- The Binance Card is a Visa debit card enabling users to draw on their Binance crypto holdings.
- It converts crypto into fiat at the point of sale.
- Binance Card supports payment using Bitcoin, Binance Coin, Ethereum, SXP and BUSD.
In the last year, crypto debit cards have taken off in a big way, with numerous exchanges launching cards that variously let you pay with crypto, or offer crypto rewards.
Now Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, has joined the fray. But is its new Binance Card the gateway to crypto that it promises to be? We put it through its paces.
What is the Binance Card?
The Binance Card is, perhaps unsurprisingly, a crypto debit card launched by Binance. Announced last March following the exchange’s acquisition of crypto debit card company Swipe, the Binance Card was released in select European countries in September 2020.
The card supports payments with, , , Swipe’s SXP token, and its own stablecoin, Binance USD (BUSD).
Crypto holdings are converted to fiat currency in real-time at the time of transaction; you also have the option of topping up your Binance fiat wallet with your default fiat currency and drawing on that.
As a Visa debit card, the Binance Card can be used at over 60 million merchants across 200 regions and territories around the world.
When announced, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao, more commonly known as CZ, stated that “Giving users the ability to convert and spend their crypto directly with merchants around the world, will make the crypto experience more seamless and applicable.”
That all sounds like it makes sense, right? A fancy card from a top exchange, spreading crypto to the masses in an easily accessible way — what’s not to love?
We spent some time diving into the Binance Card to see what the process is like, and what it brings to the table. Read on for our full review…
How easy is it to apply for?
Applying for the Binance Card begins by ordering one online directly from Binance. At the time of writing, the Binance card is currently supported in selected European countries, including Austria, Belgium, Ireland, Malta, Slovenia, and more (the full list can be found here). Crypto fans in the UK who were originally on the list of supported countries can pre-order, but are currently absent from the official list, presumably due to the rather messy business of Brexit. We’ve reached out to Binance for confirmation and will update this article accordingly.
If you don’t already have a Binance account you’ll have to create one first, which is as straightforward as providing your email address and personal details. It is, however, worth pointing out that you can only apply for a Binance card if your account is KYC level 2 verified.
Short for Know Your Customer/Client, KYC is a procedure used in financial services to help verify the identity of individuals. In other words, it helps prove to Binance that you are who you say you are.
To achieve KYC level 2 on Binance, you’ll need to upload a form of valid ID, such as a passport or driver’s license, along with proof of address verification, such as a utility bill. This might seem scary to crypto beginners, but rest assured it’s totally normal practice, especially on an exchange that’s as respected as Binance.
Uploading these documents can be done by hovering over your profile button in the top right corner, and selecting ‘Identification’. Once that’s done, you’ll want to ensure that you take a clear picture of your chosen ID, as well as a passport-like photo of yourself. You also need to ensure that the address on your utility bill or other document matches the address you type into the online form. While the length of time it takes to verify both your ID and address varies, we were pleasantly surprised that both fields were verified in less than an hour.
Once you’ve reached KYC level 2, you can order your card here, by clicking on, you guessed it, Order Card. Follow the on-screen prompts to complete your order, and if successful, you’ll be issued with a virtual card immediately, while your physical card will arrive at a later date. At the time of writing, it’s unclear how long you’ll have to wait to receive the physical card due to high demand.
When you do receive your card, head on over to the Card Wallet section on Binance and hit the Activate button. From here you’ll need to enter the CVV number on the back of the physical card, and your four-digit pin code will then be shown. If you don’t activate your card within 45 days after ordering, it will automatically deactivate.
As much as we’d love to say that the Binance Card is crafted from exotic materials like titanium or meteorite, we’re dealing with the same sort of card you’ve used all your life, albeit one with flat (as opposed to embossed) characters, presumably for longevity.
