*Please note that Bithumb no longer accepts customers outside of South Korea.
Welcome! Feast your eyes upon our latest 2021 comparison piece, this time assessing South Korean crypto exchange Bithumb against Binance, the biggest and arguably best trading platform in the industry. Does Bithumb have what it takes to compete with Binance? Let’s find out.
Compare Bithumb vs Binance
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Bithumb Trading Fees
For Korean traders: Bithumb, the most popular cryptocurrency exchange from South Korea, offers a trading fee schedule quite unlike any other cryptocurrency exchange. Whereas most crypto exchanges adjust their fees based on trading volume, Bithumb instead offers a coupon system, with 10 different coupons available, all offering different maker-taker fees and discount limits. Below we have shared the four most popular coupon options, as recommended by Bithumb, as well as the already-low fees enjoyed by beginners.
For International traders: All trades are fixed at 0.1% for makers and takers. There are minimal withdrawal fees for each cryptocurrency.
Binance’s Trading Fee System
Bithumb and Binance couldn’t be more different regarding their trading fee structure, with Binance charging based on the monthly trading volume size. However, while Binance has no coupon system, users can reduce the already-low fees of 0.1% for both makers and takers by 25% through purchasing or trading Binance Coin (BNB), their native utility token.
There’s another way to unlock more discounts on the Binance trading platform. Rather than through trading volumes or BNB, traders can get 20% of the invitee’s trading fees by referring others to the service.
As is the case with Bithumb, Binance also has a small withdrawal fee for cryptocurrencies, incurred when a user wishes to send crypto to an external wallet or another exchange. These prices are displayed here.
Winner: Binance offers better discount prospects despite the same base rate for beginners.
Sign Up and KYC Experience
Starting Your Bithumb Journey
- Users outside of South Korea who wish to join Bithumb must first head to Bithumb.pro to get started. Users in the US are prohibited from using the same exchange as other international users.
- Users should enter their email and password. After entering an email, users must click a ‘send code’ button and then head to their email inbox.
- The confirmation email recipient should copy the code and paste it into the box on the sign-up page.
- Users must tick the ‘I have read Bithumb Global Agreement’ box and click ‘Create Account’ to proceed.
- As a requisite of using the Bithumb service, members must set up 2-step verification, either via SMS or the Google Authenticator app.
- The above process will give you Level One verification which permits you to trade and deposit up to five BTC per day without submitting personal information. If you wish to raise this limit or make fiat-to-crypto purchases on the platform, you will need to continue to KYC Level Two verification.
- Level Two verification requires your personal information (name, address, date of birth, gender), a photo of the back and front of an ID card, as well as a photo of the applicant holding a piece of paper with ‘Bithumb Global’ and today’s date on it.
- Once confirmed, fiat currency pairs, deposits, and withdrawals will become available; however, many users report slow verification times along the way.
Bithumb operates a KRW-deposit-only policy, meaning that you won’t be able to deposit or withdraw other fiat currencies.
Becoming A Binance Member
- US citizens should head to Binance.US. All other international traders can visit Binance.com.
- Provide an email address and a highly secure password for your Binance account.
- Accept the service’s terms and conditions and head to your email inbox to find an email containing a six-digit verification code. You must copy this code and paste it on the signup form.
- Your account is now made, and you can trade up to 2 BTC per day; however, to make fiat deposits or withdrawals, you’ll have to do the KYC verification procedure. This is initiated by clicking ‘Identification’ on a drop-down menu in the navigation bar.
- The first step of KYC verification will ask for your name, nationality, address, and birth date.
- The second part of KYC verification will ask for a photo of your ID (passport preferred, driver’s license or state ID accepted), a selfie holding that ID, and a photo of your face for facial recognition purposes.
- Verification is typically done in more than 15 minutes and less than one day, but it can take longer during times of increased activity.
Fortunately for applicants, if anything goes wrong during the 15 minutes allotted for the sign-up process, they will be permitted an additional 10 attempts in the following 24-hour window. If all of those attempts fail, the applicant must wait another 24 hours before trying again.
Winner: We prefer Binance for this category because Bithumb only allows South Korean residents to get the full experience.
Ease of Use and Feel of Website/App
Users who opt to trade on Bithumb report an overall pleasant experience, with low fees, live customer support, excellent trading volumes, and no crypto deposit fees to get started. Bithumb’s growth in recent years has also made them a comfortable member of the world’s top 20 cryptocurrency exchanges, with a daily trading volume often in the top 10.
