Digital exchange Binance delists bitcoin offshoot token

Photo: Reuters

Binance, the world’s largest digital-asset exchange, is delisting the token known as Bitcoin SV amid a dispute with one of the creators of the offshoot of the original digital currency.

The Malta-based trading platform announced Monday that it was dropping Bitcoin SV, or Satoshi Vision, after a periodic review to ensure that all coins listed meet the firm’s highest standards.

Zhao Changpeng, the co-founder and chief executive officer of Binance, has criticized Bitcoin SV creator Craig Wright, who is accused of attacking crypto community members who have disputed Wright’s claims that he is the original developer of Bitcoin. Binance didn’t immediately return a request for additional comment.

Wright has for the last several years claimed he is the person behind the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto who started Bitcoin, though the evidence he’s used to support his claims has been disputed.

Bitcoin SV is the 12th largest cryptocurrency with a market value of about $1.1 billion, according to CoinMarketCap.com. It fell about 13 percent to around $61 on Monday, the crypto data provider said.

Tensions escalated when several crypto community members announced that Wright accused them of harassment and libel. Wright offered a $5,000 bounty for whoever helps him determine the identity of one critic who goes by @Hodlonaut on Twitter, according to CoinGeek.com, owned by a Wright supporter. NChain, where Wright is chief scientist, hasn’t immediately returned a request for comment on the bounty.

“We look forward to more exchanges following Binance’s lead,” said Tom Shaughnessy, co-founder at Delphi Digital, a crypto research boutique in New York. “Despite the decentralized ethos, this news demonstrates the power centralized exchanges have over cryptocurrencies.”

When it split off in 2017, Bitcoin Cash jump-started the forking craze in which dozens of software-development teams sought to create money out of thin air by tweaking the original computer code and releasing coins with “Bitcoin” in their names. Bitcoin SV was split from Bitcoin Cash, the fourth-largest coin, in November.

“This decision will certainly be reported to the Maltese regulators as this is surely a case of people in trusted positions abusing that trust and playing God with which token gets the most volume and market access,” Calvin Ayre, owner of CoinGeek.com, one of Bitcoin SV’s biggest supporters, said in an emailed statement. “In essence, market manipulation. The decision to delist Bitcoin SV seems to be based on the fact that they don’t like one scientist that works on the platform. Craig doesn’t own BSV, not does anybody, so this appears to be very unprofessional. An exchange should just want volume of trading not picking which horses it wants to win the race and, as a result, smells of fear and manipulation.”

Bitcoin Cash rallied as much as 21 percent on Monday to $332.76 , according to prices available on Bloomberg. Bitcoin gained as much 3 percent to $5,191.48.

“Effectively, Binance represents 70 percent of BSV’s volumes,” Kyle Samani, co-founder of Austin, Texas-based hedge fund Multicoin Capital Management, said in an email. “Losing that will be catastrophic for BSV. Moreover, because Binance is delisting BSV, it gives other exchanges similar reason to follow suit.”

The exchange ShapeShift said it will delist SV within 48 hours, and while rival Kraken is polling users about whether it should also drop the coin. In the three hours since the poll was posted, more than 28,000 people voted, with 75 percent saying “Yes, it’s toxic.”

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Bloomberg