TL;DR: For most veterans of the cryptocurrency space, an exchange hack or massive loss of funds is only a matter of when. Since its launch in 2017, Binance has become one of the most popular exchanges in the world, routinely ranking high in all metrics, be they by volume or number of markets. Its proprietary token and charismatic leader recently took-on folklore status, as BNB cracked top cryptos by market cap, and the hoodie-wearing CEO Changpeng Zhao (CZ) came to the defense of a notorious Twitter troll. In the last 24 hours, however, all that goodwill changed or came under severe scrutiny by a community known to be fickle and mobbism prone, turning to a favorite pastime, memes, expressing collective angst and grave dancing.
More Spice: Bitcoin White Paper Visualized
New Memes Show an Ecosystem Working Out #SAFU
An indication of how fast the cryptoverse moves, as of this writing it has only been 12 hours since Binance came clean, announcing stolen funds. And while the broader community continues to ferret out truths about it being a hack, inside job, lack of proper security, or worse, the ecosystem’s most teachable medium, memes, are beginning to pass along how the affair at this point will be characterized.
— CoinSpice (@CoinSpice) May 8, 2019
Biologist Richard Dawkins used the term meme to describe the viral way in which genes express themselves but in the form of ideas. His concept caught wind, and a new-ish art form was born: take existing ideas and use them to make pointed snark. A crash course in memetics can wipe away libraries of bad ideas, cause massive cognitive dissonance, … all in a single shitpost.
In truth Binance has been suspect since its inception, as those prone to believe cryptocurrency adoption is hard enough, confusing enough, not to need still-more unnecessary iterations to muddy waters already cloudy. Others hoped CZ, his merry cadre, and their practice of hope-ium would act as a coin-agnostic sandbox, allowing the market, with some exceptions, to work itself out with live ammunition, in the wild.
SAFU and Re-Org
A previously scheduled Twitter AMA went ahead mere hours after the hack announcement, and CZ appeared without much of his trademark smile. Looking tired and overwhelmed by questions scrolling-by in real time, at about the 6 minute mark the CEO revealed how he and crypto luminaries discussed rolling back the Bitcoin Core (BTC) chain, hoping a re-org could rob bad actors of their filthy lucre and reward miners for the trouble.
The mere discussion, which CZ later attempted to squash by insisting he thought better of the notion, triggered a wave of outrage and condemnation. The SAFU inside joke is now a potentially lifesaving fund the exchange set up in early July of last year to “protect the future interests of all users, Binance will create a Secure Asset Fund for Users (SAFU). Starting from 2018/07/14, we will allocate 10% of all trading fees received into SAFU to offer protection to our users and their funds in extreme cases. This fund will be stored in a separate cold wallet.” No rollbacks, no-reorgs.
What consideration of a chain re-org begat was at the very least CZ’s piss-poor understanding of how Bitcoin works. That shocked many, and more tech savvy of the industry’s lot will probably not trust in the man’s future assessments on any crypto-related issue. Reputation in this space is really everything.
Could the Binance hacking be the work of Rektoshi? 🤔pic.twitter.com/bovo6PXaLY
— Kektoshi (@Kektoshi) May 8, 2019
Old meme videos reemerged, and new ones inevitably are in the pipeline, waiting to be employed. Even old Tweets have turned memetic, coming back to haunt the man who seemed to have a golden touch. This is not over, not even a little.
DISCLOSURE: The author holds cryptocurrency as part of his financial portfolio, including BCH.
CONTINUE THE SPICE and check out our piping hot VIDEOS. Our podcast, The CoinSpice Podcast, has amazing guests. Follow CoinSpice on Twitter. Join our Telegram feed to make sure you never miss a post. Drop some BCH at the merch shop — we’ve got some spicy shirts for men and women. Don’t forget to help spread the word about CoinSpice on social media.