Crypto exchange Binance has been accused of “blatantly” copying the winner of the BNB Chain hackathon after launching Bicasso — an AI-based nonfungible token (NFT) creation tool. Binance allegedly ripped off a tool created by Chatcasso just two months after awarding them first prize in a BNB Chain hackathon held in Seoul from Dec. 17–19, 2022.
On March 1, Binance CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao announced the launch of Bicasso, an artificial intelligence (AI) product that can be used to “turn your creative visions into NFTs with AI.” However, community member “ggoma” believes Binance copied and promoted the Chatcasso project as its own.
“Keep building ” – @cz_binance said.
What he DIDN’T say – “If you guys build it well, we’ll blatantly copy it and ship it as our product! “
Story of Binance stealing our project we won 1st place at the BNB Chain hackathon https://t.co/ejc5Z7w9o1
— ggoma (@0xggoma) March 2, 2023
Binance, on the other hand, dismissed the accusations of plagiarism. Speaking to Cointelegraph, a Binance spokesperson said Bicasso is an experimental project built by a small team at Binance as a test, and that NFTs and AI are common concepts worked on by many industry players.
Chatcasso won the first prize in the BNB Chain hackathon for creating an AI-powered tool for creating NFTs, receiving $5,000 in Binance USD (BUSD).
However, ggoma was shocked to see Binance launch a similar platform within two months, stating:
“A big company like Binance copying everything down to the name? It’s not only unethical, but it’s also confusing for users. The names are so similar that it’s hard to tell them apart.”
In addition, ggoma shared screenshots of the two projects to showcase the similarities between the user interface and capabilities.
Binance maintains that the similarities do not imply theft of ideas. The exchange’s spokesperson told Cointelegraph:
“Despite the similarities, after conducting an internal review, we’re confident that Bicasso was designed and developed independently more than two weeks before the BNB hackathon.”
Moreover, Binance and BNB Chain operate separately, and the Binance development team is not involved in BNB Chain hackathons, said the spokesperson.
Binance clarified to Cointelegraph that the Bicasso name was inspired by the OpenAI tool “Dall-E,” referring to the artist Salvador Dali, adding, “our team loved this concept.”
The entire episode has made ggoma skeptical of entering hackathons in the future, as he wondered if a market leader would rebrand innovative ideas at a later stage. “We hope that Binance realizes the impact of their actions and takes steps to right their wrongs,” ggoma added while warning builders that “there are companies out there who will try to take advantage of your hard work.”
Binance’s Bicasso became an instant hit among NFT investors as the AI-powered NFT generator recorded 10,000 mints in 2.5 hours.
CZ recently warned investors that a photoshopped image with misinformation was circulating on WeChat, a social media platform in China.
Someone photoshoped this, and it got spread widely on WeChat in china. It says I got shot by the FBI, whom our team work with closely… ♂️ 4. pic.twitter.com/2Iz7c1QgA8
— CZ Binance (@cz_binance) March 3, 2023
CZ further highlighted the importance of dismissing fear, uncertainty and doubt, advising investors to ignore false allegations that surface occasionally.