Of the hundreds of cryptocurrency exchanges out there, which one is right for you? An even better question is, are any of them right for you? The entire crypto, or “alt-coin” niche is a volatile place to park your hard-earned money, which means it’s probably not a great option for the extremely risk-averse.
However, if you are swayed by the outsize potential and can handle the daily ups and downs, it’s absolutely necessary to find an exchange for buying, selling, and perhaps even storing your crypto assets. We say “perhaps” storing because lots of people prefer to keep their digital money in an offline, so-called “cold wallet” as opposed to using an exchange-based storage option.
Our team decided to put Binance under the crypto microscope. The resulting Binance US review, below, is the result of our endeavors. We left no stone unturned in our objective Binance review that looked at all aspects of the exchange, like Binance fees, account minimums, history, cryptocurrencies available, transaction costs, the platform, overall security, the Binance wallet, and much more.
So, if you’re wondering, “Is Binance safe for my crypto investing?,” then you should read our entire investigative report, namely our Binance review, that follows. As an added feature, we did a Binance vs Coinbase evaluation for people who are trying to choose between the two.
History and Background of Binance
Based on trading volume alone, the global Binance exchange is the world’s biggest. But, in 2019, a California-based branch popped up in San Francisco, called Binance U.S. In two short years, this “branch” has grown so much that it now one of the world’s top-ten crypto exchanges, even though it’s still, legally speaking, just a subsidiary of the parent, global company. Why has it done so well? Most users will tell you that the comparatively low fees and nice selection of cryptocurrency (and the ability to exchange one crypto for another, like trading bitcoin for dogecoin, for example).
The Binance team has also worked very hard to build a reputation for the exchange as one of the fastest of all. Trade execution is a split-second affair on Binance. That is not the case with many of its competitors. The company’s founder started the company in China a couple years before the worldwide launch. In those early days, Binance focused on rapid trading, and that feature of the exchange is still one of its strong points. In May of 2019, hackers stole about $40 million in cryptocurrency assets from the site. After that, Binance significantly beefed-up security.
Note: The hack happened on the global site, NOT on Binance U.S. Plus, the company, Binance Global, repaid each investor that was a victim of the hacking event, which means no investor lost any money after all the dust settles.
It’s imperative to find out about fees because frequent traders can get hit hard by exchanges that charge high transaction fees. Overall, Binance fees are much lower than most of the competitors within the top tier of major exchanges. The range goes 0.1 percent to 4.5 percent. Be careful interpreting those numbers.
That “.1 percent” means one-tenth of a percent, or $10 of fees on a $10,000 transaction). Those fees are just for trading and purchasing. If you use your debit card to buy crypto on Binance, you’ll pay between 3.0 percent and 4.5 percent (respectively, that translates to $300 on a $10,000 transaction and $450 on the same size transaction).
The ranges obviously depend on how you pay. There’s a $10 account minimum, so no worries about having to fork over a huge sum of money to get started. Many people use the exchange only for trading and never leave more than a small balance in their online account at any given time.
The Binance Cryptocurrency Menu
In all, users can buy and sell more than 50 different alt-coins on Binance, as well as trade the same number of “pairs,” which is crypto jargon for using one coin to buy another. Millions of investors engage in speculation, which means they regularly switch from one alt-currency to another in hopes of snagging a quick profit on price changes.
Binance vs Coinbase
Here’s a quick look at the pros and cons of the top two crypto exchanges:
Pros and Cons For Binance
- Pro: Perfect for traders who do peer-to-peer and crypto-crypto transactions.
- Pro: Excellent for beginning and advanced cryptocurrency traders.
- Pro: More than 50 alt-coins available for trading.
- Pro: Fees and charges are among the lowest in the industry.
- Pro: Multiple types of transactions available for intermediate and advanced users.
- Con: The default is not built-in to the exchange, which is why most users opt for their own wallets.
- Con: Due to restrictive state laws, you can’t use the exchange if you reside in Hawaii, Idaho, Vermont, Connecticut, New York, Louisiana, or Texas.
Pros and Cons For Coinbase
- Pro: The most popular and best-known exchange in the world
- Pro: For beginners and others, there’s no more user-friendly exchange than Coinbase
- Pro: There are several methods for buying cryptocurrency
- Con: Fees are famously high
- Con: Advanced traders are limited in the kinds of transactions they can perform
The Exchange Platform
As noted above, Binance U.S. uses the same platforms as its parent company. There are three different ones within the exchange based on your personal preference. There’s “Basic,” which is by far the most popular of the three. In addition, Binance offers “Advanced” and “OTC” platforms for more sophisticated investors and traders who desire lots of market data and price charts.
One interesting thing about Binance is that a large number of people don’t use any of the trading platforms because they just want to buy bitcoin with U.S. dollars. Or, they’re looking to trade the bitcoin they already own for cash money. If you’re in this group, simply set up a Binance account and buy your favorite cryptocurrency directly from the exchange, without even using any of the trading platforms. Don’t forget about that $10 minimum when you do your simple buying and selling.
For your own safety, remember that Binance and its competitors are exchanges. There’s a clue in the word “exchange.” Think long and hard about doing just that, namely using Binance for trading one crypto for another or for cash. “Exchanges” are not designed as a high-security environment for storing assets, crypto or otherwise.
What’s the solution? Here’s what many people do: they keep most of their cryptocurrency in an offline, cold wallet and only put enough in their Binance (or other exchange’s) wallet to do the trading they need to do that day.
When their transactions are complete, they return all their assets, except for $10 worth (the account minimum) into offline cold wallets for safekeeping. Offline wallets cannot be hacked. The need for cold wallets is not a Binance issue; it’s a cryptocurrency problem. The niche is still working out the best way to repel and defeat potential hacks.
The Binance Wallet
There is a Binance wallet, but keep in mind that users can use any online wallet they wish. The one Binance users are defaulted to, if they don’t have one of their own, is Trust Wallet, a very well-reviewed online wallet.
Binance for Mobile
In 2020, the exchange significantly upgraded its mobile app so users could make automated purchases, customize lots of the features, and keep an eye on real time prices of the various cryptocurrencies they wish to follow. Unlike many of Binance’s competitors, this new and improved mobile app turns any phone or other device into a virtual desktop.
The Final Verdict
No Binance review is complete without a short-and-sweet judgment. All investors have different needs and preferences, so there’s obviously no one exchange that fulfills everyone’s concept of what the “perfect” trading platform is. But, when it comes to our Binance US review, our research was pretty clear. Binance leads the pack in terms of low trading fees and at the same time offers an ample selection of cryptos to choose from. If you’re wondering about the global Binance site, compared to the US version, just know that they use the exact same interface. However, the global Binance site does offer a wider currency selection as well as a few other advanced functions.
No matter which exchange you end up using, it’s essential to remember that the entire cryptocurrency universe can be a very scary place for people who aren’t accustomed to roller-coaster rides. Prices rise and fall enough to get even the most iron-stomach investors seasick. Is Binance safe for alt-coin enthusiasts? Yes, it’s an excellent choice for beginners and advanced traders. And if you’ve studied our review and are still wondering about the Binance vs Coinbase question, consider trying them both for a few weeks and seeing which one is best suited to your style of cryptocurrency trading and investing.