Coinbase has acquired Earn.com, a startup that lets users earn bitcoin by replying to emails and completing tasks, in a deal rumoured to be worth more than $100 million. As part of the agreement, Earn.com CEO Balaji Srinivasan becomes Coinbase's first chief technology officer.
Earn.com began life as bitcoin mining outfit 21 Inc before rebranding last October and switching focus to its paid email business model.
People who create an Earn.com profile can join lists based on their skills and interests and then start receiving emails containing micro-tasks from recruiters, startups and researchers. When a task is completed, the user gets paid in cryptocurrency.
In a blog, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong says: "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."
Meanwhile, Earn CEO Srinivasan becomes Coinbase CTO, a role that will see him "evangelize for both crypto and for Coinbase, educating the world and recruiting crypto-first talent to the company," says Armstrong.
The deal comes days after Coinbase acquired mobile ethereum wallet Cipher Browser and weeks after the cryptocurrency exchange operator unveiled plans to create a venture fund to invest in early-stage crypto and blockchain startups.