Since its foundation, Binance, led by its iconic founder Changpeng Zhao (CZ), has been considered a true titan in the cryptocurrency industry. But a new investigation published by Forbes could shatter this almost immaculate image. The financial information giant has just unveiled some severely consequential allegations regarding Binance’s initial operations of the BNB token.
According to the Forbes report, the Initial Coin Offering (ICO) of BNB, initially touted as a resounding success, turns out to be far from reality. ICO investors would have received only 10.78 million BNB tokens, a fraction of the announced amount of 100 million. This discrepancy is not limited to the number of tokens. The fundraising, presented as having raised $15 million, would actually have reached only $5 million.
Where did the BNB go?
Could Binance have used its BNB tokens to conduct inter-account transactions as part of what is known as ‘wash trading’, in order to help support the price of BNB, as claimed by the SEC in its lawsuit in June?
What makes the scandal even more intriguing is the so-called ‘angel investors’. These privileged investors would have received 40 million BNB tokens, double the originally planned amount of 20 million. Why such a discrepancy? Where did these additional tokens come from? According to Forbes, Binance would have appropriated the undistributed BNB tokens, thus accumulating a colossal treasure of 65 million tokens in addition to its own initial allocation of 80 million.
The impact of this accumulation is staggering. Binance would now control a staggering total of 116.9 million BNB tokens, equivalent to $27.3 billion. This amount represents no less than 76% of the total circulating supply of BNB. In a cryptocurrency market where trust and transparency are essential, these revelations raise serious questions about the practices of one of the largest exchange platforms in the world.
The role of BNB in this affair is not insignificant. According to Forbes, the BNB token would have served as a strategic lever, much like the FTT token for FTX, allowing Binance to rise to the rank of dominant platform. The crypto would have been used to take stakes in promising startups, thus consolidating its dominant position.