Controversial Dapps Test Binance Smart Chain’s Decentralization

Developers built politically sensitive applications on Binance Smart Chain as a way of showing the increasingly popular blockchain platform is not as decentralized as Ethereum. The dapps remain online.

AccessTimeIconMar 3, 2021 at 11:30 p.m. UTC
Updated May 9, 2023 at 3:16 a.m. UTC

Anonymous developers have built two controversial decentralized applications (dapps) on Binance Smart Chain (BSC), a smart contract-based blockchain backed by exchange giant Binance, daring the platform to censor the dapps.  

The developers apparently hope the offensive and sensitive nature of the dapps would force Binance to get rid of them, proving BSC, unlike Ethereum, is not decentralized and can be controlled by a centralized institution, said Jason Wu, CEO and founder of decentralized crypto lending platform DeFiner. He noted that BSC has far fewer nodes than Ethereum.

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  • One dapp with a token is called Tanks of Tiananmen. It appeared on Binance’s blockchain on Thursday. The name refers to the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests in China, which the Chinese government considers a very sensitive topic. The other dapp, Slavery, showed up on BSC on Saturday. It seems to liken the yield farming mechanism to slavery. 

    The two dapps are still on BSC as of press time. 

    Some in the Ethereum community have reason to resent BSC. “Binance Smart Blockchain is very similar to Ethereum in a lot of ways,” Wu said. “Some devs might feel [it’s] unfair that an Ethereum copycat is doing so well.” 

    The move comes at a time when BSC is gaining traction in hosting decentralized exchanges (DEX), some of which have migrated their business from Ethereum to BSC due to the latter’s lower trading cost. 1inch, one of the most popular DEX aggregators, expanded its businesses to BSC on Feb. 25, citing Ethereum’s high “gas” transaction fees. 

    “Transactions per second for Ethereum have reached their peak for a long time and the excessive demand will flow to other blockchains,” said Hongfei Da, founder of decentralized blockchain platform Neo. “BSC’s technical infrastructure and community are well positioned to take in the demand.”  

    High gas fees and transaction speed on Ethereum are not the only reasons why dapps are moving to BSC. The blockchain is backed by crypto exchange giant Binance, so automated market makers (AMMs) could get more liquidity from the exchange while getting more publicity from Binance promoting the DEX’s products, said Aries Wang, co-founder of crypto exchange Bibox. 

    “Many dapps, ranging from AMMs to lending platforms, could have a jump-start if they run on BSC with the preferential yield farming models offered by the platform to increase their native tokens to a high level even in these projects’ early stage,” Wang said.   

    PancakeSwap, a DEX native to BSC, has been closing in on Ethereum-based UniSwap in terms of total value locked (TVL). On Feb.19, Binance Coin (BNB) saw a 45% increase when PancakeSwap “flippened” Uniswap in 24 hours. 

    In a recent tweet, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhou said Ethereum could be its own killer and compared the network to some now-defunct social media companies. 

    “Perhaps social media is the best example,” Zhao said in his tweet on Saturday. Friendster and MySpace were hugely popular but couldn't keep up with the user/demand growth, he said.  

    “Demand is growing exponentially, performance of ETH [isn’t],” he said. The Ethereum 2.0 update would take years, while the other solution to Ethereum’s scalability problem, rollups, which are off-chain aggregation of transactions inside an Ethereum smart, is not user friendly, Zhao said.


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