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[Spot coverage of Consensus] What startups is Coinbase looking for?

Executive of America’s biggest crypto exchange speaks on investment

  • Janice Yunji Kim
  • 2019-05-16 13:12:19
[Spot coverage of Consensus] What startups is Coinbase looking for?
From left, Zack Seward, a Coindesk reporter, and Coinbase Vice President Emilie Choi /Photo by Janice Yunji Kim

NEW YORK -- How is Coinbase, America’s largest crypto exchange, growing rapidly by investing where?

Coinbase Vice President Emilie Choi revealed her company’s “investment strategy” in the “Consensus 2019” blockchain conference under way in New York Tuesday.

Having worked as a senior analyst at Yahoo’s corporate strategy group, Choi has been with Coinbase since March last year after having stints at Warner Bros. and LinkedIn. In Coinbase she is largely in charge of funding, venture business development and operation and M&A strategy.

While being in the crypto space for more than one year, Choi has acquired 15 startups and executed investment in more than 50 venture firms. Let’s look at her investment criteria.

“What needs to be confirmed first is team and technology. In the crypto space, there are many figures far from Silicon Valley, and so we don’t decide on our investment just looking at team members,” she said. “We are looking for companies trying to coexist and be complementary mutually rather than IT firms seeking to realize monopolistic structure. We are interested in figures exploring the financial sector with open minds among others.” Her message is that she sets sights on projects that can grow with Coinbase while seeking finance-related reform amid speculation that the financial sector may stand out among various cryptocurrency ecosystems.

Yet it’s true the cryptocurrency ecosystem has yet to be mature enough to encourage the public to invest in crypto assets. Choi concurred on this and said, “I’m sorry to see a lot of noise in the market yet. We will grow to be a company marking a new era in the crypto space.”

On a question about Coinbase’s main rivals, she pinpointed Binance boasting the world’s biggest trading volume and stated, “It may be obscure to pinpoint Binance because of different business models. We are nurturing our business model with our own strategy.” /yjk@decenter.kr


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