Coinbase Acquires Blockchain Explorer Blockr.io

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A small consolidation wave in the Bitcoin space continues as bigger, better-funded companies scoop up teams of talented designers and engineers.

Coinbase, the Andreessen Horowitz-backed Bitcoin wallet and merchant processing company, completed another talent acquisition today with the purchase of Blockr.io.

Blockr.io is a popular explorer for the Blockchain, or the distributed public ledger that keeps track of Bitcoin transactions.

“We primarily wanted it because they were really talented,” said Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong. Two members of the Blockr.io team, a designer named Samo Drole and an engineer named Sašo Matejina, recently relocated to the U.S. from Slovenia. Both are joining Coinbase with the acquisition. (To note, Slovenia is also where one of the world’s most prominent Bitcoin exchanges, Bitstamp, came from.)

Armstrong said that they’ll keep the service running and possibly re-brand it under Coinbase. Again, this deal was primarily for the talent, not for the product, so Drole and Matejina will probably work on other projects. They had bootstrapped Blockr.io, which was a side project.

“I kind of view the block explorer as a commoditized thing. It will stay out there and largely remain free,” Armstrong said.

Coinbase, which now has 40 full-time employees, recently passed around 1.6 million wallets and 35,000 merchants on the platform. They recently closed a few big brands including Overstock and Wikipedia, which are now processing Bitcoin transactions using Coinbase.