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Coinbase now has an M&A boss. What sorts of things would she want to acquire?

A cryptocurrency company could do some fairly outside-the-box acquisitions.

LinkedIn profile photo of Emilie Choi.
From her LinkedIn profile, of course.

Coinbase, the cryptocurrency trading platform that has grown tremendously without any major acquisitions, is getting equipped to make some.

Emilie Choi, who did more than 40 deals at LinkedIn as their head of mergers and acquisitions for eight years, has joined Coinbase as its VP of corporate and business development.

It’s another growing-up hire for Coinbase, which is building out its C-suite with a series of additions early this year that are meant to prepare the company with the infrastructure to take advantage of these boom times for the company. Coinbase has been in late-stage talks to hire a chief financial officer — the type of person who could take the company public — and a vice president of communications.

Choi said she only took this job because she imagined she’d be busy there.

“There are a lot of great pre-IPO companies, or even the tech titans, that are not so heavily involved in M&A right now,” she said in an interview. “Coinbase actually is in a position to do a lot of M&A.”

The company, historically, hasn’t. Coinbase has only publicly disclosed three companies it has acquired in its six-year history, and none of those have been major deals.

There have been recent signs of a gear-up, though. The company two months ago made its first acquisition in over three years.

And late last year, the company also looked into buying a digital custody company, Recode reported in January. But the deal fell through and Coinbase launched its own product line, Coinbase Custody, to store digital cash for big institutions like hedge funds. Choi said the company could still make an acquisition in that space.

Choi said that her focus, at first, would definitely be on “acqhires,” or essentially deals that acquire companies in order to acquire the people who run them.

“It definitely seems as the No. 1 priority right now is getting in as much talent as possible,” she said.

After that, the company will look into things like purchasing wholesale businesses — deals that she said are possible in part because of their valuable private stock, which it seems as though, these days, every investor and broker wants to somehow buy.

Choi also said that in addition to cash and stock, it’s certainly possible that in the future Coinbase could maybe leverage other holdings — cryptocurrency assets, perhaps?— to sweeten an M&A deal.

That’s just one way in which doing M&A at an upstart like Coinbase will probably be very different from doing it at a place like LinkedIn.

Choi acknowledged that the people she wanted to recruit to LinkedIn generally shared a certain resume. At Coinbase, that “type” might be an early bitcoin investor or someone who is extremely plugged into the community of cryptocurrency fanatics.

“We look at the LinkedIn profile. We know certain things are going to be markers of exceptionalism,” she said of her old gig. And of her new gig? “Some of the really great talent may have not neccesarily come up through traditional paths.”

Eric Darwin is taking over for Emilie Choi at LinkedIn Corporate Development.

This article originally appeared on

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