January 26, 2018
Alex Wilhelm is the Editor in Chief of Crunchbase News, covering the intersection of startups and money.
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Morning Report: The big news in crypto isn’t a $400 million loss (yawn), but the hotting battle between exchanges for the biggest slice of the consumer pie.

Coinbase’s meteoric 2017 brought with it a host of eye-popping numbers, including 13.3 million accounts by November and, according to Recode, revenue that “crossed $1 billion” during the year.

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In short, at least one company is extracting material normal (top line) income from the bitcoin boom. However, not all things are clear on the horizon for Coinbase. Its success, including rising to the top of mobile app stores last year as the price of many tokens shot north, is attracting increased competition.

Robinhood, famous for bringing commission-free trading to equities, is moving into the crypto space in Q1. Here’s TechCrunch:

No-commission stock trading app Robinhood will let you buy and sell Bitcoin and Ethereum without any added transaction fees starting in February, compared to Coinbase’s 1.5 to 4 percent fees in the US. And as of today Robinhood will let all users track the price, news, and set up alerts on those and 14 other top crypto coins, including Litecoin and Ripple.

TechCrunch goes on to quote a Robinhood executive saying that it intends to run its crypto business as a “break-even” affair. Call it the Amazon approach the trading: your margin is their opportunity.

So, domestically, Coinbase is going to have fresh competition in 2018. And it doesn’t stop there, really.

Also out this week is Coinsquare, a Canadian shop that, according to Strategic Coin, “has announced that it plans to raise $150 million CAD ($120 million) through an initial public offering (IPO) in a bid to expand into larger markets and challenge industry heavyweights like Coinbase.”

In crypto, it seems likely that the only thing coming is more competition.

From The Crunchbase Daily:

Ford acquires Autonomic and TransLoc

  • Ford is acquiring two venture-backed startups, Autonomic and TransLoc, and incorporating them into its smart mobility subsidiary. The first company is Autonomic, a Silicon Valley-based developer of a cloud-based vehicle connectivity platform. The second is TransLoc, a provider of planning tools for transit providers.

SoftBank bets big on infrastructure

  • Who needs an infrastructure bill when you have SoftBank? Increasingly, the world’s largest late-stage venture investor is placing its notoriously big bets on companies in capital-intensive industries like construction, agriculture and energy, a Crunchbase News analysis finds.

Uber VC drops suit

  • Venture firm Benchmark’s lawsuit against former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has now been dropped. It was dismissed as a condition for completing SoftBank’s recent investment in Uber, which gave both Benchmark and Kalanick an opportunity to sell a significant stake in the company.

Sun Basket raises Series D

  • Healthy meal kit provider Sun Basket has raised $43 million in a Series D funding round led by August Capital, along with $15 million in debt financing. The funding follows a period of sharp growth for the business, which is on track to bring in $250 million in revenue this year.