Binance was founded in 2017 by Chinese national Changpeng Zhao, commonly referred to as “CZ”, who worked for several international FX and fintech firms before deciding to launch his own exchange. CZ seems to be a true believer in cryptocurrency, and even sold his house in Shanghai in 2014 in order to buy as much Bitcoin as possible. While the move was extremely risky, it paid off handsomely as Bitcoin’s value exploded in the following years.
CZ opted to raise the initial capital required to launch an exchange via an initial coin offering, which was unique way to kickstart a crypto exchange at the time. Binance was an instant success with the company being a couple of times forced to seize the creation of new accounts somewhere between 2017 and 2018 due to extreme traffic.
Binance has changed its HQ several times to ensure the company is based somewhere where blockchain technology is acknowledged and appreciated as a disrupting innovation and not treated like a Ponzi-scheme, hence it isn’t a surprise it ended up setting up an office on Malta, the “blockchain island”.
The platform’s native currency BNB, which was the asset sold in the Binance ICO, is one of the best-performing cryptocurrencies based on ROI, as well as utilization. as it is used among traders to reduce transaction fees, as a voting tool, and as a bet on the continued success of Binance.
Binance has solidified its dominant position in the cryptocurrency exchange space this year with a number of new additions to its platform. The exchange has even become one of the main contenders in the highly competitive Bitcoin derivatives market. According to data provided by Skew Markets, Binance Futures is the third most active platform for Bitcoin futures – its current daily trading volume of over $827 million is only behind BitMEX and Huobi Global.
Bitcoin futures trading volume comparison by exchange as of November 20. Image source: skew Analytics
This figure is only slightly lower than the volume on Binance’s spot markets – at the time of writing, Binance is reporting $848 million in 24-hour volume on all its spot trading pairs combined.
Earlier this year Binance also announced its project ‘Venus’, which will look to issue cross-blockchain stablecoins backed by various fiat currencies. One does not need to speculate too much to see Venus as a response to the Facebook’s Libra project – the two even share an astrology-inspired name.
In September, a US-based variant of Binance called Binance.US launched. The company is technically not operating under Binance, but uses the exchange’s branding and technology. Binance.US is led by Catherine Coley, who previously held an executive role at Ripple.
Last but not least, the exchange has recently started to ramp up its fiat currency integration, adding support for the Russian ruble, Ukrainian hryvnia and Nigerian naira. The exchange s not stopping there, however, as it plans to add support for a whopping 180 fiat currencies.