In February, we published two pieces that reviewed Binance "DEX" design and architecture choices. Two articles published before Binance DEX release, which proved to be spot on.
Notably, our review summarised that though Binance DEX was definitely a very advanced centralized exchange that improved transparency for its customers. The fact remained that it definitely is not a decentralized exchange, it is an upgrade for an already established centralized business. All the hype around it being a decentralized revolution, was simply a very clever marketing ploy by Binance to take an ever-increasing lion's share of the industry and ensure the success of Binance Chain (BNB) for their investors.
And it has now come to light that not only is Binance "DEX" not really a decentralized exchange, they will also censor and restrict users on their website depending on their location. This will start on July 1 and will be achieved by blocking access to Binance DEX's website interface.
“It seems you are accessing www.binance.org from an IP address belonging to one of the following countries:
USA, Albania, Belarus, Bosnia, Burma, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Cote D’Ivoire, the Crimea region of Ukraine, Croatia, Cuba, Herzegovina, Iran, Iraq, Kosovo, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Macedonia, Moldova, Serbia, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen, or Zimbabwe.”
Binance DEX website will Geoblock users from 29 countries, including the US
Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao was quick to respond on Twitter, that the restrictions would only be done by the website and that it was impossible to block access to the chain itself.
While this is definitely true, and it is even one of our arguments for Saturn Network being censorship-resistant, that no entity has been able to censor access to a whole blockchain.
The key difference here is that Binance is running and controlling all the nodes for Binance Chain, which means, theoretically they can do whatever they want. Yes, today access will remain via third-party wallets - but what will happen when the first government gives them a very strong incentive to restrict access to their nodes?
And sure, I have read that in the future Binance is planning to add many more validator nodes and that it may even become open participation. But so far, everything points to Binance selecting who can run a validator node which means it appears they will always retain control over how transactions and blocks are being validated.
Food for thought?