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Best Crypto Exchange in Singapore – Best Alternative to Replace Binance after the Ban? (2021)

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After the recent ban on Binance, a lot of you have asked me which Crypto Exchange to switch to, to replace Binance.

Took me some time to do the research, so my apologies on that front. 

Which is the best Crypto Exchange / Crypto Trading Platform for Singapore Investors, after the Binance ban?

      

Binance Ban for Singapore Investors (Explained)

For those of you who missed it – Binance recently announced that from 26 October 2021, Singapore users of Binance will no longer be able to access:

  • Fiat deposit services
  • Spot trading of cryptocurrencies
  • The purchase of cryptocurrencies through fiat channels and liquid swap

What you can still do on Binance after 26 October 2021:

  • Transfer Crypto
  • Stake Crypto

Apparently the block will be tied to your account.

So if you put a Singapore address when you created your Binance account years ago (like most of us), chances are you wont be able to access these functions even if you use a VPN.

Whatever the case, not being about to buy/sell crypto is massive, and it doesn’t makes sense to stick with Binance anymore – especially since they are no longer in the good books of MAS.

So… which is the best alternative Crypto Exchange to switch to to replace Binance?

Clarification: Do note that the above only applies to the global version of Binance. Binance SG is not affected.

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

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

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

And the 2 other points you look at:

  • Stability
  • Security

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 crypto 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.

Fees (including spreads)

Fees are straightforward – the lower the better.

Don’t forget bid-ask spread though, some of the smaller crypto 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 Crypto Accepted

Think of it like a stock broker.

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

The problem here is that the best crypto exchanges that accept many coins + have cheap fees, don’t accept SGD.

Hence for more sophisticated investors, you really want to use 2 separate exchanges, one for SGD on-ramp and one for trading generally.

Stability of Crypto 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 (just like how I have multiple stock brokers).

Security of Crypto 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.

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 today will need to comply with KYC / AML.

If they don’t they’re probably going to face global crackdown soon.

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

BTW – we share commentary on Singapore Investments every week, so do join our Telegram Channel and Instagram!

Which Crypto Exchange / Trading Platform I would use (as a Singapore Investor)?

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.

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

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.

Other possible options are (1) Gemini (but you MUST use Active Trader and not the apps/website) or (2) Crypto.com

For More Sophisticated Traders

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

My recommendation is (1) CoinHako or Gemini to on-ramp SGD, and (2) FTX for heavy duty trading (to replace Binance).

Another possible option is Huobi Global for both SGD on-ramp (via P2P) and trading.

Referral Code (Best Crypto Exchanges / Trading Platforms for Singapore Investors)

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

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

Crypto.com

Get US$25: https://crypto.com/app/nr8uq7wf3w 

Huobi Global

15% rebate on fees: https://www.huobi.ge/en-us/topic/double-reward/?invite_code=4kbx2223&t=1633792735613

For Basic Crypto Investing – Why CoinHako?

I’ve been using CoinHako for a few years now, and the platform works.

It’s founded by Singaporeans, and every time there’s a problem with the SGD on-ramp, the team gets it fixed.

I really like the reliability that comes with this.

CoinHako is also one of the only Crypto Exchange I know that accepts SGD deposits via bank transfer.

This removes the need to use Xfers to fund SGD, which means you avoid having to open an account with Xfers (and get verified there). Xfers also comes with a 0.4-0.55% fee each way.

The fees are a flat 1%, which may seem high at first – but don’t forget that for other exchanges you need to pay 2 fees: (1) to Xfers to on-ramp SGD, and (2) another to buy the crypto, which adds up to about 1% anyway.

The team has been quite diligent with adding supported crypto, and they accept over 40 coins today. Most of the major crypto you need should be on CoinHako.

What I don’t like about CoinHako, is the platform stability.

This platform can be a bit unstable in times of high market stress.

That said – the team has been working on it and it’s improved significantly since the earlier days. Word is they recently migrated their backend to AWS (Amazon Cloud) so this might improve going forward.

For beginner investors who just want to buy a few coins and get exposure to crypto, CoinHako is my best bet as a Singaporean investor. It’s basic, and it works.

CoinHako Referral Code:

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

For Sophisticated Crypto Traders – Why FTX? (to replace Binance)

Now on to the big one – Why FTX to replace Binance for Singapore Investors?

Rule of thumb when picking an exchange is to always go with the biggest.

Biggest means better liquidity, better bid-ask spread, better fees.

Here are the top 10 crypto exchanges in the world today.

Binance is out because of the ban for Singaporeans.

Coinbase Exchange is about 0.5% fees even if you use the pro trader version, which is still too high.

KuCoin has very poor user reviews, and ran into legal troubles in Singapore in the past so it’s best to stay away.

Which brings us to FTX.

FTX was founded by Sam Bankman-Fried just 2 years ago, and since then it’s absolutely rocketed to the top of crypto exchanges. Even Binance invested some money with FTX.

