Coinbase is quickly ramping up its merger and acquisition operations, as the cryptocurrency exchange and brokerage giant announced on Monday that it has completed its second acquisitions in as many weeks: bitcoin startup Earn.com.

The paid messaging platform — which was originally incarnated as a bitcoin mining startup called 21.co — rewards users with cryptocurrency for answering emails, filling out surveys, and completing other micro-tasks.

Terms of the deal were not made public, but Earn.com CEO Balaji S. Srinivasan wrote in a blog post that “the total value of cash, cryptocurrency, and equity returned to our shareholders is now in excess of the capital invested in the company.”

The company had raised approximately $116 million over multiple funding rounds and at one point was the industry’s best-funded startup. Sources close to the discussions had previously said that the deal would likely exceed that figure, and this comment suggests that it was at least in the same ballpark.

Srinivasan will join Coinbase as a senior executive, becoming the company’s first chief technology officer, while the rest of the Earn.com team will also join the firm and work to integrate the company’s paid messaging platform into Coinbase’s infrastructure.

“If we’re successful in our long-term goals, we will be able to turn the billions of smartphones worldwide into a new source of work. Open the Earn.com app in any country — and receive a personalized, targeted list of paid microtasks and emails just for you,” the company wrote in a blog post. “Thanks to the blockchain, anywhere there’s a phone, there’s a job.”

The acquisition was the second announced by Coinbase in April alone.

As BlockExplorer reported, Coinbase announced last week that it had acquired Cipher Browser, a one-man startup that had built a mobile ethereum wallet and decentralized application (DApp) browser. Cipher’s developer, Peter Kim, joined the company as the engineering team lead for Toshi, Coinbase’s ethereum wallet and DApp browser.

Featured Image from Earn.com/Twitter

A journey through Bitcoin Village.

Ever since around Thanksgiving, it’s been impossible to tune out all of the noise that Bitcoin is making in the media. First, it was Bitcoin’s meteoric rise to $20K, followed by an abrupt crash, downward spiraling all the way down to under $6K at one point. The widespread mania prompted (foolish) people to remortgage their homes to avoid missing out on the promise of Lambos and wealth beyond our wildest dreams. Dreams that quickly turned into nightmares for many, as FOMO turned to FUD in a mere few months.

Beyond the wild swings in price due to its volatile, speculative nature, those that have been embracing the cryptocurrency as a replacement for the almighty dollar, have begun to show the rest of the world what life using Bitcoin is like.

Bitcoin Village,” a small section of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, is taking lead and showing the rest of the world that cryptocurrency is indeed a currency that can be used for everyday occurrences, like dining out at your favorite restaurant, visiting a theatre, ‘getting your hair did’, or shopping at a local mom and pop retail boutique.

The journey started with STREET, a casual dining restaurant that was featured on an episode of the Food Network’s ‘Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives’, entitled ‘Sausage, Seafood and Shawarma’. Flyers for Bitcoin that include a “quick-start guide” and references to a “world famous” Bitcoin tour. Marketing materials in the lobby call out that Bitcoin is “accepted here” and boasts that “people who paid with Bitcoin saw food prices drop by 75%” likely referencing Bitcoin’s parabolic value increase in 2017.

The signage boldly asks “can your money do that?”

STREET also accepts other cryptocurrencies, such as Dash, Bitcoin Cash, and Litecoin. When management was asked “why crypto,” the response was “there wasn’t a reason not to accept it,” citing how easy it was to integrate an app into their iPad-based point-of-sales system. STREET’s sister restaurant, an eclectic pizza parlor located in the same plaza called STREET’ZA also accepts the same cryptocurrencies.

Also on this famed Bitcoin “tour” was La Maison Navarre, a French pastry shop; Fresh Press, a 100% organic smoothie and foodie spot; Lair’s Bench, a brewpub; and Fezziwig’s Food and Fountain, which offers coffee, tea, crepes, milkshakes, and ice cream sundaes. And that only covers food.

Sol Sunwear, which was the first retailer to join the Bitcoin revolution that started in Portsmouth, takes a tongue in cheek approach to their accepting cryptocurrency. Like STREET, each shop accepting crypto in Bitcoin Village has unique signage to alert customers and passer-by that Bitcoin is accepted here. At Sol Sunwear, a shop that sells designer eyewear, the sign reads “Bitcoin millionaires prefer Prada and Valentino.”

Another fashion outlet, Cotillion Bureau, offers second-hand clothing selected for its craftsmanship.

