This morning marked Episode 1 in the Forbes SPAC 2 IPO Saga, in which Binance, an international cryptocurrency exchange, will finance the merger by purchasing one of the largest stakes in the company, in the publisher’s move to becoming a publicly traded entity and transform their operations digitally, to the tune of $200M. More boring than the opening crawl to The Phantom Menace? Sure. But bear with me here.
If it is not yet obvious why Binance, a DeFi giant, would purchase a controlling stake in Forbes, the company that ranks the richest people and is a major player covering financial news, then let me theorize for you. For media companies, large brand presence and domain authority are incredibly expensive to develop and establish. Influence over the masses doesn’t necessarily translate to mass income, and while advertising dollars are lucrative-ish, they don’t cover the costs of developing quality media assets. So, these brands become prime acquisition targets for corporations looking to shape public opinion, as they provide a functional utility to influencing their business’ bottom line.
(See also: AT&T and TMZ/CNN; Jeff Bezos and The Washington Post/MGM Studios/IMDB; Mark Cuban and a bunch of niche, NFT-shilling Instagram accounts.)
Quality media assets are scarce and difficult to produce. So rather than generating it themselves, corporations go out and purchase war chests with the artillery pointed in their direction, and, as soon as they have the launch codes, they press the red button. Given the authority and influence a media property like Forbes commands, and the clear relationship of wealth and finance to the decentralized finance industry, there’s no shortage of ways for Binance to leverage the brand to shape the future of DeFi to their material gain. In other words, crypto degens are young and naive. Controlling them will not be difficult.