Binance to Delist Bitcoin SV as Craig Wright Battle Heats Up
Major digital asset exchange Binance announced today it would delist Bitcoin SV (BSV) from April 22nd, 2019. Although its official statement gave no specific reason for the delisting, recent comments from CEO and co-founder Changpeng Zhao (“CZ”) suggest the action is in retaliation to a series of lawsuits by nChain chief scientist Dr. Craig Wright against prominent members of the cryptocurrency community. Binance’s move has prompted other major companies, including Blockchain, Kraken and ShapeShift, to consider similar action.
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BSV Price Plunges After Announcement
Following the announcement, the BSV price dropped by over 12 percent, erasing its gains since the start of April 2019. Most top digital assets have fallen in the past 24 hours, but most had been in the 1-3 percent range. Conversely the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) price rose by over 9 percent over the same period.
Bitcoin SV would become the highest market cap digital asset to be removed from Binance’s listings since the exchange first launched in mid-2017. Following its announcement, other cryptocurrency wallets/exchanges including Blockchain and ShapeShift also announced they would no longer support BSV. Gemini’s Tyler Winklevoss tweeted that his company had never supported the asset.
The moves, whether coordinated or not, are unprecedented event in cryptocurrency history, given that the Bitcoin SV project has not engaged in any illegal activity and there don’t appear to be any technical problems with its protocol.
Binance’s official statement read only that it periodically reviews each asset based on a number of criteria, and delists any that fail to meet its standards:
It will cease all trading on BSV pairs from next week, and has requested BSV holders trade or withdraw their assets by July 22nd, 2019. It has not stated what it will do with any BSV the exchange itself holds.
Another major exchange, Kraken, also asked on Twitter on April 16th if it should delist BSV, adding the hashtag “#delistbsv”. At press time, its poll had received 74 percent yes votes, with 7 percent against.
Should Kraken delist Bitcoin SV (BSV)? #delistbsv
— Kraken Exchange (@krakenfx) April 15, 2019
The news comes just days after Binance CEO Zhao had threatened to delist BSV in a series of tweets criticizing Wright and calling him a “fraud”. Wright had previously threatened to sue anyone accusing him of fraudulent activity, and over the past week his legal team has been sending letters to various members of the cryptocurrency community requesting apologies and redress for such actions.
Binance CEO Angry at Wright Legal Threats
At issue is Wright’s claim to be Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto, a position that has earned him both support from some sectors of the community, but also widespread derision from others. Wright has claimed to be Satoshi Nakamoto, or “part of the team that created Bitcoin” since being outed in a series of media articles at the end of 2016.
The formal legal threats outraged Zhao, who repeated the fraud allegations and promised to delist BSV if they continued. “Anymore of this sh!t, we delist!”, his first tweet read.
Lastly, anyone who supports BSV from a tech perspective should be attacking the fraudulent Craig Wright, who is poisoning YOUR community, and not attack the rest of the world.
Anyone thinking CW is Satoshi should read about how a private key works, ie, learn about crypto.
— CZ Binance (@cz_binance) April 15, 2019
The most prominent legal threats have been against podcaster Peter McCormack and the pseudonymous Twitter user @Hodlonaut. The latter gained support after deleting his Twitter account, prompting supporters to change their names and avatars to resemble the original.
Bitcoin investor and major Bitcoin SV backer Calvin Ayre (along with several other BSV supporters) has retaliated against Binance since Zhao’s initial threat, making similar claims about the way the exchange operates.
wow…Binance is not an honest broker. They are playing god. Maltese regulators have to investigate and likely other jurisdictions also. All this because they are upset that Craig is now willing to prove he is Satoshi…what are they afraid of?https://t.co/U42XhbaWkj
— Calvin Ayre (@CalvinAyre) April 15, 2019
Satoshi’s Identity a Key Issue in BSV’s Fight
Wright’s claim to be Satoshi Nakamoto has been neither proven nor disproven in a way that satisfies the public, and opinion remains divided based on the balance of probabilities. The issue, which has raged since 2016, has escalated on numerous occasions and become more heated since Wright initially backed the 2017 Bitcoin hard fork that created BCH, and the 2018 fork that split BSV away from BCH.
Wright opponents have challenged him to “prove” he is Satoshi by signing transactions or moving coins from Bitcoin’s genesis block, or some other early wallet. Wright has said coins from that first mined block of 50 coins in January 2009 were deliberately made unspendable for a reason, and function as an “anchor” to the Bitcoin network.
Proving beyond a doubt that he is Satoshi would grant Wright significant credibility, but would also likely be problematic. Within 24 hours of his initial media “outing” in 2015, Wright’s offices were raided by Australian authorities. He subsequently relocated to London.
Whether Satoshi’s identity can be proven with code or not, it may soon be up to a court to decide one way or the other. Most (but not all) of those who received legal threats doubled down on their accusations afterward, which will likely trigger further action.
Will other exchanges follow suit and delist BSV? What impact will these actions have for BSV in the longer term? Let’s hear your thoughts.
Images via Pixabay