The acquisition follows the acquisition of a rival publication, The Block, by Singapore-based Foresight Ventures for $70 million. Reuters/Dado Ruvic

Bullish, a cryptocurrency exchange led by former New York Stock Exchange President Tom Farley, has made a significant move in the crypto world by acquiring CoinDesk, a renowned media company in the sector.

The deal, executed through an all-cash transaction for 100 per cent ownership of CoinDesk, was sealed without revealing the financial specifics. CoinDesk, previously under Digital Currency Group (DCG) since 2016, was acquired for $500,000 at that time.

This acquisition arrives at a pivotal juncture for CoinDesk. In August of the same year, the company underwent a distressing period, laying off 45 per cent of its workforce due to a sharp downturn in the crypto markets and various industry setbacks that also impacted DCG.

Notably, the acquisition comes on the heels of The Block, a rival publication, being bought by Singapore-based Foresight Ventures for a valuation of $70 million. These acquisitions coincide with a surge in cryptocurrency prices, particularly Bitcoin, reaching its highest levels since June 2022.

Bullish has outlined plans to uphold CoinDesk's operational autonomy. The current leadership, helmed by CEO Kevin Worth, will remain intact, preserving CoinDesk's individuality within Bullish as an independent subsidiary. Moreover, to safeguard journalistic integrity, CoinDesk will establish an editorial committee chaired by Matt Murray, formerly of The Wall Street Journal.

In a statement on social media, Barry Silbert, DCG's Founder & CEO, expressed pride in CoinDesk's growth and development over the past seven years, highlighting its potential for the future. However, Jason Yanowitz, founder of Blockworks, raised concerns about potential conflicts of interest arising from CoinDesk's coverage of a company it is now under.

Yanowitz suggested that such a deal might compromise CoinDesk's fairness and editorial independence, likening it to a scenario where Binance, a cryptocurrency exchange, would purchase CoinDesk. He speculated that financial pressures might have influenced DCG's decision to sell to Bullish.

Unchained, a media outlet, sought additional comments from both CoinDesk and Bullish regarding this acquisition. CoinDesk, known for its diverse business model encompassing media, events and indexes, reported a revenue of $50 million in the previous year. Their investigative reporting on financial irregularities at FTX and Alameda Research in November 2022 triggered a surge in customer withdrawals and eventually led to FTX's bankruptcy.

This sale of CoinDesk follows a turbulent period for DCG, encountering financial difficulties after the collapse of FTX. Genesis Global Capital, DCG's lending subsidiary, filed for bankruptcy, and other subsidiaries like TradeBlock and the wealth-management unit HQ were shuttered. Previous attempts to sell CoinDesk, including a nearly finalised $125 million deal led by investors Matthew Roszak and Peter Vessenes, fell through ultimately.

Since 2014, CoinDesk Indices (CDI), a prominent player in both digital asset indices and media coverage, established itself as a leading provider of digital asset indices. Their indices are critical benchmarks used by funds, ETPs, derivatives, managed account platforms, DeFi protocols and infrastructure data needs, with tens of billions of dollars in assets under management referencing CDI products.

In 2023, CDI introduced groundbreaking indicators like the Bitcoin and Ether Trend Indicators (CESR™) and expanded its clientele across Europe, MENA, APAC and North America. Notably, it was named the 'Best Cryptocurrency Index Provider' by ETF Express.

Bullish quickly established itself as a leading institutional digital asset exchange, owing to its proprietary automated market-making (AMM) technology. Across major digital asset pairs, this technology ensures the best execution trading, deep liquidity and tight spreads.

Operating under the regulation of the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission and audited by Deloitte, Bullish Exchange offers off-chain innovations of AMM technology within a compliant and regulated framework.

Reportedly, the transaction saw Lazard acting as the sole financial advisor to DCG and CoinDesk, while Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP served as legal advisor. Citi played the role of sole financial advisor to Bullish Global, with legal advisory provided by Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP.