Coinbase is reportedly interested in acquiring the Ripple-backed startup Omni.
Omni allows neighbors to find and rent items from one another – from bikes to sleeping bags – by searching specific keywords or categories (i.e. home, travel, game night, seasonal holiday).
The service, which delivers items locally, also allows users to earn money whenever their items are rented.
Users can cash out their earnings to an XRP wallet, making it one of the first platforms that allows people to acquire XRP outside of an exchange.
The San Francisco-based company has struggled to gain users and is now in early-stage acqui-hire talks with both Coinbase and Thumbtack, according to a report from TechCrunch.
The deal would give Coinbase the opportunity to utilize members of Omni’s engineering team.
They would work on Coinbase Earn, a Coinbase platform that allows customers around the world to earn cryptocurrency while learning about blockchain technology and the digital asset ecosystem.
CEO and co-founder of Omni, Thomas McLeod, says Omni’s mission is to “connect the world through things” as they work to build out an entire rental marketplace.
“By enabling XRP cash outs we’re aiming to lower the barrier to entry for crypto-curious consumers and also reduce the risk because you still own the asset…
So there’s a world in which everything that you have you should be able to connect with other people and other people should be able to use those things as well. So if you have a bike and you’re not using it, someone else can use it when you’re not using it. And now you can also make money on top of that.”
To date, Omni has raised more than $40 million in venture capital and through various partnerships.
Ripple invested $25 million in the company through its fundraising arm Xpring back in May of 2018.
Omni’s rental service is currently available in the San Francisco Bay Area, New York City, Los Angeles, and Portland.
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