An article suggesting that the Chinese authorities raided Binance’s Shanghai Office has created a storm of comment and allegations.
The story written by the blockchain publication The Block blew up on Twitter after it said Binance had been raided by police with staff members forced to relocate. Numerous people wondered if Binance’s time in China was coming to an end and what this meant for the company.
The situation took a different turn after Changpeng Zhao (CZ), CEO of Binance, responded on Twitter, saying “Binance hasn’t had an office in Shanghai for more than two years.”
Zhao didn’t stop there, unleashing a tirade against Chinese and other media sources for an attack on Binance. He claimed that much of what is written about Binance is a FUD and that he knows Chinese exchanges are behind the lies in the media. He said he was contemplating legal action against The Block, also tweeting, “We will be suing”.
The Block tweeted back to Binance, and held true to their sources, saying:
“In spite of other outlets uncritically reporting Binance’s official line on the matter, The Block stands by our sources and reporting that Binance’s Shanghai office was shut down. In the name of transparency, we’ve unpaywalled the article.” Many people were behind this Tweet and voiced their support.
So what is the truth? Does Binance have an office in Shanghai? Well, some more recent events on Twitter has reignited the argument, as OkEx’s Jay Hao went on a Twitter tirade listing the evidence that Binance does have an office in Shanghai.
It all began when one account named @truthurtm published a thread (retweeted by CZ) and tried to explain what is the existing situation in China for different exchanges. During this thread, the user accused OKEx of conducting a smear campaign and releasing fake news on Binance.
Soon afterward, Jay Hao, CEO of OKEx, replied on this thread, clapping back hard, accusing the Twitter user of being paid off by Binance. More tellingly though, he went and published a thread separately, showing proof that Binance has offices in Shanghai and had been closed:
One tweet showed a CoinDesk article which refers to an office in Shanghai in the article. The headline which read, “Binance Said to Plan Beijing Office Amid China’s Renewed Blockchain Push” has reference to a Binance office in Shanghai already. It said: “the new outpost will join Binance’s current mainland China office in Shanghai.”
Hao also tweeted one article cited from Caijing.com which had photos of the Shanghai office, with people in Binance hoodies on October 29th, but later when the reporter visited the office again, it was emptied.
Local Shanghai TV also reported on the Binance office closure, saying that the office shut down was inhabited by BABI Finance, an outsourced company related to Binance. Babi Finance is a subgroup of Binance and was no doubt created in response to China’s crackdown.
Binance just one of many exchanges feeling Chinese pressure
China has long been skeptical about cryptocurrencies and the exchanges. Binance has made them angry, that is for sure. Weibo closing and now reports of raids would tell you that.
But it is not just them. Reports have suggested that 39 exchanges in Shenzhen have been flagged for defying the crypto ban and it would not be hard to imagine this is a nationwide crackdown of some sort.
So why is Binance not owning up to the Shanghai office and police suspicion against the exchange?
Maybe it is because they are the reason for it? Binance claimed that Alipay and Wechat were pairable with crypto due to an apparent Binance partnership, which left Alibaba unhappy and they quickly denied this. Something Hao pointed out saying it could be the reason for regulators to breathe down the industry’s neck again. This can’t have helped the crypto plight in China, and neither would Binance’s ban from Weibo for Hong Kong protestor support.
Overall, it is clear that Binance is not an angelic victim in all of this. Many Crypto celebrities talk about wanting to be mainstream but reject the criticism that comes with greater exposure. Crying fake news like Yi He, co-founder and CMO of Binance, will only get you so far.
Yes, there are many reports on Binance, but this is to be expected for the biggest exchange possibly worldwide. Big banks get criticism, so surely exchanges should too?
Sadly, they will dodge and dive much like these big banks do too. For me, there is something depressing about this. I hoped the new cryptocurrency age would rid us of this problem and hand the power back to the people. Let’s hope all the exchanges are honest, transparent and legitimate, so we can build the future we all want.