Binance has come a long way since its launch five years ago. It was mocked and belittled by many at first. Investors believed that it was a B-tier crypto exchange with no future – let alone any potential to beat the likes of BitMEX or Coinbase. But today, Binance stands as crypto’s ultimate market hegemon. The exchange brutally conquered the crypto space by delivering advanced features and superb customer service.
I almost thought of skipping the introduction when beginning to write this review – everyone knows about Binance in 2023! But then again, it wouldn’t hurt to provide a short little overview of the world’s top cryptocurrency exchange to new market participants.
Binance is a crypto exchange created by Changpeng Zhao (CZ) and his team at Beijie Technology. The exchange launched along with an ICO in 2017 that successfully raised $15 million for its native BNB utility coin.
The exchange had its headquarters in China, but following a wave of regulatory pressure, Zhao was forced to move the company to the Cayman Islands. The headquarters were later moved to Malta. Today, most consider Binance to be a global company with no headquarters.
Binance reached the top in little less than two years. It became the number one exchange in the world by delivering wide-spread adoption and creating a trading experience fit for both beginners and advanced users. Binance has the largest daily trading volume in crypto and routinely beats its competition through innovation and product development.
How Binance Crushed its Competition
Most crypto exchanges had linear growth. They saw adoption through constant iteration and updates over a long period of time. However, the same can’t be said for Binance. The exchange deviated from this path by relentlessly pushing for new features, optimizing their servers, and creating a seamless trading experience.
By aggressively striving, Binance managed to become the largest crypto exchange by trading volume in only two years. The exchange has shredded its competition to pieces and conquered every sector in the market under the leadership of CZ. Their formula was simple: provide an incredibly intuitive, simple, and fast user-interface that had little to no downtime.
Binance also took a totally novel approach by listing altcoins while using a much more liberal listing standard. Crypto investors could suddenly trade the newest altcoins on a secure exchange with a fast trading engine. This has marked the end of trading new cryptocurrencies on unsecured exchanges that could close at any moment.
Binance Coin (BNB) represented yet another novelty. The exchange offered users a choice: trade with normal fees or significantly cut them by paying their trading fees in BNB. This brilliant move allowed Binance to build its own crypto ecosystem and fuel its development by creating a source of income with a native coin.
Their focus on innovation is no joke. When DeFi began to represent a threat to CEXs, CZ jumped the gun and immediately announced CeDeFi: Centralized-decentralized finance. This led to the creation of Binance Smart Chain (BSC), a new DeFi ecosystem powered by BNB. To no one’s surprise, DeFi investors participated in BSC as actively as they did on Ethereum and Solana.
Features and Services
Now that you know Binance’s brilliant history, it’s time to explore the exchange’s core products and features. The following sections will walk you through Binance’s trading products, yield products, and fiat on-ramp services.
Spots, Margin, and Futures Trading
Trading services represent the main venue of any exchange. Luckily for you, Binance provides some of the best trading services in the world. It features spot, margin, and futures trading through an easy and user-friendly format.
Spot traders can pick between buying and selling cryptocurrencies through an advanced trading terminal or through a tool that removes all clutter and directly converts assets.
The trading terminal is dearly loved by everyone in the crypto space. It features everything an advanced trader needs: an order book, chart, and trade execution panel. You can search for other cryptocurrencies and view the most recent trades and their volume.
You can switch between spot trading and margin trading from the same interface. Simply click on the cross or isolated tab as shown on the image below. You can borrow funds from Binance and trade up to ten times your original capital. Isolated margin trading allows you to allocate capital to individual trades, while cross margin trading uses funds from your entire portfolio as collateral.
Alternatively, you can convert assets if you don’t know how to read charts or use a trading terminal. The interface lets you select two cryptocurrencies and convert them with the click of a button. This makes it perfect for newbies who invest for the first time.
Fans of leveraged and derivatives trading can trade futures at a separate part of the exchange. Binance Futures allows users to trade with higher leverage compared to margin trading. It also introduces special types of derivatives and trading pairs that aren’t found on the main trading terminal.
Binance stores funds separately for spot and futures trading. You’ll need to transfer your assets from your spot wallet to a futures wallet in order to trade derivatives.
Futures trading also introduces funding rates. Users who have trade positions open will either receive or pay fees every eight hours. The exchange charges traders fees via the funding rate in order to incentivize liquidity providers and market makers.
Binance Futures looks almost the same as the spot trading terminal. The layout is the only notable difference. I recommend getting yourself acquainted with the interface before making your first futures trade – you don’t want to get liquidated.
The exchange features several products that let you earn interest on your crypto assets. You earn interest mainly by locking in assets for a certain period of time. I will explain how each product works in the section below.
Savings allows you to earn interest on your cryptocurrencies by locking your funds. You lock in a certain number of tokens for fixed periods of time. Once the time period expires, you receive your initially deposited tokens along with the yield (paid out via the same token). The yields range from 10% to 104%.
