Coinbase has been on a spending spree recently, with a focus on Mergers & Acquisitions. It is already famous as one of the biggest exchanges and it has already made three acquisitions in 2018 — and it’s only the beginning of May.
The face behind these deals is Emilie Choi, who is already well known for being LinkedIn’s big dealmaker, and that’s why Coinbase hired her. She’s good at this stuff.
According to an interview in Business Insider, Coinbase plans to use the Google playbook and is building its team “with ambitious talent from the field and to fill its portfolio with cutting edge technology that will expand the world’s understanding of what crypto can mean and do.”
Clearly Coinbase aims to become a one-stop-shop and play a major role in mass crypto adoption, but this “has put Coinbase at odds with the freewheeling leanings of the cryptocommunity, some of whom see its moves as a competition-crushing consolidation spree,” says Business Insider.
Choi’s goals are: “To echo Google’s acquisition strategy in the early days of Web 2.0 by acquiring products and talent that are pushing the boundaries of what’s possible with the technology at hand. “
She told Business Insider, “she is pursuing four types of acquisitions: acquihires and “tuck-ins”, which allow Coinbase to snap up talent and to get important product features; strategic acquisitions, which includes businesses that Coinbase wants in its portfolio; and fintech companies which have compliance experience in the financial space that Coinbase wants access too.”
Earn.com has been its biggest acquisition so far: Coinbase paid just over S100 million for it, but its other M&As have been more modestly around the $20 million mark.
Spencer Bogart at Blockchain Capital, a Coinbase investor, would like to see the firm make even bigger deals, although he is aware that for many there is a growing sense of there being a ‘Coinbase mafia’ and some critics see its acquisitions as little more than a competition-crushing consolidation spree.
Other sources disagree, but one thing is for sure; Coinbase is going to keep taking some flak on its way to becoming the Google of crypto.