- Coinbase acquired Cipher Browser, an ethereum wallet that competed with its existing Toshi ethereum browser, the company announced Friday.
- It’s the first acquisition the $1.6 billion cryptocurrency exchange has made since hiring away former LinkedIn M&A leader Emilie Choi in March.
- It’s also a sign that Coinbase is willing to dish out cash to buy up its competitors.
Coinbase has big plans to be the Google of cryptocurrency. So it’s no surprise that the $1.6 billion bitcoin exchange has taken a page from Google’s own playbook: acquiring a small, but nimble competitor.
On Friday, Coinbase announced its acquisition of Cipher Browser, a cryptocurrency wallet company that lets users store ethereum-based tokens. It’s similar to Coinbase’s existing ethereum browser, Toshi.
Cipher’s one man team, Pete Kim, will take on the title of head of engineering for Coinbase’s Toshi and work alongside Sid Coelho-Prabhu, the current Toshi product lead. The company didn’t disclose the terms of the deal.
It’s the first acquisition Coinbase has made since poaching LinkedIn’s mergers and acquisitions boss Emilie Choi.
Coinbase’s latest $100 million funding round and $1 billion revenue stream gives the company plenty of cash to put toward acquisitions. But the exchange has been fairly light-handed since its founding in 2011.
In January, Coinbase acqui-hired the small engineering team behind Memo.AI, a two-year-old startup that built a Slackbot to help manage technical teams. And in 2014, it made two other acqui-hires: Kippt and Blockr.io.
Like its past acquisitions, Cipher and Kim will be blended into Coinbase’s existing structure. The company also plans to integrate features from the Cipher Browser into Toshi.
Coinbase launched Toshi in 2014 as an open-source tool kit to make it easier for bitcoin developers to build new tools. But it’s since become clear that the bitcoin blockchain is too slow and expensive to use for anything but digital money.
Then ethereum came onto the scene. Ethereum, which itself has a successful cryptocurrency traded on Coinbase, is a blockchain network designed to host applications on top of it. It’s the blockchain that supports games like Cryptokitties, as well as a whole slew of other startups.
In theory, Toshi makes it easier for casual users to access applications built on the ethereum network.
“We’re excited to combine forces and build the best browser for the decentralized web,” a Coinbase spokesperson said in the announcement.Link to source