In this review of Binance, we will take a look at one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world.
Binance is one of the first places that cryptocurrency traders will go to trade a whole host of altcoins. In their relatively short lifetime, they have built up a strong reputation in the community.
However, is Binance really safe? Are they the best option for you?
In this review, we will take an in-depth look at the exchange. We will examine the security, fees, platform functionality and asset coverage. We will also give you some top tips on how to make the most of your Binance trading.
Let’s jump in.
For those who are relatively new to the cryptocurrency trading ecosystem, Binance is probably one of the best-known names. They have also had explosive growth and at the time of this review had 24-hour volumes in excess of $700m.
All of this is ever more surprising when one learns that the exchange is just a little over one year old.
Binance was launched in June of 2017 and completed an Initial Coin Offering. It was founded in China by Changpeng Zhao (CZ) who himself has an extensive history in online trading systems.
CZ has himself also become quite a popular figure in the cryptocurrency space given his proactive approach. Although Binance was founded in China, it decided to move offshore last year in response to Chinese government regulations.
They subsequently moved to be jointly located in Hong Kong and Singapore and have more recently decided to make the move to Malta. This is still in in the works but there are many that see this as a great way for the exchange to gain exposure to the EU and their banking regulations.
The Binance team is split across the world and they have regional offices in numerous countries across the world with the bulk of their work force located in Asia.
One of the most important factors for traders when they are choosing an exchange is the amount of fees that they will have to pay. This is, after all, where the exchanges make their bread and butter so knowing the fee structure is indeed critical.
When it comes to trading fees on Binance, they operate a standard 0.1% trading fee. If you hold funds in the exchanges BNB token then this will first be subtracted. Morevoer, if you place your trades in BNB, then your trading fees are reduced by 25%.
Hence, if you are trading BNB/BTC and are buying BTC then your trading fee will only be 0.075%.
Binance also has some more advanced trading fee structures that are helpful for those traders who trade more volume. These are based on the maker-taker model which is designed in order to incentivise traders to act more like market makers and provide the exchange some liquidity.
Below is the more detailed breakdown of the Binance fees that are based on the maker taker model. They are structured on different levels that are based on your trading volumes.
|Level||30d BTC Volume||BNB Holdings||Maker||Taker|
|Standard||< 100 BTC||≥ 0 BNB||0.10%||0.10%|
|VIP 1||≥ 100 BTC||≥ 50 BNB||0.09%||0.10%|
|VIP 2||≥ 500 BTC||≥ 200 BNB||0.08%||0.10%|
|VIP 3||≥ 4,500 BTC||≥ 1,000 BNB||0.07%||0.09%|
|VIP 4||≥ 10,000 BTC||≥ 2,000 BNB||0.06%||0.08%|
|VIP 5||≥ 20,000 BTC||≥ 3,500 BNB||0.05%||0.07%|
|VIP 6||≥ 40,000 BTC||≥ 6,000 BNB||0.04%||0.06%|
|VIP 7||≥ 80,000 BTC||≥ 9,000 BNB||0.03%||0.05%|
|VIP 8||≥ 150,000 BTC||≥ 110,000 BNB||0.02%||0.04%|
As you will notice, by providing liquidity to the Binance exchange order books, you are being rewarded with a lower trading fee. Conversely, if you are taking liquidity away from the order books then you will be charged a slightly higher fee.
Funding and Withdrawal Fees
Binance will not charge you any fees for incoming transactions. However, they do apply variable fees on the outgoing transactions. These are based on network fees that Binance will have to pay for miners to propagate your transactions.
As such, these fees are not fixed and they will vary day by day. Although Binance tries to reduce the costs of these fees by batching the withdrawal requests, they can be rather high in periods of network congestion.
You can see a complete list of the live withdrawal rates that will be applied on the Binance fees schedule.
Cryptocurrency exchange security is of paramount importance to most traders. There is a long history of exchange hacks and this is perhaps one of the biggest concerns for the exchanges themselves.
So how does Binance’s security stack up?
In terms of the Binance track record, they are indeed pretty strong. They have not suffered a hack of their servers or systems to this date. There have been co-ordinated phishing attacks but these have been down to user error.
