We live in an online world. It’s also a time when hot takes are rewarded with controversy, clicks, and engagement. Generalizations are good. “Likes” are the new motto. My mom likes to say that if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. This rule does not apply to Twitter, however, where keyboard cowboys go to war with other anonymous characters on a daily basis.
In the weird and wonderful corner of Twitter that is crypto Twitter, this is never more apparent. Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao, better known as CZ, posted a wonderful blog post this morning that caught my attention when I read it on my oatmeal night (best breakfast around ).
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He recounts an anecdote from last week, when a Washington Post reporter named Jacob Silverman randomly asked a Binance executive about a character named Guangying Chen.
CZ wrote about this as part of a larger discussion about the plague of fake media and attacks on other companies in the crypto space. He said it was “emblematic of the contempt our employees face on a daily basis in both East and West”.
Indeed, this is part of a worrying trend in the crypto world. The atmosphere can be intensely tribal at times, with supporters of some companies taking down others, or supporters of one coin chasing another.
I experienced this a few weeks ago when I tweeted a photo of me paying a taxi driver in Bitcoin on the Lightning Network while traveling in El Salvador. Suddenly, my inbox was filled with angry supporters of Bitcoin Satoshi Vision (BSV), a forked bitcoin alternative.
“Idiot don’t understand how it works, you’re embarrassed with the sidechain, do some research,” read one DM (from an anonymous account, of course).
Abuse can be tiring, but misinformation is even more dangerous. CZ also alludes to this in his post.
We’ve even seen crypto exchanges and ventures create their own “news” sites to disparage their competitors, and these sites are now frequently misclassified as independent news sources by Google News. I’d laugh too, if it wasn’t so serious and disheartening how many times I had to explain the differences between an organization like CoinGeek and CoinDesk to people in positions of real power
It harms the whole industry
It really hurts the industry as a whole. There is no need to fight so fiercely against each other. CZ understands this. He is particularly graceful and respectful towards other projects, often encouraging what they are doing in the space. It feels like he really cares about building, growing, and innovating in the crypto world.
Let’s not forget how important it is for a leader to be humble and willing to learn from rivals and peers in the space, rather than rejecting them – or in this case, hit them. Terra’s death spiral is still fresh in the minds of many.
I’ve written about the leader of this project, Do Kwon, several times in the run-up to the events that sent Luna’s death to zero. Each and every one of those times I’ve been chastised for spreading “FUD”, said I was “NGMI” (not going to make it) or declared as a bitter outsider jealous of Luna investors’ outrageous gains, while I questioned Do Kwon’s arrogant and dismissive attitude to criticism and other projects.
It’s not me who flexes, by the way. In truth, I held UST, selling at a loss as the peg began to capitulate.
The humility of Cheng Zhao
CZ goes on in his blog post to tell his inspiring story of how he left China and settled in Canada. Taking shifts outside the embassy – the queue was 3 days long – he got his Canadian passport and opportunities started opening up for him.
It’s a heartwarming read and it’s easy to see how he has retained memories of where he came from. Having become a serial entrepreneur, it is clear that he relied on this resilience and perspective to make Binance the leading crypto exchange.
Anyone familiar with his tweets or chats will likely agree. CZ does not appear as an offline crypto billionaire. He doesn’t present himself as someone for the money. You get the feeling he knows the world can be nasty sometimes, but he fights as hard as he can to make it a better place for everyone.
Binance’s growth to date has been meteoric, and even with the macro environment reversing and layoffs flooding the industry, it has held firm. I believe a lot of that comes from the management behind the scenes and the people running it.
When it comes to investing, don’t underestimate the importance of a CEO who has his head on his shoulders and keeps his feet on the ground. Binance has that.
If you don’t believe how vital it is, just ask any Luna investor.
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