As a tourism hotspot, Bitcoin Village is also home to a few gift shops that offer unique and interesting trinkets. Pickwick’s Mercantile is one of them. Their “feminine” counterpart is Lady Pickwick’s. Deadwick’s Ethereal Emporium is chock full of oddities including crystal balls, costumes, antiques and more – a stark contrast to the technologically advanced nature of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. All of these places will accept cryptocurrency alongside traditional dollars and cents.

For entertainment, 33 Artspace offers a local value for live performances, and the Seacost Repertory Theatre is a historic venue for plays, musicals, and more. Portsmouth School of Ballet, Portsmouth Smoke and Vape, Oomph Hair Salon, Port City Coin and Jewelry, Pickwick’s at the Banke, and even Portsmouth’s local Lens Crafters franchise accepts Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Yoga classes at Bikram Yoga Portsmouth can be paid for using crypto. Crypto can buy you almost anything in this town.

Portsmouth is also home to the Blockchain Institute of Technology and offers hands-on education on blockchain development. Passing by the window, students were hard at work while unmanned computers had screensavers that flashed the images of various cryptocurrency tokens.

Last but not least, the tour ends at the Portsmouth Free State Bitcoin Shoppe. This is where it all started, the “Cryptoanarchy Mecca,” as the two founders define it. Their mission is to “help people use better money.” At the Free State Bitcoin Shoppe, everything from crypto related T-shirts, cold storage hardware wallets, books, and propaganda are available – but here, only cryptocurrency is accepted. That’s right, they’ll turn away fiat money and encourage you to use their crypto ATM if you don’t already own Bitcoin or one of the many other cryptocurrencies accepted here (including Bitcoin Cash, Dash, Zcash, Monero, Ripple, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Dogecoin). It’s the founders of the Free State Bitcoin Shoppe that encouraged other retailers in the area to get involved in the “movement.”

And what a job they’ve done. No other place on the planet offers such a wealth of diversity in its people and its businesses, yet also accept cryptocurrencies so widely and openly. Portsmouth, NH has always been an innovative community, but it’s the one place on Earth where the future of currency – a future led by cryptocurrencies – is already in practice.


Germany’s finance ministry has determined that it will not tax bitcoin payments, allowing cryptocurrency users to make everyday transactions without the hassle of reporting and paying capital gains realized at the time of disposal.

Germany Won’t Tax Bitcoin Payments, Finance Ministry Says

The regulatory guidance, published Tuesday by the Bundesministerium der Finanzen, indicates that the country will treat bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as equivalent to legal tender in cases when it as used as a means of payment, e.g. for the proverbial cup of coffee.

That said, cryptocurrency users must pay a value-added tax (VAT) when exchanging their coins or tokens for fiat currency at cryptocurrency exchanges, a provision designed to ensure that cryptoasset investments are treated accordingly.

To some extent, though, this provision merely shifts the cryptocurrency payment tax burden from the customer to the merchant, as most merchants convert cryptocurrencies into fiat at the point of sale. However, cryptocurrency payment processors can likely update their systems to make it simple for merchants to report these transactions.

Notably, the guidance — which was based on a 2015 European Court of Justice ruling — said that cryptocurrency miners operating in Germany will not be taxed on block rewards since the service is voluntary. Nevertheless, due to the document’s other provisions, they will incur VAT fees when they convert the rewards into fiat currency.

Similar US Legislation Fails to Muster Support

In the US, the Congressional Blockchain Caucus has drafted legislation that would have had a similar impact on legitimizing cryptocurrencies as a medium of exchange.

At present, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) considers cryptocurrency to be “property” for tax purposes, meaning that US cryptocurrency users are legally required to maintain a detailed log of all transactions, as well as the profit or loss realized as the result of each payment. Unsurprisingly, most users do not comply with these stringent requirements.

The Cryptocurrency Tax Fairness Act, introduced last year, would have eliminated reporting requirements on transactions worth less than $600. However, a bid to add the bill as an amendment to tax reform legislation failed to garner enough support to advance.

Featured Image from Pexels

HitBTC is a Chicago based cryptocurrency exchange founded in 2014 and is #12 on BlockExplorer’s top 25 exchanges of 2017 list.

HitBTC supports a huge number of trading pairs, with high amounts of activity on most of them. All of the trading pairs on HitBTC are crypto/crypto and offers an API for programmatic trading.

HitBTC is recommended for mid to large scale traders looking for a high activity exchange.


hitbtc cryptoURL: hitbtc.com
Total trading pairs: 273
Deposit fees: Yes, for some currencies
Withdrawal fees: Yes
Trading fees: Yes, -0.01% – 0.1%
Verification: Yes, but unneeded


Registration is exquisitely simple, requiring only an email and password. After submitting the registration form, you will receive an email with a confirmation link.


