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 …

Quick Take

  • Coinbase has acquired 13 companies since it was founded
  • The exchange’s venture arm, Coinbase Ventures, has made investments in 27 startups

by Steven Zheng

2 hrs ago · 3 min read

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.

  • Blockr.io 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
  • Earn.com 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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Cornell Professor says “TRON is no operating system,” Ethereum’s Vitalik Buterin Supports Criticism

Emin Gün Sirer, a professor at Cornell University and a famous influencer in the crypto and blockchain sphere, blasted TRON (TRX), Justin Sun’s …
Cornell Professor says “TRON is no operating system,” Ethereum's Vitalik Buterin Supports Criticism
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Emin Gün Sirer, a professor at Cornell University and a famous influencer in the crypto and blockchain sphere, blasted TRON (TRX), Justin Sun’s blockchain project for claiming to be one of the “largest blockchain-based operating systems in the world.”

Sirer made this known on his official Twitter account saying that TRON is not an Operating System (OS) while declaring his expertise in Operating Systems.

I know Operating Systems.

I have built Operating Systems.

Tron is no Operating System. pic.twitter.com/JhRhodijKl

— Emin Gün Sirer (@el33th4xor) January 21, 2019

Aside from saying that Tron is not an operating system, Prof Sirer also gave what he called “blockchain Rule #73,” which states that “anything billed as a ‘blockchain operating system’ is an embarrassing mess.”

It is not surprising to see that the Cornell Professor is knowledgeable about OS as Sirer is famous for his brilliant contributions on technological topics such as P2P systems, computer programming, and operating systems.

Confirming his claims of developing Operating systems, Sirer is the brain behind SPIN kernel, an Operating System that he developed as a graduate student.

Vitalik Buterin’s Contributions

Replying to Sirer’s Blockchain rule, Ethereum’s co-founder, Vitalik Buterin tweeted a question with an answer to the Professor saying,

“But what about legitimate blockchain operating systems like $AVA and $SUB? (I *think* that’s how one of the more recent twitter shilling tricks works…)

The trick is to throw your coin into a list of other coins that you know the recipients of your shilling already approve of and get them to associate your coin as “one of the pack”. Also the dollar signs. The darned {{deity}}-awful dollar signs…”

It did not also come as a surprise to see 24-year old Buterin, joining forces with Professor Sirer to criticize TRON since it is a known fact that Buterin is no fan of Sun and his project.

In fact, Buterin and Sun are known for criticizing each other’s project. In December last year, Tron founder threw a big one at Buterin stating that the developers at Ethereum and Consensys are suffering layoffs and they should apply for jobs at TRON as they will be happily welcomed.

Meanwhile, TRON TRX is the most significant gainer among the top 10 cryptocurrencies. TRX is recording more than 6% over the last 24 hours while Ethereum ETH is down by 0.98% at press time. Both coins have a market cap of $12,334,799,679 and $1,680,618,988 respectively.

What’s Your Thought On This ?, Let Us Know In the Comment section Below.


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Blockchain Inroads Disaster Management And Relief Through Centrally-Managed Systems

… protocol can be integrated within geospatial activity and remains compliant to all the standards. This entire plan works on smart contract technology.

Blockchain technology has become the one unique approach for almost all the domains including disaster management. No one would have ever thought about it few years back when it was introduced as an operating platform for crytpocurrency trade. Some of the experts believe that this emerging technology is cryptocurrency be used for such management. In fact, it has already been undertaken by the renowned human rights organization United Nations for some of their eminent projects.

A blockchain network or ledger is a network of huge database or records which remain immutable and cannot be altered. It provides enhanced transparency and monitoring to the network participants and users. The government agencies can use blockchain-enabled platform to ensure tax regulations.

A blockchain-enabled platform Dappbase has been adopted by Indonesian industry group Carbon Conservation which will help in protecting rainforests from haze-causing fires in some regions. This region is very prone to such haze fires and it happens there often. In another update it is unveiled that, this technology is also going to help in distributing aid credits during disaster management. Companies like Sikka that run on the Ethereum blockchain operating platform has begun the usage of distribute digital credits to the aid recipients. This way there is no third-party involvement and no chance of any fraudulent activity as mentioned by Forbes.

Similarly, Israeli firm Platin has found an innovative solution ‘Proof of Location’ (PoL) protocols which will specializes in identifying GPS coordinates or specific location to forward essential supplies in case of any disaster. The protocol can be integrated within geospatial activity and remains compliant to all the standards. This entire plan works on smart contract technology.

