Bad Look

Binance apologizes for new emoji that looked awfully like a swastika

“Well that was obviously really embarrassing.”

Binance PR

There are a lot of nuanced strategies to modern brand marketing and corporate public image, but perhaps the single easiest one to remember is, “Don’t make yourselves out to be a bunch of Nazis.” Alas, Binance’s design team apparently never heard about that tried-and-true approach, judging from their recent, short-lived social media update.

Earlier today — that is to say, April 20... that is to say, Adolf Hitler’s birthday — one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges debuted a new Twitter emoji likely meant to reference Buddhist and Hindu religious traditions. Unfortunately, the aforementioned genocidal maniac and his thugs got ahold of that symbol back in 1920, forever tainting its previously pious associations.

Yes, you guessed it right: Binance thought offering the internet a swastika-inspired emoji was a solid idea. The good people of the internet, of course, had their own thoughts on the matter.

You had one job — It did not take long before the unfortunate crypto-Nazi mixup reached the suits at Binance HQ. At 1:55 p.m. EST, the exchange’s official Twitter account wrote, “Well that was obviously really embarrassing,” and went on to explain, “We’re not sure how that emoji got through several layers of review without anyone noticing, but we immediately flagged the issue, pulled it down, and the new emoji design is being rolled out as we speak.”

The retconned Twitter emoji is now much less Reich-tastic, although to be honest we can’t exactly tell what it’s supposed to be now. Another religious icon? A trophy? A bitcoin? Actually, keeping it murky is probably for the best right now.

Crypto already has enough Nazis — Okay, so we are going to give Binance the benefit of the doubt here. The company originated in China, and its current CEO Changpeng Zhao is a Chinese-Canadian citizen; in all probability, this was meant as a true, non-Nazified swastika. Unfortunately, the ability to use a genuine, wholesome swastika is gonna be pretty severely limited forevermore. And the added awkwardness of today being Hitler’s birthday doesn’t make this any easier, of course.

Then there’s the issue of actual Nazis within the world of cryptocurrency. Given its decentralized and largely anonymous design, crypto is a major means of financial transaction and fundraising for all manner of people. And in fact, neo-Nazis were some of the earliest adopters of Bitcoin... which means many actually netted millions of dollars from the cryptocurrency’s skyrocketing worth and popularity. Binance probably wants nothing to do with those creeps, but this little snafu certainly won’t help matters.