Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by volume, today said it has acquired CoinMarketCap, a service that tracks cryptocurrency prices and exchange trading volume.
Although the price of the acquisition was not disclosed, it’s reported to be up to $400 million.
Founded in 2013, CoinMarketCap is one of the most popular cryptocurrency tracking tools on the market, with more than 200 million visitors in the last six months. The company prides itself on providing transparent data to the cryptocurrency community that enables users to draw informed conclusions based on market data.
CoinMarketCap will continue to operate as a standalone company, though Chief Executive Officer Brandon Chez is stepping down as part of the deal, staying on as an adviser. Carolyne Chan, CoinMarketCap’s current chief strategy officer, has been appointed interim CEO.
“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,” Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao said in a blog post. “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.”
Concerns about CoinMarketCap’s independence post-acquisition have been raised. Bitcoin Exchange Guide reported that the “vast majority of the community is not feeling good about this acquisition,” citing concerns about a potential conflict of interest and “more fraud, abuse, rigged rankings and project extortion to get listed.”
Chan addressed those concerns directly, writing that “ever since our humble beginnings in 2013, we have been public about our commitment to remaining neutral by avoiding censorship and judgment of projects or exchanges that we list, preferring to let users make their own decisions based on the data.”
The acquisition comes at a tumultuous time for cryptocurrency, which has suffered along with other markets during the COVID-19 pandemic. Bitcoin has been on a rollercoaster ride as the pandemic has spread but has managed to remain somewhat steady after dropping below $4,000 briefly on March 12. Bitcoin was trading at about $6,766 as of 9 p.m. EDT, up 1.8% over the last 24 hours.