Crypto News | Coinbase Expands with 2 Acquisitions

In a strange twist of fate, the most interesting events today were all somehow related to cryptocurrency exchanges. After entering the UK market last month, it seems like Coinbase is on a mission to strengthen its role and expand its influence. On Friday, Coinbase announced that it would acquire Cipher Browser. Similar to Toshi, the exchange’s own product, Cipher Browser is a free mobile Ethereum wallet which doubles as a web3 dapp browser. While some believe that Coinbase expands in order to to strengthen and develop Toshi, it is far more likely that removing competition was the main reason behind the acquisition. The engineering team will merge various features of Cipher and Toshi in order to deliver a superior final product. But Cipher wasn’t the only thing Coinbase wants to acquire. In its shopping spree, Coinbase set its eyes on Earn.com on Monday. Earn.com, formerly 21 Inc., is one of the best-funded startups in the industry. After dabbling in mining, Earn.com launched its own social network in October. The network rewards its users in cryptocurrencies for completing various tasks. It is a major acquisition, exceeding $100 million. It would seem that former LinkedIn executive Emilie Choi, hired last month as Coinbase’s new vice president of corporate and business development, is doing work.

At Coinbase expands, Kraken, another U.S.-based exchange, is on the retreat. Although Kraken is one of the biggest crypto exchanges, it announced earlier today that it would be leaving the Japanese market in order to focus on improving service in other geographical areas. Although Kraken hasn’t provided a reason for the move, it would appear that the crypto giant was forced out by growing operational costs paired with increased pressure from regulators. Even if we disregard these factors, Kraken never really managed to attract a substantial number of Japanese customers. Before the announcement, the BTC/JPY pairs had a trading volume of $165,298 on Kraken, compared to $130 million on bitFlyer.

Other Japanese exchanges are facing challenges of their own. Having acquired Coincheck, notorious after the XEM hack, Monex now has to find a way to revive the behemoth. The online brokerage firm spent nearly $34 million to acquire the cryptocurrency exchange. Monex does not plan to make any personnel changes, the salaries will stay the same, and Coincheck will retain both its name and its logo to emphasize continuity. Coincheck should resume all operations and receive a license from the Japanese Financial Services Agency (FSA) within two months.

South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges have also formed a regulatory body in an effort to anticipate pressures from the lawmakers and bring order when and where necessary. Earlier today, the Korean Blockchain Association, formed in December 2017, held a press conference, proposing rules and practices applicable to each of the 14 crypto exchanges in the country. According to the proposed requirements, each exchange should hold at least 2 billion Korean won ($1.8 million) in equity capital. It should also file financial statements and audit reports with the Association, in addition to storing transaction records for five years.

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