Coinbase launching venture arm to invest in crypto startups

Bitcoin, cryptocurrency & electronic finance

Coinbase Inc. has capital, and it’s ready to spend it.

The best-known U.S. cryptocurrency exchange is forming Coinbase Ventures, a team that will focus on providing funding to crypto and fintech startups as the San Francisco-based company seeks to build out its business offerings.

“We’re not wedded to any verticals,” Emilie Choi, Coinbase’s vice president of corporate and business development, said in an interview. “We’re going to try to identify pockets of interesting opportunity early on in the life cycle — we’re talking literally at seed stage — and see how they blossom.”

Coinbase is interested in areas including decentralized exchanges, which seek to give investors more control over their funds, and “stablecoins,” or less-volatile cryptocurrencies, she said. The company, which helps investors buy and sell Bitcoin and other major virtual currencies, expects individual investments to be in the $100,000 to $200,000 range, said Choi, adding that the firm doesn’t plan be a major holder in any of the companies in the near term.

“You may also see us invest in companies that ostensibly look competitive with Coinbase,” the company said in a statement Thursday. “There may be nuance to the way these startups are building out their products.”

Coinbase could eventually buy another crypto exchange, said Choi, who’s also in charge of mergers and acquisitions. She joined the company in March from LinkedIn Corp., where she oversaw more than 40 deals. Coinbase is considering transactions including large strategic acquisitions and deals related to traditional financial services and asset custody, she said.

“Please note that we are not offering favored asset status to any companies we’ll invest in,” Coinbase said in the statement. “Also, for the time being, our Ventures efforts will not be focused on security tokens.”

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has said platforms serving as trading venues for digital assets deemed to be securities will need to register with the agency as a national exchange, or qualify for an exemption. Coinbase isn’t federally licensed with the SEC or the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the most vocal financial watchdogs on cryptocurrencies, but instead is regulated by numerous states through a patchwork system.

Choi said there will be a “church-and-state separation” between any token companies Coinbase invests in and the coins it lists on its marketplace.

The firm may also invest in companies started by former employees, it said in the statement. Notable alumni include Charlie Lee, who created Litecoin, and Olaf Carlson-Wee, who founded crypto hedge fund Polychain Capital.

Bloomberg

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.