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

Brexit Could Give Cryptocurrency Investors Profitable Opportunities, OKEx Says

Prominent cryptocurrency exchange OKEx has recently argued Britain’s exit from the European Union could give cryptocurrency investors profitable opportunities and even be overall beneficial for the cryptocurrency space.

In a Medium post, OKEx noted that markets have been haunted not just by the US-China trade war, but also by the looming threat of Brexit under Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who in the eyes of most increased the possibility of a No-deal Brexit.

The UK Parliament is set to return from a summer break in the second half of September, and soon after intense debates are expected, between MPs and PM Johnson regarding Britain’s exit from the EU.

The exchange’s post cites a report published by UK-based think tank Institute for Government, which notes the organization believes there’s a big chance the UK will leave the EU without a deal. The potential impact of this on the global economy is currently unknown.

UK’s Economy Already Taking a Toll

It notes, however, the UK’s economy is already showing signs it’s weighting in a No-deal Brexit as its manufacturing PMI remained at 48 in July, a low level it hadn’t seen for six and a half years. The country’s CBI Business Optimism Indicator dropped 19 to -32 in the third quarter of the year, its weakest quarter since late 2016.

Part of the reason the economy’s impact is expected to be massive is the EU is one of the country’s biggest trading partners, with data showing half of the UK’s exports going to countries within the Union.

These factors have impacted the country’s fiat currency, the British pound (GBP), which saw its value fall to a multi-year low against the USD, and the country’s 10-year bond yields have dropped to a record low of less than 0.5%.

Safe haven assets like gold have in the last few years outperformed the FTSE 100, the country’s stock market benchmark index. Bitcoin, which some now see as a safe haven, has also outperformed it in the last few months.

In fact, since the decision to leave the EU was announced, bitcoin’s price has increased by over 1,000%, a nearly unrivaled performance in the financial markets.

Cryptocurrency Opportunities

As OKEx notes bitcoin’s performance is hard to ignore, and there may be a few opportunities in the cryptocurrency space created by Brexit. As negotiations go on volatility in the markets are expected, and the cryptocurrency exchanges notes this, by itself, presents and opportunity for savvy traders.

Crypto traders and traditional money managers could take advantage of these volatile conditions to ride the markets.

Is the UK does leave the EU without a deal, it could help reshape the regulatory landscape for cryptocurrency and blockchain-related firms, as the country won’t be bound to the Union’s rules and will likely be more proactive when it comes to innovation to stay competitive.

A study conducted by Cindicator Analysis OKEx quoted shows that 63% of analysts surveyed believe Brexit will continue to be a major source of uncertainty in the market, and more than 73% of those surveyed said they would add cryptocurrencies to their portfolio when risk appetite in the markets is low.

The crypto bets the analysts would make revolve around large-cap coins like BTC, ETH, and LTC. Nevertheless 19% of respondents said they don’t believe the event will have a meaningful impact on the cryptocurrency space, while another 19% believe the impact will be negative for cryptocurrencies.

The study further found 51% believe cryptocurrency adoption has been growing partly because it helps hedge against uncertain economic outlooks, while 15.6% noted adoption remains low and cryptos are still too risky to use as a hedge.