Top U.S. fiat-to-crypto exchange Coinbase has acquisitions on the brain, this time buying up paid email play Earn.com in a deal in excess of at least $120 million USD. The move comes on the heels of Coinbase’s fresh acquisition of Cipher Browser, an Ethereum-based “Web 3” DApp browser.
Coinbase’s Shopping Spree Continues
On Earn.com, users get paid in crypto to reply to emails and perform small tasks. Now, Coinbase is paying cold hard cash, cryptocurrency, and stocks in kind to make Earn.com’s paid email enterprise part of its own ecosystem.
— Coinbase (@coinbase) April 16, 2018
As part of the move, Coinbase will be making Earn CEO Balaji Srinivasan the chief technical officer of Coinbase going foward. Srinivasan, a long-time bitcoin evangelist who holds four degrees across two fields of engineering, will retain his board partnership at Silicon Valley venture capital darling Andreessen Horowitz.
It now falls in his lap to help the Earn team integrate and to manage Coinbase’s technical vision. Srinivasan told TechCrunch it was an exciting time to dig in:
“There’s a lot of amazing stuff happening. Atomic swaps, sharding, plasma, proof of stake, etc, and a big part of my job will be to take all of that stuff, and rank it based on whether we can use it to create new products for our users.”
Notably, Earn.com was previously working on launching a native token, but will table that project for now to narrow its focus on transitioning into Coinbase.
The Earn Model
As Earn.com explained in their acquisition announcement post, the service fits personal or commercial use equally:
“Earn.com allows senders to pay users in digital currency for replying to emails and completing tasks. Relative to the status quo, the introduction of payments benefits both normal email users and large-scale senders of commercial emails.”
For example, a book researcher can pay an expert on Earn in crypto to respond to technical queries on a given subject. Likewise, mass emails work the same, as “Earn.com senders get 30–70% response rates within 24 hours for $1–10 incentives, even for messages with many thousands of recipients.”
Not bad at all, it seems, compared to the traditional conversion rate of just under 2 percent for regular cold emails. But it’s not all emails at Earn, as users can also “create surveys, tasks, and multi-stage pipelines that combine more than one digital task.”
So Coinbase may soon enough have a micro-gig economy within its very own ecosystem.
What’s your take? Was this a good, bad, or down-the-middle acquisition? Sound off in the comments below.
Images via Earn, Coinbase