Binance is facing accusations of plagiarism after the launch of Bicasso, an AI-based nonfungible token (NFT) creation tool. It has been alleged that Binance copied a tool created by Chatcasso just two months after awarding them first prize in the BNB Chain hackathon held in Seoul between December 17 to 19, 2022.
Binance CEO Changpeng ‘CZ’ Zhao declared the launch of Bicasso on March 1 and described it as a product that can be used to “turn creative visions into NFTs with AI”. This has triggered community member ggoma to accuse Binance of blatantly copying his project Chatcasso and passing it off as their own.
Binance responds to the accusation
Binance has denied the accusations of theft. A Binance representative has said that Chatcasso was merely an experimental project by a small team at Binance as part of their testing and experimentation process. The spokesperson further commented that NFTs and AI are concepts that many players in the industry are exploring. Chatcasso was awarded the first prize in the BNB Chain hackathon for successfully creating an AI-powered tool for producing NFTs, and earned $5,000 in Binance USD as a result.
Upon seeing Binance launch a similar platform within two months, ggoma expressed his surprise and disappointment. “For a big company like Binance to essentially copy our project, down to the name, is highly unethical,” he said. “The names are so similar that it can confuse users – even the user interfaces and capabilities are largely the same.” To illustrate this point, ggoma published screenshots of the two projects.
Binance insists that the resemblance does not mean its ideas have been stolen. A spokesperson for the exchange commented: “Following an internal review, we are certain that Bicasso was built from scratch more than two weeks prior to the commencement of the BNB hackathon.”
Additionally, the spokesperson said that Binance and BNB Chain operate independently of each other, with the Binance development team not participating in any hackathons conducted on the BNB Chain, as confirmed by the cryptocurrency exchange.
Binance revealed that the name of its AI-powered NFT generator, Bicasso, originated from the OpenAI tool ‘Dall-E’, a reference to renowned artist Salvador Dali. The company expressed that their team was particularly fond of this concept.
The incident left ggoma concerned about participating in hackathons in the future, questioning if his ideas would be re-appropriated by a major player down the road. He implored Binance to take responsibility for their actions and reminded creators that “there are companies out there who will attempt to capitalize on your hard work.”
Regardless of the controversy, Bicasso quickly amassed a large following among NFT investors, with over 10,000 mints accomplished within 2.5 hours of its launch.