Binance, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, launched a new emoji on Twitter that looks a lot like a swastika on Wednesday. People on Twitter were quick to point out that, maybe, it just wasn’t a great idea.
“Man that emoji sure looks like a Swastika,” tweeted one user.
“Which clown signed off on the new #Binance swastika emoji?” asked another.
In an unfortunate twist, April 20, is also Adolf Hitler’s birthday, which many Twitter users were quick to point out.
At the time of writing, it appears that Binance removed tweets from its official account and that of its CEO Changpeng Zhao, in which it publicized the new emoji, although Twitter users are widely circulating screengrabs of the tweets. The emoji, however, is still visible on Twitter when a user types "#Binance" when composing a new tweet.
Binance spokespeople did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
All this is rather unfortunate and exasperating, because it's most likely all a major misunderstanding and an oversight. The swastika that Binance used for its Twitter emoji is an un-tilted swastika with four dots that has no association with the Nazis. Rather, it has cultural and religious significance across the East. In Buddhism the symbol represents the footprints of the Buddha, and in Hinduism the swastika’s limbs can represent the four Vedas, the core Hindu scriptures, the four goals of life, and the four seasons.
The company was initially based in China, and its CEO Changpeng Zhao is Chinese-Canadian. Currently, it's based in the Cayman Islands.
Binance almost definitely did not mean for its new emoji to have any association with the Nazis, but clearly the company did not anticipate that many Twitter users would immediately make that connection.
UPDATE, April 20, 2022, 2:19 p.m. ET: After receiving criticism on social media, Binance changed the logo and admitted that it made a mistake.
“Well that was obviously really embarrassing,” Binance wrote on Twitter. “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.”