There’s currently no option to customize the card or stamp any of your own personality on it, which is bad news for meme lovers. For everyone else though, there’s little to complain about. The all-black and silver monochrome color palette has an air of sophistication about it, with nothing but some text and the ultra-minimal Binance logo to draw the eye. If Darth Vader had a debit card, it would look fairly close to this.
Setting up the Binance Card
Once you’ve got your virtual and/or physical card set up and ready to go, you’ll want to familiarise yourself with how the card actually works. The most important thing you’ll need to understand is that the card doesn’t automatically pull in funds from your Binance crypto holdings balance.
To use the card, you’ll first have to transfer money from your Spot Wallet (the default Binance wallet which stores your holdings and allows you to deposit and withdraw funds), to your separate Card Wallet. You can choose to transfer fiat and other supported crypto over to your Card Wallet, and select the order in which funds should be debited first. If you’ve listed Euros and BNB as the top two funds, for example, the card will debit your Euro balance, before moving on to BNB once the Euros are used up.
The Card Wallet is best thought of as a supplementary place for your holdings to live. Shifting funds over might seem like an unnecessary step for some, but it provides the option to limit how much is on the card, in the event that it’s lost or stolen. The ability to prioritize which holdings are spent first is also a nice touch.
Once you’ve put your Card Wallet in order, you can spend it anywhere online or in-person that accepts Visa. Just make sure you’ve taken the time to top up the Card Wallet with funds from your main Binance wallet, otherwise your payment will be declined, and you’ll find yourself explaining your mishap to a very confused grocery store cashier. To save yourself the headache, you have the handy option to enable auto top-up, setting a minimal balance that’s automatically topped up without you having to worry about it.
It’s also worth noting that Google Pay and Samsung Pay users can set up their card by entering their card details in their choice of app, letting them make contactless NFC payments with Binance funds up to set limits.
Perks and fees
One of the main draws of the Binance Card is its cashback system, which rewards your account with up to 8% cashback on eligible purchases. The cashback is in BNB, and the amount rewarded depends on how much BNB you’re currently holding on Binance. The breakdown of cashback rewards can be seen below:
You can see your cashback transactions in the cashback vault, all of which will be one of three statuses; Pending, which means they’re calculated but not yet in your wallet, Completed which means they’ve already been sent to your Spot Wallet, and Declined, which means the transaction was not eligible for cashback.
The cashback itself is awarded on a monthly basis, while some competitors offer weekly rewards. It’s also worth pointing out that the cashback percentage is based on your average holdings of BNB over the past month. This is disappointing, as it essentially means you have to wait and hold BNB for a whole month to unlock higher reward rates. On a more positive note, beyond the initial $15 issuance fee for the card itself, there are zero fees for monthly or annual card maintenance, which is a welcome bonus.
In terms of card limits, the virtual card currently has a daily spending limit of EUR 870, with a much higher limit of EUR 8,700 for the physical card. The daily ATM limit is capped at EUR 290. Additional fees for reissuing the physical card and for transaction fees, are shown below:
Is Binance Card worth using?
To reach the full 8% cashback reward on your purchases, you’ll need to have a minimum of 6,000 BNB in your Binance Wallet. At the time of writing, that’s just under $250,000 worth of BNB. Card level two, which unlocks 2% cashback, requires a more manageable stake of 10 BNB, or around $420.
These aren’t exactly friendly amounts for beginners dipping their toes into the crypto world for the very first time, but at least there’s still a 1% minimum cashback offer for people to benefit from using the card without forking out hundreds of dollars on BNB.
What is disappointing is the fact that the cashback rewards are tied only to BNB, which means someone with thousands of dollars worth of BTC, for example, won’t see any rewards.
If you’re heavily invested and committed to BNB, then the rewards appear to be worth it. It sounds niche, but so is the very concept of a crypto debit card tied to an exchange.
There’s a simple case to be made for the fact that the Binance Card doesn’t really need to exist. We don’t mean that in a harsh way. It is, after all, a slick card that integrates with the world’s biggest crypto exchange, and lets you use your holdings online and in the real world, making the blockchain more tangible and useful in everyday life.
