The world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange Binance has participated in the latest venture funding round for Mars Finance, a crypto news and media site that hasn’t been updated since this past January. Bloomberg first reported the news.
On its Crunchbase page, Mars Finance describes itself as a news and reporting platform that “provides free and publicly accessible hosting services for blockchain and cryptocurrency reference material, market segments, and online blockchain communities.”
But the latest dateline for posts on Mars Finance’s homepage is from January 11th this year and its social media account has also been dormant since last December. It’s Video section consists of a collection of Youtube videos produced by established news organizations, such as the New York Times, Bloomberg, and Quartz. The site’s data section is standard fare and does not really attempt to slice available statistics in novel ways.
These minor details do not seem to have bothered investors in the site, who valued it at $200 million in this round. Changpeng Zhao (CZ), Binance’s CEO, told Bloomberg that “Mars Finance has rapidly expanded its influence since inception.”
“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,” CZ told Coindesk.
Apparently Binance is not the only crypto entity impressed with Mars Finance; OKEx and Huobi, two prominent exchanges from within the crypto ecosystem, also invested in the site during previous rounds. Matrixport, a fintech startup from Bitmain cofounder Jihan Wu, also participated in this round.
So, what’s the reason for the crypto community’s mysterious Mars Finance enthusiasm? It might be related to Consensus Lab, a venture fund under its umbrella that has invested in an array of blockchain and crypto startups in the region. While the site’s commitment to news and reporting is perfunctory, its parent company has amassed a collection of crypto startups in a nascent crypto ecosystem. Likely, investment in the site will provide exchanges with access to these startups as they expand their service portfolios in different businesses.