While Elon Musk’s $44 billion acquisition of Twitter (TWTR) remains uncertain, cryptocurrency exchange Binance still wants a piece of the action if the deal goes through.
Binance has pledged to invest $500 million in Musk’s Twitter acquisition, marking the cryptocurrency exchange’s second investment foray into media after investing in Forbes.
At first, executives at Binance shrugged off Musk’s latest move until the billionaire shared his vision of transparency for the platform by attacking bots and ensuring real users were attached to every account. In their eyes, Web3 — the next iteration of the internet — could solve these problems.
“The opportunity to potentially be able to work with that leadership team as they think through how they're going to address these challenges was something that was too big to pass up,” Binance Chief Communications Officer Patrick Hillmann told Yahoo Finance in an interview. “Not only for Binance, but for the entire industry as a whole.”
Binance Founder and Chief Executive Changpeng Zhao — or CZ as he’s known inside the company — believes that Binance must play a key role in helping the industry build infrastructure needed for crypto and blockchain technology.
Zhao reached out to Elon Musk over Twitter on direct message to invest in the short-messaging platform. Musk responded yes and connected Binance with his team working on the Twitter acquisition.
“We asked a lot of questions about the vision and what he's prepared to do, and about the problems that we're looking to solve,” Hillmann said. “I'll be honest with you, [Musk has] been pretty transparent about what he's looking to tackle in his tweets.”
Binance also knows that, in the end, Musk is the decision maker.
“And we were okay with that,” Hillmann said.
Binance is keyed in on making Twitter both more democratic and transparent, while also ensuring the voices amplified on the platform are real human beings. Blockchain technology would allow the platform to confirm that a person owns an account while at the same time protecting that person’s privacy, Hillmann said.
“That sort of technology could potentially be really game changing when we think about how we interact on Twitter because we'd be able to say, ‘This is a human being,” Hillmann said. “You wouldn't be able to have hundreds of thousands of bots just going and amplifying fringe theories or fringe ideas and making them seem mainstream.”
Binance sees another opportunity for Twitter to create revenue by tokenizing the short-messaging platform – a strategy Binance chief Zhao has been vocal about.
Musk has mused that Twitter Blue, the platform’s first subscription service, should be ad-free and potentially have the option to pay using dogecoin. He’s also talked about charging government and business users. Still, payments in crypto is the most important factor for Binance when it comes to Twitter.
“It's really more about how do you cast more sunlight onto the existing user model when we look at how accounts are verified?” Hillmann said.
“In the end, it's Elon’s decision. He's going to set the priorities. He's going to decide what gets implemented, what doesn't,” Hillmann added. “We're looking to just have a voice at the table.”
Jennifer Schonberger covers cryptocurrencies and policy for Yahoo Finance. Follow her at @Jenniferisms.