FTX was designed from the ground up for institutional / big money traders, with built in leverage, support for large trading amounts, and the option for derivatives. And it shows.

I tried the FTX platform out, and I love it.

The UI is good, platform looks to be rock solid, and spreads are very good.

And fees are dirt cheap at 0.02%.

I mean at 0.02% the fees are almost nothing.

The one potential problem – is that FTX only supports about 65 crypto today, versus Binance / Huobi Global at 200.

The team is working on this, so you’ll see support for much more crypto going forward.

But for the time being, if you need to buy the more exotic crypto that are not currently on FTX, you might have to go to Huobi Global.

But for the more sophisticated investors, I would say FTX is probably the best replacement for Binance.

FTX Referral Code: 5% rebate on fees:

https://ftx.com/#a=47249669

How to transfer Crypto from Binance to FTX (or other Crypto Exchange)?

If you’re like me and you have a whole bunch of crypto stuck on Binance – how best do you transfer them to FTX?

The way I did it was to change them all to TRX (Tron), and then move to FTX.

Tron has one of the cheapest transfer fees. You shouldn’t be paying more than a few USD, even for relatively large sums.

Don’t do something stupid like transfer your Bitcoin or Ethereum directly to FTX though because the gas fees are just crazy right now.

Runner Up Crypto Exchange – 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 Gemini wasn’t a top choice.

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

Gemini Referral Code: 

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

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

Runner Up Crypto Exchange – Why Crypto.com?

Just like Gemini – Crypto.com uses Xfers to on-ramp SGD, so there are fees and hassle on that front.

To illustrate – the trading fee is 0.4%, and withdrawal fee is another 0.4%.

So if you use Crypto.com to move crypto out into SGD you’re paying about 0.8% all-in, which isn’t super cheap.

I played around with the app for a while and I wasn’t a huge fan of the UI, but it could just be me.

It’s still a pretty decent choice for Singapore investors though. Very solid support with almost 80 crypto supported too.

Crypto.com Referral Code:

Get US$25:

https://crypto.com/app/nr8uq7wf3w 

Runner Up Crypto Exchange – Why Huobi Global?

If you love Binance, and want something that is exactly like it, Huobi Global might be your choice.

Huobi Global offers you almost anything you might miss from Binance – even the ability to buy SGD via P2P trading.

It supports more than 200+ coins, and fees are very cheap at 0.2%.

Huobi Global is a China company though, and because of that the app is designed like a China app – very cluttered with a ton of buttons everywhere.

By contrast FTX which is designed more from a western UI perspective, which is much cleaner and more familiar for Singapore users.

For me personally I chose FTX over Huobi Global because:

  • Larger exchange (4th largest in the world)
  • Dirt cheap fees (0.02% vs 0.2%)
  • I prefer the FTX UI vs the Huobi Global UI

But frankly, Huobi Global is a decent choice too for Singapore Investors.

Huobi Global Referral Code:

15% rebate on fees:

https://www.huobi.ge/en-us/topic/double-reward/?invite_code=4kbx2223&t=1633792735613

Referral Code (Best Crypto Exchanges / Trading Platforms for Singapore Investors)

Referral Codes below for each of the Crypto Exchanges:

Coinhako

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

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

Crypto.com

Get US$25: https://crypto.com/app/nr8uq7wf3w 

Huobi Global

15% rebate on fees: https://www.huobi.ge/en-us/topic/double-reward/?invite_code=4kbx2223&t=1633792735613

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

I would absolutely love to hear from you though.

Did I miss anything out?

What crypto exchange / trading platform are you using to replace Binance?

Which is the beset crypto exchange or trading platform for Singapore Investors?

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65 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks for the article! For your recommendation to transfer to cold wallet for longer term holders, will there be gas fees payable when you transfer out to cold wallet, and then later transfer back in to the exchange when you want to sell? You mentioned especially for large amounts, what indicative amount do you reckon it makes sense to transfer out to cold wallets? Thanks!

    • Yes you need to pay gas fees. But if you’re holding large sums it’s probably worth it.

      Really depends on how much you hold. I would say anything 5 figures or more might be worth investing in cold storage.

    • Binance.sg is not affected, but fees are not cheap and functionality is pretty limited.

      Independent Reserve I’ve not tried personally, so would welcome any feedback.

      DBS Vickers doesn’t have crypto functionality yet to my knowledge.

      That said – if you find a crypto exchange you like and are comfortable with, definitely go for it! 🙂

    • Hi Ben!
      I’m Chris from Independent Reserve, we offer residents of Singapore an easy way to buy cryptocurrencies.
      We’ve recently become fully licensed by MAS (Monetary Authority of Singapore) and are the only retail exchange to attain this licence (out of over 170 global exchanges).
      All you have to do is sign up, deposit your SGD, and buy crypto instantly.
      If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!
      Kind regards,
      Chris

  2. Can we still use binance.com if we are not trading in SGD but USD? Or because we have Singapore address then we can’t use binance.com even for USD trading?

