Buying digital currencies begins with finding the right exchange that meets your needs. There are more than 2,500 exchanges to choose from, with varying charges, identity verification requirements, and user experience. In this guide, we will review the top ten crypto exchanges for buying and trading cryptocurrencies.
Before that, let us define what a crypto exchange is and what features you should consider when choosing a crypto exchange. For seasoned traders looking for an all-in-one dashboard to track their crypto earnings, CoinTracking is an excellent choice.
Top 10 crypto exchanges for trading cryptocurrencies
Table of contents:
- What is a crypto exchange?
- Aspects to consider when choosing a cryptocurrency exchange
- Trading fees
- Payment methods
- Verification requirements
- Geographical restrictions
- Track your success
- The top 10 crypto exchanges to trade cryptocurrencies
- Kraken fees
What is a crypto exchange?
Crypto exchanges are platforms where you can buy, sell, or exchange cryptocurrencies for other digital assets or fiat currency, like the U.S. dollars. If you want to venture into professional crypto trading and have access to advanced trading tools, you will likely require a verified crypto exchange account.
If you simply want to make the occasional, straightforward trade, there are also websites you can use, which do not need an account.
Aspects to consider when choosing a cryptocurrency exchange
It is essential to carry out due diligence before you start trading. Here are some of the primary aspects you should consider when choosing a crypto exchange.
The best way to learn about an exchange is to read reviews from individual users and well-known blockchain blogs. You can also inquire more about a particular exchange on forums such as BitcoinTalk, or Reddit.
Most crypto exchanges openly display their fees on their websites. Ensure you check on deposit, transaction, and withdrawal fees. Fees can differ substantially depending on the exchange you choose.
Does your preferred exchange accept credit card, debit card, wire transfer, or PayPal as a payment method? Does it allow trading with U.S. dollars or euros? It is advisable to choose an exchange with a wide variety of payment methods.
Most crypto exchanges, especially in the U.S. and Europe, require users to verify their identities to make deposits and withdrawals, while others will let you remain anonymous. While verification, which can take up to a few days, might seem hectic, it protects the exchange against all sorts of scams and money laundering activities.
Some user functions provided by exchanges are only accessible from particular geographic locations. Ensure that your preferred exchange allows full access to all platform features and services in your country.
Track your success
If you’re trading on several different platforms or in many different cryptocurrencies, this can get complex very fast. Keeping track of all the profits and losses whether it’s for personal reasons, or tax reasons is easy with CoinTracking.
The top 10 crypto exchanges to trade cryptocurrencies
Coinbase was designed to be the most trusted name in the crypto market, and in this regard, it is more or less unrivaled in the marketplace. It is an American company and is FDIC insured for U.S. deposits up to $250,000. It’s also compliant with EU financial regulations.
Besides, Coinbase is backed by significant mainstream investors, like banks and investment funds.
This level of trust ensures that Coinbase is the exchange of choice for most cryptocurrency traders and investors. It has a simple user interface to accommodate both crypto professionals and newbies.
However, this emphasis on trust means that Coinbase has a limited number of listed coins, although it has listed all the major cryptocurrencies. Access is restricted to a relatively small number of countries.
Regarding security, Coinbase boasts of an excellent track record, with less than 5% of its customer’s funds stored in hot wallets. Coupled with its insure-policy, Coinbase is one of the safest exchanges for crypto investors.
Binance was founded by Changpeng Zhao (CZ), a professional Chinese software developer who previously designed systems for the Tokyo Stock Exchange and developed futures trading software for Bloomberg’s Tradebook.
It is the preferred exchange for coin-to-coin crypto trading with some of the biggest numbers of available coin pairs and trading volumes in the cryptocurrency market.
Nevertheless, the exchange is known for its low trading and withdrawal charges. Trading fees are discounted if the user is holding the Binance Coin (BNB).
In 2017, Binance emerged as the exchange with the largest trading volume, mainly due to its wide variety of digital assets. Early this year, to sustain its impressive growth, Binance started margin trading, which is now available for BTC, ETH, XRP, BNB, and TRX.
Established nine years ago, Kraken is the biggest exchange in euro volume and liquidity and has partnered with the first crypto bank. The exchange allows users to buy and sell bitcoins and trade between bitcoins and euros, U.S. dollars, Canadian dollars, British Pounds, and Japanese Yen.
Kraken also allows users to trade altcoins, like ether, Monero, Augur REP tokens, Zcash, Litecoin, Stellar lumens, and many more. For experienced traders, Kraken provides margin trading and a variety of other trading tools. Generally, it is the right choice for experienced traders.