Bithumb has done great work to design a customer experience that is simple, smooth, and seamless, and notably, is also offered in English. With 155 coins and 165 markets to choose from, Bithumb members can rest assured that the trading services available will support their wants and needs. If, for any reason, something should go wrong, any incident can be resolved by the live customer support channels.
How To Enjoy Binance
Binance traders can take advantage of some of the lowest base rate trading fees in the industry, with more market pairings for cryptos and better liquidity than virtually any competitor. They accept more fiat currencies, have a higher daily trading volume, and boast a better trading experience than most of their rivals. There’s almost nothing that Binance gets wrong — successfully managing to toe the line between user-friendly and technically advanced.
What might be most impressive of all is that Binance is still fairly new in this space, launching in 2017, making it four years younger than Bithumb, and yet around 20 times the size — maybe even more. After some difficulties facing Chinese cryptocurrency regulations, Binance decided to cut their losses and relocate to the crypto-friendly Mediterannean island of Malta. This decision was a growth catalyst and was one of several great company moves — bringing greater stability and opportunity to its traders.
Winner: Binance offers more for users to enjoy than Bithumb, in fact, more than virtually any other exchange.
For international traders, the only deposit option is through cryptocurrency, of which there are 155 different coins supported.
South Koreans may deposit KRW and trade on fiat-to-crypto currency pairs.
Binance offers many good options for depositing fiat currencies, as long as your account is verified. For unverified users who have not gone through the KYC checks, you can deposit and trade up to two BTC per day only.
Verified users can use their debit cards or credit cards, as well as make bank transfers to deposit Euros (EUR), US Dollar (USD), British Pounds (GBP), and Russian Rubles (RUB). For EUR, GBP, and RUB, the deposit service is provided through Binance’s payment partner Simplex, which charges a 3.5% commission per transaction. Users on the Binance.US platform may make USD deposits through the ACH network, debit card, or domestic wire, but not with a credit card. USD deposits outside of the US can be made on the SWIFT or SEN networks.
On top of the fiat currencies described above, Binance supports deposits of 55 international fiat currencies; however, each of them presents its own unique deposit opportunities.
Another option for all depositors (whose currency is compatible) is the Paxos Wire Transfer service, listed on Binance under ‘Third-party Payment.’ This service offers users another way to deposit USD outside of the US — this time with no limits or restrictions. When making a PAX wire, you will receive an equal number of PAX coins in your wallet, rather than USD, as this crypto is pegged to the US dollar, providing stability for your deposit. PAX currency pairs are numerous, giving almost as many immediate trading options as the USD deposit would. Read more about this service here.
Winner: Binance trounces Bithumb on this part of the comparison.
Instant Buy Options (Buying with credit and debit card)
Spending Money On Bithumb
Users who have gone through the KYC verification steps on Bithumb global will be able to make instant purchases of cryptocurrency in numerous different fiat currencies, including, but not limited to:
- US Dollar (USD)
- Euros (EUR)
- Australian Dollars (AUD)
- Canadian Dollars (CAD)
- British Pounds (GBP)
- Indian Rupee (INR)
- Japanese Yen (JPY)
- Korean Won (KRW)
- Russian Rubles (RUB)
The accepted payment methods are typically credit or debit cards, transfer directly from your bank account, or partnered payment gateways.
What’s quite impressive about the instant buy section on Bithumb is that it doesn’t only list the price of the asset being sold (of which there are more than 100 to choose from), but it also tells you the expected arrival time and the expected purchase quantity. Few brokers and exchanges work with such transparency on their listings page, which wins some bonus points.
Accessing Instant Markets On Binance
For credit and debit card users worldwide, Visa/Mastercard purchases are pretty straightforward and are typically charged at around 1.5%; however, this will vary depending on your country and whether Binance is running any temporary promotions.
Most of the following cryptocurrencies will be available for purchase to verified users; however, this list is liable to change:
- Bitcoin (BTC)
- Ethereum (ETH)
- Ripple (XRP)
- Litecoin (LTC)
- Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
- Tether (USDT)
- EOS (EOS)
- Binance Coin (BNB)
- Stellar Lumens (XLM)
- Tron (TRX)
- Cardano (ADA)
- Monero (XMR)
- ChainLink (LINK)
- NEO (NEO)
- MIOTA (IOTA)
- Cosmos (ATOM)
- Ethereum Classic (ETC)
- XEM (XEM)
- Zcash (ZEC)
- Ontology (ONT)
For those who want to avoid using their card or bank for whatever reason and would prefer to use an alternative payment method, such as PayPal, Transferwise, Western Union, Revolut, or Skrill — as well as many others –there is the Binance P2P platform. This impressive customer-to-customer trading platform is only available in the following currencies, but it allows users to buy and sell for their own set price, commission-free. Binance only acts as a friendly middleman and temporary escrow:
This development allows users to sell these cryptocurrencies above the market rate to users who may not make a card or bank payment on Binance.
