Binance is the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the global cryptocurrency market by trading volume today, followed by Coinbase, FTX, and Kraken.
It was founded in 2017 but does not serve the US and UK, among a few other countries.
As of Q4 2021, Binance averages around $70B USD in daily trading volume.
History of Binance
Binance was first founded in China in 2017 by CEO & Founder, Changpeng Zhao, known as C.Z., who today is a billionaire and prominent thought leader in the cryptocurrency community. Due to the 2017 Chinese government ban on cryptocurrency trading, Binance moved its servers out of China.
As of Q4 2021, Binance has retained the status of being the largest cryptocurrency exchange since 2018, despite competition from other global leaders such as Coinbase.
Since its inception, the company has launched two blockchains which it developed itself: Binance Chain (BEP) and Binance Smart Chain (BSC) which is a smart contracts platform for access to decentralized applications (dApps). It also launched its own token, the Binance Coin (BNB).
Binance CEO C.Z. started his career as a developer creating high frequency futures trading software on Wall Street. C.Z. has revealed that 100% of his net worth is in the form of cryptocurrency. Binance has faced some regulatory scrutiny in 2021 by both US authorities as well as those of the UK and Japan.
US customers are not allowed to use Binance exchange and instead can opt to use the US partner of Binance— Binance US, a much smaller operation which is a US regulated exchange launched in September 2019. Binance US is a separate entity from Binance global, but is powered by the same brand name, matching engine, and wallet technologies licensed from the global Binance brand, but operated by BAM Trading Services based in San Francisco, CA.
Note that all new users of Binance today are required to comply with Know Your Customer regulations (KYC). This means all Binance accounts— individual or corporate— must verify their identity in order to use any feature of the exchange.
Binance is best for:
- Investors and traders of various skill levels who desire the choice between both a simple and high-performance advanced platform for both spot investing and active trading with extremely competitive fees that can also be paid in the exchange token BNB.
- Advanced traders who wish to use up to 20X leverage margin trading, cryptocurrency futures, and leveraged token products.
- Beginners to cryptocurrency who want to use a simple buy/sell interface and have the ability to dollar-cost average into the crypto market with a mobile app.
- Crypto-only traders and investors who wish to get access to the entire Binance ecosystem and suite of products including Swap Farming, Derivatives - Leveraged Futures Trading, Vanilla Options, Leveraged Tokens, Binance Earn, Launchpad, Savings, Staking, Binance Pool, Liquidity Farming, the Binance Visa Card, crypto collateralized loans, Binance Pay, Binance’s NFT Marketplace, and more.
Pros & Unique Features
The biggest perks of Binance are its extensive ecosystem of products, cryptocurrency coin offerings and trading pairs, extremely competitive and low trading fees, which start at 0.1% for both makers and takers, and are further reduced an additional 25% if the customer uses spot BNB to pay trading fees.
This trading fee structure is markedly lower than that of Coinbase or Coinbase Pro with an even more extensive offering of products as described above.
Binance offers over 349 cryptocurrency market offerings and over 1364 pairs, which is a much larger selection than its US partner Binance US and competitors Coinbase and FTX.
Binance offers a slick, easy-to-use user interface with high-speed trade execution and liquid orderbooks, a functional mobile app that offers full buy and sell features, the ability to place recurring buy and sell orders for investors interested in dollar cost averaging, and even the opportunity to place, monitor, and manage futures trades from the mobile app itself for advanced traders.
Binance also offers an advanced trading portal with multiple order types and a full order book for both spot and margin offerings. Binance also partners with Trust Wallet as a third-party hot wallet option for self custody of assets, to which users can withdraw their coins.
For retail market participants, Binance offers staking services, Binance Savings, Binance Liquid Swap which allows users to trade instantly and pool tokens to earn rewards, a token launch platform called Binance Launchpad, Binance Earn as another product to earn APY on holdings, a visa debit card, crypto collateralized loans for users to take out loans on their “unproductive” crypto assets while remaining net long, Binance Pay for a payments solution, an NFT marketplace, and Binance gift cards.
