Binances CoinMarketCap Acquisition Is a Bet That Crypto Really Is for the Masses

Thursday 02 April 2020, 11:15 PM AEST - 1 year ago

DOUBLING DOWN: Binance CEO Changpeng CZ Zhao is pinning his hopes on a mass audience of individual investors. (Credit: CoinDesk archives)DOUBLING DOWN: Binance CEO Changpeng CZ Zhao is pinning his hopes on a mass audience of individual investors. (Credit: CoinDesk archives)

The largest cryptocurrency exchange by market volume has acquired popular data site CoinMarketCap (CMC) for an undisclosed price, the companies announced Thursday. Binance CEO Changpeng CZ Zhao told CoinDesk the deal closed March 31, although a verbal agreement had been reached a few months ago.

With its extensive (although often questionable) data on prices, volumes and other metrics for 5,290 cryptocurrencies, CMC has served as a dragnet for retail investors since its launch in 2013.

It's a really good website and I think we can help grow it further, Zhao said in an interview Thursday, adding he had no immediate plans for CMC. Zhao said the domain will remain independent from Binance under a holding company, perhaps staving off concerns over potential conflicts of interest.

Industry veterans told CoinDesk they see a future where CMC could serve as a marketing channel for Binance, steering prospective customers toward the exchange. Zhao, on the other hand, characterized it as a simple, albeit large, purchase of a cash-flow positive asset.

Its by far the largest we have done so far, he said of the deal.

The acquisition shows that while many firms looked to institutional players as crypto's messiah in 2019 and even today, Zhao is pinning his hopes on a mass audience of individual investors after buying the most heavily trafficked website in the space.

Amazons Alexa ranks CMC as the 570th most visited website globally in the last 90 days. Thats compared to Binance and rival exchange Coinbase at 1,688 and 1,562, respectively. The next closest data provider is CoinGecko at 7,350.

Zhaos purchase also caps CMCs journey, from a scrappy outfit run out of founder Brandon Chezs apartment to a property coveted by an industry leader. In fact, Zhao said he had pu ...

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