Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has acquired Blockchain-based paid-email service Earn.com, the companies announced on Monday.
In addition, Earn.com’s co-founder and CEO Balaji Srinivasan will take on the title of the first chief technology officer (CTO) at the San Francisco startup, according to the announcement.
It’s the fifth acquisition Coinbase has made to date and the second since poaching LinkedIn’s mergers and acquisitions boss Emilie Choi.
Blockchain-focused media outlets gave different estimates of the acquisition price. Techcrunch said Earn was sold in a deal worth more than $120 million including the total value of cash, cryptocurrency, stock and management earn-outs. Earn has already raised the same value over multiple funding rounds since its founding nearly five years ago.
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Founded in 2013, Earn originally was developing chips and hardware for cryptocurrency mining. The startup had rebranded in 2017 from 21.co with the launch of its eponymous paid messaging platform, which allows senders to pay users in cryptocurrency to reply to emails and complete tasks.
It has since pivoted to crypto-based messaging technology, which some believe the ultimate goal was to decentralize its network allowing each person to join the project and earn digital currencies for their micro-tasks.
Brian Armstrong, Co-Founder and CEO at Coinbase, said: ”We’re going to be doubling down on the Earn business within Coinbase, as they have built a paid email product that is arguably one of the earliest practical blockchain applications to achieve meaningful traction.”
Commenting on the new CTO appointment, he added: “As CTO of Coinbase, Balaji will serve an important role as the technological evangelist for the company. Balaji will evangelize for both crypto and for Coinbase, educating the world and recruiting crypto-first talent to the company.”