Best Crypto Exchange / Trading Platform for Singapore Investors in 2022 – Binance Singapore and Huobi Global banned!

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1 month in Crypto truly feels like a 1 year in Traditional Finance.

My last article on the Best Crypto Exchange for Singapore investors was only written a couple months back, and it’s already horribly out of date.

Both Binance Singapore and Huobi Global featured heavily in my previous ranking, so with both of them pulling out of Singapore, I figured it was time to update the article.

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What has happened since? Binance Singapore and Huobi Global pull out of Singapore

Binance Singapore

Previously it was only the global version of Binance that pulled out of Singapore, while the local Singapore version of Binance (Binance Singapore) continued to be available to Singapore investors.

On Dec 13, Binance Singapore announced that they too will no longer offer services in Singapore, and will shut down all operations by February 13.

Effective Dec 13, registrations, crypto and currency deposits as well as trading on Binance.sg will be closed.

Users will not be able to buy and sell crypto using their existing assets from Jan 13, and all accounts must be closed by Feb 13.

Huobi Global

On Nov 10, Huobi Global announced that they are pulling out of Singapore, and will close the accounts of all its Singapore-based users on Mar 31 next year.

Services to these users will also be gradually phased out prior to that date.

If you’re determined enough, you can probably continue to access both via VPN and some creative problem solving going forward, but at a certain point it may make sense to just move to another Crypto Exchange / Trading Platform.

Basics: What to look out for in a Crypto Exchange / Trading Platform for Singapore Crypto Investors

On a high level, the 3 biggest points you need to look at when picking a Crypto Exchange are:

  • Is SGD accepted
  • Fees (including spreads)
  • Number of coins accepted

And the 3 other points you look at:

  • Stability
  • Security
  • Staking

Let’s discuss each individually.

Is SGD accepted?

Most of the top exchanges don’t support SGD natively.

Singapore is just too small a market, so most of the best exchanges only accept USD or Euro.

If you don’t have any crypto already, you need to pick an exchange that accepts SGD.

For sophisticated investors who trade frequently, what you can (should) do is to use 1 exchange to on-ramp SGD, and once you have the crypto you move it to another exchange with better fees for your heavy-duty trading.

For example – you can use Crypto.com to onramp SGD at 0.4% fee, then transfer all the crypto to FTX for trading for 0.02% fees.

Fees (including spreads)

Fees are straightforward – the lower the better.

Don’t forget bid-ask spread though, some of the smaller exchanges have cheap fees but horrible bid ask spreads.

Think of it as Ethereum trading at $3000, but your order to buy only getting filled at $3050. That’s bid ask spread. It’s a form of shadow fees.

Number of Coins Accepted

Think of it like a stock broker.

The more stocks you can buy at the broker, the better it is.

Things have improved dramatically from just a few months ago, so most of the exchanges on this list accept hundreds of coins. If you’re looking to buy a more obscure coin, it’s probably easier to buy on a decentralised exchange like Uniswap.

Stability of Platform

Stability is about whether the crypto exchange / trading platform stays online in times of market stress.

Unfortunately, even the best platforms like Binance tend to go down in periods of high market volatility, so it’s quite a tough call.

Because of this I like to have coins with a couple of exchanges at the same time, in case one of them goes down.

Security of Platform

Security is about whether the crypto exchange / trading platform will get hacked.

For those of you who hold large amounts of crypto, you REALLY, REALLY need to buy a cold wallet and store your coins there.

Seriously – just get a nano Ledger for about $100 and you solve this problem.

Once you have cold storage, you can put the bulk of your long-term coins there, and only leave a small amount on the exchange for trading purposes.

So security matters, but should not be the paramount consideration once you have a cold wallet.

Staking

Staking is basically a process to “commit” your crypto assets to support a blockchain network, and get rewards for that.

For a popular coin like Solana, you can get up to 7% a year just by staking your coins.

The bigger exchanges like Binance and FTX will support staking, so you don’t need to transfer the coins out.

This makes it very convenient for those who want the convenience (but at the cost of security).

Honourable Mention: KYC / AML checks

Know your Client or Anti-Money Laundering checks (KYC / AML) are basically the form filling exercises where you need to upload your ID documents and take a selfie before you can trade.

This isn’t 2018 anymore, so any crypto exchange worth their salt will need to comply with KYC / AML.