Binance also offers in-house institutional grade analysis of crypto assets and in-depth insights and education for market participants, through two products called Binance Research and Binance Academy.
To help support crypto business and exchanges wishing to use Binance’s shared liquidity, security, and matching engine, there are two offerings called the Binance Broker program Binance Cloud. For institutional trades such as those of hedge funds, family offices, VCs, and corporate treasuries, they can opt to use Binance’s VIP Institutional services.
Binance Labs invests in technical teams in crypto that build and support decentralized web applications (dApps), maintaining its own portfolio of investments and listing coins on the Binance exchange. Users can also trade on Binance’s DEX (decentralized exchange), which offers mostly BNB pairs, alongside a handful of BTC pairs and fiat pairs.
Binance uses the BUSD stablecoin among others, a 1:1 pegged USD-stablecoin. BUSD is a US-regulated stablecoin approved by the NYDFS and issued by Paxos, fully backed by US dollars, the value of which is always equivalent to 1 USD. BUSD can be used as a medium of exchange, store of value, method of payment, and as a base for cryptocurrency pairs to trade.
As for customer support, Binance Support offers both a live chat feature, email support, and also responds on Twitter.
Cons & Disadvantages
The major disadvantage of Binance is it is unavailable to use for US persons.
Those in the US can opt to use Binance’s US partner, Binance US. Note that Binance US offers substantially less coin offerings and trading pairs, does not offer any margin trading access or other derivatives trading products, while Binance global is famous for its high leverage cryptocurrency futures instruments, leveraged tokens, and margin trading. US traders looking for margin trading capabilities will have to seek competitors such as Kraken or FTX US. Binance US also does not offer access to the extensive ecosystem of products noted above and is a much smaller exchange doing only $1B USD average in daily trading volume.
One other con of Binance is the regulatory scrutiny the company is facing in Japan, the US, and the UK. More conservative investors may not feel comfortable using Binance until there is regulatory clarity regarding Binance’s operations.
Binance charges a minimum 0.1% spot trading fee and a 0.5% instant fee for buying and selling cryptocurrency for traders in a hurry. For higher volume tiers greater than the standard tier, Binance uses a maker-taker fee model.
Taker fees are charged on market orders that are filled immediately (takers of liquidity from the market), and maker fees are charged on orders that are not filled immediately but rather are placed in the orderbook as limit orders (adding to the market liquidity).
Market orders are always charged taker fees since they take volume from the orderbook, while limit orders are always charged maker fees since they add liquidity and volume to the orderbook. If an order goes on the order book partially or fully (a maker order), any subsequent trades coming from that order will be as a “maker.”
If the user holds BNB in his or her account, the trading fees are automatically deducted from the BNB balance with a present-day 25% discount (subject to change) from trading fees when BNB is used to pay for trading fees. Holders of BNB also enjoy 10% off of futures trading fees, but users will need to transfer BNB from their exchange wallet to their futures wallet to receive the 10% discount.
Binance’s trading fees are determined based on a user’s trading volume over a 30-day period (in BTC) and the user’s daily average BNB balance, including BNB held in the primary Binance Spot account as well as any sub-accounts within the account. The mechanism to track the user’s daily BNB balance can be found here.
Using BNB inventory to pay for fees can be toggled on or off in the account settings, with only the toggle “on” setting qualifying the user for the BNB-fee discount. If there is not enough BNB present in the user’s account to account for the fees, then 100% trading fees are applied.
The unique fee schedule Binance uses offers 25% off of the standard fee schedule if the fees are paid in BNB (Binance Coin).The table below shows the tiered fee structure for both the standard fee schedule and the fee schedule reduced by using BNB to pay fees.
