Coinbase Rumored to Be in Talks to Acquire Bitcoin Startup Earn.com

Cryptocurrency exchange and brokerage giant Coinbase is rumored to be engaged in discussions to acquire bitcoin startup Earn.com.

Citing sources close to the situation, CoinDesk reports that the San Francisco-based Coinbase — which reportedly garnered more than $1 billion in revenue last year — is engaged in discussions to acquire Earn.com, a cryptocurrency-based paid messaging platform.

Earn.com — formerly 21.co — allows users to earn bitcoin by answering emails or completing tasks (such as registering for a token airdrop). Conversely, users can utilize the service to pay for prominent individuals or subject matter experts to read and respond to their emails, which would likely otherwise be ignored.

The sources cited in the publication gave wildly-varying estimates about how much Coinbase — or one of the other companies interested in acquiring Earn.com — would end up paying for the startup. One said it could go for as little as $30 million, while another “who is directly involved in the discussions” claimed that the total value of the acquisition — which could include a compensation package comprised of cash, cryptocurrency, stock, and earn-out — would probably exceed $120 million.

While the purchase is far from a done deal, the news that Coinbase is seeking to leverage its capital to expand through acquisitions does not come as a surprise.

Indeed, despite the fact that Coinbase has historically made few acquisitions, rumors about potential deals have abounded since the firm hired Emilie Choi — LinkedIn’s former head of mergers and acquisitions — as its new vice president of corporate and business development.

Choi oversaw more than 40 such deals before leaving LinkedIn earlier this month, and she has signaled that she intends to keep busy now that she has taken the reins at Coinbase.

“There are a lot of great pre-IPO companies, or even the tech titans, that are not so heavily involved in M&A right now,” she told tech publication Recode. “Coinbase actually is in a position to do a lot of M&A.”

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David Murray

David has been following the development of cryptocurrency technology for several years, and he is optimistic about its potential to democratize the financial system.

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