Blockchain And Disaster Relief

According to Pymnts, the U.S. Department of Defense has found a unique way to deal with disasters relief. The department believes that this technology is capable of transforming trust or transactions with the centrally-managed systems. The department is still making developments in their research about how blockchain can be deployed for disaster management.

[The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and/or the official policy of the website. ]

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Ethereum’s important upgrade postponed to late February

Ethereum, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrencies and decentralized app platforms, was supposed to get an upgrade called Constantinople on …

Ethereum, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrencies and decentralized app platforms, was supposed to get an upgrade called Constantinople on January 16.

Alas, due to a security issue discovered just one day before the scheduled upgrade, Constantinople was delayed, and now we have a new date: February 27.

This is according to Ethereum developer Péter Szilágyi, who tweeted about the change late Friday.

Seems we’re going with block 7.28M for the #Ethereum Constantinople refork scheduled for the 27th of February! Will be a single fork on mainnet and a post-Constantinople-fixup fork on the testnets to get them back in line feature wise with the main network.

— Péter Szilágyi (@peter_szilagyi) January 18, 2019

According to Szilágyi, the upgrade is now scheduled to happen at block 7,280,000 in Ethereum’s blockchain, which roughly translates to Feb. 27 (it’s impossible to give a precise time since the blocks in the blockchain are discovered and added at regular, but not exact, time intervals).

Originally, Constantinople was supposed to activate five distinct upgrades called EIPs (Ethereum Improvement Proposals). Four of these make the network a bit more efficient and pave the way for future upgrades. Now, however, EIP 1283 — an upgrade that was supposed to make certain transactions on Ethereum cheaper, and also the one that turned out to be buggy — will be removed from the upgrade.

A particularly important upgrade called EIP 1234 will be included as originally planned. It adjusts the parameters of mining Ethereum, reducing the rewards miners get for discovering new blocks, and delays Ethereum’s self-imposed deadline clock called the difficulty bomb.

The changes, while important, mostly have to do with an upcoming, major upgrade of Ethereum called Casper, which is scheduled to go live sometime in 2019. A part of a larger effort that’s sometimes called Ethereum 2.0, Casper should bring major changes to the network, most importantly the switch from the proof-of-work consensus mechanism to the less energy-intensive proof-of-stake.

Reminder from @5chdn: Constantinopele delays do not at all impact the steady and ongoing progress of Casper/sharding/serenity: https://t.co/FfF9XRTSOY

— Vitalik Non-giver of Ether (@VitalikButerin) January 20, 2019

In a tweet posted Sunday, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin clarified that this postponement does not impact the work that’s being done on Casper, which is being developed by an independent team.

Disclosure: The author of this text owns, or has recently owned, a number of cryptocurrencies, including BTC and ETH.

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Top 10 Cryptocurrencies to Invest in For 2019

Already faster and more scalable than Ethereum, NEO is definitely one of the two or three best smart contract platforms on the planet. We can’t give …

The crypto markets continue to suffer after a prolonged “Crypto Winter”. But many think that the golden age of blockchain and cryptocurrency is yet to come. We’ve seen incredible technological developments during 2018, even if crypto prices did not follow suit. Sooner or later, some of these blockchain projects are going to break through, and investors who hold these digital coins and tokens are going to reap their reward.

Here are our top 10 crypto picks for 2019. Some of these are old favorites, and some relative newcomers. No one can predict the future, but we hope that anyone with these coins in their portfolio will have good luck in investing during 2019.

1. NEO (NEO)

NEO Coin NEO Blockchain

NEO was one of the most hyped crypto tokens of 2018, but it has fallen off more than 90% from its all time high price. Fortunately for NEO holders, this is where the bad news stops. NEO boasts some top quality Dapps (more on this later), what may be the best consensus mechanism in the blockchain industry (Delegated Byzantine Fault Tolerance beats out Bitcoin’s Proof-of-Work, according to some experts), and a high-return economic model (free NEO GAS for every NEO token an investor owns).