Although Binance does not give any detailed information about their particular security protocols, we were able to gather the following information from other online sources.
Cold Storage and Server Safety
Binance no doubt practices with prudence when it comes to storing the vast majority of the exchange’s funds in cold storage. This is according to one of their support staff who commented on a reddit user’s question.
Cold storage is essentially where the exchange will store the wallet’s private keys in a secure offline location in order to protect them from hackers.
It is also well known that Binance tries to keep the location of their trading servers a secret. This is in order to protect them not only from digital intrusions but also from the risk of physical breaches.
Many traders have tried go get information on the location of the Binance trading servers in order to operate bots in the same data centers. They have continually received negative responses due to the risk of it. Below is one email of a trader asking for server information.
Hence, Binance will no doubt have a whole host of security protocols and backups on their systems to prevent breaches.
There is of course the risk that hackers are able to get into user accounts by phishing. This is why Binance has security protocols in place to protect users on their side.
Firstly, Binance makes use of fully secured communications with 256-bit SSL certificates. This will help ensure not only that your connection is free from “man in the middle” attacks but it will also help you identify a phishing website.
If you are on a Binance website and the SSL padlock is not present, then this is a massive red flag and should alert you to a possible phishing attack. Hence, always make sure that you observe this padlock in the browser.
Even if a hacker is able to get access to your password and login credentials then the other protections that Binance has could help you. They have mobile two factor authentication as well as numerous email verifications for logins and withdrawals.
Binance API Hacks
While Binance has not suffered any hacks of their internal systems, there are two incidents that happened that we think are important to go over. Both of these related to hackers taking advantage of API systems.
The first incident happened in March of 2018 when hackers used phished user API keys to manipulate Viacoin order books and attempt to launder the funds out of Binance. Essentially, the hackers had access to the user’s API keys and, according to a Binance post
placed a large number of market buys on the VIA/BTC market, pushing the price high, while 31 pre-deposited accounts were there selling VIA at the top. This was an attempt to move the BTC from the phished accounts to the 31 accounts. Withdrawal requests were then attempted from these accounts immediately afterwards.
So, this is clearly a case of users not taking care when it comes to their API keys. While this was indeed a nerve-wracking experience, Binance managed to stop the thieves in their tracks and restrict the withdrawal. An all together professional and strong response.
The second incident occurred because of a vulnerability in the Syscoin wallet. The attackers were able to exploit this vulnerability and sell a single SYS for 96 BTC. In this case, they managed to withdraw the funds which prompted Binance to halt withdrawals.
However, as was the case with the previous attempt, Binance made their traders whole and even set up what they called a Secure Asset Fund for Users (SAFU). Below is the tweet from the support team about the incident.
— Binance (@binance) July 4, 2018
All together we can conclude that Binance has some pretty strong security. This is also an assertion that a number of other traders have and they are held in high regard specifically for this.
Responsive support staff is another really important requirement for most cryptocurrency traders. Hence, it is quite an important consideration for our review of Binance.
Binance really only has one avenue for reaching out to the support team and that is through the use of an online ticketing system. This can be accessed here. Once you submit a support ticket, it will be sent to the relevant team.
If you wanted to increase the speed with which your query is dealt with then you have to make sure that you give them all the information that they require in order to address your concern. If it is about a transaction, make sure that you have the transaction ID etc.
When it comes to wait times, there have been mixed feelings.
During the 2017-2018 bull market, it was not uncommon for users to wait for more than a day for a response. There appear to be many posts online about the frustrations faced by certain amounts of traders.
However, since Binance has grown their support team and the markets have calmed down, wait time has been dramatically reduced. We tested it out with support tickets of our own and the most that we had to wait was a max of 4 hours.
You will be notified via email when you get a response from the support team. You can then continue the discussion with the support agent via email if you prefer that.
Unfortunately, unlike with competitors such as Coinbase and Bitstamp, there is no support telephone number that you can reach out to should you wish to speak to someone. Perhaps this is something that Binance could consider adding somewhere down the line.
However, if you would prefer to not wait for a response from a support agent then you could consider making use of their FAQ section. If you are having an issue that is not specific to your account then you can be pretty sure that someone else has asked it before.