Words of the writer: I tested the service and sold 500 USDT to a man in Vietnam for $535. The whole process took around 15 minutes, and we were taken to a transaction page with a live chat to talk to each other. We confirmed my PayPal details, and once the $535 hit my account, I released the USDT. Of course, PayPal took a cut, but selling a stablecoin at $1.07 per USDT allowed the transfer fees to be absorbed so that I could keep more of my money.
Winner: Both platforms offer great versatility, but Binance’s P2P area tips this comparison section in their favor.
Bithumb: The King of Korean Trading Platforms
Our team here at Coin Clarity ran a test on Bithumb, making some trades and moving crypto in and out. Whereas some international projects have figured out how to build a platform with the global trader in mind, we think Bithumb needs some development. One problem we suffered was the English language preference wouldn’t stick, so each time we tried to make an action, the following page loaded in Korean. That wasn’t the first time either. When we made the account, all of the emails came in Korean, and when we contacted customer support, bad news, all communication was in Korean.
Eventually, we got past the language problems, and now we can see that the cryptocurrency exchange features themselves are pretty high quality. It’s no wonder they have around one million traders signed up.
On top of the 150+ coins and trading pairs, they have a section on their platform called ‘BG Learning.’ This is similar to Coinbase’s educational ‘Earn’ scheme; however, this is more community-based. Aimed at beginners, those who take part in a project’s learning experience will be rewarded with tokens in that cryptocurrency and thus support their technology development.
Participants of BG Learning will also be rewarded with ‘votes,’ not only for their correct answers but also on their wallet holdings. These votes can be used to support smaller projects as they grow, and once they reach 10,000 votes, Bithumb will list them on the exchange — allowing all-new token listings to go through a process of community quality control. These new exchange listing announcements get a lot of social media interest and in their community, presenting an opportunity to capitalize for those who are quick enough.
Binance: Mega Trading Volume
Binance didn’t rise above all other trading platforms for no reason; it was thanks to a skilled team of developers and design specialists fulfilling Founder Changpeng Zhao’s ambitions. Thanks to their development work, trading on Binance is smoother than smooth, incredibly user-friendly, and highly-intuitive. The most confusing parts of making a trade have been simplified, with users being able to move directly from their wallet to the trading interface with the order form open and ready to use. Digestible data, percentage options, and sliding toggles help the trader execute their trade without a problem.
With a bigger trading volume than their rival exchanges, the project is now the dominant force in the exchange marketplace, making it a reliable place to put your money and trade coins. More advanced users can take advantage of DeFi staking options, margin trading, and futures, as well as the P2P marketplace and available derivatives.
As many of our readers are based in the US, we cannot fail to mention the Binance.US platform, which is almost identical in appearance and function but offers fewer cryptocurrencies due to financial regulations.
Winner: Both platforms offer excellent products, but Binance has mastered trading experience to become the industry leader.
Reputation and Security
Bithumb Security Measures
Some exchanges are rock solid, and some have terrible security. Sadly for Bithumb, they are in the latter category. They have one of the industry’s worst security records, with three major hacks over the past five years.
July 2017 hack: $7m worth of Bitcoin and Ethereum (now worth hundreds of millions) and 30,000 sets of customer data. They were made to pay $28m in fines for their liability.
June 2018 hack: $30m worth of Ripple. All users were reimbursed from Bithumb’s coffers. North Korea’s Lazarus hacking group claimed the hack.
March 2020 hack: $13.4 EOS, $6m Ripple. Users were reimbursed, but nobody has claimed responsibility for the hack.
Bithumb offers one phone number for the US and a support ticket system for all other international users for customer service.
Binance: In Recovery
User reviews have improved over the last 18 months, but many fail to forgive the 2019 hack that saw Binance lose 7,000 BTC, worth over $300m at today’s rate. Users were immediately reimbursed, but as an exchange provider, their traffic suffered in the short term. People took the option to try other exchanges in pursuit of more secure trading products. Fortunately for Binance, many of them returned.
Winner: Neither wins this category. Both need to improve their security in the long run.
Bithumb vs Binance: Who is the winner?
Binance wins, but Bithumb is a worthy competitor. The South Korean exchange has some work to do for their international audience, but they are on the right path. Binance can continue doing what it’s doing; for now, it’s setting the pace.