Binance CEO Zhao Morphs Into Bitcoin Grouch in Crypto Twitter Brawl

Journalist:
March 26, 2019

Bitcoin bull Changpeng Zhao, the CEO of Binance, has earned a reputation as an affable, laid-back guy enjoying the meteoric success of his popular cryptocurrency exchange. But is Zhao’s nice-guy persona merely an act?

It seems that way, based on a testy Twitter exchange Zhao (who goes by “CZ”) had with several cryptocurrency reporters this weekend.

Fake Bitcoin-Trading Volume Scandal Erupts

The brouhaha erupted after Zhao reacted to a bombshell Bitwise report indicating that 95% of spot bitcoin trading volume is fake.

“Sadly, most investors who can’t tell real versus fake volume also won’t read such a detailed report,” he tweeted.

Analyst: Why Don’t You Speak Out More?

That’s when an analyst with the crypto blog TheBlock suggested that Zhao use his influential voice to call out industry websites that promote fake trading-volume data.

“Maybe you should more proactively speak against CoinMarketCap as the primary source of information for people looking at volumes. That seems to be the main issue.”

A defensive Zhao reacted by suggesting that that’s not his job. CZ then inflamed the situation by accusing TheBlock of attacking him and Binance.

“I tend to stay on the solutions-side only. TheBlock seem to just attack exchanges with real volume one after another, while ignoring exchanges with fake volume, etc.

If you are in this industry, you should try to help it grow, not attack, others who do.”

Bitcoin Evangelists Think Crypto Websites Owe Them Positive Coverage

Zhao then condescendingly suggested that because he previously granted an interview to TheBlock, they owe him positive press coverage.

“Larry, we did interviews in the past, you used to be a good and positive. Stay positive.”

The irony is that TheBlock has written several glowing articles about Zhao in the past. But the minute he thinks he’s being criticized, he gets hyper-defensive.

‘Egos Are So Tiny and Fragile’

At that point,  another writer reacted by dissing Changpeng Zhao for being overly sensitive to feedback.

The blogger also took a general swipe at the cryptocurrency industry, saying the ecosystem is comprised of delicate snowflakes who overreact to the slightest criticism.

“You run the largest exchange. We hold power to account. Get a spine.”

“Crypto. Where the egos are so tiny and fragile that constructive criticism, critical reporting, is viewed as ‘attacking’ and being ‘not positive.”

Binance CEO Also Lashed Out at CCN

In January 2019, CZ also slammed this website. Zhao claimed CCN was spreading FUD because we reported on a hacker’s claims that he had hacked customer data from several top crypto exchanges from documents used in KYC checks and was selling the data on the Dark Web.

The CCN reporter later did a follow-up article updating the story. Reaching out to CCN directly instead of childishly flaming it on Twitter is how responsible executives should react. But oh well.

Delicate Bitcoin Snowflakes Abound

To be fair, Changpeng Zhao is not the only person in the crypto-sphere who withers under the slightest scrutiny.

Fundstrat’s resident bitcoin cheerleader Tom Lee is the same way — if not worse.

After CCN posted a story recounting Lee’s history of bad bitcoin price predictions, he blocked this reporter.

Is Nouriel Roubini Right About the Bitcoin Con?

This is a common problem in trade journalism — where market “leaders” expect positive coverage all the time, especially in exchange for interviews.

They don’t realize that this erodes the credibility of the entire industry. And credibility is especially important in a new industry, such as crypto, which is struggling to gain mainstream acceptance while being roiled by nonstop scams and scandals.

If bitcoin evangelists are unable or unwilling to take the heat, they should get out of the kitchen. Otherwise, they risk being perceived as “arrogant, clueless” con artists — just like bitcoin hater Nouriel Roubini has insisted all along.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not represent those of, nor should they be attributed to, CCN.

Last modified (UTC): August 17, 2019 18:25

Samantha Chang @Samantha_Chang

Samantha Chang is a New York City-based financial editor who writes about crypto and business at . She is a law school grad and an alum of the University of Pennsylvania. You can reach her on Twitter at Samantha Chang or email her at schang121@juno.com.