Lastly, you can also reach out to Binance through one of their social media channels such as Twitter or Reddit. We have scoured the Binance subreddit and have noticed that the admins regularly respond to user requests and questions.
If you had a ticket that was taking quite some time to get a response then raising a request in Reddit could be a great way to get them to attend to your ticket more quickly.
Perhaps what Binance is most well known for is their extensive asset coverage. In fact, they are probably the exchange with the most coin pairs listed out of all of the major exchanges.
In total, there are over 127 coins in total. Many of these coins are crossed with Bitcoin, Ethereum and Binance Coin. This means that Binance has a total of over 382 trading pairs on their order books.
You can see a full list of all of the coins that Binance has on their exchange here.
Although they have an extensive range of coins to trade, Binance does not just take any odd coin and they do have particular requirements when it comes to coin listings. They want to only include coins that have met strict developer requirements.
The most interesting asset on the exchange is the Binance Coin (BNB). This is the liquidity coin on the exchange and it was the token that was issued during the Binance ICO last year.
Binance is actively trying to promote the use of these coins and, as such, offers the trading fee incentives that we have mentioned above.
Whether you will elect to use Binance Coin or Bitcoin as your base currency to do the trading will depend on the relative liquidity for the assets that you have in question.
If you have decided that you would like to try Binance out then the registration process is pretty straightforward and will have you up and ready to trade in under 10 minutes.
When you sign up, all you need to use is a valid email address and password. Once you have completed this information, they will require you to confirm the email address.
Upon confirmation by the link in the email they send, you are ready to log into your account and begin trading. When you first log back in, you will be presented with a disclaimer and warning. This will take you through some of the most important security procedures on Binance so it is wise to take note.
After this, you will be prompted to set up your 2 factor Authentication to secure your account. As mentioned above, this is probably one of the more prudent things to do and we would suggest it. Moreover, Binance will not allow you to withdraw coins unless you have done so.
You have now completed the Binance registration and can start trading. There is an important point that you have to consider now when it comes to verifications.
Binance is one of the few exchanges that still allow unverified accounts to trade on them. This means that you do not have to send Binance any forms of identification in order to trade.
However, there is a limit on this.
For these unverified accounts, you have a withdrawal limit of up to 2BTC in a 24 hour period. For most traders, this would be sufficient however if you would like to increase this limit then you will need to get verified up to level 2.
This will allow you to withdraw up 100 BTC in a 24-hour period. In order to get verified up to level two you will need give Binance your personal details as well as your address. They will also require some form of government ID.
Once you have submitted, the documents will be scanned by an external verification agency and you should receive approval within an hour.
So, should you get verified?
Some traders will no doubt feel uncomfortable handing over identity documents to a centralised exchange. However, even if you are not withdrawing more than 2BTC in a 24 hour period, there could come a time when you need a verified level. This includes with payment errors and the like.
If you have a company or business that regularly makes use of cryptocurrency then you can apply for Binance corporate verification. This will take you up to a level three verification which entitles you to a max of 200 BTC withdrawals in a 24-hour period.
In this case, Binance will require a whole host of information on the company as well as director records and the incorporation documents.
Now that you have your Binance account set up, you have to fund the account. At the time of writing, Binance is still a crypto only exchange.
This may change soon as they have illustrated plans to open a fiat exchange in Singapore in the coming months. There is also the possibility that their move to Malta will allow them to open Euro funding accounts in due course.
Funding your Account
If you are funding your account in cryptocurrency, Binance has a wallet for almost all of the coins that they list. You will need to head on over to your “Funds” and then “Deposits” section.
Here, you can search for the coin that you would like to deposit and then generate the address that will apply to your account. Below is the BTC deposit address that we created on our account.
Take note though, there are some coins such as Monero (XMR) that Binance gives you a payment ID for. The addresses are not unique and when you send funds to Binance without the payment ID then it will be a long process to try and recover it.
Withdrawals are just as simple as deposits and you will access it from the main menu bar. When you arrive at the withdrawal section you will have to select the coin with which you have the funds in.
Insert your external wallet address and process the withdrawal. Binance will require to you to confirm the withdrawal with both two-factor authentication as well as an email confirmation. If you would prefer not to go through this process all the time then you can elect to white label those particular addresses.