Long story short – whatever exchange you go to, you’ll need to upload your ID docs.

FH Recommendation on which Crypto Exchange / Trading Platform I would use

For the sake of readability – I’m just going to go straight ahead and share my recommendation on how I would do it going forward for Crypto.

For Basic Buy and Hold Crypto Investors

If you’re somewhat new to Crypto, and all you want is a platform to buy and hold some Bitcoin or Ethereum:

My recommendation is:

  • CoinHako or
  • Crypto.com

Honourable mention for Gemini (but you MUST use Active Trader for lower fees and not the apps/website).

For More Sophisticated Traders

For more sophisticated traders who know what they’re doing:

My recommendation is FTX.

FTX supports SGD, but you need to wire your SGD into a bank in the US and incur quite hefty wire fees ($25 to $50 each time).

So I would suggest using another Crypto Exchange to on-ramp SGD, and my preference would be either:

  • CoinHako or
  • Crypto.com

I’ll share my reasoning behind the picks for each Crypto Exchange / Trading Platform below.

Referral Code (Recommended Crypto Exchanges / Trading Platforms)

Referral Codes below for each, but I strongly recommend reading the rest of this post for the analysis before you decide.

Coinhako

https://www.coinhako.com/affiliations/sign_up/136968_36994574

Crypto.com

Use my referral link https://crypto.com/app/nr8uq7wf3w to sign up for Crypto.com and we both get $25 USD 🙂

Referral Code: nr8uq7wf3w

Note that you only get the US$25 if you stake for a Ruby Card and above, but if you don’t want the card just skip it and use Crypto.com for the basic buying (but you won’t get the referral reward).

FTX

5% rebate on fees: https://ftx.com/#a=47249669

Referral Code (Runner Up Crypto Exchanges / Trading Platforms)

Gemini

Get US$10 of bitcoin after you buy or sell US$100 of crypto:

https://gemini.sjv.io/c/2717987/847939/11829

For Basic Crypto Investing – Why CoinHako?

Coinhako is one of the OG Crypto Exchange to buy Crypto for Singapore based investors.

Many of us have been using it since way back in 2018.

I like Coinhako because the platform just works, and I really like that you can deposit SGD by doing a bank transfer via FAST.

And you get withdrawals into your bank account via FAST ($2 transaction fee).

The downside is that fees are on the high side at 1.0%.

But the trick I usually do is to redeem a 25% off coupon code with my loyalty points. This brings the fees down to 0.75% which is competitive with most of the options (for eg. Crypto.com is 0.8% to off-ramp SGD).

Do note that Coinhako only has full support for 24 coins listed below.

 

 

You can trade for the other coins listed below, but you will not be able to transfer them into another wallet or Crypto exchange for the time being.

If you’re a buy and hold kind of investor just looking to get exposure to some coins, this shouldn’t be a major limitation. Likewise if you’re a sohphisticated investor this wouldn’t be an issue too because you just need to on-ramp the SGD to get a coin like XRP and then transfer it over to FTX.

For Basic Crypto Investing – Why Crypto.com?

Crypto.com has improved a lot the past few months, to the point that I think they’re a very decent option for Singapore investors right now.

Crypto.com doesn’t support SGD bank deposits though, so the only way to transfer SGD in is via Xfers.

This requires you to open a separate account with Xfers, and get your KYC verified there, which is a bit of a hassle (Coinhako doesn’t require this step).

The Xfers support doesn’t come free too. Crypto.com absorbs the fee when you deposit SGD, but if you want to withdraw SGD there is an additional 0.4% fee.

Crypto.com trading fees are set out below, and are 0.4% (they go down if you trade more).

This means that you pay 0.4% to buy crypto, 0.4% to trade crypto, and 0.8% if you sell crypto and withdraw in fiat currency.

Do note that Crypto.com doesn’t have native support for SGD, so you will need to change the SGD into USDC before you buy for the best spreads.

Crypto.com has full support for 100+ coins today (able to transfer out to another wallet), which is superior to Coinhako.

Choosing between Coinhako vs Crypto.com?

Frankly I think both Coinhako and Cypto.com have their own pros and cons.

Coinhako is good because of the SGD FAST bank transfer support. Downside is that it doesn’t have full support for many coins, and fees are slightly higher.

