Partnerships / Acquisitions

Coinbase Acquires Distributed Systems To Work On Identity Solutions

Coinbase, the cryptocurrency exchange operator, announced Wednesday (Aug. 15) that it has acquired Distributed Systems, a company that has been working on decentralized identity solutions. In a blog post, the company said the Distributed Systems team is working with Coinbase to find new and innovative ways to validate and verify identities as cryptocurrency goes more mainstream.

“Blockchain technology that powers cryptocurrencies offer[s] a new way to let us all be ‘verified’ everywhere we go on the internet, feeling safer about our interactions with others and opening the door to the experiences that require trust,” wrote Coinbase in the blog post. “We’ll need to be deliberate about how and where we apply this technology. We’re going to have new questions to answer about anonymity, privacy and how permanent the different pieces of our identity should be. But, ultimately, decentralizing online identities will transform our relationship with technology.”

According to Coinbase, with Distributed Systems’ work on the Clear Protocol and GraphQL, the team has “gotten their hands dirty in the technical detail of using blockchains to improve how identities mesh with digital products.” It noted that “decentralized identity systems represent a transformative shift in our relationship with technology.”

The announcement comes just days after Business Insider reported that David Marcus, the head of Facebook’s blockchain project, is leaving the board of Coinbase. According to the report, the Facebook executive, who has been on the board since December of 2017, is stepping down so that there aren’t any conflicts of interest. The spokesperson from Coinbase did not provide further elaboration, noted Business Insider.

“Because of the new group I’m setting up at Facebook around blockchain, I’ve decided it was appropriate for me to resign from the Coinbase board,” Marcus said in a statement, provided to Business Insider by a Facebook representative. Meanwhile, in a separate statement, the report said that Coinbase Chief Executive Brian Armstrong thanked Marcus, saying he provided “valuable perspective and mentorship.”

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