One of the most important part of any exchange has to be the trading platform. When it comes to Binance, it is well known for having one of the most efficient trade matching engines on the market.
According to the Binance whitepaper, their matching engine is able to sustain a rate of 1.4m orders per second. This means that even in periods of market strain, orders will still be executed.
When it comes to the UI of the web platform, Binance seems to have found a good balance. The platform is technically powerful and highly functional, but it is also easy to use for those new to trading who merely want to buy or sell coins.
This is because Binance has developed two different user platforms.
This is perhaps the first place you will go to just buy or sell your coins. It has most of the relevant information that you require to trade crypto. You have all of the order books for the current pair on the left as well as a link to the other markets on the right.
You also have the standard charts in the middle. You can place your orders just below the charts in the order forms. Binance has three different order types which we cover below.
Just below the order forms you have the trade history which has an overview of all your current orders as well as those that have been fully executed.
In terms of the charting functionality on the Basic platform, you are merely given the moving averages, volume and MACD indicator. If you would like more charting options then you could either use the advanced platform or the tradingview package.
The latter is a well-known set of trading tools that have been used by Forex traders for a long period of time.
The advanced platform has much the same exchange functions as the basic platform but is laid out in a different way. Below is a screenshot of the platform.
As you can see, order forms as well as order books have been moved around in order to increase the available space that the trader has to complete some charting. With respect to the charting, the advanced platform has more functionality in this department.
You can use a whole host of different tools as well as technical indicators. This is great for those traders who prefer to rely on technical analysis to inform their trading decisions.
As with the Basic platform, you can elect to use Tradingview charts. We actually prefer tradingview as we are used to the tools on it but this comes down to personal preference really.
When it comes to order types, Binance has a pretty standard offering. There are three types of trading orders that you can place on the exchange. These are:
While the Binance web-based trading platform may be sufficient for most traders, there are some professionals who would prefer a more robust and reliable system. This is where the Binance PC clients come in.
These have the benefits of being faster than the web-based trading platform. This is because they are connected directly to the Binance trading servers and do not have to go through the web-based interface before executing.
The charting functionality on the PC client is also more robust than those on the web-based platform. The PC based trading client seems to have the same charting functionality that you would ordinarily get on the tradingview charts.
Binance has also now released a MacOS version of the trading software. We, however, prefer windows powered trading machines.
For those traders who are constantly on the go and cannot always be behind their PC, Binance also has a mobile application. This comes in both iOS and Android version.
If you have an iPhone and would like to install the app then you can follow this link. If you have an Android and wanted to install the Binance app then you can either download the APK files from the website or you can access it from the Google play store.
While the Binance mobile app looks like it is pretty functional, it still cannot really be compared to the impact of trading on the web or PC based client. Moreover, given that it is a mobile connection, there is the possibility of order delays.
With that being said, the Binance mobile app is far better than a lot of the competition. It is much more functional and is one of the few apps that we have come across that has full mobile charting function.
The Google play reviews seem to be on the positive side with many traders making similar suggestions to those that we have raised. Unfortunately, the Binance iOS app is not listed in the App store so we could not get a sense of what apple users were saying about it.
If you are a developer who likes to code your own trading bots then you could make use of the Binance API. This is also a great way to make use of their advanced trading engine in a programmatic way.
If you are going to be using a high frequency trading bot then it it important to make sure that you are aware of the API rate limits that are in place. In terms of the hard limits, they are 1,200 requests p/m, 10 orders p/s and 100k orders in a 24-hour period.
They also have softer limits in place that are driven by Machine Learning algorithms but we will not go into those now.
If you wanted to make use of the Binance API, you would want to get an API key. These will allow you to either place the orders on the exchange or to access your online wallet.
Getting Your API Key
The Binance API key can be generated from your account. When you are logged into your account, go to the “Admin settings” and click to enable your API.
A screen will pop up asking for your API key label. Once you have named the API, you will be asked to confirm the creation of the key. You will have had to have set up two factor authentication for this to be generated.
After confirming online, you will also be sent a separate confirmation email after which your API key will have been generated.
