Binance extortion of new projects

This follows the twitter posts by DigiByte founder Jared Tate, along with some additional information sprinkled in.

I’m pleased to also confirm that neither myself, anybody on behalf of the DigiByte Foundation, nor the DigiByte Awareness Team has any desire to ever pursue Binance, nor are we interested in aiding other community members in their submissions. In addition, all of the 80-odd exchanges that you can purchase DigiByte on, have never extracted a listing-fee from DigiByte.

A brief history of DigiByte listings

I myself have applied 3x for Binance, after much badgering from the “community”. I use that word loosely, as I’m moderately confident it’s new buyers who are simply after P&D’s. It resurfaces every couple of months, a new crowd of “When Binance?” people. Two listing submissions for “Community coin” votes, and another one for a regular listing.

I know prior to me, there were two other submissions, and following me there was also another two submissions as well.

For some reason, you have to re-apply each time. It’s ridiculous and a huge waste of time. The forms change mildly each round, but they’re usually 8–10 pages long. Here’s an example from Community Coin Round 6:

February submission for coin-vote

So although I personally couldn’t stand the submission process and have had no interest in Binance myself, I can confirm these have been submitted.

Setting the record straight

Jared has now come out and further explained what’s happened with his involvement with DigiByte listings on Binance earlier in 2017.

I’ll order these properly here, as they’ve been added to since originally being tweeted out.

The first tweet basically introducing the story. Moving right along:

I can confirm that until early-mid 2018, there was no WeChat “DGB” group, and none of the core developers, Foundation members, or other long-term involved people were on WeChat. Hearing about this side of the story in late 2017 was kind of hilarious. However, accusing somebody of using WeChat in itself is not really the end of the world, but thinking that the DigiByte team were spies you could argue that would warrant something of an apology from CZ, even if it were in-private. We know he’s not above apologizing where he thinks it’ll benefit him from a PR perspective.

This is true, around mid-2017 when DigiByte was riding the wave of attention from being in the City T4I event, in fact if memory serves me right, #DGB was being included as one of the default hashtags when people would share their referral code for Binance.

As somebody who’s completed a number of these myself, having been told each time to re-submit, I can confirm this is true, and a totally ridiculous waste of time. However there were additional hoops that others had jumped through on the prior attempts, joining a bunch of different chats, discussions with people, being forbidden from transparency with the DigiByte community. However, more on that will come shortly.

This happened all the way back in mid-late 2017. It’s also worth clarifying the frustration is not “Oh man we could be on there being pumped and dumped”, but rather “Why is a genuine and legitimate project like DigiByte not accepted on to what is supposed to be one of the best exchanges, when all these shitcoins and waste-of-time ICO’s are? What happened to the vetting process?”. Now this isn’t to say that everything that’s on Binance is purely a P&D or a waste of time, however I think it’s become pretty clear throughout 2018 why these lesser projects were listed.

There are a number of examples on that Medium post, which you can read here.

I’ve also detailed this previously myself about ByteCoin (which oddly enough was delisted from Binance this week). It’s par for the course with Binance listings, which I still maintain is the reason why a small minority of people join the DigiByte community and get very vocal about a Binance listing.

This “behavior” described being both the P&D that seems to occur on an exchange-level (More-so on Binance than any other), as well as the entire listing process and requirement of extortionate fees from projects.

So this was true. After a number of members in the community (Not me) had been liaising directly with CZ regarding getting DigiByte on to Binance (Remember we’re a decentralized & permissionless blockchain), and CZ had himself said to these members of the community that was what would be needed. Now for a man who says he’s not involved in the listing process, he seemed to VERY much be involved in having the final say.

This was the end of the original ‘series’ of tweets, however the story is far from over. We found strong support from both the DigiByte community, as well as a number of Binance users who were completely unaware. We were also glad to see support from other exchanges:

However, most importantly, was other projects that had come to stand alongside DigiByte and Jared, in support of the stand being taken:

Now in the 8th tweet this was what Jared was referring to. I’ll zoom in on the image:

Zoomed in, from the tweet above

Carrying on from this, CZ accused Jared of “FUD” and lying:

Now if we’re being brutally honest here, CZ is both correct and also wrong.

You see he’s right, he didn’t talk to or interact with Jared directly. However he spoke with one of our community members, basically ‘instructing’ Jared on how his behavior should be, via this community member (As you can see above).

