Crypto exchange Binance makes $200m investment in Forbes

Binance, the cryptocurrency exchange, is making a $200m (£147m) investment in Forbes less than two years after it sued the business publisher for defamation.

A Binance spokesperson said Forbes’s editorial independence would remain “sacrosanct” after the deal.

Binance sued Forbes and two of its writers in November 2020 after the publication of a story that claimed Binance “conceived of an elaborate corporate structure designed to intentionally deceive regulators”.

The cryptocurrency exchange called the story “false, misleading and highly defamatory” and claimed it had cost the business millions of dollars. The lawsuit was dropped by Binance in February last year.

The proposed transaction is another step into the financial mainstream for cryptocurrency, which has moved from the fringes of finance to a $2tn global market at the forefront of Web3, the catch-all term for the latest iteration of the internet.

However, growth in the cryptocurrency market has been rocky, underlined by the arrest on Tuesday of a one-time Forbes contributor, Heather Morgan, and her husband for allegedly conspiring to launder $4.5bn in bitcoin.

Forbes said on Thursday that Binance would take a stake through a publicly traded special purpose acquisition company, an investment vehicle that helps companies gain quick access to a stock market listing.

Both companies referred to the deal helping to bring about a wider understanding of the subject of cryptocurrencies and blockchain, the technology that registers crypto transactions.

Forbes, which published its first issue in 1917, is renowned for its billionaires list, whose constituents include the Binance chief executive and founder, Changpeng Zhao, whose wealth is estimated at $1.9bn by the magazine.

Zhao said: “As Web3 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. We look forward to bolstering Forbes’s digital initiatives as they evolve into a next-level investment insights platform.”

Mike Federle, the chief executive of Forbes, said the publisher could become a “true leader” in information on digital assets.

“Forbes is committed to demystifying the complexities and providing helpful information about blockchain technologies and all emerging digital assets,” he said.

Two senior Binance executives – the chief communications officer, Patrick Hillmann, and Bill Chin, the head of its venture capital arm – will join the Forbes board of directors on the closing of the deal.

A Binance spokesperson said: “I can confirm Forbes’s editorial independence will remain sacrosanct and entirely independent from Binance.”



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