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As things stand right now, “trust” and “crypto” are two words that hardly belong in the same sentence. Time and again, it has been made clear that trust is not inherent to the crypto market. Crypto has been riddled with constant scams and hacks. Supposedly democratic mechanisms have been manipulated by powerful people. And the FTX bankruptcy has shown that even the largest centralized crypto institutions are capable of taking advantage of clients. So, when Binance (BNB-USD) says it made a simple mistake, don’t believe the company unquestioningly.
Even well before FTX, investors have been grappling with the trust problem plaguing cryptocurrency. In 2021, this problem existed by way of deflationary tokens and “get rich quick” investments. Projects with no practical use cases, driven only by hype, were able to take off in popularity. As their creators took advantage of the “hodl” and “to the moon” sentiment rife at the time, investors fell victim to rug pull scams and whale dumps that turned their supposedly fool-proof investments into dust.
The bear market has amplified this issue in a big way. The Terra (LUNA-USD) implosion was abound with controversy as the project’s founder went on the run and manipulated democratic governance. Companies with over-leveraged positions in the project fell to bankruptcy, but not before ensuring that clients couldn’t withdraw their own funds.
Of course, the most famous example of why crypto investors can’t trust anybody comes by way of the FTX controversy. The scope of Sam Bankman-Fried’s abuse of client trust continues to unfold even months after FTX’s bankruptcy. The disgraced entrepreneur now faces a potential 115-year prison sentence for his crimes.
Binance Says It Made an Honest Mistake. Investors Should Remain Skeptical.
A lack of regulatory clarity makes it very difficult for one to maintain a healthy relationship with crypto. Clearly, there is no shortage of liars and criminals in the space. Even centralized companies like FTX were taking advantage of customers and fudging numbers. That’s why one should take today’s new Binance news with a grain of salt.
Bloomberg reports that Binance has been holding customer assets in the same wallet as collateral for the company’s 94 self-issued cryptos. This co-mingling of reserves and customer funds is some very scary news for investors after the FTX scandal, which dealt in the company’s co-mingling of investor deposits and investments by Alameda Research.
Binance self-reported this news, as the discovery had been made through a report the company published on Monday. The company admits to the combination of assets on a single wallet, calling it a technical mistake. A spokesperson told Bloomberg that Binance is working to separate the assets.
Investors should not be taking these comments at face value, however. Time and again, crypto companies have knowingly operated at the expense of their clients. This isn’t to say that Binance knowingly co-mingled these funds, but that there’s obviously some scrutinizing to do over the company. If Binance was not purposefully lumping investor funds and reserves together, then it’s still concerning to see such a mechanical failure occurring at the largest company in the crypto space. A healthy dose of skepticism in crypto is warranted.
On the date of publication, Brenden Rearick did not hold (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.
Brenden Rearick is a Financial News Writer for InvestorPlace’s Today’s Market team. He mainly covers digital assets and tech stocks, with a focus on crypto regulation and DeFi.