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Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The Block, a cryptocurrency-focused media startup, tells Axios that it has bought out its non-employee shareholders, including its investors and co-founders (who have left the company).

Why it matters: The company says it wants flexibility to better compensate existing and future employees in an increasingly competitive talent market, and to be independent from outside investors and interests.

Details: With a mix of debt and cash from CEO Mike McCaffrey, the company returned to its investors 1.5 times the capital they paid in, plus interest.

  • The Block had raised just over $4 million across convertible notes from VCs, including Greycroft, Pantera, BlockTower Capital, and Bloomberg Beta. This does not include the founders' stakes in the company (McCaffrey declined to say how large those were).
  • The Block is not yet profitable.
  • Roughly 70% of its revenue came from advertising, while the rest was from subscriptions to its paid news content and research products.

The bottom line: The Block used venture capital to get started and finance its early operations.

  • "We want to be disentangled from it so we can cover it independently — we have been doing that, but this cements that independence," news director Frank Chaparro tells Axios, adding that the cryptocurrency audience is particularly skeptical when it comes to potential biases and conflicts of interest.

Go deeper: CoinDesk's quietly profitable media business

Go deeper

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Apr 15, 2021 - Economy & Business

What the irrational price of dogecoin says about crypto investors

Data: Coindesk; Chart: Axios Visuals

Unlike bitcoin or GameStop stock, dogecoin — a literal joke of a cryptocurrency — is not supply-constrained. If you want more of it, you can mine it — and then, presumably, sell it, given the profit margin of about 57%.

Why it matters: The irrational price rises in cryptocurrencies like dogecoin perhaps help explain why 62% of crypto investors, including 58% of investors with less than $10,000 in crypto investments, expect that they will get rich from their investments in cryptocurrency.

Apr 14, 2021 - Economy & Business

Scoop: Media startup banks on charging for buzzy business news

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Three digital media veterans are launching a new paid subscription media company with a multi-million dollar Series A funding round led by 40 North Media, a related investment business of Standard Industries, and private equity giant TPG Growth, Axios has learned.

Driving the news: The co-founders of the new company are Joe Purzycki, co-founder of the podcast company Luminary, Jon Kelly, a former New York Times editor and founder of Vanity Fair’s "The Hive," and longtime digital media executive and early Athletic employee Max Tcheyan.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
2 hours ago - Science

China makes history with successful Mars landing

A model of the Tianwen-1 Mars rover is displayed during an exhibition at the National Museum of China in Beijing. Photo: Wang Zhao/AFP via Getty Images

A Chinese lander carrying a rover successfully touched down on Mars for the first time, state media reports.

Why it matters: This is the first time China has landed a spacecraft on another planet, and it launches the nation into an elite club of only a few space agencies to successfully make it to the Martian surface.