Binance, a leading cryptocurrency exchange with its headquarters in Hong Kong(according to craft.co), officially launched on July 14th, 2017. Currently, it’s the number one exchange in trading volume, counting a staggering 1 Billion USD(!) volume pro 24 hours. The combined market cap of all its listed tokens earlier this month was more than $2.5 billion USD. At the moment of writing, the number of registered users has exceeded 10 million. Another interesting fact, when the hype on the bitcoin market was at its highest back in January 2018, Binance registered 240,000 new users just in one day.
Back in July 2017, the biggest exchange at that time was Coinbase with 8 million registered users. Coinbase has a different approach to trading digital assets and at that time they only offered a few tokens for trading, like BTC, ETH, and LTC. When Binance entered this market, they also started adding tokens which were ranked lower(top 50 – top 200) on Coinmarketcap, besides the usual suspect’s Bitcoin, Ethereum or Ripple. In less than six months after launch, the exchange had gained more than 1 million registered users. Now, the number of registered users has exceeded 10 million. So how did this company managed to be leading in this market in less than two years?
Launch of new token
Initial coin offering
Before its launch in July 2017, the company held an ICO(Initial Coin Offering) and was planning to start their own token called BNB. They had minted a total of 200 million coins which has a fixed amount and can never be increased. This token is called an ERC20 token and is part of the Ethereum blockchain network. The ICO was very successful and within just two weeks they managed to acquire 15 million USD in capital.
The main benefit of launching this new token as an exchange is the creation of a whole new community which has an interest in the growth of this BNB coin. With the growth of this coin, also causes the reduction of fees when trading on the platform. Discount on trading fees is only given to users who are the owner of this token. Another interesting option Binance offers are referrals. People have the option to invite friends to the platform. When these friends start trading with this BNB token, a 50% trading fee commission is given on every transaction they make. So when the word of reduced trading fees combined with this referral program spreads, more users will come to the trading platform, which causes exponential growth of total platform witnessed today.
The community has a very important role in the evolution of the platform. Recently a new utility for BNB was introduced, by being able to vote for new tokens or blockchain projects. Also there is this “Launchpad” option where startups are able to introduce their business plans and are able to raise capital through this BNB token.
You can say this BNB token is the main fuel within the Binance engine. The price of the BNB token has been increasing ever since and its currently ranked number seven on Coinmarketcap.
At that time back in 2017, the total cryptocurrency ecosystem was in a fierce bull run and other big exchanges like Bitfinex, Coinbase or Huobi couldn’t handle the load of new users on their platforms. This resulted in a temporary stop of new users entering the crypto markets. The interest to start trading cryptocurrency was very high and demand was on a global level. To handle serious transaction volumes on their platform, Binance entered the market with a trading platform which can handle 1.4 million orders per second. Besides the ability to handle large trading volumes, they also made room for about 20 million users being online at the same time. Like I said earlier, interest in trading cryptocurrency was on a global scale and with multilingual support on their platform traders from all over the world can use this platform.
Introduction of own token
Another difference between the existing trading platforms was the onboarding of new tokens to their platform. Other big exchanges are very strict in adding new tokens, but the rate of introducing new tokens to the platform of Binance was very high. This introduction of new tokens to the platform was also a bit controversial because new blockchain projects were willing to pay up to 400 BTC to be listed on the big exchanges. On Twitter, the microblog to go for cryptocurrency traders, the introduction of this trading platform was discussed heavily and witnessed with some skeptics. The CEO of Binance, Changpeng Zhao, also very active on Twitter tried to turn this sentiment with several tweets. In one of his tweets, he argued that he “does not list any s**t coins regardless of any fee they pay”.
Still, the fact that the exchange is happy to accept new coins at a much quicker rate than an exchange that trades fiat pairs with strict KYC/AML regulations means that Binance can also rapidly grow its offerings of coins and attract more business.
Another interesting fact is the withdrawal option, you can easily withdraw up to 2 BTC per day without verifying the account. This is the unique feature of the trade platform, which makes it much more comfortable to use compared to other exchanges. For example, in OKex, you cannot withdraw funds before your account is verified, and for Poloniex, the withdrawal limit is $2,000 for unverified accounts.
After account verification, you can withdraw up to 100 BTC per day. Of course, most users do not really need to withdraw more than 2 BTC. There is one more reason this feature makes the Binance more competitive: usually, account verification can take up to 2–4 weeks on crypto exchanges, which is too long. Due to the fact that you cannot withdraw a significant amount of funds before verification, the possibility to trade and withdraw immediately after registration is an advantage.
Plans and challenges
So currently the platform is leading in the cryptocurrency ecosystem are there any plans left for growth? The answer is yes. In Uganda, an African country, Binance is working on an exchange which makes it easier to buy bitcoin with fiat currencies. The exchange is not working yet but is making good progress. A lot of countries see this growth of cryptocurrencies as a threat to their business and want to maintain control. The goal of Binance is to make the legitimization process much easier and thereby make crypto more accepted in low economy countries. As Changpeng Zhao says, “It is much easier to expand such initiatives in small countries, as they appreciate more the income Binance generates for their budget, and define the acceptance of crypto as a good driver for their economies.”
Another important plan of Binance is to create an STO exchange in collaboration with the Maltese government. On this exchange, people will be able to purchase security tokens. These tokens have a big chance of being accepted by the world’s major countries; much has already been done much to get them accepted in the U.S. The STO looks like shares in the classic companies, and the two share many common features. This will allow the crypto industry to get regulated and become safer. Regulation issues are things Binance also have to deal with in this new industry. The government of China, which has a very centralized policy, didn’t like the activities of Binance and therefore Binance had to move its activities from Hong-Kong to Malta, a small country in Europe.
Other decentralized exchanges
Last but not least, the competition, is there any at the moment? Personally, I think Binance has proven it’s a trustworthy exchange which can also handle lots of trading volumes. But there are always new developments and challenges to face. One of these new developments is decentralized exchanges which could be a threat to their business. Decentralized exchanges allow users to trade without intermediaries, which ideally corresponds to the philosophy of blockchain. On blockchain, all deals are made based on smart contracts that users create to conduct transactions with each other. This decentralization is also a property which belongs to blockchain technology but currently, this trading on DEX-exchanges isn’t very popular under traders. It’s very hard to do instant trading which is very important when you are a professional trader. Currently, there are no technologies which can solve this problem for DEX-exchanges.
In the past, many ICO’s have collected funds way more than the 15 million USD Binance acquired. Maybe they entered the market at the right time(2017) and were lucky, but this growth to a leading exchange in less than 6 months was never seen before, even in the cryptocurrency ecosystem. Personally, I’m a happy user of their trading platform and I also use their API solution. Are you as a cryptocurrency trader using Binance also or do you use another platform?