HitBTC breaks its trading fees into the usual maker/taker model. Where takers pay a fee of 0.1% on all trades, makers receive a fee of -0.01%, meaning makers receive additional currency when making trades. Otherwise, fees for deposit and withdrawal are set per currency and can be seen on the wallet page.


HitBTC’s interface is highly configurable. While defaulting to a day mode with bright colors, it has a night mode with darker colors. The main exchange page has plenty of information presented in an organized manner. On the main page there is a chart of the currently selected pair, a method of switching trading pairs, buy/sell order forms, an order book, a small chat window, and a list of your current active orders. On the top right of the page is your current balances that are relevant to the currently selected trading pair, alongside their estimated worth in BTC and USDT

The chart can be switched between HitBTC’s chart and a chart generated by TradingView. The TradingView chart is more configurable, but it does not follow your configured theme, so you may find it to be extremely bright if you switch to it during a late night trading session. Otherwise, the entire layout of the trading page can be changed to your personal preference.


At the time of writing, verification was unnecessary to do any sort of trading, and unverified accounts had the “general” designation. The language around the verification page seemed to indicate that this would change at some point in the future. The “General” verification level is given to all new accounts and has no withdrawal or deposit limits.

Getting verified is a single step process where you email a large amount of personal information to HitBTC’s compliance department. The personal information required is as follows:

  • Full name
  • Date of Birth
  • Country of birth
  • Address
  • Bank account information
  • Government ID
  • Proof of residence
  • Proof of bank account ownership

After sending your email, verification should take between three and five working days.


HitBTC pays attention to security features, passwords have no length limits. You can configure automatic logout after a set amount of time, and to go with that, you can log out all active sessions.

QUONIE is a Japan-based company founded in 2014 by Mike Kayamori and Mario Gomez-Lozada. It is #10 on BlockExplorer’s top 25 exchanges of 2017 list. In 2017 it became one of the first cryptocurrency firms to acquire licensing from the Japan Financial Services Agency. QUONIE has two exchanges under it, the first of which trades crypto/crypto called QRYPTOS, and the second that trades fiat/crypto called QUOINEX.

QRYPTOS seems to have relatively little activity across its markets, though there is some. Low to mid-tier traders looking for a smaller exchange with loads of trading pairs will find QRYPTOS to be a good place for their trading endeavors.

QUOINEX is also somewhat quiet, at the time of writing there was little to no activity on anything other than the BTC/USD and BTC/JPY markets.

Both exchanges offer an API that can be used for programmatic trading and information gathering.


URL https://quoinex.com  https://www.qryptos.com
Trading pairs 58 78
Trading Fees Yes Yes
Margin Trading Yes No
Withdrawal Fees Yes, for fiat currencies No
Deposit Fees No No, aside from an XRP wallet opening fee
Verification Yes Yes


Registration on both platforms is similar, requiring an email and password. Though you cannot register on QUOINEX in the United States. Once you submit the registration form you will receive an email to confirm your email address.



QUOINEX’s fee system is atypical. When registering you may select a single trading pair that will have 0% fees on any trade, while the rest of the trading pairs will have a flat 0.25% trading fee across the board. There is no deposit fee for either crypto or fiat on QUOINEX, though any banking fees incurred are yours to deal with. For withdrawals, there are no fees on cryptocurrencies, though there is a minimum withdrawal amount that is specified per currency. For fiat currencies, there are different fees per currency, which are listed on QUOINEX’s support system


QRYPTOS uses a maker/taker structure for its fees, where takers are charged a flat fee of 0.15%, while makers are charged a fee of -0.075%, meaning you will receive currency as a maker. The fee for makers is marked as temporary, and the date which it ends is not advertised. There are no fees involved in either deposit or withdrawal.


Both exchanges share a similar interface, which is highly configurable and defaults to a dark background with light text. You can select between a basic and advanced mode for trading.

The interface’s basic mode provides a small chart, the current price and order book, and large sections for submitting buy and sell orders.

In advanced mode, the user is presented with a well-sized chart of the selected trading pair in the middle. On the top left, you get a list of markets and their price that is user configurable and below that the history of the currently selected market. On the right, you have the current order book and a place to submit buy/sell orders.

The entire interface is configurable, from the overall color scheme to the location and size of all the information panes.


For both exchanges, verification is required to withdraw currency, but not to deposit. This can lead to a situation where you cannot extract funds from either exchange. So make sure you have completed verification before starting to trade. Verification requires a government ID and proof of residence, which may not be more than three months old. For QRYPTOS, you can use your government ID as proof of residence if it has an address on it. Verification should complete within a week after submission.


Both exchanges support two-factor authentication via multiple apps, including Google Authenticator and Duo Mobile.