Binance has officially announced its acquisition of CoinMarketCap, the popular aggregator for exchange volume and cryptocurrency pricing data.
Earlier this week, The Block first broke the news of the acquisition, which sources said at the time could be worth as much as $400 million. The deal closed on March 31st, according to Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao (CZ).
“The core DNA of CoinMarketCap is strongly aligned with Binance’s ethics and culture, from its integrity to its value of freedom, transparency and user-focus," Zhao said in a news release. He added:
"Our common vision will be strengthened by this acquisition to further growth and instill transparency in the industry. This will enable us to build on each other’s strengths, jointly serving as infrastructure providers of crypto."
Zhao also expressed that Binance plans to empower CoinMarketCap to continue to build innovative, useful products for its users and the global community.
Subsequent reporting has revealed new details about the nature of the acquisition. A source with knowledge of the deal told The Block that it was structured primarily in the form of equity as well as BNB, the token issued by the exchange. One source pegged the deal’s value at closer to $300 million. The deal has been in the works since Nov. 2019, the person said.
Several employees at Binance told The Block that the firm was considering a significant change in CoinMarketCap’s business model, shifting away from an ad-based model to a subscription model, which will charge exchanges to be included on the site. These employees asked for anonymity, citing fear of reprisal. In a tweet, CoinMarketCap said that it "will continue to run as an independent business entity. Binance cannot make any changes in our business model unilaterally."
Additionally, secretive CoinMarketCap founder Brandon Chez is stepping down as CEO while the current CSO Carylyne Chan has taken on the role of interim CEO.
CoinMarketCap drew 207.2 million visitors in the past six months, according to SimilarWeb. People familiar with the matter have told The Block that the site’s traffic-driving potential was a major motivator behind the acquisition. As an exchange primarily focused on retail, access to "new blood" is important for growth.
As The Block reported on Wednesday, the deal is notable because it is both among the largest acquisitions in the space to date and comes amid a global freeze in M&A activity.
"It comes down to CZ not caring about the current environment," one crypto firm executive told The Block, speaking on details he's heard. "He was offered to buy it by one of the founders and he took the chance. He doesn't care about the current environment because he has a long term vision."
The formal unveiling of the deal caps a week of notable announcements from Binance. CZ confirmed Wednesday that Binance is launching a crypto mining pool and that a new crypto-to-crypto exchange is being launched in South Korea.
Editor's note: This piece has been updated with additional comments from CoinMarketCap
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