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Old World, meet New World.
On Thursday, five-year-old Binance, one of the world's largest cryptocurrency exchanges, announced a $200 million strategic investment in a company a century its senior: business magazine and media group Forbes.
Binance's investment makes it one of Forbes' top two owners, and comes as the media group seeks $400 million in additional capital before it goes public by merging with SPAC Magnum Opus Acquisition Limited. If all goes according to plan, the SPAC deal will value the "30 Under 30" publisher at $630 million.
Even as BuzzFeed's lackluster public listing via SPAC has made investors skeptical of media, Binance has plans to make Forbes' long-standing clout in business circles useful to its own ends– as a trusted media voice covering the burgeoning world of NFTs and blockchain technology:
- "As Web 3 and blockchain technologies move forward and the crypto market comes of age we know that media is an essential element to build widespread consumer understanding and education," Binance CEO and founder Changpeng 'CZ' Zhao said in a statement.
- "Forbes, already a resource for people interested in the emerging world of digital assets, can become a true leader in the [Blockchain] field with their help," Forbes chief executive Mike Federle added.
Bitcoin Billions: How rich is CZ? Just ask Forbes. The founder was featured on the magazine's cover in 2018, and had a net worth pegged at $1.9 billion. But that figure may be comically conservative. More recently, Bloomberg has estimated his net worth to be closer to $86 billion.
Old Rivals: The last time Forbes and Binance crossed paths, the terms were less friendly. The crypto exchange sued Forbes for defamation in 2020, after the magazine alleged it intentionally evaded US taxes and regulation. Binance later dropped the suit, and, on Thursday, Binance PR chief Patrick Hillman called it "water under the bridge."