Is Coinbase the next big M&A player?

After Goldman Sachs-funded company Cirle acquired Poloniex, one of Coinbase’s biggest rivals, Coinbase may be on the hunt of lucrative M&A opportunities, as rumored by media. One of the major reasons for press to speculate on Coinbase’s future intentions is the recent appointment of Emilie Choi, a famous dealmaker who previously brought over 40 acquisitions to the company, and has recently assumed the position of VP of Corporate and Business Development.

The M&A market for tech and healthcare companies has seen tremendous rise and potential, especially in the Bay Area. However, for the cryptocurrency industry, the M&A market may be too big of a bite. Since there are not so many big players in the sector and just because it is such a “young industry”, the cryptocurrency market has not been hit with a lot of M&A activity just yet. Choi is one of the top dealmakers and her appointment may increase Coinbase’s potential for growth and any other opportunities.

After the rumours went on, the COO of Coinbase, Asiff Hirji, denied any such rumours that the appointment of Choi has anything to do with any M&A activity for Coinbase in the near future. He commented:

“I don’t view that as a harbinger of anything, frankly. Whether a small exchange gets bought or not, it’s not that material to what we’re doing. If you ask anyone in [Silicon] Valley, she is absolutely top of her field in business development. Given how rapidly the [cryptocurrency] space is unfolding, given the breadth of opportunities in front of Coinbase, we feel very fortunate having someone like Emilie with us and helping us figure out how to get those deals done.” 

According to press, Coinbase is now basically a mature company, rather than a startup. Since the company experienced tremendous growth, especially at the end of 2017, when Bitcoin price skyrocketed to $20,000, the company has been on a hiring spree just to keep up with the growth.

Coinbase is already worth more than $1 billion and is not raising any more money. Rather, the company has focused on breadth and depth of the services it offers, mainly improving the user experience in the exchange and making sure that quality and safety are provided for all users.

However, such rumours about M&A activity in the cryptocurrency market is bringing questions such as: “Is the market saturated?”, “Is the industry mature now?” For just under 1 year, the crypto market exploded with over 1000% and the ICO market is growing at an even faster pace, so M&A activity may soon become a hot topic among “startups” like Coinbase.

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