Binance Accused of Taking Bribes From Ripple After Renaming ETH to ALTS
“The xrp base shill is strong. Let’s get it out of your system, and put all your shills under this one tweet, and let’s see how much we get.”
So said Changpeng Zhao, the CEO of one of the biggest crypto exchange, in a tweet that was apparently suggesting Ripple needs to pay a fee to list xrp trading pairs.
The above statement was made after the “xrp base shill” – as Zhao called it – kept asking binance to list xrp trading pairs. Zhao directed them to Binance’s Listing Tips. One of the tip there says:
“We donate all listing fees to Binance Charity Foundation, an 100% transparent charity tracked on the blockchain.
Tip 24: There is no fixed number. Just propose a number you are comfortable with. Show your willingness to contribute to social impact.”
The only thing transparent about the Binance Charity Foundation is whatever is put on the blockchain. We don’t know if something should have been sent to the blockchain, but wasn’t. Nor do we know whether the funds are really received by a charity, unless they tell us. Then once they turn them into fiat to pay for things, we won’t know where exactly this money went.
“The listing fee is now a “donation” but if they aren’t a tax exempt organization (charity) then they can and will skim off the top of the donation and no one will ever know,” Christopher Franko, co-founder of Expanse, said in October.
That’s after Franko said in August: “Just got a new Binance listing quote. 400 BTC.” At the time, that was worth $2.6 million, attracting some headlines. In response, Binance said in October:
“Binance will make a change to our listing fee policy. Starting immediately, and going forward, we will make all listing fees transparent and donate 100% of them to charity.
Project teams will still propose the number they would like to provide for a ‘listing fee,’ or now more appropriately called a ‘donation.’ Binance will not dictate a number, nor is there a minimum required listing fee.”
We couldn’t quite find their listing fees now that they claim they will be transparent. Indirectly, however, the Binance Charity Foundation shows:
What exactly is happening here isn’t very clear. Binance itself has made a donation of 28,000 of its own token, BNB, worth circa $150,000. Then Tron donated on the 24th of December 15,000 BNB, worth about $85,000.
There’s an adjustment from Binance, which doesn’t tell us much except that it is for the same exact amount as Tron. Then, there’s another section where there are two donations, again for the same exact amount, one by BCF (On Behalf of Tron) and another by Binance.
That makes it about 60,000 BNB in total or circa $350,000. Soon after, Zhao said: “We would like to thank TRX and XZC for supporting Binance charity efforts.” Followed by Binance stating they “will add TRX/XRP and XZC/XRP trading pairs with XRP as the quote asset into the new Combined ALTS Trading Market.”
We’ve seen Tron mentioned twice, but where is XZC’s donation? We can speculate that it is perhaps two out of those four identical sums, but obviously speculation is not 100% transparency.
More importantly, why on earth would XZC be traded against XRP? Zcoin’s XZC describes itself as a “sibling project” to Zcash. Unlike Zcash, however, Zcoin is pretty much unknown. Their market cap is currently about $30 million and their trading volumes are about half a million dollars in total.
“Binance will continue to use the same high standard for the listing review process. A large donation does not guarantee or in any way influence the outcome of our listing review process,” Binance said back in October.
What then influenced the listing of XZC agains XRP when XZC/XRP trading volumes on Koinex, the only other crypto exchange to have such pair, stand at precisely $3, while on Binance it currently stands at about $65,000.
We could have asked them, but Zhao publicly gave the answer last week when he said: “We will prioritize adding more pairs for the projects that have donated to our charity at this (even thought we never mentioned this during our fund raising efforts).”
Why would they mention that during their, presumably general, fundraising? We ask because presumably he doesn’t mean he didn’t mention this prioritizing to the projects themselves because there’s an entire Binance page stating a “donation” is required as has been quoted and linked above.
The required listing fee for Expanse was $2.6 million. These two projects donated only about $175,000 each. Ripple of course is the biggest beneficiary of this increased infrastructure. So we have to ask whether millions were exchanged in a “transparent” manner.
We don’t have the answer, but that’s what some ethereans are accusing Binance of, without any direct evidence. They’re angry because Zhao made a somewhat careless tweet in stating:
“We will be adding a couple trading pairs with XRP as the quote currency shortly. And rename ETH markets to ALTS market. Running out of space on the UI.”
On a first reading that sounds like they will be renaming eth/coins trading pairs to alts/coins. Obviously he means one tab will be renamed from eth to alts.
Space here apparently is an issue, but then why not just have one tab for all crypto trading pairs, then another for USDT and another for the BNB special treatment?
The reason might be because the way they rank crypto to crypto trading volumes sort of makes no sense. TRX/XRP, for example, is the top one currently because there were about 1 million xrp traded. XZC/XRP is in second position with 185,000 xrp.
Those are big numbers, but XRP is worth 36 cent. Tron’s trading volumes, therefore, are about half a million dollars, while for Zcoin it’s just $65,000.
We have ETC/ETH in third position with 8,734 eth, which translates to $1.1 million. Quite a bit more than TRX and obviously miles ahead of XZC. Making the rankings within the alts tab quite misleading.
That is presumably why they had two tabs, one for BTC and another for ETH. Were they combined, then eth trading pairs would have probably been shown first as it has a far lower price.
Solving that problem by having a feed to the usd price to convert volumes into dollars and so rank them, was perhaps a bit too complex. So instead we get a misleading first appearance as far as ethereans are concerned.
That makes two of them, or perhaps even three. BCH is listed on Binance as BCHABC, while BSV there is BCHBSV. Zhao has previously stated he won’t change them. Presumably because you need “donations” to play.
BCH, however, has perhaps not done much for Binance, but the exchange’s entire existence is primarily thanks to eth.
Binance was funded in 2017 through an ICO which created the BNB token which runs on ethereum. They rose to prominence in part because they were one of the first to offer eth trading pairs. Their success, thus, is in great part due to ethereum’s community.
Success, however, can get to your head. Breeding arrogance and a biting of the hand that feeds. Something Binance can’t afford because a number of well documented hacked funds have gone through that exchange with Zhao seemingly doing little about it save for to hire a blockchain analysis firm.
That might work if he does a bit more to actually make the funds as good as unspendable and if he keeps general community support. Something Zhao is quickly losing in eth.
As an exchange, ones preference would be for them to be neutral, but whether intentionally or due to constraints, Binance is clearly favoring XRP in their “alts” volume rankings.
XRP’s daily discussion thread has about three comments. Ethtrader can at times reach 5,000 in a day. Some things you can’t fake.
Not that we’re suggesting Ripple Labs runs a shill army, but they do have about 50 billion XRP to sell, with their marketing tactics quite crude as shown by their probable payment to Bill Clinton to hold a speech that didn’t really have much to do with this space.
Not that paying speakers is wrong. They have to eat too. Traditional exchanges do also ask for listing fees presumably because it does cost a bit to list a new market. Papers do also charge for press releases to cover the costs and expenses of publishing it.
There’s a difference, however, between paying Bill Clinton and paying say Andreas Antonopoulos where it concerns a blockchain conference. Just as there’s a difference between paying for listing and misleadingly listing them or publishing a press release and publishing an article or editorial.
The difference is that some of them are obviously misleading and some of them are not or at least are justifiable.
On the other hand, perhaps we’re giving this matter too much attention, but exchanges do exert considerable influence. They do thus have a responsibility and a duty of care to not interfere with markets and certainly to not mislead.
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