Crypto exchange Binance has unlocked a massive amount of Binance Coin (BNB) for its staff, six months later than it's supposed to happen, according to Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao today.

When Binance ran its ICO in 2017, it allocated a certain amount of the coin for its own staff. These coins were to be released periodically and handed out. And yet the exchange missed a rather large milestone.

“Also unlocked 16 million #BNB. These were suppose (sic) to be unlocked in July 2020. We just forgot. They are moved to a team token holding address, same one as before,” Zhao tweeted.

This 16 million BNB is worth around $752 million, according to the coin’s current price of $47.

Zhao later clarified that the exchange only forgot about the allocation for a small amount of time but chose to delay it.

"We actually knew about it all along. We did forget to do it in July when we were doing the burn. It was brought up to me the next day. I just said we will do it next year. The unfreeze mainly helps the CMC rankings of #BNB, as they only count circulating supply," he tweeted after this article was published.

Boosting the Binance ecosystem

Binance’s whole ecosystem is built around the BNB coin. The exchange offers a discount on trading fees to those who use the coin to pay their fees. It can be used to participate in token sales on Binance Launchpad. And it’s used to power Binance’s decentralized exchange.

The coin is also used to reward its employees. Not only were certain amounts allocated by the exchange in its ICO, but many employees choose to receive their salary in BNB. This creates a feedback loop where staff have a potential incentive to grow the exchange, in order to increase the uptake of BNB and, potentially, its price.

Zhao also confirmed today that the Binance team hasn't sold any BNB from the ICO allocation.

"In case if you wondering, Binance team has never sold a single #BNB from the Team Allocation ever. There were unfrozen, and transferred to publicly viewable addresses, never moved beyond that, other than being burned," he said.

Binance also helps put upward pressure on the price of BNB by regularly burning its supply—today burning the largest amount ever.