Are You Committed Enough to Tattoo?
A couple hours of craziness, the stories behind the logo, and a lifelong commitment. CZ tells the tale of his Binance tattoo.
All was normal at a casual dinner with Luke and Gareth in Singapore, until the very end, when we noticed the Bitcoin logo tattooed on Luke’s arm. And he was ready to add tattoos of the CoinMarketCap and Binance logos to his arm, which would soon be a “crypto-arm.”
Luke is the second guy to join CMC, as part of the founding team, and is a really cool, down-to-earth guy. And of course, he has always been a supporter and believer in Binance.
From there, all hell broke loose. The discussion of a Binance logo tattoo has come up a few times, even on Twitter. I never had a tattoo before and didn’t consider myself a tattoo guy. But I am sitting there, thoughts racing through my mind: here is a cool dude, who has contributed so much to the crypto space, and a strong supporter of Binance, and he is going to get a Binance tat, and I’m just going to sit here and watch? No, I can’t do that. I need to execute, get in on the action. So I said, “I may be up for it.” And at that moment, I knew it was done.
Gareth, being the resourceful guy that he is, made a couple of quick calls, and we found a highly recommended place. But that’s not why Gareth is in this story. Gareth, not having a single tattoo in his life then, also thought about the possibility of a lion tattoo. He was born in South Africa and resonates with the qualities of lions. He had a few sketches already stored in his Pinterest, but after looking at them, wasn’t quite ready to commit to any one of them. But that will change soon.
In the meantime, given that Luke was going to tattoo the Binance logo to his arm, purely out of his love for the brand, I thought I had to explain to him the history behind the Binance logo.
Binance brand origins
Sixteen months ago, when we were designing the Binance logo, we tried many different variations. We wanted to represent the bids and asks on the exchange with two squares, while also echoing the “binary” word in our name (Binance = Binary Finance).
So, we had two squares on top of each other (see figure 1 below). It looked too much like a digital 8, and while the number is lucky in Chinese culture, it just didn’t feel right. Our designer, Tang, made a few different variations, and I noticed the two diagonal squares on top of each other, with a slight overlap (see figure 2).
Now this made sense; if there is an overlap between the bids and asks, it would result in a trade. I liked it. But the “logo” still didn’t feel like a “logo”. Another idea came up: we would put a bigger square, like a board where the first two squares sit on (see figure 3). The board would be the “playground” or place where things happened, which is what an exchange platform is, after all. The logo still looked weak. So the brilliant designers made the lines thicker (our current logo).
Suddenly everything changed. I knew we had our logo.
The thickened lines made things look good, but more importantly, it created three smaller blocks in the middle, which formed a chain. A blockchain. And the middle block also represents trades, like a DEX perhaps. Furthermore, we thought about the different orientations. We could lay down the square so it sits on one side. But not only would that look weird, it would also make it less symmetrical. We felt that, as an exchange, it’s important for us to keep an accurate balance on things.
For this reason, our logo is perfectly balanced on its tip, and is symmetrical both horizontally and vertically. Perfectly balanced and fair. And that’s the story of the Binance logo.
Then, something magical happened. Upon hearing this story, and seeing my scrap paper drawing, Gareth said, “I am down for the Binance logo tattoo.” Luke and I were like, “Whaaat?”. Gareth explained that, aside from the logo story, he also appreciates our efforts in Africa. He said that while many people talked about things, we have already executed. Luke and I explained separately that he should only do the tattoo on his own will, and that there’s no need to be peer-pressured. But Gareth was committed.
A few minutes later, we were sitting at a place called Naked Skin Tattoo, run by Daryl.
Luke was a true gentleman and allowed me to go first, to be the first guy to have a Binance tattoo (as far as we know). But within minutes, all three tattoos were done. Luke also tattooed his own baby, CoinMarketCap, on his arm, in full logo, including letters.
When looking at Luke’s arm, an interesting observation popped to mind. It’s fitting and lucky to have Binance as the first listed coin (after BTC) on his CoinMarketCap/crypto arm, haha.
All in all, here are the first tattoos of the CoinMarketCap logo and the first 3 of the Binance logo. It was my honor to have done my first ever tattoo with Luke and Gareth. It’s crazy, even by my standards. And I believe they also appreciated the crazy night. Tattooing together is a true bonding experience.
When listing coins on Binance, we always want to make sure the founders are dedicated to their project. It’s a key thing we look for. Now a simple question would do. Imagine if, on our listing application, we added a question:
“Are you committed enough to your project that you are willing to tattoo your logo?”
Or more simply:
“As a founder, have you tattooed your logo on your body yet?”
Savage, I know. But I do believe strongly that founders should be fully committed to their project before they do an ICO. See my article from when we first finished our ICO.
Can’t change our logos now. Well, at least not for a while.
More importantly, we — Binance — are here to stay. And we are serious about building a lasting brand.
Lastly, all these tattoos were done purely on a voluntary basis. Our marketing team was so psyched they were asking if we should run a campaign for Binance tattoos. I declined it. The reason is:
Which brands do you think are worth tattooing?
P.S. Here’s a more professional Binance logo grid from our design team, just in case you need it. :)
Catch CZ’s fireside chat at Forbes Asia Forum: Decrypting Blockchain for Business later today, December 4th, at 4:10 PM UTC+8.
Follow CZ on Twitter: @cz_binance