Also, this isn’t “FUD”, there is no fear, no uncertainty, or doubt here. It’s 100% transparent. CZ then blocked Jared on twitter:

Now, this is where we get to more of the historical aspect here, with further proof of the Binance demands:

I’ll include those two screenshots here:

First screenshot of a Skype chat with Ashley (AKA Yingqi — She changed her name late 2017)

And the second image too. It looks slightly different as I’ve trimmed out the excess blank space at the top of it so it fits better on Medium here:

Second screenshot with Yingqi, now Ashley, taken from Telegram

Now, on this first Skype call that you can see occurred in Nov ’17 above:

There was discussion from Ashley (Yingqi) about the different “packages” that Binance offers for listing cryptocurrencies, blockchains, tokens, ICO’s etc.

Now these packages that Binance were pushing during the call were for different types of listings. Some were vanilla listings (no frills) while others came with perceived additional benefits. However, this is the worst part, here:

Image has been trimmed from the source above, so it fits better on Medium

This is the extortion and the shady behavior that Jared has been talking about.

Imagine going to fill your car with gas, or to buy a loaf of bread from your local bakery / grocery store. You get to the counter and say “That’s all thankyou, how much will that be?” and they respond with “That depends, show me your wallet first, and I’ll decide a price after I’ve seen it”.

That’s disgusting behavior and where previously we had remained quiet, it’s time we made our stand against it. Where previously Jared, myself, and a number of other community members had remained quiet so as not to completely burn any bridges, this ongoing saga is too much and we believe our community (And the crypto community at large) needs to know the truth, and the whole truth!

Jareds tweets continue:

“We charge a bit high”. They aren’t willing to advise the listing fee until we’ve told them what our budget is. We don’t have a budget though, which was what was stated (and acknowledged) earlier:

The listing can’t be ‘accepted’ because DigiByte cannot pay a ‘listing fee’

The acknowledgement being that DigiByte is a decentralized blockchain, without a massive premine, without a per-block founders reward, without a war-chest of funds from a centralized entity to pay these kinds of fees.

Since this, in addition to the Expanse team above, we’ve seen a number of other projects such as Blackcoin come out in support for Jareds statements:

So their practice is to effectively ‘corner’ the person attempting to get a listing. Remember that the community-coin vote is done with BNB, so users vote with their money to get a project listed. We’ve seen that the vote alone can be worth USD$150,000. Once you’ve won the vote, Binance require the listing-fee again from the project, and threaten to throw you under the bus in front of your community if you don’t pay it.

The sad part is, that can’t happen with DigiByte, or with Dogecoin, as there’s no slush-fund to throw at this sort of thing. DigiByte is not an ICO. Despite many unknowingly ridiculous suggestions that Jared pays this, he didn’t start DigiByte by keeping a large sum for himself:

Unlike other blockchains, DigiByte never kept a large sum from the beginning to pay-off these types of bribes. DigiByte is a true example of organic growth in a real decentralized blockchain.

Now, the worst part of all of this, is that the listing fees are now being given to charity:

You can see more about the announcement by Binance:

However there are two major red flags here:

1/ They’re not disclosing their historical ‘totals’ or ‘averages’, and we know that new listings are very much drying up for Binance because they’ve milked the ICO bandwagon so hard that there aren’t many projects left for them to extort.

2/ The Binance BCF that the money will be being given to is run by CZ, along with the President of Malta, where they have just accepted Binance setting up their offices after they had to effectively “flee” China. The BCF charity also has Helen Hai from UNIDO, another person with a very checkered past.

Regardless, some of the sentiments responding to that tweet by Binance echo what Jared & I are both believers in:

What’s the need for a listing-fee? Sure, exchanges are right to recoup the costs spent in integrating an additional blockchain, however that’s why they take trading-fees.

Unfortunately Tommy is mislead.

The time taken to integrate something like an ERC20 token, or a UTXO blockchain such as DigiByte, Vertcoin or Dogecoin (All based on the Bitcoin Core codebase) is negligible once you’ve done one. A moderately competent developer can do it in a couple of hours, it’s mostly just copy / paste work.

For example:

Binance has traded USD$76 million worth in EOS today. Even at a mere 0.1% in trading fees, that equates to USD$76,000! In one day.

Obviously not all listed projects will attain those volumes, however the issues we’ve seen from “listing fees” are despicable and nothing short of extortion of the projects attempting to get listed by CZ, Binance, and their staff.

There’s no reason for any exchange to demand a fee, or realistically even to be requesting one. This doesn’t matter if it’s going to go to a “charity” or not. Exchanges can and do survive purely based on trading-fees.

The listing-fee nonsense, as well as the extortion & deceit needs to stop!

It’s time the global crypto community banded together and said that “enough is enough”, and that we won’t tolerate these kinds of shady practices any longer.

We need better transparency in this space. It’s time we stopped standing up for the abusive thugs and bullies, and either show them the door or show them the handcuffs.

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I write interesting things about cryptocurrency, especially DigiByte

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