4/20 is generally a celebration of everybody’s favorite green. Unfortunately, It’s also Adolf Hitler’s birthday.
Following the emoji drop, many users on Twitter were quick to point out the regrettable resemblance between the emoji and the symbol of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (i.e. Nazism), as well as the extra-cringe-worthy timing.
A few hours after the backlash began, the company apparently realized their error and backtracked.
“Well that was obviously really embarrassing,” said Binance in a tweet from its official account. “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.”
We reached out to them for further clarification as to how this all happened. In an email to Gizmodo, Binance’s PR director, Simon Matthews, said “the company did not have any additional comment on the matter beyond the official tweet.”
Soon after the internet spoke out against the new emoji, it was replaced with an emoji that looked more like, well, a coin on a pedestal? Perhaps, it’s meant to be emblematic of the way crypto is often held up as something it’s not. Or maybe it’s a trophy: a self-congratulatory sign of #winning. Probably best not to analyze it too much.
To be fair: It’s likely that Binance had no intentions of alluding to white nationalism, Nazis, or Hitler with their emoji mistake. The four dot swastika most closely resembling Binance’s is a very old symbol, much older than the Third Reich, and versions of it are used widely and positively in Eastern religions and cultures. The symbol has particular significance in Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism. And, although Binance is now based in the Cayman Islands (not going to dig too deep into that either), the company was initially based in China.
Obviously, this isn’t the first time a miscommunication like this has happened. But, in Western graphic design, the unofficial first rule remains “don’t make it a swastika,” for a reason.