Great interview with $NEO co-founder/key developer Erik Zhang about #Neo’s future and how it truly will be the Smart Economy. The article is not really about why $ETH will surpass $BTC. Neo holds great value IMO. Good to hear Erik working tirelessly on Neo! 🚀 🚀 https://t.co/X4bvXG0SnX

— ART_4_CRYPTO (@art4crypto) January 15, 2019

At its height, one NEO token sold for more than $200 on some exchanges. Today, the same token will sell for less than $10. With tons of interest and development mounting behind “the Ethereum of China”, NEO may be poised to move to the head of the pack, even beyond Asia. Already faster and more scalable than Ethereum, NEO is definitely one of the two or three best smart contract platforms on the planet. We can’t give formal financial advice, but buying NEO, at these prices, could represent one of the best investment possibilities of 2019 so far.

2. Raiden (RDN)

Raiden Ethereum

Raiden is a second-layer solution for Ethereum. If that doesn’t make sense, think of it as Ethereum’s version of Bitcoin’s Lightning Network. If that still doesn’t make sense, it could be said that Raiden helps speed up Ethereum by taking some of its traffic. Users can fund Raiden nodes with Ether ETH, then use it to make payments and complete other transactions by sending the funds to other Raiden nodes. Ethereum doesn’t have to do any work to make these connections, taking lots of pressure off the Ethereum blockchain while Ethereum developers look for other scaling solutions.

Raiden RDN is the token used on the Raiden system, and it is way down in price since its all time high in January or last year. Despite all of the declining price action, Raiden development activity remains white hot. In fact, Raiden has more Github development activity than most other blockchains. Even though Raiden isn’t on the radar of many investors, there are few projects out there with a more committed developer base. Furthermore, if you believe in Ethereum, chances are you see the value in a strong second layer solution for the world’s largest smart contract platform. Do yourself a favor and research Raiden. You might find it fills an important gap in your cryptocurrency investment portfolio.

3. ICON (ICX)

ICON dapps

ICON has been called South Korea’s Ethereum, and the analogy isn’t unfounded. Like Ethereum, ICON allows developers to create smart contracts on their blockchain. However, ICON is more focused on development within South Korea (even though it does have international ambitions). ICON works primarily to connect institutions within South Korea, for reduced friction in financial and data transfer. They also have many consumer-facing applications in their growing Dapp list. However, lest you think that ICON doesn’t look beyond its national borders, the company has recently opened up offices in San Francisco and Singapore, where its focus will be both B2B and B2C.

Very nice, #ICON‘s DEX, scheduled and confirmed to be released in Q4 2017, is now expected for Q1-2 2019 in this exciting news. Keep up the great work! $ICX

And keep up with the great work, @wbm_97, expecting the reward? 🤔

— Microoo (@HuMicro) January 18, 2019

ICON development has slowed somewhat in the sustained crypto market downturn, but it has never ceased entirely. With renewed market interest has come increased activity from ICON core. Still down more than 90% from all time high, ICON ICX could represent an incredible opportunity. Not only will it facilitate exciting applications, users in South Korea can already buy ICON at physical ICON ATMs, for use as digital cash. ICON needs to hunker down and build on its promise, but it’s a project we still believe in.

4. ARK (ARK)

ARK blockchain

The so-called “WordPress of Blockchain” has done a ton of development during the 2018 market downturn. ARK is a blockchain ecosystem with many functions, but perhaps its most important is its “point, click, blockchain” initiative. ARK wants anyone to be able to be able to create their own blockchain and/or digital token with the push of a button, just like people can create their own website with ease using WordPress.

ARK also allows for interoperability between blockchains. Want to create an application that performs functions on Ethereum and Bitcoin at the same time? ARK can do that. in the coming months, ARK will also add smart contract functionality, so that people can develop complex dapps on the ARK blockchain itself. ARK is incorporated in France, and despite seeing many other smart contract platforms decline in recent months, development has neither ceased nor slowed.

ARK investors get great paybacks for staking coins, with annual returns hovering somewhere near 9%. ARK may not be the biggest or flashiest blockchain project, but they have great products and a solid governance/economic model (abuse-resistant Delegated Proof of Stake). Also boasting one of the best communities in the industry, ARK has an integrity that is very attractive in the flaky world of blockchain startups.

5. Ethereum (ETH)

Ethereum Ether ETH

You didn’t think we’d complete an investment list without mentioning Ethereum ETH, did you? Despite a miserable price year in 2018, Ethereum remains the world’s most developed blockchain. ETH has more developer talent working on its myriad functions than any other project, Bitcoin included.