The next stage is crucial as you will need to save the secret key that has been generated. This is needed to access the API and it will only be generated once.
You may also want to lock the API key to your IP address. This will help protect your account in case someone is able to get access to your keys tries to execute any trades. You will just need to confirm this one change and then you are good to go.
If you find that the Binance trading experience is to your liking, then they give you the opportunity to earn referral commissions. This could also be a good option for those traders that have a relatively strong online following.
With Binance, you will get rewarded a percentage of the users trading revenue. This is not fixed and currently sits at 20%. However, if you hold more than 500 BNB in your account then Binance increases this to 50%.
If you would like to take part in the Binance referral campaign then you will have to obtain a referral link. You can get this on your dashboard from their invite link.
When you click on it, you will be taking to your affiliate link that you can send to your friends and followers. You can also use the QR code that is generated for this should you prefer.
In this affiliate admin panel, you will also be able to see who of your referred leads has signed up and how much trading they have done. There is an interesting ranking board above that which shows you the top referring partners at Binance.
Apart from being a liquidity token for the Binance exchange, BNB coins serve another useful purpose. They can be used in order to vote for potential coin listings. These community votes could be a good way for you to get your favourite coins listed on Binance.
Those coins that make it onto the “community favourites” list at Binance will receive a free listing. In order to vote for projects that you like, you will have to spend BNB. Binance does this in order to restrict vote rigging.
Binance will vet the projects and technology prior to listing them in the voting rounds and will then announce which coins will be up for a vote. You can also access the voting main page here.
Above was the most recent voting round that happened on the 27th of August. As you can see, GoChain (GO) got the most votes and will soon be listed on Binance. It goes without saying that a free listing on Binance is a favourable position for any project to be in.
Binance is one of the few exchanges that is trying to improve user experience beyond just the actual trading. They want to help their users with informative educational guide and reviews.
Something that they just recently launched is the Binance Academy. This is a great place for those who are new to cryptocurrencies to read up on some of the important theory. They also have helpful videos that explain the concepts in simple terms.
Binance also wants this to be community driven so if there is something else that you would like to know that is not given in the academy then you can make a separate request. Binance is also willing to accept content from community contributors who know quite a bit about cryptocurrencies and would like to share their knowledge.
There is also the Binance information portal. Here you will find a lot of useful information not only on coins that are listed on Binance, but up to 400 other altcoins and tokens.
Apart from having some basic information about the coin from Binance, they also have a number of independent ratings reports. These are reviews that are by external ratings agencies that have been carefully chosen by Binance. These ratings agencies will also grade each cryptocurrency based on the perceived quality of it.
We have not seen this on any other exchange and it can be quite helpful for those cryptocurrency users who would like to get impartial information on a particular coin or project from reliable sources.
While our Binance review left us quite impressed, there were quite a few things that we thought warranted improvement.
Firstly, and probably most importantly, there is currently no option to fund an account at Binance with Fiat currency. This means that traders will have to find a Fiat gateway somewhere else before they can buy coins on Binance.
Secondly, as mentioned, there is no telephone support or live chat functionality. Traders will have to make use of their ticket support system.
We also found it surprising that some relatively popular coins are not listed. For example, among others, you cannot buy the following coins:
Lastly, the coin listing requirements are sometimes uncertain. We know that Binance prefers to list coins that they think can add to ecosystem. However, there have been mixed reports about how much particular projects will pay to get a coin listed on Binance. One cannot know for certain unless more transparency is provided by the exchange.
Our review of Binance was perhaps one of the most thorough that we have done. This was because there was indeed a lot to cover.
Binance is no doubt quite an impressive exchange. Not only do they have one of the largest selections of coins to buy, but they are also the largest exchange by reported volume.
Moreover, they are well regarded in the cryptocurrency community for professionalism and security. While hackers have tried on countless occasions to breach their systems, they have remained one step ahead.
As mentioned, there are some things that we think Binance can improve. It is encouraging to see that Binance is looking for a number of opportunities to accept Fiat currencies. This could make trading on the exchange that much more accessible.
In conclusion, Binance is probably one of the best exchanges on the market today. It is no surprise that they went from a simple ICO last year to the largest crypto exchange one year later.
Featured Image via Binance