(Image credit: Creative Commons / marcoverch)

Malta-based cryptocurrency exchange Binance has invested in Chinese cryptocurrency media entity Mars Finance for an undisclosed amount in a funding round valuing the company at around $200 million.

Why it matters: The move marks Binance’s first strategic investment in its home country. Mars Finance and its blockchain data could potentially be an effective resource for Binance to expand its reach in Asia, as it pushes forward with its global expansion plans.

  • The US branch of the cryptocurrency exchange will launch today, its latest installment of overseas operations it has opened in Singapore, Hong Kong, and the UK.
  • China ousted most crypto exchanges in 2017 amid the wider crackdown on digital assets. Originally founded in China, Binance moved several times before eventually settling down in the Mediterranean island nation of Malta last year.
  • Despite a tightened regulatory environment, there is still high interest in the market. Recently, cryptocurrency firms appear to be cashing in on rising demand from Chinese investors for digital assets amid China’s trade war with the US.

We have large respect for data, news and research firms which support the positive growth of the blockchain industry. We will continue to pursue strategic investment opportunities in our mission to bring crypto further mainstream, increase adoption and accessibility, and help the industry grow sustainably.”

Zhao Changpeng (CZ), CEO of Binance, to blockchain media CoinDesk

Details: Other prominent investors in the round including early-stage venture capital firm Ceyuan Ventures and Matrixport, a digital asset firm created by Wu Jihan, co-founder of crypto-miner Bitmain.

  • The company says it is the most influential crypto news outlet in China in terms of search traffic. Founder Wang Feng said the company on a daily basis processes nearly 10,000 pieces of information generated by the blockchain industry. The company has amassed more than 3 million users.

Context: Beijing-based Mars Finance was founded just a year ago. The crypto media has completed two funding rounds gaining support from backers including IDG Capital and the venture arms of two major Chinese-founded crypto exchanges, OKCoin and Huobi.

  • Mars Finance, a rival of popular US blockchain news outlet CoinDesk, has an English site, though it has been inactive for months.
  • Binance made a number of overseas investments in the US, Australia, and other locations in 2018 through its strategic investment arm, Binance Launchpad.

This article has been corrected to reflect Binance’s current overseas operations.

Nicole Jao is a reporter based in Beijing. She’s passionate about emerging trends, news, and stories of human interest within the world of technology. Connect with her on Twitter or via email: nicole.jao.iting@gmail.com.

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