Crypto exchange Binance this week sent emails to all US customers it suspects of using the Binance.com exchange, warning them that they had two weeks to leave the platform until it locked them out of their funds.
The warning was a long time coming: Binance announced that it would boot off its US customers, which by Binance’s policy aren’t allowed to use the exchange (for fear of angering US regulators, who might object to some of the coins Binance listed on its exchange). But it’s only taken the action this year.
“We also have procedures in place to offboard any users who we have reasonable cause to believe are US persons,” a Binance spokesperson told Decrypt. Any recipient of the email “has 14 days to completely withdraw all their funds before restrictions and offboarding measures kick in.” (Any US customer who hasn’t received the email, however, could use a VPN to get around the limitations).
“We urge all users who are US persons to register at Binance.US to continue to enjoy trading,” said the Binance spokesperson. But how do the two platforms differ? And what’s the same?
Binance.US is a separate company
Binance.US is a separate company to Binance, operated by BAM trading services, but bears its name and logo. Its CEO is Catherine Coley, a former investment banker for Morgan Stanley. By comparison, Binance is run by crypto billionaire Changpeng Zhao, otherwise known as CZ.
Binance.US is available in 41 states.
Binance.US is available in 41 US states—41 more states than Binance. This month, it added support for Alaska and North Carolina. But it is not supported in the following states: Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Louisiana, New York, Texas, Vermont and Washington.
Binance.US offers far fewer cryptocurrencies than Binance.
Binance.US offers 52 cryptocurrencies, a paltry offering compared to Binance, which offers 259. The reason has to do with US regulators, who are far more concerned about the coins exchange list than some other countries—and at the behest of the US Securities and Exchange Commission, far more likely to sue.
This is, however, a greater number of coins offered by other top US exchanges. Coinbase Pro offers 38; Kraken offers 49 and Gemini offers 26.
The largest coins are still on Binance.US: Bitcoin, Tether, XRP and so on. The only top 10 coin (by market cap) absent from its line-up is Polkadot. Some of the newer, niche decentralized finance (DeFi) coins, such as Aave and YFI, are also not included.
Still, compared to what American Binancians may be used to, Binance.US offers far less choice than its parent company’s offering.
The fees on Binance US are higher
Binance’s low fees are one of its main selling points. Binance.US’s fees are higher for high-rollers.
On Binance.US, traders with a monthly volume of less than $50,000 must pay 0.1% for both maker and taker fees, minus any discount offered for those who pay their fees in BNB, Binance’s own cryptocurrencies. However, on Binance, these fees are offered to anyone who trades less than 50 Bitcoin, currently worth $829,825. Withdrawal fees are comparable.
So, if you’re planning on plonking all your life savings in Binance.US, you’ll pay far more in fees in the long run.
Binance.US is much smaller than Binance
Lastly, Binance.US is much smaller than other exchanges. CoinGecko, a crypto metrics site, pegs Binance as the largest cryptocurrency exchange, with a daily volume of $8.2 billion. By comparison, Binance.US has a daily volume of $89 million, as of this writing, making Binance.US the smaller fish by over 90x.
This also makes Binance.US far smaller than other leading US exchanges. Traders on Coinbase Pro shifted $1.7 billion in the past 24 hours; on Kraken, $774 million; and on Gemini, $97 million.