Coinbase, the San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange, has announced that it has acquired Earn.com, a portal that allows its users to earn Bitcoin in exchange for answering messages and completing tasks. As a part of the acquisition, Balaji Srinivasan, co-founder and CEO of Earn.com, a previous partner at venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, will take responsibility as the first CTO (Chief Technology Officer) of Coinbase.
Coinbase is offering $100 million, partly in cash, stock, and crypto assets, to acquire Earn.com, according to a Recode report. Earlier in 2015, Earn received $310 million in funding, according to PitchBook.
Following the acquisition, Coinbase, with its infrastructure, is planning to double the business of Earn, which has successfully built a paid email product that is arguably one of the best practical and meaningful examples of blockchain applications.
According to Brian Armstrong, Balaji will spearhead the company and the industry as a “technological evangelist.” Balaji will also be responsible for recruiting blockchain technology talent, an effort that Coinbase has given priority in the recent months.
Earlier in March, Emilie Choi from LinkedIn joined Coinbase to lead new partnerships and acquisitions. The company also hired Tina Bhatnagar from Twitter recently. Last week, Rachel Horowitz, former Facebook and Twitter communications director, joined Coinbase. Eric Scro, a former New York Stock Exchange executive was also hired as VP of Finance in March.
Coinbase also announced a deal to buy Cipher Browser, a mobile app browser and wallet for the Ethereum blockchain. Earlier this month, the cryptocurrency exchange launched a fund known as Coinbase Ventures to support early-stage start-ups.
The company, originally known as 21.co, was founded in 2013 as a Bitcoin mining hardware manufacturer. 21.co sold a low powered computer named 21 Bitcoin computer, which allowed users to mine small amounts of Bitcoin and develop simple Bitcoin applications. In 2017, the company transitioned itself as a paid email and social media platform. The early backers of Earn.com include Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, RRE Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz.
Srinivasan is one of the well known technologists in the crypto arena. He holds a BS, MS, and PhD in Electrical Engineering and an MS in Chemical Engineering from Stanford University. He has taught courses in statistics, genomics, data mining, and blockchain at his alma mater. He was also the cofounder and CTO of Counsyl. Srinivas has won the prestigious Wall Street Journal Innovation Award for Medicine.