Another major crypto exchange is delisting bitcoin SV (BSV) amid an ongoing feud between that cryptocurrency’s creator Craig Wright and outspoken members of the bitcoin community.
San Francisco-based Kraken announced Tuesday that it will no longer support BSV, citing both community sentiment and ongoing litigation filed against the exchange by the coin’s advocates.
Kraken will disable BSV deposits on April 22, trading will cease on all trading pairs April 29 and, finally, withdrawals will stop May 31.
The move follows announcements Monday by two other prominent exchanges, Binance and ShapeShift, that they were delisting BSV in response to Wright’s behavior. Binance’s CEO, Changpeng Zhao (CZ), tweeted that Wright is “poisoning” the bitcoin community with his threats to sue people who called him a fraud because he has claimed to be bitcoin’s pseudonymous creator, Satoshi Nakamoto.
But Kraken was already negatively disposed toward BSV long before the kerfuffle started.
In December, during the contentious hard fork of bitcoin cash when it got split into bitcoin cash ABC and bitcoin cash “Satoshi Vision,” Florida-based mining firm United Investment Corp. filed a federal lawsuit against a group of defendants for supporting the ABC version, including Kraken and its CEO Jesse Powell. Kraken enabled BSV trading in November.
“They are suing us, our investors, well-respected and prominent figures in the community, and the community got to the point it’s fed up with it,” Powell told CoinDesk. “It’s completely antithetical to what this community is about.”
On Monday, Kraken launched a poll on its Twitter account, asking people to vote for or against delisting BSV. At the moment of writing, the poll shows that around 70,545 users voted, 71 percent supporting delisting, seven percent opposing and 21 percent not caring.
“We at Kraken have our own strong opinions, and it’s like a bubble, so putting out a poll was the opportunity to get other people’s opinions,” Powell explained.
If the vast majority of the votes had been in favor of keeping BSV at Kraken, it wouldn’t have been delisted, but if the results were indecisive, say 50/50, the coin would still have been delisted, Powell said.
In the past Kraken has delisted other tokens, including Namecoin and Iconomi — the former because of its low volume and the need to support a technically onerous upgrade at some point, the latter because the protocol was changed by its creators.
The delisting wave started after Wright threatened to sue a pseudonymous Twitter user nicknamed Hodlonaut, known for starting the bitcoin Lightning Torch, and crypto investor and podcaster Peter McCormack, unless they publicly recognized Wright as bitcoin’s pseudonymous creator Nakamoto.
“It looks they keep to use the law system to abuse it, suing anyone who says anything against them,” Powell said about BSV advocates.
Powell said more exchanges may follow suit.
“The more players delist them, the easier it becomes to do it,” he said.
BSV camp responds
Reached late Tuesday, Ed Pownall, a public relations specialist who represents Calvin Ayre, owner and founder of CoinGeek.com and one of Bitcoin SV’s biggest supporters, referred CoinDesk to a newsletter article by Toronto-based investment firm Frnt.io.
“We believe that crypto and certain actors specifically are setting a dangerous precedent in the delisting of BSV,” the article said, explaining:
“Given the impact that trading venues can have on the visibility and price of a coin, such a subjective delisting sets a precedent which has the potential to increase the space’s vulnerability to manipulation. If a coin can be delisted due to some[one] not approving of a community/person’s legal activities, what’s to say that a similar narrative cannot be created in the future simply to support a malicious actor’s monetary interest.”
Later, Pownall sent a statement from Ayre, who called the delistings “a case of people in trusted positions abusing that trust and playing God with which token gets the most volume and market access. In essence, market manipulation.”
Ayre added that the exchanges seemed to be making decisions simply because “they don’t like one scientist that works on the platform. Craig doesn’t own BSV, not does anybody, so this appears to be very unprofessional. An exchange should just want volume of trading, not picking which horses it wants to win the race.”
UPDATE (April 17 13:45 UTC): This article has been updated to include additional responses from bitcoin SV advocates.
Image of Jesse Powell via CoinDesk archives