Binance Delists Bitcoin SV Following Threats Against Craig Wright Critics

Binance, one of the largest and most respected global cryptocurrency exchanges, announced this morning that it would delist Bitcoin SV, a bitcoin fork championed by a coalition including CoinGeek founder Calvin Ayre and Craig Wright, chief scientist of nChain, who has claimed to be bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto.

The announcement triggered an immediate, precipitous selloff of BSV, whose price dropped nearly 10 percent in a matter of minutes. SV (for “Satoshi’s Vision”) forked from Bitcoin Cash in November 2018, and as of this morning was the 12th largest cryptocurrency by market cap.

Though Binance’s announcement did not specify the reason for the delisting, it seems clear it was in response to legal warnings and other threats issued by BSV partisans in defense of Craig Wright’s claim to be the pseudonymous Satoshi. Those threats have met with fierce backlash from the cryptocurrency community over the past few days, and Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao first hinted at delisting Bitcoin SV on April 11, in response to a related effort by Ayre to reveal the identity of pseudonymous Craig Wright critic Hodlonaut.

Ayre has largely served as the face of a recent legal campaign seeking retractions and apologies from those who have questioned Wright’s claims to be Satoshi. The effort has included letters claiming defamation and demanding that various media and Twitter personalities retract statements about Wright. A letter received and shared last week by podcast host Peter McCormack demanded that McCormack “delete all tweets and other online or other publications in which you alleged that our client had fraudulently claimed to be Satoshi Nakamoto,” and “tweet an apology to our client.”

If the legal effort by Ayre and Wright is intended to shore up Wright’s reputation, and the reputation of Bitcoin SV, it appears to be having the opposite effect. The letters and other threats quickly generated a wave of backlash from highly influential crypto industry leaders—with many pushing forward the idea that BSV be removed from exchanges.

Other messages echoing the sentiment followed CZ’s initial threat, many under the hashtag #delistbsv. Anthony Pompliano, a broadly respected crypto-focused venture investor, called for “every exchange” to “delist BSV simultaneously on May 1 in a sign of solidarity.”

Bitcoin pioneer Charlie Shrem also called for delisting:

Ayre, in a response to the continued chatter early Monday, framed the brewing fight in rather convoluted terms. According to Ayre, critics are “[threatening] to delist BSV if Craig insists on letting a judge review the evidence on who invented Bitcoin.”

But in fact, most critics of Wright and BSV would seem eager to have the evidence reviewed in court. That seems to be the stance of McCormack, who responded to the legal threat against him with an aggressively button-pushing letter of his own. In addition to rejecting the initial letter’s demands, McCormack formally reiterated his stance that “Craig Wright is a fraud in relation to his claims that he is ‘Satoshi.’”

Many savvy observers feel Craig Wright’s claims to be Satoshi Nakamoto are far from proven, above all because of Wright’s failure so far to prove ownership of private cryptographic keys associated with the Nakamoto pseudonym.

Binance CEO CZ certainly seems convinced by those arguments.

If other exchange leaders follow his lead, things could go from bad to much worse for Satoshi’s Vision.