Crypto exchange Binance invests $200 million in Forbes
Forbes announced that Binance, “one of the largest cryptocurrency and blockchain infrastructure providers in the world,” is investing $200 million to own part of an “iconic business information brand.” The money is part of a $400 million Private Public Equity Investment (PIPE) deal set up to Forbes to go public by merging with a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC.
The deal is an interesting step, showing how Web3 companies have reached their “buy a media” moment, much like Time Warner and AOL, or AT&T and Time Warner, or Verizon and AOL, or…you get the point.
But this arrangement also brings Binance together with Forbes, the outlet he sued for defamation in 2020, claiming he suffered millions in losses over an article suggesting that Binance’s “elaborate corporate structure” was “designed to intentionally mislead regulators and surreptitiously taking advantage of crypto investors in the United States.” Binance eventually dropped that lawsuit early last year, and the article remains available on Forbes.com. “Binance continues to firmly believe that the Forbes article dated October 29, 2020 is false and misleading,” the company said at the time.
Forbes is also home to a number of articles written by Razzlekhan, aka the Wall Street Crocodile, aka Heather Morgan, who was arrested this week, along with her husband, accused by the Justice Department of attempting to launder $3.6 billion worth of Bitcoin that was stolen from Bitfinex.
Binance’s press release isn’t subtle about why it might invest in the media: CEO Changpeng ‘CZ’ Zhao suggests it’s about buying influence, saying “While as web3 and blockchain technologies advance and as the crypto market matures, we know that media is an essential element in developing widespread consumer understanding and education.
Asked directly about investing in light of Morgan’s recent arrest during a separate interview with CNBCZhao hesitated a bit before explaining that “not all news agencies are open to investment,” while noting ForbesThe brand, influence and reputation are very strong, strong enough to offset the impact of “a contributing writer who happens to be a hacker in his hidden life”.