Staking lets you earn passive income by securing the blockchain network of a token. Proof of Stake blockchains rely on users locking in assets to secure the network. Normally you require technical knowledge to create a node and secure the network. However, you can stake funds by using Binance as an intermediate and thus skip all the technical steps.
Liquidity farming is another product that allows you to provide liquidity to a DeFi trading pair. For example, you can provide equal amounts of ETH and DAI to a liquidity pool and earn yield for doing so. Like with staking, Binance removes the technical steps traditionally required for providing liquidity
Crypto Loans lets you borrow crypto for trading or staking by providing collateral. You can loan hundreds of assets and repay the loan at any time. Binance calculates interest each hour and charges you the total amount once you repay the loan. Lending enables you to gain more exposure to crypto.
Besides these products, Binance also features:
Binance mining pools
Fiat On-ramp services
Binance indisputably offers the largest number of fiat on-ramp services. You can acquire cryptocurrency with fiat in a plethora of ways. The section below explains each method.
Credit and Debit Card
You can buy cryptocurrencies using fiat via a credit or debit card. Binance supports Visa and Mastercard and lets you purchase crypto either directly through the exchange or through 3rd-party vendors.
You get charged zero fees when buying crypto directly through Binance. The exchange only charges a 2% transaction fee for moving funds to your account.
Binance has partnered with 3rd-party vendors to provide you alternative buying methods. For example, you can buy cryptocurrencies with Simplex and the vendor will transfer the assets directly to your Binance spot account. However, this comes at a price as Simplex can charge up to 4.5% in fees for card deposits.
You can acquire and trade cryptocurrencies with Binance’s peer-to-peer (P2P) marketplace. This P2P marketplace connects buyers and sellers who can exchange assets directly with each other. The marketplace offers a wider variety of payment options and transfer methods. However, keep in mind that you need to verify the other party’s reputation in order to successfully evade scammers.
You can also exchange fiat for crypto with wire transfers. Binance enforces no transaction fees on wire transfers. However, the number of fiat currencies you can transfer isn’t quite diverse. Keep in mind that wire transfers take longer to process, while card payments are instantaneous.
Binance Fees (Paying less with BNB)
Binance uses a novel system for trading fees. You can either pay full price for your trading fees, or you can pay at a discounted rate if you buy and hold BNB, then pay your trading fees with that. Without using BNB, your trading fees amount to 0.1% of every trade you make. Using BNB, the trading fee per trade is .075%.
You can visit this link for a complete overview of Binance’s fee system. Keep in mind that Binance has recently removed fees for spot trading on all BTC trading pairs.
You can use BNB for things other than discounted fees.. You can buy and hold BNB to enter into Binance Launchpad lotteries. Doing so gives you a chance to be one of the few who makes the cut to invest in the latest IEO on offer. Considering that most of the Binance Launchpad IEOs have gone north of 400%+ gains, it doesn’t hurt to keep a bit of BNB in your wallet.
Finally, at the end of each financial quarter, Binance uses a portion of its quarterly profits to market buy BNB — then burns it from the supply. This portion is calculated based on the price, supply, and demand of BNB. The point is to regulate the token supply and make it more scarce all while demand for the coin continues to surge. With an increase in use cases and products around the Binance ecosystem, demand for BNB is at an all-time high, which is reflected by BNB’s steady rise in valuation.
Binance also has an auto-burner set in place. Governance improvement proposal BEP-95 introduced real-time BNB burns based on gas fees spent inside the BSC ecosystem.
Binance Smart Chain (BSC)
Binance Smart Chain (BSC) is part of Binance’s venture into DeFi. It is a semi-decentralised smart contract ecosystem operated by Binance. Users trade and pay network fees via BNB.
Binance Smart Chain first launched in 2020. It brings decentralized and fast trading to users – who can manage their capital via non-custodial wallets.
BSC is home to many decentralized applications (dApps). Some popular examples include: PancakeSwap (DEX). Era7 (game), and BitKeep Swap (DEX).
Per the words of Changpeng Zhao, BSC is not meant to rival or dethrone Ethereum, but to work beside it.
Binance uses the latest in AI, blockchain forensics, and security tech to lock down its exchange and keep it safe for users. A big part of keeping an exchange secure is not only keeping security tech current but also having an on-point support staff. Binance, thankfully, has both.
At times, and depending on the issue, Binance is able to provide real-time support. That’s pretty special in the crypto world — especially if you’re used to trading on one-off illiquid exchanges where support is non-existent.
The best part about Binance’s security measures, however, is its SAFU program. SAFU stands for Secure Asset Fund for Users and is a one-of-a-kind insurance fund for Binance users. Binance allocates 10% of its trading fee profits to the fund to cover any losses incurred under unforeseen circumstances such as hacks. The SAFU mechanism is already a major success — after having recovered user funds following a $40 million hack.
