Binance Launches Public Testnet for Binance DEX, BNB Surges Over 12%

On Wednesday (February 20th), Binance, probably the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange by adjusted trading volume, released a public testnet for the "Binance Chain" blockchain, which means that you can now test the "Binance Chain Explorer" tool and Binance's new decentralized exchange "Binance DEX" (which is powered by "Binance Chain").

Binance Chain

Binance says that ever since its platform was created, there was a vision of one day creating a native blockchain for it. It also wants you to know that this was "a community-driven development project with developers from all over the world" (with, of course, Binance.com as the largest contributor). The idea is to have a blockchain that "will serve as an alternative marketplace for issuing, using, and exchanging digital assets in a decentralized manner." 

Although the Binance Chain is not ready to go live in production, i.e. the Binance Chain mainnet is not ready yet for launch, the public testnet was launched today at 08:00 UTC. 

The first application to be powered by Binance Chain is Binance DEX, a new decentralized exchange (DEX) that "aims to carry over the best features of the current Binance exchange in a decentralized setting, while also offering the benefits and security of a DEX."

Binance DEX

Why should anyone want to use a DEX? According to Binance, these are the main advantages of using a DEX over a centralized exchange:

With a DEX, a person fully holds his crypto funds and directly plug into the network to trade without needing to provide personal information. Unlike centralized exchanges that may be subject to downtimes, a DEX is kept running by nodes distributed around the world and codes that execute functions.

However, the existing DEX options (which nmostly run on Ethereum) have several drawbacks that prevent them from achieving mass adoption:

"The user experience on existing DEX platforms is less intuitive and user-friendly compared to centralized exchanges. In addition, DEX platforms face speed and liquidity issues, which leave them lagging behind their centralized peers."

Therefore, Binance decided to create a blockchain (Binance Chain) that would be secure and fast enough to allow the creation of an intuitive, easy-ti-use DEX that could handle the same "handle the same amount of transactions that the current Binance platform handles," which in its current beta form, according to Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao ("CZ" for short) is around ""a couple of thousand" transactions per second.

How to Try the Binance Chain Testnet

To create your own testnet address, you can use either the Binance Chain Web Wallet or Binance's official mobile wallet (for iOS and Android) Trust Wallet.

You can try Binance DEX at https://testnet.binance.org/. The first step is to create a test wallet. But before you can start doing some test trading on Binance DEX, youj need some funds in your test wallet. You can get 200 test BNB via the testnet faucet, which requires having a Binance.com account and at least a 1 BNB balance (to prevent abuse of the testnet); a few minutes after specifying your testnet address, you will receive 200 test BNB from Binance. 

As for playing with the Binance Chain testnet explorer tool, it is available at https://testnet-explorer.binance.org

Binance has created several helpful tutorials for using the Binance Chain Explorer and Binance DEX. The links for these tutorials are given in the following tweet:

Binance has also created a comprehensive Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) guide for Binance Chain and Binance DEX, which is available at https://binance-chain.github.io/faq.html

Binance Coin (BNB) Price Action

Due partly to the anticipation of today's launch of the Binance Chain testnet, BNB has had a terrific rally in the past two weeks. As you can see from the two-week chart below (provided by CryptoCompare), the BNB price has gone up from $7.97 at 08:00 UTC on February 6th to $11.01 at 08:00 UTC on February 20th, i.e. an increase of 38.14%:

BNB_two week_20 feb 2019.png

At press time (08:30 UTC), BNB is trading at $10.90, up 12.37% in the past 24-hour period.

Featured Image Courtesy of Binance

Kraken OTC Head Says It’s Too Early to Call Bitcoin a 'Safe Haven' Asset

Michael LaVere
  • Kraken head of OTC trading Nelson Minier says it's too early to call bitcoin a "safe haven" asset.
  • Compares the current atmosphere of crypto trading to how Wall Street used to be. 

Nelson Minier, head of over-the-counter (OTC) trading at crypto exchange Kraken, says that it is too early to call bitcoin a “safe haven” asset, despite the cryptocurrency gaining popularity in that regard. 

Too Early for Save Haven Status

In an interview with Nasdaq TradeTalks, Minier compared the current state of bitcoin and crypto-assets trading to how Wall Street used to operate in the past. 

According to Minier, 

Wall Street ain't what it used to be. The first 15 years I was on Wall Street, it was fun. I was very fortunate. I started in the CDS market which feels a lot like crypto. Here you have a lot of financial innovation, a lot of trading. It feels very much like that...there's a lot of energy and enthusiasm about this progress and where it's going.

Bitcoin has been gaining popularity as a so-called “safe haven” asset. According to the growing belief among analysts and investors, BTC is an attractive alternative to fiat and the traditional stock markets as a hedge against economic downturn. 

However, Minier believes it’s too early to label bitcoin as a safe haven, given the high price volatility. 

He continued, 

So, I’m not so sure that it’s a safe haven asset yet, but I do think that it’s starting to act like one. I think that people are starting to portfolio manage, are starting to come in slowly. And when the market is getting shaky you saw Bitcoin rise, I mean, you wouldn’t see that before, it was trading like a risky asset.

Despite calling bitcoin's safe haven status premature, Minier admitted that “we're heading that way for sure.”