Getting approved for a Binance account could take weeks or months, which feels like years in the crypto space.
Whether you’re looking for a U.S.-based exchange or one that will approve your account more quickly, we’ve got you covered. Here’s our list of the best Binance alternatives.
What is a Cryptocurrency Exchange?
A cryptocurrency exchange is similar to the fiat exchanges that you see at the airport when visiting another country. They stack up large amounts of multiple currencies and provide users with the ability to swap between them for a small fee.
There are 2 main types of crypto exchanges: centralized and decentralized.
Centralized exchanges like Binance, Coinbase and Gemini provide more services but need to be trusted.
Decentralized exchanges (DEXs) are based on the blockchain and therefore decentralized. The Ethereum blockchain’s most popular DEX is called Uniswap. Liquidity is made available on Uniswap by other users known as liquidity providers, who earn the trading fees instead of a singular company.
Decentralized exchanges require trust in open source smart contracts rather than human bankers, which is their main selling point.
What Makes Binance Unique?
Binance is popular for its immense variety of trading pairs, including altcoins that most other exchanges deem far too speculative for their investors.
Binance also differentiates itself from competitors with its own smart contract blockchain, the Binance Smart Chain (BSC).
While the Ethereum network currently has over 5,000 active nodes securing the network, the Binance Smart Chain is secured by only 21 validators. While this is great for scaling, it is incredibly bad for security.
Despite its flaws, the BSC consumed much of the DeFi ecosystem from Etheruem in early 2021, as more and more users became priced out by Ethereum’s gas fees.
Pro Tip: As Ethereum scales via Layer 2 solutions and sidechains, you can expect to see much of the value return to the Ethereum ecosystem.
Why Binance Might not be Right for You
While Binance is technically not available to U.S. customers, Binance runs a limited-feature arm for U.S. customers, Binance.US. Binance.US provides access to far less altcoins and requires know your customer (KYC) compliance to make an account.
Common Complaint: Untrustworthy
Binance is a centralized exchange run by Changpeng Zhao, more commonly known as CZ. Binance has struggled finding a home, moving its headquarters multiple times only to be kicked out by each government it attempts to court.
Binance does more volume than any other crypto exchange in the world. And, it is also under investigation by the IRS and Justice Department as of May 2021.
As previously mentioned, centralized exchanges require trusting the company. For many, Binance has yet to earn their trust. Those users typically opt for U.S.-based or decentralized exchanges instead.
What to Look for in a Cryptocurrency Exchange
When choosing a centralized cryptocurrency exchange to on and off ramp your fiat to crypto, you’ll want one that you trust.
Generally, your best bet is to select a well-audited, U.S.-based exchange such as Coinbase, Gemini or Robinhood. A publicly traded exchange is an extra bonus as they are likely to be taking extra security measures for their shareholders’ sakes.
The Best Alternatives to Binance
Consider these good alternatives:
1. Coinbase Pro
For a slightly more experienced user who is accustomed to spot trades and lower fees, Coinbase Pro is the way to go.
Coinbase offers 2 platforms for the retail investor: Coinbase and Coinbase Pro. Coinbase is targeted toward the beginner and has one of the best user experiences of any crypto app on the market.
Coinbase Pro is slightly more limited when it comes to UX but features more trading pairs and significantly lower fees than its Coinbase counterpart. The best part is, Coinbase Pro is completely free and uses the same login.
Coinbase also offers free off-chain asset transfers from the Pro app to the normal app, so if you want to take advantage of the low fees on Pro and the UX of the regular app, you can do that for free.
The Gemini exchange is based in New York City and was created by the Winklevoss Twins. Gemini features a solid list of altcoins and has a beginner-friendly user experience.
Gemini is a solid pick for beginners and even intermediate users who are just looking for an on-off ramp from fiat.
Robinhood is a brokerage for both stocks and cryptocurrencies, making it a great option for investors that want to invest in a broad range of assets. The platform currently offers 7 cryptocurrencies, which is less than dedicated crypto trading platforms. However, Robinhood supports major cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum and Dogecoin, making it a good option for investors looking to buy established, large market cap digital assets.
The brokerage stands out for its fee-free trading platform. Most cryptocurrency platforms will charge you for every buy and sell you make with them, whereas with Robinhood it’s all free. The platform is also working on integrating a cryptocurrency wallet feature which will make sending and receiving cryptocurrency on Robinhood easy.
Voyager is U.S.-based and offers a wide range of cryptocurrencies on its mobile app. Similar to Robinhood, Voyager offers $0 commissions on all crypto orders, making it an excellent choice for traders and accumulators.
Voyager also allows its users to send their assets off of the platform to other crypto wallets and DeFi protocols.
Unfortunately, Voyager does not have a desktop platform yet so you’ll be limited to mobile trading, which may not be a huge deal for some.
Is Switching Exchanges Worth It?
If you are currently a Binance user or someone looking to open an account with Binance, there are a lot of reasons to look elsewhere.
Fortunately, there are many great Binance alternatives, and you can still have a Binance account alongside them. There is no reason not to open multiple accounts to take advantage of the unique features and offerings of each one.
If you decide to open an exchange account, make sure to always do your own research on security and insurance policies. It’s also highly advisable to purchase a cryptocurrency wallet like the Ledger Nano X to secure large sums privately.