Binance Review: The Crypto Exchange Carrying the Blockchain Industry?

An objective look at the blockchain heavyweight.

A strong man holding up a weird and colourful object, whilst standing in lava waist deep.
Created by Gabor Kovacs from DailyCoin

This Binance review aims to shed some light on the blockchain behemoth founded by Changpeng ‘CZ’ Zhao. Love it or hate it, Binance is the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the space and it’s not even close. Binance accounts for around 20% of the entire crypto market’s daily trading volume, transacting 8x more value than its closest competitor, Coinbase.

The Binance platform offers a staggering amount of extra features and innovative tools for crypto enthusiasts. From staking and NFT lending to crypto debit cards and margin trading, Binance users enjoy every utility under the sun.

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If we’ve learned anything about the crypto space, all these bells and whistles don’t necessarily mean that Binance is the best crypto exchange on the block. “Too big to fail” has become nothing more than a meme, especially after the devastating collapse of rival exchange FTX. 

The world’s largest cryptocurrency business has raised plenty of concerns amongst the crypto community, leading many users to abandon the platform entirely in favor of on-chain alternatives.

In this Binance review, we’ll objectively dissect the industry’s top trading platform, its wealth of features, and its faults.

What Is Binance?

Binance is a cryptocurrency exchange that allows users to explore the breadth and depth of the blockchain industry in one central place. While it’s primarily a trading platform where crypto enthusiasts buy and sell digital assets like Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH), Binance has vastly expanded its offering to become a one-stop shop for cryptocurrency activity.

Binance logo.
Source: Binance

The Binance exchange supports over 30 million verified users as they trade 500+ cryptocurrencies in more than 180 countries worldwide. Binance boasts a user-friendly interface, competitive fees and exercises industry-leading security practices. The exchange uses a combination of hot and cold storage solutions to safeguard digital assets alongside standard features like two-factor authentication.

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Binance.com is also the central authority behind Binance Coin (BNB) and the Binance Smart Chain, a popular Layer 1 blockchain network. Customers in the United States must use Binance.us, a somewhat diluted version of the main site, in the interest of legal compliance.

Binance History

Binance Holdings, the company behind the cryptocurrency exchange, was founded in 2017 by Changpeng Zhao. Before founding Binance, CZ had been developing high-frequency trading software for Fusion Systems and served as the CTO at OKcoin, the US-based sister company to OKX.

Originally based in China, Binance relocated outside the nation when the Chinese government announced a ban on crypto trading in September 2017.

Since then, Binance has blazed the trail for other cryptocurrency exchanges across the industry. The platform has implemented a litany of helpful tools for users over the years and launched two of the largest coins in the crypto market, BNB Coin and the BUSD stablecoin.

That’s not to say Binance hasn’t made many mistakes and questionable decisions on its road to the top. Hackers frequently target the exchange, with some successfully making off with $40 million worth of cryptocurrency. Binance has also been under investigation by regulators in countries worldwide, but more on that later.

Binance Products & Features

Where to begin? Binance’s suite of products and extra features is as wide as it is deep. While Binance’s rich and varied trading platform is its main drawcard, the site offers a huge range of features serving every niche of the crypto space.

This is not an exhaustive list but covers most of the main features that provide value to the average Binancian.

Binance Trading Platform

Let’s start with the basics. Binance’s trading platform does it all, whether you’re a beginner buying Bitcoin for the first time or an advanced trading veteran opening leveraged positions in derivatives and futures trading markets.

For crypto newcomers, the ‘Buy Crypto’ page makes it easier to buy cryptocurrencies directly using a credit card, like Visa or Mastercard, or a bank transfer. Hundreds of fiat currencies are supported, including USD, EUR, and GBP, making the onboarding process smooth and accessible.

Binance gives professional traders everything they need to confidently execute their framework and trade cryptocurrencies. As you would expect from a top-tier exchange, Binance offers comprehensive charting tools and indicators and the highest-liquidity trading pairs in the crypto market. 

The full range of Binance trading options and products includes:

  • Spot Trading
  • Margin Trading
  • Futures and Derivatives Trading
  • OTC (Over-the-Counter) trading in a P2P (Peer-to-Peer) market
  • Cryptocurrency Converter
  • Automated Trading Bots
  • DeFi trading on Binance’s DEX

Binance Earn

Binance earn review.
Source: Binance Earn

For set-and-forget investors who want to grow their investments and earn passive income, Binance Earn offers a variety of staking and liquidity farming contracts. Binance users can also put their favorite cryptocurrencies to work and earn additional tokens through the Binance Launchpool, a platform that supports emerging crypto projects.

One of the newer features, Binance Range Bound contracts, give deposits a chance to earn crypto rewards, even while the market is trading sideways. This novel application is unique to Binance for now, but other exchanges will likely follow suit in the near future.

Binance Financial Tools

Cryptocurrency holders can secure instant liquidity by providing their digital assets as collateral and borrowing against them using Binance financial tools. This helps traders, who can take out loans to open new positions without selling their existing investments.

Another popular product under Binance’s financial umbrella is the Binance Card. Offering up to 8% cashback in BNB Coin at over 90M vendors worldwide, the Binance Card is a crypto debit card that helps account holders use their cryptocurrency in the real world.

