A lot of you have been asking for an article on the Binance ban and its implications + workarounds for Singapore based users.
This article first appeared on Patreon, but given the interest – have decided to make it public.
If you enjoy articles like this, do consider supporting FH as a Patron and receiving more exclusive content (and access to my personal portfolio and Stock Watch)!
What is going on? Binance halts all SGD products
Per latest announcement from Binance, from this Friday, 9 September, Binance.com will cease to provide the following products in Singapore:
- SGD trading pairs
- SGD payment options
- Removal of the App from Singapore iOS and Google Play stores
The background is that Binance.com is not regulated under the Payment Services Act in Singapore, and therefore it cannot provide regulated money transfer services in SGD in Singapore.
Let’s run through the implications of each, and discuss potential workarounds:
- Cannot buy/sell SGD via P2P
- Cannot buy Crypto in SGD
- Cannot download app from iOS and Google Play
Implications for Singapore investors
Cannot buy/sell SGD via P2P
Even before this, Binance.com didn’t allow you to transfer in SGD.
So the way that Singapore users transferred in SGD before this, was via Peer to Peer (P2P) transfers.
The way it works is that there is a whole marketplace of users willing to buy SGD from you. You contact one of them, transfer SGD to their bank account, and they transfer you whatever coin you want – Bitcoin, Ethereum, Tether etc.
Or you could do it the other way, selling them your Bitcoin, and they’ll transfer SGD into your bank account.
Think of it like an online money changer.
The change now, is that this whole method of P2P buying is banned.
So for Singapore based users, you cannot use P2P to convert SGD into crypto, and you cannot convert crypto into SGD.
Practically, this means that you can still hold your coins on Binance, but you cannot deposit or withdraw SGD.
Cannot buy Crypto in SGD
SGD payment options will no longer be accepted going forward.
So if you’re buying Bitcoin using your credit / debit card, you cannot pay in SGD anymore.
You can still pay in USD / Euro if you want, but just not SGD.
Cannot download Binance app from iOS and Google Play
This last one’s mainly an inconvenience – Binance app will no longer be available on iOS or Google Play store to Singapore registered users.
If you’re an existing user, you will still have the app, but you won’t be able to update it anymore.
If you’re a new user, you won’t be able to find Binance app on App Store or Google Play Store.
You can still access Binance.com via the website though.
BTW – we share commentary on Singapore Investments every week, so do sign up for our mailing list.
Workarounds for Binance SGD ban
When there’s a will, there’s a way right?
If you’re trying to build a new alternative financial system from the ground up, you should be able to take things like that in your stride.
So let’s discuss potential workarounds for each of the 3 issues:
Cannot buy/sell SGD via P2P
The options are:
- Send your crypto to another wallet (use another Exchange)
- P2P (Local Currency)
Send your crypto to another wallet (use another Exchange)
Even though you can’t sell your coins for SGD, you still own the coins on Binance.com
So you can simply send all the coins to another exchange that supports SGD, sell the coins there, and withdraw SGD into your bank account.
I did a check around and the exchanges that still accept SGD are:
- Huobi Global (P2P only)
I reviewed the platforms in an earlier article, but the long and short is that:
If you want something simple and fuss free, use Coinhako. I’ve been using Coinhako for a while now to on/off ramp my SGD, and it just works.
Coinhako is regulated under the Payment Services Act in Singapore as an exempted entity , so there *shouldn’t* be any issues for now.
If you want something with slightly cheaper fees and don’t mind spending some time trouble shooting, both Gemini and Huobi Global are worth looking at.
Huobi Global is P2P only though, so you need to sell your SGD to a fellow Singaporean and there is a small amount of risk there.
Gemini supports Xfers direct which is great if you already have an Xfers account. There is a 0.55% fee to deposit/withdraw SGD though.
Referral codes below if you need (I share my personal approach at the end of this article):
P2P (Local Currency)
This one’s a bit more dodgy.
Some guys asked Binance’s helpline, and apparently after the ban, you can still sell the currency in “Local Currency”.
You can refer to the chat log below.
It’s not exactly clear what “Local Currency” is, but my read is that you can still sell for Bitcoin for USD, and then withdraw it into your bank account in USD.
Not sure about this one though, looks like a loophole that may be closed in time.
Cannot buy Crypto in SGD
This one’s an easy fix.
You can’t pay for crypto in SGD, so just pay via USD or Euro instead.
But I really don’t recommend using your credit / debit card to buy crypto.
