Binance caves to pressure over coin listings, scoring a win for privacy

Privacy advocates scored a big win in June with Binance’s announcement that it was backtracking on a decision to delist privacy coins for users in a number of European countries.

As a result of the move, users in Italy, Poland, Spain and France will be permitted to continue trading tokens including Zcash (ZEC), Monero (XMR), Decred (DCR), Horizen’s ZEN, Verge (XVG), Dash (DASH), Secret (SCRT), Firo, Navcoin (NAV), MobileCoin (MOB), Beam and PIVX.

Banning the coins would have been a big, big mistake. Privacy coins empower individuals against financial surveillance by offering enhanced transactional security, and crypto communities should be thankful that Binance is no longer planning to remove them from its listings. In the modern climate of excessive surveillance and overall lack of confidentiality for users everywhere, their significance cannot be overstated.

Related: Binance was wrong to boot Monero, Zcash and other privacy coins

These coins’ fungibility, which makes each individual unit interchangeable and censorship-resistant, is an advantage they hold over almost every other cryptocurrency, and losing these additional layers of security and anonymity would have been an incredible loss for the community.

Privacy coins have gained traction in recent years due to the surfacing of a series of harsh regulations. Binance’s decision, in fact, comes on the heels of the European Union ironing out its much-discussed standards for digital assets, the recent Markets in Crypto-Assets (MiCA) regulations. Having just signed this into law, July will also see the European Securities and Markets Authority launch a MiCA consultation process. It’s fair to say that there’s quite some movement in the space, and we may not have seen the last of what Europe has in store for the crypto industry.

ZCash's price sank to a low of $21.70 a week after Binance's May 31 threat to delist it — and rocketed back to $33 after the decision was reversed. Source: Binance

But the truth is that privacy is a fundamental human right protected by the United Nations. Article 12 of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “no one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy” and that “everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks,” so why should crypto be any different?

This concept is even more crucial in the digital era as data exploitation risks increase exponentially and tech giants have every tool at their disposal to try to prevent people from getting control over their private information.

As a matter of fact, Binance’s decision reflects the complex balance between regulatory compliance and users’ privacy needs that exchanges must strive for at all times, even as they face international regulations varying from country to country, and even as some countries decide to enforce stricter rules than others.

Related: SEC charges against Binance and Coinbase are terrible for DeFi

As for the future implications of the Binance decision — but also those stemming from the intense regulatory pressure looming over Europe — we could see a potential increase in the demand and, subsequently, the development of the privacy coins sector. Ironically, the precedent set by Binance could very well lead to more widespread acceptance of privacy coins, as it might prompt other exchanges to rethink their stance on privacy coins, potentially leading to wider availability. We shall see.

At the end of the day, this week’s news calls attention to the real power of community sentiment when it comes to shaping crypto policies and regulations. “We have revised how we classify privacy coins,” the official statement released by the cryptocurrency exchange read, “after carefully considering feedback from our community.” Reading between the lines, what’s clear is that the backlash they received in the past month worked.

It’s hard to overstate how necessary privacy in the crypto industry really is, and that’s why we cannot back down when it comes to fighting for it at every chance we get.

At the heart of it, the community’s influence on Binance’s decision demonstrates its power to shape the future of the crypto industry — and we’d do well not to forget that.

The crypto community should come together to continue fighting for privacy. It forms the very foundation of Web3. And, as the Romans used to say, ibi semper est victoria ubi est concordia: There is always victory where there is unity.

Daniele Servadei is the co-founder and CEO of Sellix, an e-commerce platform based in Italy.

This article is for general information purposes and is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal or investment advice. The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

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