Business 6 March 2018Gerald Fenech
LinkedIn’s Emilie Choi joins Coinbase
As the cryptocurrency market continues to grow and create opportunities, companies are looking to consolidate a strategy through mergers and acquisitions to take advantage of the explosive growth in the technology underpinning blockchain.
Coinbase, which has recently been in the news due to its non-adding of the Ripple currency to its portfolio, has achieved quite a coup in another direction when it was announced that the largest U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchange poached one of LinkedIn’s top executives to work in corporate and business development.
Emilie Choi began working at Coinbase on Monday as the new vice president of corporate and business development—a position which should certainly see the exchange grow substantially based on her experience. It’s no secret that the high flier oversaw over 40 acquisitions during her time at LinkedIn amongst which was the purchase of the online educational startup Lynda in 2015, a deal that was worth in excess of $1.5 billion
Asiff Hirji, chief operating officer of Coinbase, was bullish about the appointment, telling Fortune that Choi’s “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,” Hirji told the news outlet.
It’s worth noting that the cryptocurrency market is still in its initial stages and there is a lot yet to be done but Bitcoin, which was launched just nine years ago, has a current value of $11,500 or so—a pretty explosive growth considering that it has also reached the $20,000 mark in December. This growth is leading to more mergers and acquisitions, such as the recent purchase of Poloniex by Circle for $400 million.
Coinbase is looking at a number of potential acquisitions and it appears that Choi will be kept very busy with deals that are potentially on the table, according to Hirji. This engagement is seen as another huge coup for the crypto exchange which is already worth $5 billion after only five years since it first started.
In January, Coinbase also hired Tina Bhatnager as vice president of operations and technology, an executive who played a very important role in the company’s customer service crisis last month, when many Coinbase customers were double charged for BTC transactions.
Choi compares the current opportunities in the cryptocurrency industry with those in front of Google in 2004, when the search giant bought what would become Google Maps.
“There were just a bunch of really interesting startups that helped Google take things to the next level,” she said. “So it feels like that kind of an atmosphere. We’re seeing so much, so many interesting startups and entrepreneurs in the space…and Coinbase wants to make the most on that.”
Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as BTC coins; tokens on the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain are referenced as BCH, BCH-ABC or BAB coins.
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