Binance is the world’s most popular cryptocurrency exchange with the largest organic trading volume. It has a wide range of cryptocurrencies being traded along with powerful trading tools such as leveraged trading, options trading and lending platform. The rapid addition of new features to Binance has often amazed experts in the cryptocurrency industry, with many critics commenting Binance CEO Zhao “CZ” Changpeng’s rapid response to events. On top of the main Binance.com exchange, the company also has several uniquely featured versions including US branch Binance US, and Binance DEX. In this review, we highlight each of the various features and controversies that you need to know.
Key Advantages of Binance
- World’s most popular exchange with highest trade volume.
- Offers the largest range of products and services with some not even found elsewhere.
- Maintains insurance against theft and hacks.
Key Features and Functions
Binance (Binance.com) is the main exchange, it is most popular and has the full suite of services offered by the Exchange. Key features include:
- Most supported cryptocurrencies (over 1,000 coins).
- Owing to its popularity, it has the highest trading volume worldwide.
- Access to Binance Launchpad, an Initial Exchange Offering (IEO) platform for listing of new cryptocurrencies.
- Stop-Limit Function. The order will be executed once the given stop price has been reached. So the stop-limit order will become a limit order to buy or sell at the limit price or better.
- Binance Lending. Users can hold their cryptocurrencies on the Exchange for a specified time period and earn interest.
Binance US (Binance.us)
Binance US (Binance.us) was Binance’s answer to US regulations barring citizens from trading on Binance. Key features include:
- US regulation compliant
- Has fiat to cryptocurrency trading pairs. Users can use USD to buy cryptocurrencies directly on the Exchange.
- Bank account linking is available.
History of Binance
Binance was founded by Changpeng (CZ) Zhao in 2017. The name comes from a combination of the words “Binary” and “Finance”. Binance is originally from China. However, due the harsh crypto regulation procedures in the country, the Exchange moved to more conducive jurisdictions outside China.
“In response to China’s decision, we are moving our IP’s from Hong Kong to an offshore location… So we are registered in multiple locations and we have people in multiple locations. That way, we will never be affected by one regulatory body.”
Changpeng Zhao (CZ), CEO of Binance (2017)
Currently, Binance is based in multiple jurisdictions. Their main site offers support in English, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Russian, Spanish, and French.
Indeed Binance is a huge player in the cryptocurrency space, as well as being one of the world’s largest crypto exchanges it has in April 2020 acquired Coinmarketcap, arguably the most well-known resource for cryptocurrency market cap rankings, charts, and other data.
Binance (Binance.com) is supported in most countries except the USA.
US citizens can ONLY trade on Binance US (Binance.us), except for those from the following states: Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Louisiana, New York, Texas, and Vermont.
Supported Cryptocurrencies and Payment Methods
Binance supports trading over 1300 cryptocurrencies including its own cryptocurrency, Binance Coin (BNB). Learn more about Binance Coin (BNB).
Binance accepts payments using credit card (Visa and MasterCard), debit card and cryptocurrency. However debit and credit card payments are restricted in the following locations:
- US: New York, Connecticut, Hawaii, Georgia, New Mexico and Washington;
- Several Chinese banks; and
- Some countries entirely e.g. Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.
Users can only pay USD or EUR to buy Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH/BCHABC) or Ripple (XRP) using debit and credit cards on Binance.
Binance is a crypto-to-crypto exchange only. So users must buy first the above cryptocurrencies using fiat, before they can trade with other cryptocurrencies on the Exchange.
Binance US (Binance.us)
Binance US only supports around 50 cryptocurrencies.
Users can use their debit cards to directly transfer USD from their bank accounts into their Exchange account via ACH or wire transfer.
Deposit and Withdrawal Fees
For Binance.com and Binance US, fees are different depending on the cryptocurrency to be transferred. Fees are charged in the respective cryptocurrency to be transferred. For example, Bitcoin (BTC) withdrawals cost 0.0005 BTC per transaction. There are no deposit fees.
For fiat transfers, on Binance US, USD wire withdrawals cost USD15/USD35 for domestic or international withdrawals respectively. Deposits generally and ACH withdrawals are free.
Click here for the fee structures of Binance.com and Binance USrespectively.
Trading fees for Binance.com and Binance US are generally 0.1% for makers and takers with the following exceptions:
- Binance.com and Binance.us: Users with larger trade volume or hold a specified amount of BNB are eligible to become VIPs. Higher VIP tiers give you lower trading fees. And for all users, there is a 25% discount if fees are paid using BNB.
Binance has competitive trading fees compared to some other cryptocurrency exchanges. For example:
- Coinbase: 0.50% of the transaction plus a further Coinbase Fee depending on the transaction amount. Side note: did you know you can avoid their expensive withdrawal fees? Find out more at CoinBase Fees- How to Avoid Them?
- Kraken: 0.16% (maker) / 0.26% (taker)
- Bittrex: 0.25% (maker and taker)
- Poloniex: 0.15% (maker) / 0.25% (taker) (Note: Poloniex has discounted their fees to 0.00% until 31 December 2019)
- OceanEX: 0.10%, discounts are offered for payments with their OceanEx coin.
- KuCoin: 0.10%, discounts are offered for payments with their KCS coin.
- Huobi: 0.20%
- OKEx: 0.10% (maker) / 0.15% (taker)
- BitMEX: -0.025% (maker) (i.e. a rebate is given) / 0.075% (taker). This Exchange however only deals in margin trading.
- BitFinex: 0.10% (maker) / 0.20% (taker)
- BitMax: 0.085% (maker and taker) for larger market cap coins, 0.10% for other coins
Users do not have to complete the Binance KYC process in order to use the Exchange. However, the functions available to them will be limited to fund withdrawal, order cancellation, position close, and redemption only.
