- Binance faces criticism for donating cryptocurrency to Moroccan earthquake victims.
- Donation primarily targeted existing Binance customers, sidelining many actual victims.
- Humanitarian experts label the move as a PR stunt, questioning its genuine intent.
Binance, the crypto giant, recently ignited a firestorm of criticism for its choice to donate in-house cryptocurrency to Moroccan earthquake victims. As if navigating the aftermath of a deadly quake wasn’t challenging enough, this donation move has been largely viewed as a self-serving PR stunt, doing more to boost Binance‘s image than to help those genuinely in need.
Genuine Aid or Image Boosting?
Following the devastating Moroccan earthquake, Binance announced a donation of up to $100 in its BNB tokens to approximately 70,000 of its existing customers, amounting to a total of nearly $3 million.
However, the very nature of this contribution raised eyebrows across the humanitarian aid sector. While cash, food, and essential items were in desperate need, Binance opted to give digital tokens, leaving many questioning its actual intent and utility in a crisis situation.
A striking revelation was that the aid was specifically earmarked for its existing customer base. The move conveniently sidelined countless non-Binance-affiliated victims, seemingly placing the company’s interests over genuine humanitarian assistance.
Humanitarian experts, such as Iain Overton of Action on Armed Violence, have gone on record asserting that such efforts come across as opportunistic.
For quake victims struggling for basic necessities, the notion of digital tokens could be seen as out of touch at best and outright insensitive at worst. After all, a person grappling with the trauma of a natural disaster is unlikely to see the benefit of cryptocurrency over immediate tangible relief.
Binance’s Response Amid the Backlash
Despite the negative press, Binance remains defiant. Their charitable division argues that cryptocurrency offers a fast, efficient, and transparent way to funnel aid across borders.
They further emphasize that recipients can convert these digital assets into their local currencies as needed. In an attempt to further their philanthropic image, Binance has also promised additional donations from public-raised funds to local charities.
Yet, questions remain. Binance’s method for identifying eligible recipients, based on proof of residence in the Marrakech-Safi province, seems overly complex, especially during such a chaotic period.
Plus, the tiered donation strategy, which provides varying amounts to recipients based on their proof and transaction activity, further muddies the waters. This strategy has left many skeptics wondering whether the ultimate goal was more about brand promotion than genuine relief.
Changpeng Zhao, Binance’s CEO, conveyed his hope that their donation would offer some respite to the affected. He also urged recipients unaffected by the disaster to redirect the aid to those genuinely in need.
This plea, while noble in sentiment, underscores the flawed approach: Why wasn’t this targeted aid delivered more effectively from the outset? Furthermore, despite the glowing benefits touted by the company, the real-world application of these tokens remains problematic.
Binance’s BNB tokens aren’t recognized legal tender. This means victims must navigate the additional hurdle of converting these tokens into usable currency – a process that can be daunting even without the added stress of a disaster.
It’s worth noting that this isn’t Binance’s first brush with controversy. The platform faces ongoing legal challenges in the U.S., with allegations of violating securities laws and improper handling of customer funds. While unrelated to the Moroccan situation, these issues cast a longer shadow on Binance’s operations and intentions.
Bottomline is while any aid in the wake of a tragedy is valuable, the method of delivery is just as crucial.
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