Most banks have wised up to it, and they may charge quite hefty fees if you use your card this way. Not to mention that the FX fees can be quite ridiculous.
Better to bank transfer in using Coinhako or Gemini, you’ll save a fair bit on fees.
Cannot download Binance app from iOS and Google Play
This one is not that bad too.
If you know how to, you can simply create a new account with the region set to outside Singapore (which I’m assuming you are indeed outside Singapore of course 😉).
Then the Binance app will be available to you again, and you can update the app normally.
Or if its too much hassle, you can just download the Binance APK manually online, and install / update the app manually.
Otherwise – the website version of Binance.com will continue to be available, as confirmed by Binance:
Only applies to Binance.com
Do note though, that these changes only apply to Binance.com – which is the global version of Binance.
There is an alternative Singapore only version called Binance.sg, which is not affected.
Binance.sg is not great though, it only supports a few coins, and the fees aren’t cheap. I wouldn’t recommend Binance.sg
You can still use Binance after Friday (just not the SGD option)
And just to be very clear – existing users of Binance will continue to be able to access Binance after Friday.
If you have the app, you can still login via the app.
All coins you hold are still there.
You just won’t be able to sell the coins for SGD, or update the app.
How will I buy / hold crypto going forward?
Personally for me, I hold a fair bit of my coins on Binance.com
They’re just the cheapest and most competitive when it comes to buying / selling.
And after this, I’ll still continue to use Binance.com to trade and hold my coins – I don’t see a big need to change.
The only difference is that Binance.com cannot be used to deposit or withdraw SGD anymore.
Which really isn’t a big issue, because even before this I’ve been using Coinhako to on / off ramp SGD.
I’ll deposit SGD into Coinhako, use it to buy Bitcoin / Ethereum / Tether / XRP, then transfer it to Binance where I use it to trade the alt-coins.
Coinhako is decent enough that I sometimes just use Coinhako to buy the coins directly too.
Nothing changes for me going forward.
In case you need, referral codes for all 3 platforms that still accept SGD below.
Personally I’ve been using Coinhako and I really like them. Very simply, easy to use, and fuss free.
Fees are 1%, but to me that’s fine given the convenience of being able to bank transfer SGD in. And I only pay the fee once to onboard SGD anyway, then I can transfer the crypto to Binance.com for cheaper fees.
But if you want something with cheaper fees (at the expense for a bit more complexity), Gemini and Huobi Global are worth looking at too.
With Gemini you need to make sure to use the website version of Active Trader to enjoy the best fees, because the more convenient app has much higher fees.
And with Huobi Global it’s P2P for SGD, so there is some risk with the P2P transfer.
Like I said – more complexity for these options.
Global Crackdown on Binance
A bit of background in case you haven’t been following – Binance is having a tough time with global regulators.
Quite a few regulators have stepped up to say that Binance isn’t authorized to conduct regulated activities in their countries:
The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority last week said that it is “not capable” of properly supervising Binance despite the “significant risk to consumers” posed by its “complex and high-risk financial products”. The regulator said Binance’s UK affiliate had “failed to” respond to some of its basic queries, making it impossible to oversee the sprawling group.
Italy’s market watchdog on Thursday said Binance was not authorised to provide investment services and activities in the country. Its website has offered information in Italian on products including stock tokens.
The world’s largest crypto exchange Binance said it would no longer allow new users to open futures accounts in Hong Kong, following warnings issued by the city’s regulators.
Why the global crackdown on Binance?
Which leads us to the question – why is everyone ganging up on Binance?
Couple of plausible reasons below:
- Because Binance is the biggest, so they are an easy target
- Binance’s KYC/AML (money laundering) compliance is poor
- Binance is unregulated in many countries
- Global coordination to take out Binance
And really – your guess is as good as mine here.
Good for Crypto?
What I would say though, is that I see moves like this as being bullish for crypto, rather than bearish.
Crypto is getting to a point that where if it wants to grow further and gain mainstream adoption, it absolutely needs to be regulated.
If they want to fulfil the dream of building an alternative to the current centralised financial system, they need to find a way to live within the scope of global legislation, rather than outside.
Exactly what we’re seeing now.
Like Nassim Taleb puts it – the best systems are anti-fragile.
They benefit from shocks, volatility and chaos.
Like the mythical Greek Hydra – what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.
As always – love to hear your thoughts!
This article first appeared on Patreon, but given the interest – have decided to make it public. If you enjoy articles like this, do consider supporting FH as a Patron and receiving more exclusive content (and access to my personal portfolio and Stock Watch)!