#Ethereum update going live pic.twitter.com/F9AcKpeMMQ

— Crypto Community (@crypto_promos) January 20, 2019

Despite delays, arguments over new features, and a price in the absolute toilet, Ethereum is forging ahead, following the vision laid out by visionary leader Vitalik Buterin. So much has already been said about Ethereum, it hardly bears mentioning here. If you want to buy ETH, do your own research and seriously consider investing while the price is still low!

6. Ripple (XRP)

Riplle XRP

People love to hate on Ripple. And Ripple just keeps on growing. XRP unapologetically appeals to institutions. Even though this is anathema to certain blockchain aficionados, this singularity of focus has led Ripple to achieve, arguably, the greatest adoption success of any cryptocurrency in the world. XRP facilitates large financial transaction across borders, usually made by banks, which it allows to be much faster and cheaper than conventional methods. Already adopted by banks like PNC, Santander, and the Royal Bank of Canada, Ripple looks like a foundational new currency forging real world adoption like none other. Those who buy XRP at these low prices may be getting in on the (new) ground floor.

7. Travala (AVA)

Travala NEO ecosystem

Travala may be the best Dapp on the NEO blockchain. If you believe that any NEO application will succeed, AVA should be a part of your crypto portfolio. Aimed at the travel and hotel industry, Travala lists lodging and accommodations all around the world, to help travelers find the lowest prices available through any platform. It’s remarkable just how fast Travala adds new properties, and (unlike many other crypto apps) people actually use Travala. Could this be the killer app that breaks NEO into the mainstream? We’re not so sure yet. But it’s hard to imagine that AVA’s price will stay this low for long.

8. Binance Coin (BNB)

Binance Coin

Binance remains the world’s most popular crypto-to-crypto exchange. Billions in digital assets are traded here each day, and what’s good for Binance is good for the industry at large. Binance’s BNB allows users to get trading discounts. Binance regularly burns BNB, reducing its circulating supply, thereby increasing the value of all holders’ BNB through the simple laws of supply and demand. If you think that crypto prices are going to bounce back, then you should really consider what this will do for Binance and, by extension, BNB.

9. Bitcoin (BTC)

Bitcoin BTC

OK, this one might seem a little obvious, but let’s think carefully of Bitcoin’s place in the market at this point in 2019. Bitcoin continues to lead the charge, and its price has suffered less over the past year than almost any altcoin. The majority of people in the world see the crypto industry as inseparable from Bitcoin. Bitcoin’s success is crypto’s success. This means that Bitcoin is relatively stable when compared to other coins. It also means that, if the bulls return to crypto markets, Bitcoin BTC will be the first price to increase.

Bitcoin has improved upon its foundation over the past year. Where Bitcoin used to be slow and expensive to use, matters have improved somewhat. The combination of Segregated Witness, second layer solution the Lightning Network, and other development factors, Bitcoin is slowly scaling its massive network, and keeping down fees in the process. Bitcoin development has remained doggedly committed in the past year. We think that, ultimately, one or more digital cash solutions will dominate the industry, and Bitcoin is more likely to succeed than any of its competitors. Will Bitcoin meet and exceed all time highs in 2019? Nobody knows for sure…but at these prices, buying Bitcoin is looking like a steal.

10. Monero (XMR)

Monero XMR

Monero XMR is one of the most interesting cryptocurrencies there is. A true privacy coin, Monero can be transacted without a record of the identity of either the sending or receiving party. This leads some to conclude the Monero is sketchy – and indeed the coin has been used for some nefarious purposes – but Monero also has many legitimate and fully legal use cases. Even if a privacy coin can never be mainstream in the same way that a non-private coin like Bitcoin can, its secrecy also helps ensure its ongoing usefulness.

Monero XMR isn’t going anywhere. With XMR prices way down since all time highs in early 2018, today’s XRM buyers could have a real deal on their hands, one supported by one of the largest and most mature crypto communities of any competing blockchain platform. One coin will rule them all in privacy. You may buy Zcash or some other competitor’s claim at superiority more than Monero’s, but we tend to find XMR most successful.

So, which is next biggest cryptocurrency for 2019?

We can’t tell you which projects will succeed or fail in 2019, or which way to invest your money. Do your own research and invest only that which you could afford to lose. Prioritize projects that have excellent software, stand-out community support, devoted development, tangible use cases, and inspiring partnerships around the globe. We’ll be very interested to look at this list a year from now, to see how our predictions did. If crypto prices bounce back, though, we feel strongly that some of these projects will be among the most successful of 2019.

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