NFT Platform

Binance review of NFT platform.
Source: Binance NFT

What would a crypto exchange be without a fully-fledged NFT ecosystem? Binance brings a complete NFT marketplace, where NFT flippers and collectors can trade their favorite JPEGs on Ethereum, Polygon, and BNB Chain. Integration and support for Bitcoin Ordinals is expected to be released in mid-2023.

Binance also offers an NFT Loan tool, where holders of top collections can borrow ETH against their prized NFTs. The platform only supports a handful of collections, like Yuga Labs’ Bored Ape Yacht Club, but is expected to introduce other top collections with time.

Launchpad and Incubator

The Binance Launchpad has proven itself as one of the top crypto launchpads in the blockchain industry. Through the launchpad, Binance users have the opportunity to invest in emerging crypto assets before they hit the public market. The Binance Launchpad has an excellent track record, incubating top blockchain-based businesses like STEPN.

Binance Academy

The Binance Academy is an excellent resource for beginners still learning the ropes. It contains a vast wealth of knowledge diving into just about every corner of the crypto space. Moreover, the Binance Academy also provides plenty of helpful tutorials, like how to set up self-custody crypto wallets like TrustWallet, another popular Binance Holdings product.

Binance Tax

Crypto taxes with Binance.
Source: Binance Tax

Let’s face it, crypto taxes are a nightmare. Fortunately, Binance has users covered there as well, thanks to its automated Tax assistant. All your trades are automatically imported into the platform, which reviews your portfolio and produces your complete tax report.

Registration and Account Set-Up

Getting started with Binance and registering your account for the first time is straightforward, but does require KYC (Know-Your-Customer) verification. Binance often comes under fire from regulators, so the crypto exchange is working hard to ensure its platform isn’t being abused by bad actors.

While this could be seen as a positive, not everyone wants to provide personal information to a cryptocurrency exchange. Since crypto was invented with the vision of being anonymous and protecting people’s privacy online, I can appreciate that this might be a deal-breaker for some people. If you’re looking for an alternative, crypto exchanges like Kucoin don’t require KYC to start trading and storing crypto.

Binance Platform and Trading Fees

Binance fees are competitive when compared with other cryptocurrency exchanges. The platform’s spot trading fees are some of the lowest in the industry, with maker and taker fees starting from as low as 0.1%. Traders can also reduce their fees by holding a qualifying amount of BNB Coin and can use BNB to pay fees at a discounted rate.

Binance review of fees.
Source: Binance

Withdrawal fees fluctuate depending on the crypto asset or fiat currency being withdrawn, while additional transaction fees may be charged depending on network congestion. 

Binance Concerns

While Binance is undoubtedly the most complete cryptocurrency exchange in the industry, the company has suffered its fair share of fear, uncertainty, and doubt. Binance is currently being investigated by the U.S. Justice Department regarding allegations of money laundering and taxation issues.

2021 was a particularly tough year for Binance. The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority demanded that Binance cease all regulated activity in the UK. That wasn’t the worst of CZ’s woes after Binance reportedly shared client data with the Russian government.

Customer support is also a big issue for Binance, with hundreds of people having difficulty getting the assistance they need promptly. Even high-profile Crypto Twitter accounts like CoinMamba have had their accounts removed and customer support messages shared publically on social media.

Even if they’re legally allowed to, sharing these conversations is not a great look…

Binance vs the Law

As you’d expect from the world’s largest crypto business, Binance has found itself entangled in a series of protracted legal battles within the United States. 

From grappling with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to going toe-to-toe with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Binance’s journey through the American legal system has threatened to bring the giant to its knees on multiple occasions.

Binance and the U.S. Department of Justice

In a landmark case, Binance faced a staggering $4.3B fine after settling a protracted investigation at the hands of the DOJ. 

The charges leading to this hefty penalty were primarily centered around violations of anti-money laundering (AML) regulations and non-compliance with U.S. sanctions laws. Namely, the exchange had failed to exercise sufficient controls on its platform, allowing users to transfer funds to sanctioned countries and terrorist organizations like Hamas.

The terms of the settlement also bore strict consequences for Changpeng Zhao, founder and former-CEO of the crypto exchange.

The End of Changpeng Zhao

Changpeng Zhao finally faced the music by pleading guilty to serious charges under the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA). This key moment in crypto history unfolded in the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington, where Zhao personally appeared on Tuesday, 21 November, and acknowledged his violations.

Zhao was granted release on a substantial $175 million personal recognizance bond. Further cementing his commitment to abide by the legal process, he secured an additional $15 million in a trust account, backed by two guarantors who pledged $250,000 and $100,000, respectively.

On top of the hefty fines, Zhao was also specifically barred from tampering with victims or witnesses and from consuming non-prescribed controlled substances. 

While CZ was originally given liberty to leave the United States, he was later deemed a flight risk with fears he would escape the US ahead of his sentencing, scheduled for the 23rd of February, 2024. 

