Quietly, subtly, and without contest, Ethereum is currently under a sustained attack that has been ongoing for months.
Long considered the king of the dApps, Ethereum is the one that other blockchain platforms seek to dethrone in their own attempts at ascension. Hence the well-known term – Ethereum Killer – which is often self-applied by ambitious crypto projects looking to punch above their weight.
While those punches have thus far failed to land, it looks like Ethereum is now being assaulted on a completely different front by an unexpected foe: Binance.
The Binance cryptocurrency exchange now apparently refuses to list new tokens against ETH on its platform, and in some cases has even removed ETH trading pairs. That’s while Binance Chain continues to entice Ethereum-based projects to migrate to its blockchain – with the promise of an exchange listing they would never otherwise have had.
Is Binance quietly trying to make Ethereum an “un-crypto?” Let’s review the available evidence.
Binance Goes Cold on Ethereum
The Binance official announcement blog details new coin listings going back the previous several months. During that time, many new coins have been added to the Binance exchange. Some of those were launched on Binance Chain, and others moved there from Ethereum.
The earliest example we have is the listing of Ontology Gas (ONG) on February 15th. As per the announcement, ONG/BNB, ONG/BTC, and ONG/USDT trading pairs were launched.
The next coin listing came on March 23rd, when Celer Token (CELR) – a Binance Launchpad project – was listed on the exchange. Once again, we have CELR/BNB, CELR/BTC, and CELR/USDT trading pairs.
Just bear in mind at this point that Ethereum is the second most traded cryptocurrency (excluding Tether) in the world, and has been for a very long time.
Next, we have the listing of Cosmos (ATOM) on April 28th, where again the token is launched with the same BNB, BTC, and USDT trading pairs. Still no sign of Ethereum as we wade through more recent listings up to the present.
Out With the ETH, in With the New
All this time, all these new listings, and still no sign of Ethereum. Being the second most traded cryptocurrency in the world, why wouldn’t an exchange want a piece of all those ETH trading fees?
Yet not only has Binance declined to entertain ETH trading for newly listed coins, but it’s also even gone so far as to remove it as an option. On May 20th, Red Pulse Phoenix (PHX) (formerly of the NEO platform) migrated to Binance Chain and immediately had its PHX/ETH pair removed.
When PHX was rather gaudily rebranded into Red Pulse Phoenix Binance (PHB), it was relaunched with new trading pairs, as per this announcement:
“Additionally, Binance will open trading for PHB/BNB, PHB/BTC, PHB/USDC, PHB/TUSD and PHB/PAX trading pairs at 2019/05/24 04:00 (UTC). Once trading opens, the previous PHX/BNB, PHX/BTC and PHX/ETH trading pairs will be removed and delisted.”
All of this comes six months after the ETH ticker that sits atop the Binance trading page was removed, and replaced with the label, “ALTS” – denoting altcoins in general.
Despite evidently giving Ethereum the cold shoulder, Binance founder and CEO Changpeng Zhao (CZ) denies any ill-will on his part. CZ has stated publicly that he wishes to see Binance and Ethereum “grow together.”
— CZ Binance (@cz_binance) April 22, 2019
When it was put to CZ that the launch of Binance’s own decentralized exchange stood as a challenge to Ethereum’s DEX dominance, he shrugged off the suggestion:
Thanks for the nice article! But almost too supportive. lol. @Binance_DEX does not challenge Ethereum, it doesn't even have smart contracts. It challenges ourselves, exchanges. :)
— CZ Binance (@cz_binance) April 18, 2019
CZ’s polite public persona is in stark contrast to that of the founder of Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin. Buterin has been ringing alarm bells about the overwhelming centralization of power by crypto mega-exchanges for some time. As the largest exchange in the world, Binance defines that category.
Buterin recently referred to Binance’s sudden delisting of Bitcoin SV (BSV) as one in a long line of examples of the arbitrary exaction of power:
“They’ve asked for big listing fees. They influence which coins win and lose by deciding which trading pairs they have – so it’s weird to criticize that one decision (the delisting) without looking at all their others.”
Motive: Why Would Binance Assault Ethereum?
While most don’t want to rock the boat, Buterin is one of the few crypto personalities to openly criticize exchange listing fees. Binance was not named directly; however, the exchange has previously been accused of such bribery by a respected, community driven (not rich) cryptocurrency project (Binance denied the allegations and has since begun donating listing fees to its charity).
Buterin has decried the “king-making” power of these trading platforms in the past, saying in 2018 that he “hoped centralized exchanges burn in hell,” adding:
“We can really take away this stupid king making power that these centralized exchanges have where they have this ability to just decide which tokens become big by deciding to list them and then charging these crazy $10 million to $15 million listing fees. The more we can get away from that world and into something which actually satisfies the blockchain values of openness and transparency the better.”
Could CZ’s quiet deletion of Ethereum pairs from his trading platform be an act of petty revenge in retaliation against such comments?
The King is Dead; Long Live the King
Or could it be something far more devious?
The strategy: Offer projects the chance to migrate to Binance Chain, give them juicy trading pairs on the largest exchange in the world, and benefit from all the new network fees, and trading fees.
Meanwhile, slowly strangle access to ETH trading pairs and funnel all newly listed tokens towards your own Binance Coin (BNB).
Rather than petty grudges, this would seem a more likely motive for the current assault Ethereum finds itself under. And of course, the foundations and companies behind the projects which migrate to CZ’s chain must naturally be made aware that they won’t be given ETH trading pairs. None have spoken publicly about this so far.
In short, the Ethereum Killer might really be here, and its name is Binance.
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.