For Coin-margined futures, the fee schedule may be found here, and also should take into account the additional fees a user will pay in funding rates as noted above. Margin Borrow interest rates can be found here. P2P transaction fees are 0 for takers and only apply to makers, they can be found here.
Binance offers a VIP program that offers more benefits with higher trading volume, and this program requires holding a minimum of 50 BNB and a 30-day trading volume of at least 50 BTC for spot trading or at least 250 BTC for Futures trading.
Binance Spot Trading Fees Based on Trading Volume (30 Day Trailing Period)
Tier (30d Trade Volume in BTC)
Maker Fees (BNB Used)
Taker Fees (BNB Used)
OR ≥ 0 BNB
≥ 50 BTC
AND ≥ 50 BNB
≥ 500 BTC
AND ≥ 200 BNB
≥ 1500 BTC
AND ≥ 500 BNB
≥ 4500 BTC
AND ≥ 1000 BNB
≥ 10000 BTC
AND ≥ 2000 BNB
≥ 20000 BTC
AND ≥ 3500 BNB
≥ 40000 BTC
AND ≥ 6000 BNB
≥ 80000 BTC
AND ≥ 9000 BNB
≥ 150000 BTC
AND ≥ 11000 BNB
Binance offers only SWIFT Bank Transfers for USD for depositing fiat. Users can also buy crypto using a debit/credit card. For most of the 15 fiat currencies Binance serves, users can use Visa debit cards and other methods.
Binance also offers a P2P marketplace to buy and sell crypto locally, as well as third party payments using Simplex and Banxa.
Binance charges the following deposit and withdrawals fees:
- No deposit fees on any crypto assets but note that the blockchain network the user is transacting in will charge fees.
- Withdrawal fees for crypto assets require a flat rate paid to cover the transaction cost and these fees are determined by the blockchain network and can fluctuate at any time. Minimum withdrawal amounts can be found here.
- For USD, there are 0 fees for bank transfer deposits, and $15 withdrawal fee only for bank transfer using SWIFT.
- Fiat withdrawal and deposit fees for all 15 fiat currencies Binance offers can be found here.
There are no fees for signing up or for having an inactive Binance account, nor any fees for holding funds in a Binance account, and users may hold assets as long as desired.
There is a $10 USD trade minimum and minimum trade amounts and maximum market order amounts as stated here for all markets ranging from BTC, BNB, BUSD, fiat, altcoins, and fiat markets.
Account Tiers & Limits
Binance requires KYC identity verification for all new users and the daily withdrawal limits were lowered to 0.06 BTC for accounts who have completed only Basic Account Verification in July 2021.
Once a user completes full identity verification, the daily withdrawal limits are raised up to 100 BTC.
Binance’s security features include 2-FA verification using SMS, address whitelisting, device management, and cold storage.
Binance has suffered one significant hack in May 2019 which led to the loss of 7000 BTC due to a large-scale security breach with phishing attempts. However, Binance refunded all affected users using its Secure Asset Fund for Users to cover the incident in full. The breach impacted Binance’s Bitcoin hot wallet which only contained about 2% of their total BTC holdings.
Binance Review Conclusion
Binance is the top choice of exchange for intermediate and experienced investors and traders who want access to advanced trading options, futures trading instruments offering up to 20X leverage, the largest selection of cryptocurrency trading pairs on the market and second largest in available coins (right behind KuCoin), users who value competitive trading fees with the option to pay in BNB for an additional 25% fee reduction, and users who desire to use the sophisticated web of products in the Binance ecosystem.
- With a tiered fee schedule based on 30-day BTC trading volume and reduced-fee structure if paid in BNB, Binance’s trading fees compete favorably with other competitors such as Coinbase and FTX, while Binance offers far more cryptocurrencies and trading pairs than either competitors, along with more advanced trading functionality and a wider range of product offerings.
- Advanced traders who are familiar with the Binance brand and desire access to Binance’s range of services including staking, savings, Liquid Swap, crypto-collateralized loans, gift cards, access to institutional grade crypto research from Binance Academy, and more will prefer the Binance experience.
