Mapping out Coinbase’s acquisitions and investments


Coinbase, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the U.S., has stood out among its competitors as one of the most active in mergers and acquisition. 

The firm, which is valued at $8 billion, has had a lot of cash on hand to snap up smaller firms across the nascent crypto world, including most notably Earn, a firm that provides a platform for folks to earn crypto by answering emails. It was reported that Coinbase acquired Earn for a figure above $100M, which would be Coinbase’s largest deal out of the 13 in total. The exchange operator also acquired Paradex, the decentralized exchange, and Keystone, a broker dealer. 

The Block has also learned of three unannounced small acquisitions:

  • Seneca Systems: a platform to improve workflow for governments.
  • CryptoFin, an ethereum DAO that pivoted to become a basket of crypto investments.
  • Bumpers, a music application.

Behind Coinbase’s acquisition activity is Emilie Choi, previously the top dealmaker at LinkedIn, who in an interview with Business Insider described the firm’s strategy as “business in the front, party in the back.”

“We’re the ultimate mullet company,” she added.

“We have these incredibly strong core businesses that leverage the power of crypto and are crypto first, but they look like financial institutions. The back part is the bleeding-edge, crypto-first services that we invest in because of the power of our core businesses,” Choi said.

Max Branzburg, head of corporate development at Coinbase, works along side Choi and a team of more than 10 folks involved with Coinbase’s M&A activity. 

Below, we’ve mapped out the firm’s mergers to date as well as its investments via its VC arm Coinbase Ventures. 

  • acquired on August 18, 2014
  • Memo.AI acquired on January 18, 2018
  • Bumpers acquired on February 20, 2018
  • Cipher Browser acquired on April 13, 2018
  • acquired on April 16, 2018 (You can read more about Coinbase’s plans for Earn, here.)
  • Paradex acquired on May 23, 2018
  • Keystone Capital Corp. acquired on June 6, 2018
  • Digital Wealth acquired on June 6, 2018
  • Venovate acquired on June 6, 2018
  • Distributed Systems acquired on August 15, 2018
  • CryptoFin acquired on October 26, 2018
  • Seneca Systems acquired on November 14, 2018
  • Blockspring acquired on January 17, 2019
  • Elph is a decentralized network for Plasma sidechains
  • Starkware is developing scalability and privacy solutions for blockchains
  • Coinmine is a cryptocurrency mining hardware manufacturer
  • Gauntlet is a testing platform for crypto networks
  • Celo is a mobile-focused platform for digital payments
  • Reserve is developing a stablecoin
  • UMA is a decentralized financial contracts platform
  • Terminal is a platform for managing Web 3 protocols and dApps
  • Unlock is an access control protocol for content creators
  • Spacemesh is a blockmesh operating system for running smart contracts
  • Compound is a protocol for money markets on the Ethereum network
  • The Block is a crypto and blockchain media and research firm
  • Relevant is a social news platform
  • Trustory is blockchain-based social network for debates
  • Token Daily is a crypto and blockchain content aggregator
  • Alchemy is a blockchain intelligence platform
  • Etherscan is a Ethereum blockchain explorer and data provider
  • Nomics is a cryptoasset data company providing market data API
  • Opensea is an online marketplace for non-fungible tokens
  • R.A.R.E is an online marketplace for digitize art
  • Public Market is an open data protocol for e-commerce marketplaces
  • Rare Bits is an online marketplace for non-fungible tokens
  • Abacus is an administration for company, fund, and real estate securities
  • RealtyBits is a blockchain-based investment platform for tokenized American commercial real estate
  • Securitize is a compliance platform digitizing securities
  • Fuel Games is a blockchain infrastructure platform for video games
  • Horizon Games develops blockchain-powered video games

With contributions from Frank Chaparro

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Mapping out Coinbase’s acquisitions and investments written by Steven Zheng @ January 21, 2019 Steven Zheng

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