Bullish buys CoinDesk as crypto media shakeups continue

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The sale of cryp­tocur­ren­cy news site Coin­Desk to a new own­er has con­clud­ed, accord­ing to an announce­ment from the pur­chas­ing firm on Nov. 20.

Bull­ish, a firm oper­at­ed by for­mer New York Stock Exchange Pres­i­dent Tom Far­ley, said that it acquired the news site from its pre­vi­ous own­er, Dig­i­tal Cur­ren­cy Group (DCG). Coin­Desk will remain an inde­pen­dent sub­sidiary and will main­tain its cur­rent leadership.

Bull­ish said that it would “imme­di­ate­ly inject cap­i­tal” into Coin­Desk in order to pro­mote the launch of new prod­ucts, events, and services.

The pur­chas­ing com­pa­ny did not dis­close the size of the trans­ac­tion. How­ev­er, a pre­vi­ous offer from anoth­er group of investors in July was report­ed to be worth approx­i­mate­ly $125 mil­lion. DCG itself pur­chased Coin­Desk for $500,000 in 2016.

Bullish involved in Block.one, FTX

CoinDesk’s new own­er, Bull­ish, is a firm that is high­ly involved in the cryp­to indus­try. Bull­ish said today that its cryp­to exchange has seen over $300 bil­lion in trad­ing vol­ume since its Novem­ber 2021 launch. Bull­ish was estab­lished by Block.one, the com­pa­ny behind EOS — a blockchain with a cryp­to token that ranked among the top ten in 2019.

Bull­ish is also a major con­tender in the revival of FTX, as it is vying against two oth­er investors to pur­chase Sam Bankman-Fried’s failed cryp­to exchange.

Bullish’s involve­ment in the cryp­to sec­tor has led to crit­i­cism among oth­er mem­bers of the indus­try. Jason Yanowitz, founder of com­pet­ing cryp­to news site Block­works, called the deal “bad for our indus­try.” He argued that the pur­chase “crush­es the edi­to­r­i­al integri­ty of the [Coin­Desk] brand” and sug­gest­ed that the deal intro­duces biases.

How­ev­er, CoinDesk’s indus­try ties are not entire­ly new. Its for­mer own­er, DCG, owns sev­er­al high-pro­file cryp­tocur­ren­cy firms, includ­ing the cryp­to ser­vices firm Gen­e­sis and the asset man­ag­er Grayscale. Coin­Desk typ­i­cal­ly dis­closed that it shared a par­ent com­pa­ny with those firms when­ev­er it cov­ered any relat­ed developments.

Past acqui­si­tions have pro­voked sim­i­lar con­tro­ver­sy due to pos­si­ble influ­ence from a buy­ing com­pa­ny. For instance, cryp­to VC firm Fore­sight Ven­tures pur­chased The Block on Nov. 13, 2023. Binance pur­chased mar­ket aggre­ga­tor Coin­Mar­ket­Cap in 2020.

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