- Binance is also unique in offering BUSD trading pairs (which is a US regulator-approved stablecoin unlike other USD-stablecoins). Users do not need a Binance account to use the Binance DEX.
For customers who desire access to a more simple user interface without as many complicated trading options or products, or those who do not desire to participate in cryptocurrency futures trading, Coinbase, KuCoin, FTX, and Kraken can make great alternatives with a similarly competitive amount of cryptocurrencies offered to trade.
Beginners, buy-and-hold investors, and low volume traders may prefer the easy to use features and functionality of Coinbase with its brand presence, US regulatory approval, and cryptocurrency education that even provides the chance to earn free cryptocurrency for learning.
Coinbase is best designed for buy-and-hold investors or casual to intermediate cryptocurrency users and has a large selection of cryptocurrencies offered—but about 1/3 of that of Binance—while active traders who need access to order books and advanced charting functionality will prefer using Coinbase Pro, FTX, KuCoin, or Kraken though their fee structures differ significantly.
For users who are fans of the Binance brand, Binance offers arguably the most extensive cryptocurrency spot and futures instruments selections, advanced trading functionality, industry-standard security, and an entire ecosystem of complementary products. However, users will need to be located outside of the US and as of Q4 2021, perform KYC and prove they are not US persons in order to use Binance.
For customers who desire to trade and invest in stocks in addition to top cryptocurrencies and do not care about having a smaller selection from which to choose or only desire access to the top 20 cryptos on the market, Webull and Robinhood are brokers that offers US equities and a small selection of cryptocurrencies.
Other competitors to Binance include Gemini and Crypto.com.
Binance vs Coinbase
The main advantage Binance offers over Coinbase is its markedly lower fee schedule along with the option for a further 25% fee reduction which makes it an extremely competitive option in the face of Coinbase’s high fees, whose fees start at 0.5% for both markers and takers for the lowest fee tier, while those of Binance start at 0.1% for both makers and takers, which is reduced to 0.075% for both makers and takers if paid in BNB.
Both exchanges offer the option of advanced charting and crypto-to-crypto trading pairs using Coinbase’s Coinbase Pro product. Coinbase Pro does not offer margin trading any longer, while Binance offers margin spot trading, margin futures trading with both USD collateral and coin-margined collateral, and up to 20X leverage.
Coinbase is a public US company and offers more transparency into its industry-leading security along with its brand reputation, while Binance is a world leading crypto exchange by daily trade volume but faces regulatory scrutiny in some countries, and most notable, US investors cannot use Binance but can use Coinbase.
Ultimately, advanced users who desire similar competitive fees to what Binance offers but less than Coinbase or Coinbase Pro offer will find the choices below equally valuable.
Binance vs FTX
Binance and FTX are the most competitive options for low trading fees. Both exchanges utilize a similar fee structure, with FTX’s based on 30-day USD trading volume and Binance’s based on 30-day BTC trading volume. Both exchanges offer fee reductions if paying fees using their native tokens, BNB and FTT.
Neither exchange can be used by US persons, however both have US versions of their exchange, Binance US and FTX US whose trade offerings are much more limited than their parent global exchanges. Both offer OTC portals for larger traders, advanced trading and charting platforms for advanced traders.
Binance offers 350 coins and 1363 trading pairs which is a more broad selection than FTX which offers 307 coins and 472 trading pairs.
Binance vs Gemini
Binance is a much better choice than Gemini if considering trading fees. The minimum fee tier at Gemini starts at 0.35% for takers and 0.1% for makers, with a flat transaction fee between $0.99-$2.99 and 1.49% transaction fee for trades over $200.
Binance, in contrast, offers not only fee-reductions for paying fees in BNB, but also offers much lower base fees for both makers and takers with more volume.
