Binance announced today that it will sync its network with the controversial Steem hardfork 0.23. This fork confiscated and drained for more than $ 5 million in coins from rebel faction accounts that previously challenged the authority of TRON CEO Justin Sun.
Sun had recently bought the social networking site running on the Steem blockchain, Steemit, but angered his community so much that they implemented a hard fork for Hive, an almost exact copy of Steemit. There was one big difference: Justin Sun and his supporters were not eligible for free HIVE airdrop tokens. Steem’s hardfork 0.23 targeted accounts that participated in the Hive airdrop.
Binance’s Announcement states that it had at first declined to support the network upgrade when it was first notified on May 15. Citing Sun’s decision to take the money from the Steem wallets, it wrote: “We do not approve of this type of behavior and believe that blockchains should not be used as a tool for censorship or adjusting user balances. ”
However, Binance has now reversed that decision. Binance will synchronize its network with version 0.23 of Steem, claiming that its customers would not be able to conduct transactions on Steem if Binance did not honor the hard fork.
Today’s Binance report notes that the initial decision to avoid an upgrade to 0.23 had already negatively impacted its customers with STEEM. Avoiding 0.23 “is not a long-term solution, as they are currently unable to move their tokens on the blockchain,” it wrote.
Binance will therefore still synchronize with Steem version 0.23 – support the conditions of the hardfork that it was previously against. “So, for the sake of our users who currently have STEEM, Binance has decided to support this upgrade to give users the freedom to use their STEEM tokens at their discretion,” it wrote.
A former Steem witness and one of the victims of the accounts seizures, the pseudonym “MarkyMark,” told Decrypt that Binance’s statement was hypocritical. He said, “Binance is not okay with Steem theft, but since they have customers with Steem, it’s okay.”
Changpeng Zhao, CEO of Binance, commented on the decision on Twitter, telling observers that because of the nature of the situation, Binance had to take sides.
Who this $ 5 million should belong to is still disputed. When hardfork 0.23 went live, an ‘anonymous hero’ managed to redirect the seized funds to the alleged security of the Bittrex exchange. Bittrex initially criticized hardfork 0.23, but later on announced that it would respect the hard fork’s terms – and not redistribute the seized funds.
The battle for Steem
In March, when Sun bought Steemit, the social networking site on top of the Steemit blockchain, he also gained access to $ 12 million of pre-mined Steem coins owned by the blockchain’s creator, Ned Scott.
Since Sun could have used that money to dictate the future of the network, the Steem community, which Sun did not trust, voted to remove Sun’s access to the funds.
In response, Sun used his immense wealth, as well as his friends on cryptocurrency exchanges Binance and Huobi, to set up a hard fork that restored his access to the mined currency. (The two exchanges later withdrew their votes.)
Much of the Steem community, who was tired of Sun by then, worked hard away from the sun-dominated blockchain to form Hive. Hive is an almost exact copy of the Steem blockchain, apart from one thing: unlike other Steem users, Justin Sun and his supporters were not eligible for free airdropped HIVE tokens.
Have both sides threatened legal action. Justin Sun has teamed up with law enforcement officers against anyone who stole the $ 5 million seized money during the 0.23 hard fork.
The seizure victims, in turn, are also investigating legal options. Australian lawyer Andrew Hamilton, CEO of JPB Liberty, gave his pro bono legal advice about the events of Steem hardfork 0.23. He claimed that Justin Sun was responsible for theft and criminal conspiracy.
What the hell will Sun do?