The SAFU fund was determined to hold $1 billion in value at the start of the year. The fund contains BTC, BUSD, and BNB. You can track the content and value of the fund at this address.
Additionally, Binance features many security mechanisms to protect users. You can add 2FA to your account and make it so that you require an email, 2FA, and even SMS code to log in.
Binance.US is a separate financial entity designed for the U.S. market. It exclusively serves American customers and follows regulations set by relevant regulatory entities. As a result, Binance.US does not provide all features that its global counterpart does.
Binance.US launched in 2019 following a wave of regulatory pressure in the crypto market. CZ and his team created the exchange in order to comply with the U.S. regulatory framework.
You can trade a little over 100 cryptocurrencies on Binance.US – significantly less than on the global version. There is also no futures, margin or any other kind of trading that involves leverage.
American citizens are restricted from registering an account on Binance Global. However, some users use proxy services to hide their IP addresses and trade on Binance on an account without KYC.
Opening an Account
Gaining access to a new Binance account is simple. The team at Binance is well aware that many, if not most, people who use their exchange are new to trading and investing crypto altogether. To that end, Binance has undergone several redesigns to make their interface user-friendly.
To create an account, you’ll need to hop over to Binance.com and click the ‘register’ button in the upper right-hand corner. If you’re a resident of the USA, you won’t be able to create an account. Instead, you have to register an account at Binance.us.
The next step is to insert an email address and password before hitting ‘create account.’ Boom, you’re well on your way to trading on the world’s most busy crypto exchange. You’ll get an email used to verify your new account which you can go ahead and click, then voila, time to get cracking.
The first thing you’ll want to do is enable 2FA security on your exchange account. Binance strongly encourages everyone to do so — and so do we. Use Google Authenticator or any other 2FA app of your choice. Additionally, Binance will send you an email every time you want to withdraw from your account. To finalize the withdrawal, you’ll need to click the link contained within the email. Last but not least, you can enable an anti-phishing code from your Binance account. Doing so allows you to create a code that appears in all Binance emails from then on — that way you can be sure that you’re clicking on a genuine Binance email — not a fake.
To begin using your fresh Binance account, simply go to the deposits page and find the asset you want to transfer over. Again, triple check the wallet address character by character before actually sending anything. Doing so will save you from the pain of irretrievably sending Bitcoin Cash to a Bitcoin SV address.
Once your wallet(s) are funded, you’re ready to rock. Binance has two views depending on your needs. On the upper left, just near the Binance logo, there’s an ‘exchange’ button.
Hover over it to expand two viewing options — ‘basic,’ and ‘advanced.’ After choosing the view that best suits your experience level, it’s time to trade.
Verdict: Is Binance the Best Crypto Exchange?
Crypto investors were dissatisfied with the exchange selection for a long time. Following the fall of Mt. Gox in 2014 consumer trust has deeply fallen. Investors were looking for a safe, reliable, and user-friendly exchange to trade cryptocurrencies, but the product wasn’t there.
Binance’s arrival in 2017 has turned a new page on the exchange front. Changpeng Zhao’s dedication to building a great product led to the creation of crypto’s largest exchange. The rapid flow of new products and innovations made many believe that Binance is the best crypto exchange on the market.
For many traders, Binance has become synonymous with cryptocurrency investing. While Coinbase may still take the cake for new traders, those who have already gotten their feet wet and are looking for a deeper crypto trading experience will find that Binance delivers.
The impressively wide range of product offerings, features, and tireless dedication to making the exchange a better place to trade all add up to make Binance a top crypto destination. Even if you can find the same assets on another exchange, you’ll have to ask yourself: Will the other exchange cover me in the event that my wallet is hacked? If the answer is no, then consider making Binance your new best friend.
CZ is transparent, available, and seems like a genuinely good guy with a desire to make crypto better for everyone. Binance exchange reflects that. Their mission to decentralize in the coming years is noble, and since they’re looked up to and imitated by nearly all the competition, they’ll likely lead the move toward mainstream decentralized exchanges in the future, too.
Binance also has one of the largest token offering in the entire digital assets in the market. Investors can find almost any cryptocurrency or crypto trading pair on Binance. Those who aren't satisfied with spot trading altcoins can even try their luck on Binance Futures – which supports more than enough altcoin pairs. And if that isn't enough, users can move their precious BNB to a non-custodial wallet and trade even more altcoins inside the BSC DeFi ecosystem.
TOTAL RATING - 4.5
Binance is a leading cryptocurrency exchange for good reason. Their asset offerings, fees, and UI design make Binance a great option for trading crypto. Their focus on innovation helped Binance become the largest and most dominant crypto exchange in under two years.
About The Author:
Marko is a crypto enthusiast who has been involved in the blockchain industry since 2018. When not charting, tweeting on CT, or researching Solana NFTs, he likes to read about psychology, InfoSec, and geopolitics.