Ethereum exodus continues as Binance ‘helps,’ Feb 17–24.

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The parabolic rise of the Binance Smart Chain has been all over the news this week, aided by a few seemingly unfriendly moves by the exchange itself.

It started on Friday, when Binance suddenly froze withdrawals of Ethereum-based assets for about one hour. Many interpreted it as a move against the blockchain and its ecosystem, given that the cited reason was “congestion issues” — something one hardly imagines is a problem for an exchange, unless they shoulder withdrawal costs for the user.

The day after, FTX started shaming Binance for excessive promotion of BSC on the exchange. Specifically, FTX was apparently “spending millions” in failed deposits that came over the Smart Chain but were meant for Ethereum. FTX’s accusation toward Binance, one of its investors, is that the exchange put BSC as the default option for withdrawing many ERC-20 assets, which caused a lot of failed deposits to FTX.

I can’t say I’ve ever noticed Binance Smart Chain being “the default option” for withdrawals. BSC is the first listed when you attempt to withdraw something like USDC, though it does not actually select the blockchain for you. Still, I can see how some newbies could get swindled by this. People overestimate the degree to which terms like “ERC-20” are known in the casual crypto community. Testing the withdrawal now, Binance forces you to go through a quiz where you confirm you know what you’re doing by selecting BSC. I have no idea when this was introduced, but it’s not impossible that it’s a response to FTX’s statements.

Overall though, there’s nothing inherently wrong with one company using its products to promote another of its products. From the official responses it seems that the Ethereum congestion incident won’t happen again because they “upgraded the systems.”

Cheap tricks would never be able to undermine Ethereum without there being an underlying fundamental weakness. And I think we’ve all had enough with Ethereum gas fees. I tried a non-Ethereum DeFi product recently, and it felt so good to pay just a few cents for a complete interaction.

Binance Smart Chain is already processing more transactions than Ethereum and has over 5 million unique wallets. Ethereum, with its much longer history, is currently sitting at 140 million wallets in total.

Ironically, Ethereum fans should secretly want the bull market to end right now. The longer it goes on, the more gas fees will remain high, and the more people will want to migrate away and seed other environments.