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Binance’s Musical Beats closes Days After Launch

Binance Smart Chain’s Musical Beats, suspected Ethereum copycat, closes days after launch.

The war is on for Ethereum and Binance Smart Chain, and Musical Beats was one of its first casualties.

Among the recent rise of Ethereum NFT project EulerBeats, Musical Beats, an alleged copycat version, launched last Monday on Binance Smart Chain.

And then days later, Musical Beats is shutting down, the project announced last Tuesday.

The developers of Ethereum and some community members accused that the project had been ripped off from Euler Beats, which takes the works of Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler and turns them into unique visual and audio works of collectible art.

Binance Smart Chain was launched in September, firing directly at Ethereum, which has been enjoying large growth because of the range of decentralized finance (DeFi) projects built on the platform.

“Binance Smart Chain makes it possible for developers around the world to build DeFi services and many more dApps within the Binance Chain ecosystem while delivering various benefits such as an all-new method for staking BNB, high performance, lower fees, direct connection with fast DEX and more.”

Binance CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao

As Binance Smart Chain continues to grow, Ethereum developers and community members began pointing out a worrying trend: Several of the projects seemed to be knock-offs from Ethereum intellectual property.

“CZ is out there, effectively advertising and marketing people to move off of Ethereum and really saying some negative things about Ethereum and gas fees, meanwhile, profiting off all of the Ethereum development at the infrastructure level and the application level by just copying Ethereum. It’s a bit ironic.”

Matt Corva, General Counsel of Ethereum software company ConsenSys

Debatedly, it all started with PancakeSwap, a BSC fork of popular Ethereum-based decentralized exchange Uniswap. Two weeks ago, PancakeSwap shortly became the most-used decentralized exchange (DEX) in the world.

The founder of the ETHBerlin hackathon and conference, María Paula Fernández, argues that PancakeSwap has grown enough to be considered a “decent and old-fashioned fork,” instead of a copycat.

But she’s less confident about Binance Punks. “Binance Punks are simply an attempt to deceive people into accessing punks,” she wrote last March 2. “A money grab, with none of the originality of the crypto punks or their incredible snowball effect into becoming one of the most sought-after digital assets.”

She had the same thoughts on BSC’s Musical Beats. EulerBeats’ web description reads, “An ultra scarce collection of 27 art + music originals generated based on Euler’s mathematical discoveries.” Musical Beats basically chose an extremely similar description: “An ultra scarce collection of 30 art + music originals generated based on mathematical Aglo.”

Corva says that decentralization shall not indicate that copycats fly free.

“People equate decentralization with just total abdication of rules and rights,” he said “And that’s not it. That was never the purpose of decentralization. You didn’t just say decentralization means we accept a lawless society where anybody can do whatever they want at all times.”

Even if a code is open source, business is not, Corva argues. EulerBeats has legal rights, and so do similar projects.

“Their website, their code, their text, their ideas, they’re all protected, unless they’ve otherwise licensed them,” Corva stated “So the idea that somebody finds a repo for a product that has smart contracts that are open source, it’s not a free license to just copy and paste their entire business and product and release it under your own brand. That is 100% copyright infringement.”

It could prove difficult to protect the IP in a decentralized industry, or even go after illegal activity on blockchain. Corva stated, however, that there are some strategies that can be used given that blockchain projects are mainly dependent on Web 2 infrastructure. For example, an outage at the Federal Reserve’s payment system last week led to performance issues with crypto firms that have been tied into those systems.

“Web 2 infrastructure is actually really well equipped to handle copyright-related claims as a result of the Napster world and how that all evolved,” he said. “So it’s an enforcement problem, but it’s naive to think there’s no remedy as a copyright holder. There’s always a remedy for you. The question is: Is it worth it?”

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