option on an e-commerce platform. Coinbase Commerce already integrates with Shopify, which serves 500,000 merchants. The company is actively adding new integrations to facilitate payment acceptance.

Coinbase also provides a merchant dashboard, where business owners can manage payments and monitor earnings from a single place.

The Coinbase Commerce merchant dashboard

Merchants that leverage Coinbase Commerce will join the list of other large businesses that currently accept cryptocurrencies, including Overstock.com, Newegg, Dish, Gyft, Expedia, and Microsoft. That said, the volatility of cryptocurrencies, combined with the fact that most people hold cryptocurrencies as a speculation tool and are hesitant to spend it, means that there might be slow adoption for cryptocurrency merchant acceptance.

Founded in 2012, Coinbase demoed Instant Exchange at FinovateSpring 2014. In August of 2017, the company became a fintech unicorn after it closed a $100 million round of Series D funding. At that point, Pitchbook estimated Coinbase’s value to be $1.6 billion. Last month, the company acquired talent from Memo.AI to bolster its engineering team during the bitcoin boom.

Finovate Alumni News

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  • IdentityMind Global Raises $10 Million to Fuel Global Growth.
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  • Softtek and Mambu launch banking platform as a service.

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.