Binance, one of the world’s biggest cryptocurrency firms, will take a $200m stake in Forbes in the latest twist for the 105-year-old media brand, the BBC reported.
Forbes, known for its ranking of billionaires, said the deal would help make it a leader supplying information about digital assets, like Bitcoin.
But news of the investment sparked questions among media watchers about potential conflicts of interest, the report said.
Binance sued Forbes in 2020 for defamation, later dropping the case.
Analysts also noted that crypto assets have proven particularly vulnerable to manipulation by celebrities and media hype, prompting warnings from regulators around the world.
In a statement announcing the investment, Binance founder Changpeng ‘CZ’ Zhao said he saw media as “an essential element to build widespread consumer understanding and education” of the crypto market and emerging blockchain technologies.
The Chinese Canadian billionaire, whose net worth is estimated to be nearly $100 billion, later took to Twitter to clarify his comments, saying his focus was on helping Forbes build out its technology and calling Forbes’ editorial independence “sacrosanct”.
Forbes said Binance – which has faced scrutiny from regulators in the US, UK and elsewhere – would provide technology advice, helping the business publication “maximize its brand” and advance plans to convert readers to paying subscribers.
It said the deal would not change its areas of coverage, but hopefully allow its existing digital assets team and “some other beats” to grow over time, the report said.
“Forbes has been fiercely independent for more than a century, regardless of our ownership, and that is not changing,” spokesman Bill Hankes told the BBC. “The integrity of our trusted journalism is our most important brand asset.”
The deal comes at a key moment for the crypto industry. Currencies such as Bitcoin have seen values skyrocket, while companies have been spending on sports stadium sponsorships, advertising and government lobbying to expand their influence and shape anticipated regulation, the report added.