Prosecutors have put forth a recommendation for an 18-month prison sentence for Zhao. By entering a guilty plea as per the agreement, Zhao has effectively relinquished his right to challenge any sentence that is 18 months or less. Additionally, the former CEO consented to personally pay $50 million in fines.

The final nail in the coffin, the settlement also demanded that Zhao step down from his leadership role at Binance. Wasting no time, Binance quickly announced the appointment of Richard Teng, previously the Global Head of Regional Markets, as the new CEO, turning a new page in the company’s history.

Binance and the SEC

Unfortunately for Binance, a $4B may just be the beginning. While one case has effectively been resolved, the crypto giant remains under the watchful eye of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). 

Primarily focussed on the alleged misappropriation of user assets, the ongoing investigation is vaguely reminiscent of the FTX scandal that unfolded in November 2022.

The heart of the SEC’s probe lies in the suspicion that Binance.US, the American arm of the global crypto exchange, might have had unauthorized access to and control over customer assets. 

Despite all its legal woes, Binance remains far and away the largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume.

Binance vs. Coinbase

It would be remiss to discuss a Binance review without directly comparing it against Coinbase, its biggest competitor. 

Regarding the wealth of extra features, low fees, and variety of cryptocurrencies available to trade, Binance is the clear winner. For experienced crypto users, the Binance experience cannot be matched by other centralized exchanges.

However, while Binance battles with regulators worldwide and has a history of shady antics, Coinbase does everything it can to keep a squeaky-clean and compliant reputation. Coinbase also boasts a far more user-friendly experience, which makes it a better option for beginners dipping their toes into crypto’s turbulent waters.

Binance Review: Pros and Cons

Despite being the most complete crypto exchange in the space, Binance still has some flaws it needs to address. Let’s summarize our Binance review into the central pros and cons.

Pros

  • Unrivaled features – Whether you’re a DeFi wizard, NFT connoisseur, or trading genius, Binance gives you all the tools you need to succeed in the crypto market.
  • Great range of cryptocurrencies – The trading platform offers liquid trading pairs for all your favorite altcoins, including Ripple (XRP), Cardano (ADA), Solana (SOL), Litecoin (LTC), Dogecoin (DOGE), and Tether (USDT). 
  • Transparent proof of reserves – Following the FTX debacle, Binance has committed to demonstrating that they always have enough funds to meet customer withdrawals, regardless of market conditions.
  • Wide variety of payment methods – Onramping your fiat currency into the crypto market through Binance is easy. The platform supports all the most common payment methods, including Credit Cards and wire transfers from your bank account.
  • Low fees – Binance has some of the most competitive trading fees in the industry.

Cons

  • Poor customer support – If you have a significant issue with your account, it might be a while before it gets resolved.
  • Dodgy reputation – Binance has a history of completing shady deals behind closed doors and is under constant scrutiny from regulators for money laundering and tax offenses.
  • Requires KYC – If you want to use Binance, you must be willing to provide your personal information. While this might not be an issue for many people, a large portion of the crypto community is against KYC procedures.

The Bottom Line

It’s always a personal choice, but ultimately Binance provides its users with state-of-the-art products and services that give them flexibility and options in the crypto market that other exchanges can’t match.

Of course, if you’re just looking for a simple, safe and reputable crypto exchange that lets you buy your favorite coins without all the extra bells and whistles, you might prefer looking at other platforms like Coinbase or Kraken.

On the Flipside

  • Almost every extra feature that Binance offers is available and often originates in the on-chain environment. All of Binance’s newest products, like NFT loans, Ordinal Marketplaces, and Range Bound rewards, have been available via decentralized applications on the blockchain for weeks, if not months.
  • The true cutting-edge of crypto innovation happens on-chain, where you also enjoy self-custody safety.

Why This Matters

Binance is the largest crypto company in the world. In many ways, Binance carries the reputation of the blockchain industry on its shoulders.  

FAQs

Is Binance a Chinese company?

Binance was originally a Chinese company when it launched in 2017. The company relocated when the Chinese government announced a ban on cryptocurrency trading.

Does Binance sell real Bitcoin?

Yes, Bitcoin purchased on Binance is real BTC that lives on the Bitcoin blockchain.

Is Binance trustworthy?

Binance is one of the largest and safest crypto exchanges in the industry. They showcase a transparent proof of reserves and are trusted by over 30 million verified users.

Does Binance have a mobile app?

Yes, the Binance mobile app is available for both Android and iOS mobile devices.

Can I earn daily on Binance?

Yes, Binance Earn provides users with a variety of staking and farming contracts that generate crypto rewards in real-time.

This article is for information purposes only and should not be considered trading or investment advice. Nothing herein shall be construed as financial, legal, or tax advice. Trading forex, cryptocurrencies, and CFDs pose a considerable risk of loss.

Author
Finn Miller

Finn Miller is a New Zealand-based blockchain writer for DailyCoin who specializes in simplifying complex blockchain topics. He is experienced in crafting whitepapers, researching on-chain data, and advising emerging crypto projects, and uses his unconventional approach to learning and passion for knowledge to provide cornerstone educational content for readers of all levels. When not exploring the depths of DeFi, Finn can be found exploring his other passion, the great outdoors.