Crypto Exchange Coinbase Buys Earn.com; Srinivasan Becomes CTO
Coinbase continues to fill out senior positions and make strategic acquisitions in its bid to become the winner of blockchain in the US.
Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong announced on April 16 that the company had purchased Earn.com. Armstrong also announced that Earn CEO Balaji Srinivasan would become the Coinbase CTO.
While Armstrong’s blog post focuses on Balaji Srinivasan’s new role as Coinbase’s first CTO and his strengths as a crypto innovator, Coinbase’s spending and hiring spree are also highlighted.
Srinivasan told Fortune.com that the recent spate of hires, including Chief Operations Officer Asif Hirji (former HP), VP of Corporate and Business Development Emilie Choi (from LinkedIn), VP of Operations and Technology Tina Phatnagar (from Twitter), and VP of Communications Rachael Horwitz (from Facebook) as proof of Coinbase emerging as “the winner of blockchain in the U.S.”.
Armstrong also wrote that Coinbase would “double down” on Earn’s model which utilized one of the first practical applications of blockchain technology.
Earn’s announcement covered its business model in depth as well as the fact that it gave people the possibility of earning Bitcoin by doing tasks on Earn. The announcement was also notable for stating that Earn was delaying its Initial Coin Offering (ICO) for the time being.
No firm price has been given for the sale, but Fortune puts it at above $100 million. That amount roughly equals what Earn had gained during its C-series funding round in 2015, which involved Qualcomm and venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz (which Srinivasan left to found Earn then known as 21Inc.).
While the probable actual amount is not far off from the $116 million invested, the return for early investors could be more substantial because of mining operations that occurred early in Earn’s operations, when the company considered farming as a main direction.
Fortune.com points out that Srinivasan and Coinbase’s founders have known each other since 2013. He and his brother Ramji were friends with them and among their earliest backers.