  3. Where did you get information that it goes by account ban based on the address? I’ve seen Binance saying it’s based on IP and if you use VPN, you can bypass this ban.

    • I’ve seen screenshots of customers who asked Binance, and the reply was that it’s not IP tagged but account tagged. Could be wrong though.

  4. Do you recommend Mandala Exchange which powered by Binance Cloud? This Exchange provide same number of token/coins and liquidity as Binance.Com

  5. Do you recommend Mandala Exchange which powered by Binance Cloud?
    It provide some number of token/coin and liquidity as Binance.Com?

  6. HI FH, thanks for the referral.
    I tried the referral link for Huobi Global but it does not have SG when signup via phone/ email .

    • Don’t use mobile to sign up. When you’re on desktop, the link will redirect to a Huobi Global (blue background) that allows you to select Singapore

      Not sure why but the mobile page (orange background) doesn’t list SG as an option

  7. Nice article. I didn’t know Gemini fees were that crazy for non-activetrader. What are the fees for ActiveTrader? However Crypto.com I have used for nearly a year now with little issue and xfers is smooth also once you register. From your article, Crypto.com is cheaper than CoinHako so I will use that.

    Maybe you can talk about the bank side also because I have had some issues on the bank side in the past buying crypto. I had SG banks charge extra fees for buying crypto and cancelling transactions as well.

    • Yeah good point on the bank fees. Bank fees are very opaque these days, it’s best to never use any credit card to fund crypto purchases directly.

      Bank transfer / Xfers is the best, but you want to be careful not to say anything about crypto in the comments otherwise it may get tagged for higher fees.

  8. Hi Financial Horse, is there an announcement or statement by Binance that the staking platform is still available for Singapore users after 26 Oct 2021?

    • No, but they also didn’t say that staking would be banned. Whereas they did very clearly say that spot trades are banned. 🙂

    • You cant deposit SGD because FTX doesnt accept SGD. Which is why I said FTX is best for more sophisticated crypto traders.

      USD is possible if you have a USD account offshore. I dont think SG based USD accounts will work.

      Otherwise – You will need to use another exchange like Coinhako or Gemini to buy the crypto to transfer into FTX. 🙂

      • That’s a bummer. I signed up thinking I could fund the FTX account in SGD OR USD.

        Hi there. What’s the advantage of buying it from another crypto like Gemini and transferring. Wouldn’t it incur more costs?

        • You can fund in SGD or USD, but it’s complex and requires quite a bit of effort, so I wouldn’t recommend it unless you’re prepared to jump through hoops.

          Anonymous above has a fantastic comment on how it’s done.

          The advantage is that it’s generally cheaper to do so. If you use something like Crypto.com or Coinhako to trade frequently you’ll pay a lot of fees. So you just pay the high fees once to onramp SGD into crypto, and then after that you can use FTX for the cheap fees. Any other method of onramping fiat currency has a pretty hefty cost anyway, so it’s just about finding the right balance between convenience and cost for you.

          Hope this helps! 🙂

        • Gemini: not only you have high fees (.25% or .35%), you also pay spread to trade on BTC-SGD pair, if you compare the live price of BTC-USD vs BTC-SGD, it’s roughly 0.5%! Volume on BTC-SGD is also relatively low, I used when I was beginning use trade, now only use it when I need to trade urgently when US banks are not working, i.e. cannot process your USD wire transfer, especially during weekends. Gemini would process your SGD deposit, almost anytime, put in your user ID in the comments section for shorter processing time. Its mobile app not useful at all.

          FTX: lower fees, high volume, no free withdrawal but quite ok for BTC, super nice UI on mobile. Quick login on mobile is possible, can react swiftly if you see opportunity.

          my two cents worth ahh.

      • Actually, FTX does accept SGD deposits but it requires you to remit to a bank in Belgium, which means you pay a wire fee (~$25 depending on your bank).

        It is also possible to remit USD to their US bank account from a SG based account. I have been using DBS Remit which does not incur a fee, transferring from a SGD account (just have to eat the spread) or a USD MCA.

        Either way, just go to Wallet > Deposit & choose the currency you want to deposit & follow the instructions exactly.

        • Thanks for the tip! I will check it out and update the recommendations / guide in a new article. Really appreciate all the tips and feedback!

  9. On FTX, it’s worth noting that, depending on your trading & withdrawal patterns, it might be worth buying and staking FTT to reduce fees even further. For eg, just staking 25 FTTs (~USD1,500 worth) gives you 0 maker fees & a free ERC20 withdrawal every 24 hours.

    • Thanks! That is a fantastic comment. Yes I myself stake FTT to reduce the fees, forgot to mention this point in the article.

      I think there are enough great comments to this article that I’ll probably do a full refresh to take into account all this great feedback. 🙂

    • Thanks! Glad it helps. Will probably do a fuller refresh because there are a lot of great comments in from readers that I want to incorporate into the recommendations.

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