North America’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase unveiled Coinbase Earn – an education initiative for cryptocurrencies. The initiative enables users to earn cryptocurrencies by completing short educational tasks while learning about them. “It has the potential to expand the blockchain user base from the tens of millions of people with the resources to mine or buy crypto to the billions of people who now have smartphones,” the exchange wrote on its blog.
Coinbase Earn is an offshoot of Earn.com, a startup that was acquired by the exchange earlier this year for $100 million. Coinbase stated that Coinbase Earn would be funded from the 0x external development pool. 0x is a protocol for decentralization and has its own token that is traded in cryptocurrency markets.
Critics Say Coinbase Earn Is A Revenue Stream
While Coinbase has branded its latest initiative as an attempt to educate users and newbies about cryptocurrencies, the exchange’s critics within the crypto ecosystem say the initiative is just another revenue stream for the company. For proof, they point to the history of Earn.com. After its launch in 2013, the website underwent several iterations, from hardware maker for bitcoin mining to becoming a venue for education about cryptocurrencies. Before its acquisition, Earn.com made money as a marketing tool for startups interested in distributing tokens for free to captive audiences.
Commentators on Twitter say Coinbase could position itself similarly.
According to them, the San Francisco-based company could charge altcoins – coins that are not bitcoin – to airdrop (or distribute free tokens) tokens to its users. Cryptoasset startups are increasingly taking the airdrop route for coin distribution due to regulatory uncertainty regarding the status of tokens. However, airdops require considerable effort and expense in marketing and execution.
Coinbase could also charge them to produce educational material, such as videos and webinars, for their tokens. Coinbase is North America’s largest cryptocurrency exchange based on the number of users. The exchange surpassed brokerage Charles Schwab in user count last year during the run up in cryptocurrency prices. Because it is reported to employ strict checks before listing a token, a Coinbase listing is generally accompanied by a bump in prices of the token’s price.