The trouble is, you’re not ultimately paying for things with crypto. Your holdings are converted to fiat, so as far as the merchant is concerned, you’re just another normal user paying with ‘proper money’. This sort of goes against the whole ethos of being a crypto enthusiast, don’t you think?
The dream, of course, is for crypto to be natively accepted by merchants and shops at a fundamental level, with no middleman converting messing up the purity of it. That’s an adoption problem that not even the gargantuan exchange Binance can solve, so this card should at least be applauded for aiming for a transitional middle ground while increasing awareness of what’s possible with crypto.
Still, we’d only really recommend it for hardcore BNB fans looking to fill out their bags with the cashback rewards. Having said that, there’s no harm in nabbing one for yourself, especially with the lack of monthly fees. After all, one of crypto’s biggest draws is trying new things and pushing horizons. Perhaps cards like this are an important step to true mass adoption.
Bad guys can’t cash out their loot in 2016 Bitfinex hack
Assets stolen from Bitfinex crypto exchange in a hacking incident back in 2016 will take over a century to be cashed out, blockchain intelligence firm Elliptic said in its latest report.
On Thursday, the company published a statement about the infamous hack that resulted in Bitfinex losing 120,000 bitcoin (valued today at around $7 billion). It detailed nearly 80% of the illegally obtained funds are still in the hacker(s) wallet.
The remaining 21% have been moved around by the malicious cyber attackers that have only managed to launder 4% of their total haul, which is approximately $270 million.
A roadblock for the attackers
Elliptic pointed out that the reason for their thesis is the evolution of crypto tracking tools, regulations, and law enforcement methodologies that make stolen or ill-gotten digital assets very challenging to cash out today.
The intelligence company explained that the hackers used “peel-chains” to exchange the stolen funds. In this method, crypto tokens are moved around numerous times, moving fast from wallet to wallet, and only a small amount of the bitcoin is “peeled off to their actual destination along the way.”
Back then, it was extremely hard to track crypto-assets laundered using this method. But today, the emergence of automatic tracing systems capable of determining the ultimate source or funds in an address makes the job a lot easier for the authorities.
The hacker after the cyber attack
After the successful attack on Bitfinex in 2016, the laundering process started in 2017 through the largest darknet market that time – Alphabay. Later that year, it was shut down by law enforcement, prompting the move to Hydra – the biggest illegal marketplace today.
Cryptoslate cited part of the report from Elliptic, stating, “After a hiatus in 2019, the launderers returned to Hydra in 2020 and are currently depositing $3 million of the stolen bitcoin every month.”
According to the report, to date, there is now approximately $72 million worth of the stolen cryptocurrency sent to Hydra.
Image courtesy of Cointelegraph News/YouTube
Three reasons why Cardano is going on this price trajectory
Rising trade volume across spot and derivatives exchanges have supported Cardano’s ongoing price rally over the past few weeks and months. The altcoin, at the time of writing, was trading at the $2.32-level, with the crypto gaining by 20% in 24 hours to touch one ATH after the other. The aforementioned hike in price and trade volume were evidenced by the increase in market capitalization as well.
Thanks to the aforementioned factors, Cardano is now ranked third among the market’s top-10 altcoins, based on data from CoinMarketCap.
What’s more, based on the attached chart, currently there is more ADA staked than in the past 30 days. In fact, it is at nearly half a million. With 100% of its HODLers profitable at the press time price level, ADA’s rally is likely to be a long one, especially with the altcoin’s staking rewards data offering a similar conclusion. With a relatively high percentage of ADA staked, a direct relationship has emerged between staked ADA and ADA’s price.
While the current on-chain sentiment is slightly bearish, the net network growth stood at a positive 5%. Further, while there has been a slow drop in large transactions, that could mean that more retail traders are buying ADA v. HODLers and institutions. Unless trade volume drops and cascading sell-offs occur, the price is likely to hold at its current price level.
