Coinbase has recently acquired Earn.com for reportedly over $120 million USD.
The deal comes at the end of months-long speculation that talks between the two were taking place. Earn.com started as a Bitcoin mining startup and pivoted to ‘a cryptocurrency-based professional networking platform’ to earn Bitcoin by completing tasks such as answering emails. Earn.com is also planning to launch their own ERC20 token in order to further enable cryptocurrency-based task requests. It is significant in that Coinbase has said that they also plan to support for ERC20 tokens, however, Earn.com said that they plan to move their ERC20 token development down the priority list as they integrate into Coinbase’s platform.
The announcement from Coinbase came via blog post and did focus a good amount of time on former Earn.com CEO Balaji Srinivasan, who will now become chief technology officer at Coinbase. In addition, Coinbase’s acquisition of Earn.com follows their other acquisition last Friday of Cipher Browser, a mobile Ethereum wallet and decentralized app (DApp) browser, which has one employee, Peter Kim, who will join Coinbase’s engineering team. Peter Kim will work on integrating Cipher Browser into Coinbase’s own mobile DApp browser, Toshi
Investing in cryptocurrency service startups
Coinbase’s recent acquisitions along with their launch of Coinbase Ventures, which will inject cryptocurrency startups with $15 million in early seed funding highlights the growing emphasis on helping to solve consumer pain points. Since Earn.com’s pivot, they have focused on how to make integration from the regular world into the crypto world easier and more streamlined for individuals. This has been what Coinbase is most commonly known for – their ease of buying and selling cryptocurrencies. However, it must not be ignored that Coinbase has placed a lot of attention onto the employees they hired through the acquisitions and simply buying a company to get access to their teams is not unheard of within the startup world.
Overall, this trend is a stark contrast to half a year ago when it seemed like everyone was launching their own coin or token. Instead, the focus, or at least a sizable chunk of the money, has shifted to funding projects that focus on making crypto easier to use for the average consumer. This is further supported by the Rockefeller’s recent foray into cryptocurrency-startup funding.
This change in dynamic can be seen as positive for expanding cryptocurrency adoption since one of the largest barriers of entry for the average consumer into cryptocurrencies is lack of knowledge and/or difficulty using cryptocurrencies. The general goal of startups is to try to solve consumer pain points. So funding more cryptocurrency service startups will eventually lead to some startups finding a solution that makes cryptocurrency easier to use and/or more attractive for the average consumer.
Dash focuses on the consumer and has the funds to make it happen
Over the past couple years, Dash has placed an emphasis on usability development to make using Dash as easy as possible for consumers. First and foremost, Dash has some the fastest transaction times and lowest transaction fees among the top cryptocurrencies, which is a significant part in making Dash usable by people around the world. Second, Dash Core has been developing Evolution and has plans to make the user interaction much easier than the standard cryptographic UI/UX without sacrificing security and the other aspects of the blockchain. The appeal of Dash’s focus on usability is seen by how quickly and widely Dash has grown in countries all over the world from Venezuela, to the US, to countries in Africa, and to countries in Europe and Asia.
In addition, Dash is able to fund this focus on usability, itself, through its unique treasury and governance system. Dash can fund direct development of the blockchain and wallet to avoid having to strictly rely on volunteer hours. Dash can also fund separate business ventures that educate consumers and make transitioning to cryptocurrencies as easy as possible by lowering the switching costs. Dash’s treasury system allows for cool projects to be funded that truly attempt to serve the Dash consumer and are not beholden to any one central investor.