Crypto.com is good for the slightly lower fees, and full support for more coins. Downside is that you need to open a separate Xfers account and get verified there.

So it really comes down to personal preference here.

I would say if you’re new to Crypto and you want something simple and fuss free, go with Coinhako.

If you don’t mind jumping through some hoops to get verified with Xfers, and want a Crypto Exchange with more flexibility down the road as you mature as a crypto investor, go with Crypto.com.

For Sophisticated Crypto Traders – Why FTX?

If you’re a serious Crypto Trader or Investor, and you’re Singapore based, I think FTX is probably the platform to be on.

Rule of thumb for crypto exchanges / trading platforms is to go with the biggest, for liquidity reasons.

The top 3 are set out above.

Singapore investors can’t use Binance.

Coinbase Exchange has 0.5% fees which are too high.

Which leaves FTX.

Fees are dirt cheap.

Even at the highest level, the maximum fees you are paying on a trade is 0.07%.

FTX comes with extensive support for traders too.

If you want to leverage 100:1, or if you want to buy futures to short Ethereum, or if you don’t want to buy spot and want to buy derivatives, it’s all available here.

The problem with FTX a few months back is that they only supported around 60 coins. But they’ve since sorted this out in a big way, and they have full support for 300+ coins today.

If there is one downside it is that the staking options on FTX are not as extensive as what you would get on Binance. But this would probably be improved going forward.

FTX does support USD/SGD wire transfers, but you will need to do a wire transfer into a US bank (and it must originate from an account in your name). This means anywhere from $25 – $50 in wire fees, which is not ideal.

Because of this I would suggest to use another Crypto Exchange like Coinhako or Crypto.com to onramp your SGD, then buy a coin like XRP and transfer it over to FTX.

That said, if you plan on funding large amounts (say $100,000 or more), then maybe it’s cheaper to do a wire fee to the US than pay a percentage based fee from Coinhako / Crypto.com.

Update: Quite a few readers have shared a better way to fund FTX is to use DBS Remit to wire transfer USD into FTX’s US based account at no charges. So you use DBS to convert SGD to USD, then wire transfer it to FTX.

And if you want to really save on FX, you can transfer the SGD to IBKR and use IBKR to convert into USD, transfer back into DBS, then DBS Remit into FTX account. It’s a fair bit of hassle though, so I leave it up to you to decide which is the most appropriate method for your own circumstances.

Runner Up – Why Gemini?

My major gripe with Gemini is that you MUST use Active Trader, which is the pro trader platform.

If you use the more convenient options like the app or website, you can be paying fees of up to 2.5% per trade, which is just daylight robbery.

The fact that I need to use a pro trader platform every time I just want to buy a few crypto is a major turn-off for me, which is why this wasn’t a top choice.

If this doesn’t bother you though, then Gemini could be a decent choice.

Independent Reserve

I know a lot of you are fans of Independent Reserve, so I figured I would share some views on them as well.

Independent Reserve was set up in Australia in 2013, and they’ve recently expanded into Singapore as their first overseas operation.

Independent Reserve charges 0.5% trading fees.

They support SGD FAST transfer, but there are SGD deposit and withdrawal fees to note:

  • $2.5 if depositing below $1000
  • $1.5 for SGD fast withdrawal

I’ve not tried them out personally so I can’t comment on spreads.

For now, they’re still not that big in Singapore, so my preference would be to stick to Coinhako / Crypto.com for now, especially since the fees aren’t significantly cheaper.

But worth checking out if you like it.

Referral Code (Recommended Crypto Exchanges / Trading Platforms)

Referral Codes below for each, but I strongly recommend reading the rest of this post for the analysis before you decide.

Coinhako

https://www.coinhako.com/affiliations/sign_up/136968_36994574

Crypto.com

Use my referral link https://crypto.com/app/nr8uq7wf3w to sign up for Crypto.com and we both get $25 USD 🙂

Referral Code: nr8uq7wf3w

Note that you only get the US$25 if you stake for a Ruby Card and above, but if you don’t want the card just skip it and use Crypto.com for the basic buying (but you won’t get the referral reward).

