Binance Raises $500 Million To Invest In Web 3.0 As Crypto Prices Fall

Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, is launching a venture capital fund.

Binance Labs, the company’s venture unit, says it has raised $500 million U.S. for its debut start-up fund, securing backing from venture capital firms DST Global and Breyer Capital, among other venture capital firms.

Binance Labs plans to use the money raised to invest in companies building Web 3.0. Though still an ill-defined term, Web 3.0 refers to a hypothetical future iteration of the internet that’s more decentralized than online platforms today and incorporates blockchain, the shared digital ledgers behind most cryptocurrencies.

The launch of Binance’s new fund arrives at a time when Bitcoin (BTC) and other digital assets are down sharply. Bitcoin has plunged more than 50% since reaching an all-time high of nearly $69,000 last November.

The price declines have taken a toll on publicly listed cryptocurrency companies such as Coinbase (COIN), whose shares have plunged 69% since the start of the year.

Binance Labs is hoping to capitalize on the recent plunge in digital assets to find founders building what it sees as the next big thing in technology. Its Web 3.0 bets will be split into pre-seed, early-stage, and growth equity, and the fund will invest in digital tokens as well as shares.

While Binance has made a series of high-profile equity investments in the past year, this is the first time the company has formally raised a venture capital fund with financing from external investors.

Founded in 2017 by Canadian entrepreneur Changpeng Zhao, Binance is the world’s biggest digital currency exchange. The firm handled $490 billion U.S. of spot trading volumes in March of this year, according to data from CryptoCompare.