The news broke earlier this week that our portfolio company Coinbase has acquired Earn.com.
A lot of the press attention was centered around the fact that Earn’s CEO Balaji Srinivasan is becoming Coinbase’s CTO and the backstory about how Earn came out of a pivot from a failed Bitcoin mining company called 21.
But an overlooked aspect of this transaction is that Coinbase has acquired a business that is the crypto version of Mechanical Turk or, perhaps, Task Rabbit.
Earn.com allows a user to create a profile and earn Bitcoin by doing tasks. The tasks right now are centered around the crypto sector (analyze a white paper, accept an incoming email from a recruiter, etc). But if you squint, you can imagine how this mechanic could be extended to all sorts of other tasks.
Brian Armstrong, Coinbase’s founder and CEO, tweeted about this yesterday:
It is not enough for all of us to be buying, selling, and holding crypto assets. Earning them is a very important function in the development of an ecosystem. So I am excited to see Coinbase supporting and investing in a business where users can earn crypto assets and my hope is that this becomes something as meaningful as what Amazon has done with Mechanical Turk over the years.
USV TEAM POSTS:
Bethany Marz Crystal — April 16, 2018
Venture Capitalists, circa 2032
Albert Wenger — April 16, 2018
World After Capital: Laying a Foundation (Scarcity)