Coinbase is shutting down the startup Earn.com which it acquired for an estimated $100 million last year. The email service allowed senders to pay users in digital currency for replying to commercial messages or completing tasks.
Coinbase Says Goodbye to Earn.com
San Francisco-based cryptocurrency trading platform Coinbase has reportedly decided to shut down Earn.com (formerly known as 21 Inc). The exchange notified clients of the decision via email, explaining that it is “sunsetting Earn.com to focus exclusively on Coinbase Earn,” The Block reported on Monday. Users of the service were given about two months’ notice until they have withdraw all their funds.
The company also added that it plans on “scaling Coinbase Earn even further by adding more campaigns to the platform, to connect more blockchain networks with engaged crypto users.” Coinbase Earn is a service meant to incentive people to learn more about new cryptocurrencies. The educational platform rewards users with tokens for completing various tasks such as watching videos and taking quizzes on crypto-related content.
$100 Million Acquisition
The idea behind Earn.com was allowing senders to pay users in digital currency for replying to emails and completing tasks, which is meant to benefit both normal email users and large-scale senders of commercial emails. A normal email user could earn crypto by replying to emails and also use the price of inbound emails as a signal to rank them by importance. Senders of commercial email could use Earn.com to pay users to get them to reply to messages regrading subjects such as recruiting, fundraising, and marketing which most users just filter as spam under normal circumstances.
Coinbase only announced that it had acquired Earn.com in April 2018. The two sides have not revealed the financial details of the deal but it wa estimated at the time to be just above $100 million. This was considerably lower than previous valuations for the startup and caused a push-back from investors according to Silicon Valley media reports.
As part of the acquisition, Earn’s co-founder and CEO Balaji Srinivasan joined Coinbase as the company’s first Chief Technology Officer (CTO). Earn.com promised its users at the time that it was not ”going down” or drastically changing. In fact, the company claimed that the product was only going to get “bigger and better” as a consequence of this deal.
What do you think about Coinbase shutting down Earn.com? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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Avi Mizrahi is an economist and entrepreneur who has been covering Bitcoin as a journalist since 2013. He has spoken about the promise of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology at numerous financial conferences around the world, from London to Hong-Kong.
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