FTX

5% rebate on fees: https://ftx.com/#a=47249669

Referral Code (Runner Up Crypto Exchanges / Trading Platforms)

Gemini

Get US$10 of bitcoin after you buy or sell US$100 of crypto:

https://gemini.sjv.io/c/2717987/847939/11829

Closing Thoughts: Did I miss anything out? Best Crypto Exchange / Trading Platform for Singapore Investors in 2022

I would absolutely love to hear from you though.

Did I miss out any great Crypto Exchange or Trading Platform?

Let me know in the comments below!

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Sign up now and get massive discounts and limited Freebies!

Find out more here.

 

 

25 COMMENTS

      • Same for crypto.com https://blog.crypto.com/app-global-usd-deposits/. Also note that crypto.com Exchange does not support SGD, so it is incorrect to say that you pay 0.4% to buy crypto with SGD. You would either have to buy crypto in app with SGD (no fees but relatively large spread), or convert SGD to USDC (lower spread) in app and send the USDC to Exchange to trade. Depending on your bank/broker, remitting USD could be the cheaper option.

        • Understand what you mean. I actually meant convert SGD to USDC and then buying in app, will clarify in the article. Thanks for raising this.

  1. It is very interesting to understand the reasons behind Binance pulling out of SG.
    Originally it was a clear story – they already had a local branch which was in the process of being licensed so they had to remove the global unregulated version and keep only compliant one active.
    But why pull out completely after going through all this trouble just a couple of months ago?
    I’m afraid there are things that we do not know and it’s possible that other exchanges may follow suit shortly.
    Huobi is yet another example of mysterious pulling out.
    Both companies are in the process of establishing global/regional headquarters in SG and yet at the same time they do not service SG clients. How does it work exactly?
    Would love to hear your comments, ideas or some info I might not be aware of.

    • My personal view is that for a lot of all these global companies, the amount of work required to get a licence and ensure compliance with local SG regulations, is not proportionate to the size / value of the Singapore market. So from a pure profit perspective, it may make sense to just exit the market. The only reason to jump through all the hoops is like you said for HQ / Prestige reasons, or sometimes to use SG as a staging hub to expand into SEA.

      I think for Binance they also required acquired another company with a banking licence, so it would make sense to just put their efforts there instead.

      For Huobi Global I dont have strong views on why they exited.

  2. Re: FTX funding; A number of banks offer free remittance of USD to a US bank. Of these, I would generally recommend DBS, for it’s fuss-free multi-currency account which has no fall-below fee (MyAccount).

    If you can handle the $2,000 minimum balance, HSBC’s mca (Everyday Global Account) is pretty good as it also offers additional 1% cashback on credit card spend & GIRO payments.

  3. Hi, you can fund FTX by using DBS multiplier account which can hold your USD.
    To convert SGD to USD, you can either bite the bullet for a less ideal exchange rate by DBS or use a discount broker like interactive brokers to swap SGD to USD.
    In short, DBS(SGD) to Interactive broker(swap to USD), transfer back to DBS, transfer USD to FTX. Take note of incoming fees charged by Dbs(10SGD)

  4. I feel that in choosing a crypto exchange, besides those factors you mentioned, the withdrawal fees charged by each exchange merit serious consideration too, especially for long-term investors who want to transfer their cryptos to personal cold wallets or to crypto savings accounts to earn yields. Gemini offers 10 free withdrawals per month for the Basic Tier account holders while all FTX Blockfolio withdrawals are FOC.

  5. Thanks for this guide FH, do you have one on how to transfer from Binance SG to Coinhako / Crypto.com?

    Recall a mention of TRX somewhere, how does that work?

    • Binance SG has quite limited options in terms of coins. XRP should be the cheapest if you have access, no more than a dollar per transfer.

    • So just to clarify, you use all your Binance SG assets to buy XRP (or other coin), then transfer all of that coin to the new Exchange.

        • Oh if you have a lot of BTC you can just transfer BTC direct and pay the fees. Last I checked fees are about US$20 for BTC?

          • You are most certainly correct on that, roughly US$20…an added cost due to Binance exiting

            In any case, this guide was really helpful on the various alternatives

          • Yes that’s right, if you decide to just transfer the BTC direct and save yourself the hassle. 🙂

  6. Hello, thanks for this piece. FTX supports SGD but not SGD trading pairs. So you can wire SGD to FTX, then convert the SGD to USD on FTX. The rate often beats the bank’s rate, especially for sums above US$50k.

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