Binance Supports Elon Musk’s Twitter Bid, Boosting Crypto Believers’ Vision of a ‘Decentralized’ Web

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Binance is the world’s largest crypto exchange, processing billions of dollars in trading volumes every day.

STR | NurPhoto via Getty Images

Bitcoin exchange Binance’s move to join Elon Musk’s $44 billion acquisition of Twitter could boost digital currency evangelists’ hopes for developing a more “decentralized”, crypto-friendly social media platform.

Binance plans to invest $500 million in equity financing as part of a $7 billion financing commitment in support of the Tesla CEO’s offer to buy Twitter. Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison and venture capital firm Sequoia are among the other investors involved.

Binance’s participation is curious, not least because of the company that operates it. The company is the world’s largest crypto exchange, processing more than $70 billion in spot and derivatives trading volumes daily, according to CoinGecko data.

Changpeng Zhao, the billionaire CEO and founder of Binance, is a big believer in the crypto world’s vision of a new kind of internet known as Web3. It’s an ill-defined term, but Web3 as a concept loosely refers to new web experiences built around blockchain, the technology underlying many cryptocurrencies.

Such services can incorporate digital tokens such as non-fungible tokens or NFTs – the crypto equivalent of collectibles such as rare art or trading cards – in areas such as social media, web browsers or video games.

Binance’s stake in Twitter could be Zhao’s chance to realize Web3’s decentralized ideals.

“We’re excited to help Elon realize a new vision for Twitter,” Zhao told CNBC on Thursday. “We hope to play a role in bringing social media and Web3 together and broadening the use and adoption of crypto and blockchain technology.”

Musk, a self-proclaimed “free speech absolutist,” has often complained about what he sees as Twitter’s censorship of conservative-leaning voices on the platform.

Bitcoin and other digital currencies are not controlled by a single entity, a setup that proponents say is “censorship-proof.”

Before stepping down as CEO, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey helped launch an initiative aimed at creating decentralized social media protocols. The project, called Bluesky, was created in part to address the problem of a handful of powerful tech companies that operate the most popular online services.

Although it is backed by Twitter, Bluesky says it is an “independent company”. Dorsey, who has publicly supported Musk’s bid and is a vocal proponent of bitcoin, will remain on Bluesky’s board.

“Basically, I don’t believe anyone should own or control Twitter,” Dorsey said in a recent tweet. “It wants to be a public good at the protocol level, not a business.”

Crypto Twitter

While it’s still unclear what exactly Musk is planning for Twitter, he has already hinted at plans to make the site more crypto-friendly, including accepting meme-inspired token dogecoin as a means of payment.

“I think that bodes well for how Twitter as a privately-owned organization can perhaps be even more agile and agile in serving these growing ecosystems, be it crypto or other new technologies,” Michael Sonnenshein, CEO of crypto asset manager Grayscale, told CNBC in a recent interview.

Musk may need some persuasion, though. The richest man in the world rather wondered if Web3 was more of a “marketing buzzword” than reality.

His commitment to relax policies regarding what Twitter users can post has fueled concerns that he may be opening up the platform to potentially toxic or illegal content. For his part, Musk says he only wants to allow speech “that is in accordance with the law.”

“I am against censorship that goes way beyond the law,” he said in a tweet last week.

Ryan Wyatt, head of the gaming and metaverse division of blockchain group Polygon, said balancing free speech with maintaining a secure online environment is “much easier said than done.”

“It’s very easy to point and say that shouldn’t be on, that shouldn’t be on,” Wyatt, who was previously head of gaming at YouTube, told CNBC. “But if I asked 100 different people, you’d get 100 different answers.”

“How you make those decisions in a way that might conflict with your personal values, but also uphold freedom of speech – these are very difficult, complicated conversations to have and I don’t envy the richest man in the world trying to do that.” to confiscate.”



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