Both Binance and Gemini offer staking services that allow users to earn interest on their holdings, both also offer education and content platforms that aim to teach users about cryptocurrency (Binance Academy and Gemini’s Cryptopedia). Note that US persons cannot use Binance but are allowed to use Gemini exchange which is based in and regulated in the USA.
In comparison to Binance’s large selection of coins and trading pairs, Gemini only offers 62 coins and 86 trading pairs which is substantially lower, so traders outside of the US looking for a large selection of coins, and margin and futures trading, will prefer to use Binance.
Binance vs Kraken
Kraken offers margin trading at up to 5X leverage which is less than Binance’s 20X leverage offering.
Kraken also uses a maker-taker fee schedule, starting at 0.16% maker fees and 0.26% taker fees at the entry level which is not as competitive as the fee schedule for Binance, even before taking into account the fee reductions offered by Binance.
Kraken also offers a large variety of cryptocurrencies and pairs (93 coins, over 400 pairs), so users who value a large selection and advanced traders who seek margin may enjoy using Kraken but sacrifice the possibility of slightly more competitive fees and a much larger selection of cryptocurrency coins and trading pairs that Binance offers.
In contrast to the blocked availability of Binance in the US, Kraken is accessible in 48 US states.
Binance vs KuCoin
KuCoin is another established exchange, offering a large selection of cryptocurrencies - over 550 coins and over 1000 pairs, which is the most extensive selection on this list.
The KuCoin brand is well-known in the industry, and many coins offered are coins that are hard to find on many other exchanges, including Binance, so this is a benefit of using KuCoin. KuCoin is friendly for both beginner users and active, advanced traders alike.
KuCoin also offers access to as much as 100X leverage, while Binance lowered their maximum leverage offering to 20X in 2021. KuCoin also offers margin in the USA for qualified individuals while as noted, Binance exchange is not at all accessible to US persons.
KuCoin also offers rebates to market makers for the highest levels of volume while Binance does not offer rebates but does offer fee reductions for fees paid in BNB.
Fees at Kucoin start at 0.1% for makers and 0.1% for takers at the lowest volume tier, which is equivalent to Binance’s entry level maker-taker fees, unless fee reductions are used, which gives Binance a slight edge and the lowest fees.
In summary, advanced traders and intermediate users alike who value a large selection of cryptocurrencies, some of which cannot be found on other exchanges, an established brand like KuCoin, and the chance to use margin with very competitive fee structures will enjoy using KuCoin exchange.
Binance.com User Reviews
- u/khaledbi reviews Binance's offerings on Binance's own subreddit. Binance also offers support there.
- u/richnun asks if it is safe to use Binance as a new crypto investor. An example of a positive response isn't excited, but isn't bad: "support is fine. exchange is very ok imo. Never had problems." Most responses were positive, but a downside: "If your making smaller transactions it can be annoying to use since for most coins there is a minimum amount to buy and a minimum amount to withdraw." And a caution: "I had serious problems getting 2fa setup and was doing everything correctly. Definite word of caution is to make sure that is set up correctly before depositing funds."
- A thread asking "Is Binance really that bad" definitely gets mixed responses. u/zelofron1, the OP, says "I like binance the most because there is more choices of coins and as I only dca and hodl I use flexible and fixed terms." But they go on to note that lots of Redditors complain about the withdrawal fees. Intense discussion ensues, but one user tallies up the main complaints:
"Binance is bad for multiple reasons :
1. They have an absurd withdraw fee of 0.0005 BTC or ~27 usd
2. They try and trick/scam users into selling their btc for a coupon token they control with confusing withdrawal options
3.They are being sued right now for fraudulent activity and illegal securities and market manipulation and might become another MtGox
4. Their original site binance.com allowed for little to no verification upfront but they have been and continue to freeze accounts after the fact which is very dishonest behavior
5. Their partner site binance.us has low liquidity compared to the original site but if you are inn the USA that's all you can use"
- Redditors compare Binance to Coinbase and other exchanges, with an emphasis on newb-friendly responses and warnings.