In the case of Cardano, the concentration by large HODLers has remained largely below 30% and this is key to its ongoing rally. Top memecoins and altcoins that are rallying like DOGE, LINK, BNB, and ETH, among others, have a high concentration by large traders. This is essential to supporting the price at its key levels.
$80 billion worth of large transactions have transpired over the past week and the inflows are anticipated to increase even more. Less than 15% HODLers have held ADA for over 12 months, despite YTD gains of over 500%. And, ADA’s HODLers are lower in numbers than expected. Ergo, the short-term ROI could be the key reason for the short HODLing duration.
Based on data from Messari, the ROI over the past week was nearly 40%.
In the past year, the ROI was over 700%. This is a relatively high gain for HODLers, despite several dips.
ADA’s latest developments and the increasing demand in the second phase of the altseason make it one of the hottest altcoins to buy and HODL. In fact, one can argue that ADA continues to remain undervalued at the press time price level.
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Data shows the ‘Bitcoin price drops ahead of CME expiries’ claim is a myth
Historically, activity surrounding the Bitcoin (BTC) monthly futures and options expiry has been blamed for weakening bullish momentum. A few studies from 2019 found a 2.3% average drop in BTC price 40 hours before the CME futures settlement date.
However, as Cointelegraph reported in June 2020, the effect faded away. While 2020 seems to have rejected the potential negative impact of CME expiries, so far, the current year appears to validate the theory. Bitcoin’s price has been suppressed ahead of futures and options expiry in the first three months of 2021.
Some investors and traders have pointed out that Bitcoin’s incredible rally after the recent futures and options expiry dates has become a trend.
$BTC options expiry in about 8 hours…
Last Friday of every month has been a pretty good entry point for past 8 months …
Past 3 months price has been hammered in the hours / days leading up to expiry
Observation not advice. Let’s see if the pattern holds. pic.twitter.com/3CJqI6m6jl
— 阿龍 (@KnutsonJesse) April 23, 2021
BTC has effectively rallied in the days following the expiry, but expanding this analysis uncovers a less-than-satisfactory trend.
Three consecutive events don’t prove a trend
The past 13 months have been nothing short of spectacular for Bitcoin, as the cryptocurrency posted 788% gains. August 2020 turned out to be the worst month, as BTC presented a 7.5% negative performance. Thus, choosing random starting points within the month will likely show a similar positive trend.
For example, if one uses the “last quarter” moon phase as a proxy, the odds that a rally takes place after each event are very high.
As depicted above, indeed, Bitcoin rallied after five out of the last six instances. The only conclusion might be that positive trends are the norm rather than the exception during bull runs.
Although there might be some explanation to the reason behind Bitcoin’s end-of-the-month underperformance, these are only hypotheses.
While market makers and arbitrage desks could benefit from suppressing the price after a rally, other forces, including leverage futures longs and call option holders, would balance that out.
Bitcoin price did not drop in three of the last seven expiries
Therefore, it makes sense to analyze the potential price suppression ahead of the expiry instead of looking for explanations for a rally during a bull market.
Both October and December 2020 expiries failed to present any negative pressure ahead of such dates. Meanwhile, the 12% positive performance on the five days that preceded the most recent April 30 expiry also puts a big question mark on how meaningful the CME event really is.
Considering there hasn’t been a price decrease ahead of monthly futures and options expiries in three of the last seven instances, this evidence should put a nail in the coffin of the unfounded myth.
As mentioned earlier, trying to develop theories on why sellers acted more aggressively on specific dates is unlikely to yield results.
As shown above, Bitcoin’s price failed to underperform in three out of the last seven expiries. A 57% success rate should not define a trend when a positive performance after a specific date has been proven common during a bull run.
The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph. Every investment and trading move involves risk. You should conduct your own research when making a decision.
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