Otherwise, Binance has 2 tiers of KYC status- “Verified” and “Verified Plus”. For “Verified” status, users will need to submit their personal information, government-issued identification document, and complete the facial recognition process. This entitles users to fiat deposit and withdrawal limits of US$50k daily, unlimited crypto deposits, up to 100 BTC in crypto withdrawals, unlimited P2P transactions and the LPD/OTC/Binance card. For “Verified Plus” KYC status, users will also need to provide proof of address. This entitles users to all the same functions as the “Verified” status, save that the fiat deposit and withdrawal limits are raised to US$200k per day (instead of US$50k only).
Like any exchange, Binance is no stranger to controversies. From stolen bitcoins to its Know Your Customer (KYC) database being hacked, many ask if Binance is safe? Let’s take a look at some recent controversies.
Binance hack: 7,000 Bitcoins stolen
In early May 2019, Binance informed the public that hackers withdrew 7,000 Bitcoins (then worth about USD40 million) in a single large scale security breach. The Exchange says that hackers used a variety of techniques such as phishing and viruses to obtain its users’ login data.
The Exchange used its SAFU fund- their emergency insurance fund to cover any affected users’ losses in full.
Binance KYC Data Breach
In August 2019 a hacker alleged they had obtained a huge portion of the Exchange’s Know Your Customer (KYC) data. The hacker set up several Telegram groups allegedly featuring this private data. The hacker also demanded a total of 300 Bitcoins (then worth around USD3.5 million) from the Exchange or else they would release more data.
Binance claims the leaked data was from February 2018 when the Exchange was using a third-party service provider for processing its KYC verifications. However some commentators say that Binance should bear most of the blame for the incident.
To remedy the situation, Binance offered a reward to anyone who can provide information to identify the hacker. However it does not seem like the hacker has been found.
Meanwhile, the Exchange offered lifetime VIP membership, and preferential trading fees and services to its affected users.
Binance accused of being a conduit for money launderers?
According to an investigation by Reuters, from 2017 to 2022, buyers and sellers on a Russian darknet drugs market known as “Hydra” had been using Binance to make and receive cryptocurrency payments worth US$780 million.
Hydra was set up in 2015 and is described by the US Justice Department as the world’s largest and longest-running darknet market for illegal drugs. The website is only accessible via the Darkweb and generally accepts cryptocurrency as a form of payment.
In response to the Reuters report, Binance disputes that the figures were “inaccurate and overblown” since it wrongly included indirect cryptocurrency flows in arriving at its figures. Representatives of Binance also state that they are seeking to further improve its ability to detect illegal activity on its Exchange and working closely with law enforcement to dismantle criminal networks that utilise cryptocurrencies.
Since August 2021, Binance has stepped up on its know-your-customer (KYC) requirements including requiring both new and existing users to submit identification in order to use most of the features on the Exchange. According to figures from Crystal Blockchain– a blockchain analytics firm, since Binance tightened its KYC requirements the monthly total of funds linked to Hydra Market that have allegedly flowed through Binance has decreased significantly from over US$30 million per month to less than US$1 million per month in the first quarter of 2022.
Is Binance safe in 2022?
We’ve seen many exchanges become victims of hacks. Some, such as the Cryptopia exchange hack was so serious that the Exchange went into liquidation, and users were unable to withdraw their funds.
Binance, as the world’s largest exchange would clearly be a prime target for hackers. Indeed the 2 hacks in 2019 demonstrated this. However, Binance did handle the hacks by compensating affected users from its insurance fund and providing them with various benefits.
So is Binance still safe? We’d say that from track records, when it was hacked the Exchange will step in to remedy your loss. However, we emphaise that no exchange is 100% safe. Hence we emphaise the importance of removing your cryptocurrencies off exchanges and storing them in offline hardware wallets. It is the only way in which you keep full custody of your cryptocurrencies.
Which hardware wallet should you get? Check out our comparison of the top 3 hardware wallets on the market. Or individual detailed reviews for the Ledger Nano X, Trezor Model T and KeepKey.
You can also check out my video comparing the Ledger Nano S (the predecessor to the Nano X), Trezor Model T and KeepKey below:
Conclusion: Binance Pros and Cons
- Exchange with the world’s largest trading volume.
- Track record of taking steps to remedy affected users when hacked.
- Competitive trading fees.
- Large amount of supported cryptocurrencies.
- Offers lots of unique services and features.
- Creating a basic KYC verified account can take up to 13 days.
- Issues when buying cryptocurrencies using credit card.
Sign up for Binance here:
Updated on 3rd July 2022: Included new section on Binance KYC and recent controversies surrounding the Exchange.
Binance Jersey closed on 31st December 2020 at 23:59 UTC.
Users with remaining funds on Binance Jersey can contact Binance’s Customer Service Team to retrieve their funds.
Binance DEX (Binance.org) is also known as Binance Chain.
Key features include:
It is a decentralized exchange developed on Binance’s own Binance Chain blockchain;
Users maintain custody and control of their private keys and funds. This means that users’ funds are much less vulnerable to hacks or exchange closures; and
Only limit orders are accepted. Unlike other exchanges, Binance DEX does not match orders continuously. Rather, it matches open orders received using a periodic auction.
Learn more about Binance DEX here.
Users must complete the KYC process in order to access all the features on the Exchange. Those who have not completed the KYC process are limited to fund withdrawal, order cancellation, position close and and redemption functions on the Exchange only.
For “Verified” status, users will need to submit their personal information, government-issued identification document, and pass the facial recognition. Verified Plus requires additional proof of address, but in return will be entitled to higher fiat deposit and withdrawal limits.