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Coinbase has acquired Cipher Browser, an ethereum wallet and Web 3 browser that allows mobile users to access decentralized applications (DApps) that run on the Ethereum blockchain.

The San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange and brokerage platform made the announcement on Friday, just weeks after revealing that it intended to work to ensure that its products were compatible with ERC20 tokens.

Coinbase already has its own mobile ethereum wallet and DApp browser, Toshi, which is available for both iOS and Android devices. In addition to letting mobile users access DApps like CryptoKitties, the app also has a built-in messaging system, which uses the Signal protocol to offer end-to-end encrypted chats.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the company did reveal that Peter Kim, Cipher’s creator, would join Coinbase as Toshi’s new head of engineering and work to integrate many of Cipher’s features into Toshi.

One of those features will be support for testnets, which allow developers to test their apps in a sandbox that mimics real-world implementation without having to risk actual funds. The lack of testnet support in Toshi had been a sticking point for DApp developers.

That Kim will immediately transition to developing Toshi is not surprising, as Emilie Choi — Coinbase’s new vice president of corporate and business development — is a fan of “acqhiring,” a strategy whereby a firm buys out another company primarily for the staff and their expertise.

As BlockExplorer reported, Coinbase is also rumored to be in discussions to acquire Earn.com, a paid messaging platform that rewards users with cryptocurrency for replying to emails and completing other microtasks.

Coinbase also recently launched a venture capital fund, which will provide cryptocurrency startups with seed funding. The fund will open with $15 million, and the company said this number will grow along with Coinbase itself.

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Digital currency exchange giant Coinbase announced via their official blog that they’ll soon be supporting Ethereum-based ERC20 tokens across their various platforms, including GDAX and the newly launched Coinbase Index Fund.

Coinbase currently offers only four cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Cash. The addition of ERC20 token support opens up the possibility of Coinbase adding one or more of the over 500 ERC20 tokens that exist on the market currently.

Coinbase itself only lists cryptocurrencies after they’ve been listed on GDAX, though Coinbase points out that just because an asset is offered on GDAX doesn’t necessarily determine if it’s offered via Coinbase as well. Coinbase cites liquidity and price range as factors that go into choosing an asset for listing.

On GDAX, Coinbase states that it’s waiting for further clarity on regulation and the effect it may have on the classification of specific assets (ie. a security, commodity, or currency).

Both Coinbase and GDAX supporting ERC20 tokens means there will soon be a pathway to recover any funds customers lost by sending ERC20 tokens incorrectly to an Ethereum address – a mistake that is surprisingly common.

Coinbase offers secure wallets for substantial value crypto holders through Coinbase Custody, which will also support ERC20 tokens. Coinbase Custody too is likely to offer additional asset storage beyond what is offered via GDAX or Coinbase proper.

Lastly, for Coinbase’s newly launched Coinbase Index Fund, the Coinbase Asset Management division will follow their previously announced approach, that any assets added to GDAX will automatically have its market cap applied to the Index Fund’s weighted average.

Coinbase took the opportunity to reiterate that despite the newly added support for ERC20 tokens, no specific asset support or listings are being announced at this time.

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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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coinbase lawsuit

Coinbase has been hit with a class-action lawsuit that alleges employees and other insiders engaged in insider trading in connection with the company’s decision to add support for bitcoin cash.

The lawsuit, filed on March 2 in the US District Court for the Northern District of California, alleges that employees and other insiders acted on non-public information to manipulate the bitcoin cash price following its listing on the company’s eponymous brokerage platform, as well as GDAX, its order-book exchange.

As BlockExplorer reported, Coinbase added support for BCH in mid-December. Immediately following its launch, the bitcoin cash price quickly and inexplicably shot up to $9,500 on GDAX, despite the fact that the coin’s global average peaked at $3,813. Within minutes, the company had halted trading, but those who bought BCH during the frenzy accused the exchange of quoting artificially-inflated prices.

Many observers accused those with prior knowledge of the addition of engaging in insider trading, and Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong assured customers in a blog post that the company was conducting an internal investigation. He vowed that the company would terminate and take appropriate legal action against any employee found to have traded on the news.

From the post:

“Given the price increase in the hours leading up the announcement, we will be conducting an investigation into this matter. If we find evidence of any employee or contractor violating our policies — directly or indirectly — I will not hesitate to terminate the employee immediately and take appropriate legal action.”

However, the suit notes that neither Armstrong nor Coinbase has publicly disclosed the results of that inquiry.

Notably, the lawsuit requests that the court award damages under California’s Unfair Competition Law — not statutes involving insider trading. This, as Rick Falvinge noted in his reaction to the brouhaha, is because bitcoin cash and other cryptocurrencies are currently regulated as commodities — not securities. Consequently, insider trading laws technically cannot be applied to the incident.

When contacted for comment, a Coinbase representative referred us to the company’s blog.

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Credit processing giant Visa has issued a statement admitting that Coinbase is not at fault for a series of overcharges — some amounting to as much as 50 times the original purchase — reported by Coinbase customers over the past several weeks.

On Friday, Visa released a joint statement with payment processing firm Worldpay stating categorically that Coinbase was not to blame for the overcharges, which had left some customers without any money in their bank accounts.

“Over the last two days, some customers who used a credit or debit card at Coinbase may have seen duplicate transactions posted to their cardholder accounts,” the companies said in the statement, which was also posted on Coinbase’s website. “This issue was not caused by Coinbase.”

This statement contrasted with a Visa spokesperson’s earlier comments. In a statement made to tech outlet The Next Web, the company suggested that the technical bug had been caused by Coinbase.

“Visa has not made any systems changes that would result in the duplicate transactions cardholders are reporting,” the earlier statement read. “We are also not aware of any other merchants who are experiencing this issue.”

Coinbase, meanwhile, had consistently maintained that the issue was on Visa’s end, most likely related to the payment processor’s recent decision to begin reclassifying Coinbase transactions as cash advances, which incur additional fees.

As BlockExplorer reported, confusion over these new fees had led Coinbase to prohibit US customers from adding new credit cards to their accounts. This bug, however, appears to have affected credit and debit cards alike.

In the updated statement, Visa did not go so far as to admit that the additional fees were its fault. However, the firm said that it is working to reverse the unauthorized charges and that “the majority of these reversals” should have already been posted to customer accounts.

“Worldpay and Coinbase have been working with Visa and Visa issuing banks to ensure that the duplicate transactions have been reversed and appropriate credits have been posted to cardholder accounts. All reversal transactions have now been issued, and should appear on customers’ credit card and debit card accounts within the next few days,” the companies said in the statement.

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