Kraken can be accessed by users from the U.S., Canada, Japan, other EU nations, and the rest of the world.
CEX.io is a fiat-to-crypto platform that provides some advanced trading tools while still being very friendly for newbies to use. Again, experienced traders who are new to digital currencies often use CEX.io for the kind of trading they are used to with traditional securities and platforms.
CEX.io permits free bank transfers for verified users and charges a small fee for unverified users using a credit card. The exchange is also known for low trading fees. Most CEX.io customers are drawn to the advanced trading tools that traditional crypto exchanges lack.
CEX.io has a limited offering of listed cryptocurrencies, although it has listed all the major coins. It offers a wide range of coin-to-fiat pairs, including euro, pounds and rubles, which most crypto exchanges do not provide.
LocalBitcoin is a Peer-to-Peer (P2P) crypto exchange with buyers and sellers from different parts of the world. With LocalBitcoin, you can connect with people from your locality and buy or sell bitcoins for fiat, pay via PayPal, Skrill, or mobile money, or even arrange to deposit cash at a bank branch.
LocalBitcoin only charges a trading fee of 1% from sellers who set their exchange rates. To ensure safe trading, LocalBitcoin has put up multiple measures. First, the platform rates each trader with a reputation rank and publicly displays past trades. Secondly, once a deal is requested, the funds are held on LocalBitcoin’s escrow system. They are only released after the seller marks the trade as complete.
Further, if anything goes wrong, LocalBitcoin has a support and conflict resolution team that resolves conflicts between buyers and sellers. It is advisable to check the LocalBitcoin terms and conditions before making any trade.
Coinmama is a reputable exchange with a simple user interface. It offers a quick way to purchase digital assets using fiat money without storing them on a third-party exchange. The platform is suitable for users who just want to buy crypto using fiat quickly and safely.
Often, people make an initial crypto acquisition using Coinmama, and then deposit the acquired coins from their wallets into a crypto-to-crypto platform. The exchange charges relatives high fees for its services; hence, it is ideal for those willing to pay premium charges for speed, discretion, and simplicity.
Changelly provides a rare service in the crypto industry: fast and anonymous crypto-to-crypto transfers with no third party holding. The exchange is not meant for investing or trading, but instead as a quick, discrete, and efficient means for exchanging coins in your private wallets.
It works by providing competitive exchange rates for a wide selection of coins and then transfers them directly to your private wallet. For such services, Changelly imposes a higher fee compared to other exchanges, but not so high. The premium charges are for anonymity and simplicity compared to traditional crypto-to-crypto exchanges.
Phemex is a newly launched crypto trading exchange that has generated a lot of interest among the crypto community. The exchange posts an average daily trading volume of over $350 million in less than eight months of operation, which is a great achievement for a startup.
Phemex differs much from other exchanges, and it strives to bring professionalism, trust, and efficiency to the crypto market. Currently, Phemex supports trades in perpetual swaps of major coins and plans to list traditional financial products, like S&P 500 stocks, indices, commodities, energy, and many others.
Since it is a new exchange, Phemex supports trading in six crypto pairs, including BTC/USD, ETH/USD, XRP/USD, LINK/USD, XTZ/USD, and LTC/USD, all quoted in BTC and settled in U.S. dollars. It has a simple and intuitive trading platform and is available in both web-based and mobile trading platforms.
Bitfinex is one of the most advanced fiat-to-crypto and crypto-to-crypto trading platforms, boasting some of the highest liquidity and trading volumes among exchanges. It has fewer competitors regarding crypto traders who aim to embrace advanced trading techniques and trade volumes.
The exchange offers a full range of tools that traders expect from a platform, like advanced order types, margin trading, and a wide range of coins and fiat currency pairs. Bitfinex has experienced two major hacks in the past, but they have paid back all losses to customers and greatly enhanced their security set-up.
Bittrex is a crypto-to-crypto exchange that was built with one priority in mind above all else: security. It holds most of its client funds in cold wallets and has a stable verification system. Apart from safety, it focuses on supporting a wide range of crypto-to-crypto trading pairs, with some of the best trading volumes in the crypto market.
Though Bittrex may not be the number one choice for experienced crypto traders looking to trade major cryptocurrencies, it is undeniably one of the best exchanges for trading less popular tokens.
Leveraging the above crypto exchanges will enable you to invest and trade in almost all cryptocurrencies. However, there are still several other exchanges for trading digital currencies. Therefore, do not limit yourself to the list provided in this article.
In terms of reputation, security, trading fees, payment methods, geographical restrictions, and verification requirements, it is advisable to consider the above crypto exchanges as your trading partners. Remember not to use crypto exchanges as a wallet to HODL your digital assets.