Cryptocurrency brokerage Coinbase is preparing to make the largest acquisition in its nearly seven-year history, sources close to the situation say.
Citing people “directly involved with the discussions,” CoinDesk reports that Coinbase is in talks to acquire Earn.com, a platform that allows users to earn cryptocurrency by replying to emails and completing other microtasks such as registering for token airdrops or completing surveys.
At present, Earn.com pays users in Bitcoin, but the company plans to develop its own cryptocurrency, the “Earnable Token,” though it does not plan to hold an initial coin offering (ICO).
In 2015, Earn.com — formerly known as 21 Inc. — raised $116 million in a series of funding rounds, setting a then-record for cryptocurrency-related startups.
Sources told the publication that Earn.com is currently in talks with several potential buyers in addition to the San Francisco-based Coinbase and that the company could fetch a total compensation package north of $120 million, though some gave figures as low as $30 million.
Coinbase has not been active in the merger and acquisition (M&A) space during most of its history, but observers have expected this to change ever since former LinkedIn dealmaker Emilie Choi joined Coinbase earlier this month as vice president of corporate and business development.
Choi oversaw more than 40 M&As during her tenure at the professional networking company, so her hiring immediately sent the rumor mill grinding.
If executed, the deal would likely see Earn.com CEO Balaji Srinivasan join Coinbase, a development that is in keeping with Choi’s stated proclivity for “acqhiring.”
Coinbase’s rumored talks with Earn.com come as the cryptocurrency industry at large is entering a period in which multi-hundred million dollar mergers and acquisitions could occur with regularity.
As CCN reported, Goldman Sachs-backed fintech startup Circle recently acquired cryptocurrency exchange Poloniex. The deal’s terms were not made public, but Circle reportedly paid approximately $400 million for the US exchange operator.
Europe-based Bitstamp, one of the oldest cryptocurrency exchanges, is also rumored to be considering a sale to a group of South Korean investors in a deal that would also be worth $400 million.