Top 20 Cryptocurrency Exchanges and What You Need to Know about Them
Similar to traditional exchanges, you will need to use a crypto exchange to purchase cryptocurrencies or sell those that you are holding. Not all crypto exchanges are made equal; some are more trusted, some get more traffic, and some are exclusive to only the most popular coins. Whether a beginner or a skilled trader, we have compiled a list of top crypto exchanges based on several criteria including trading volumes, ease-of-use, features, and speed.
Huobi is an international crypto exchange that initially had its eye on the Chinese crypto market, but expanded to offer its services to crypto traders around the world. Huobi has been a stable, reliable option in the past five years, with a monthly volume of slightly over $30 million.
The platform offers 244 trading pairs, so liquidity is one of Huobi’s main advantages. Moreover, it provides a well-optimized mobile app, allowing Android and iOS users to trade coins anytime, anywhere.
BitForex mainly caters to traders looking to trade both online Forex and cryptocurrency, all in one place. The platform remains one of the top-tier crypto exchanges, with a monthly volume of nearly $35 billion.
The main selling points of BitForex are its extremely low fees and the two-factor authentication. In fact, market makers on the platform aren’t charged any fees whatsoever, while other traders will enjoy the lowest fees in the industry (0.05%). When it comes to security, the 2FA, along with the IP detection on login, ensures that nobody can remotely access your account balance.
Additionally, BitForex integrates with TradingView, allowing you quick and easy access to detailed graphs and a wealth of valuable data.
Unfortunately, BitForex doesn’t exactly cater to advanced traders; features such as margin trading and leveraged trading are not supported.
One of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, OKEx tops the charts with a monthly trading volume that surpasses $48 billion. The platform supports a wide range of both fiat and cryptocurrencies, and allows trading of over 100 crypto coins. The unique selling point of this exchange is that it does not enforce any limitations on its users.
Additionally, the main benefit OKEx provides are the low service fees for makers and takers. They start at 0.15% and 0.2% respectively, but can go even lower depending on your trading volume. Namely, the exchange incorporates tiers, allowing the highest tier users to enjoy extremely low fees of 0.02% and 0.05% fees.
OKEx owes its huge success in part to its simple, straightforward, beginner-friendly interface. So, if you’re just entering the world of cryptocurrency trading now, OKEx is definitely a solid choice. Just bear in mind that the exchange also supports futures trading, which we wouldn’t recommend if you’re a beginner trader.
Founded in 2017, Gate.io is a relatively new crypto exchange platform. The main idea behind Gate.io is to allow users to quickly exchange a variety of blockchain assets, while simultaneously providing them with vital trading info like volume, market supply, and exchange rates.
The exchange currently offers 50 trading pairs, however it does not support any fiat options. There is no minimum deposit on the platform, but users are limited to withdrawing a maximum of 20 BTC per day from the exchange.
When it comes to fees, Gate.io offers some of the lowest in the crypto exchange world, at 0.2% for every trade executed on the platform. Although most traders will find this appealing, the exchange doesn’t have the best of reputations. In fact, there have been various reports from users regarding lost coins, delays, and insufficient customer support.
Shapeshift is an ideal choice if you wish to convert cryptocurrency without having to make a deposit beforehand.
The exchange supports a variety of different coins, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Zcash, Dash, and Monero. It simplifies the cryptocurrency trading process by eliminating the need to go through a tedious account creation process or rely on the exchange to hold your funds. This, and the simple, easy-to-navigate interface make Shapeshift incredibly user-friendly.
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Another commendable aspect of this exchange are its transparent and very reasonable fees. On top of that, the company has maintained a decent reputation since its inception, in 2013. However, the thing to keep in mind regarding Shapeshift is that the exchange doesn’t allow you to purchase coins with fiat currency. So, although extremely convenient if you merely want to trade different coins, it doesn’t offer much else in terms of services.
Changelly slightly differs from classic crypto exchanges, in that it merely enables you to convert one crypto coin into another, without having to store the currency on the exchange itself. In that sense, Changelly most closely resembles a traditional fiat exchange.
All you have to do is select the desired coin, the amount you want to transfer, and the coin you want to convert your currency into. The exchange will then provide you with an address to send your coins to, as well as ask for an address where you will receive the desired cryptocurrency.
The bottom line is, Changelly simplifies the entire process by effectively removing one step and allowing you to exchange currencies in real time. And, since the coins aren’t stored on the exchange, it eliminates the need to worry about the security of the platform itself.
Naturally, Changelly charges a low fee of 0.5% on these transactions. Moreover, apart from letting you exchange various coins, it enables you to purchase cryptocurrency with various fiat currencies such as USD and Euro.
Gemini is an ideal choice for traders who value privacy and security above all else. Namely, all US dollar deposits are safely held at an FDIC-insured bank. Additionally, the bulk of the crypto coins are held in cold storage and the exchange features a multi-factor authentication.
Another advantage of this crypto exchange is that it supports Zcash, one of the most privacy-oriented coins currently available on the crypto market. Aside from that, Gemini appeals to traders thanks to a minimalistic, easy-to-use interface, comprehensive analytics, and high liquidity.
That said, the platform does have a few drawbacks you should be aware of. The most obvious one is the limited cryptocurrency support. Traders are only able to exchange Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Zcash. Moreover, only traders from the US, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, and the UK can utilize the full range of Gemini’s features.
Bitstamp is another crypto exchange that has stood the test of time. Founded in 2011, the platform has built up and maintained a sizeable, loyal customer base. The main advantages of Bitstamp are the high-level of security, low transaction fees, and the fact that it’s available worldwide.
The advanced security features Bitstamp boasts include two-step authentication, multi-signature wallet, and a secure cold storage. Traders are also drawn to this veteran exchange for its comparatively low and transparent fees.
Moreover, Bitstamp offers some of the most advanced charting capabilities in the crypto exchange environment, allowing traders to leverage a heap of data, advanced tools, and detailed charts. It also allows you to place orders directly from the charts, speeding up and facilitating the order placing process.
Unfortunately, the platform isn’t exactly beginner-friendly. It may take a while before you get used to the interface and learn how to effectively utilize the array of options Bitstamp offers. Moreover, the exchange supports limited payment methods and charges relatively high deposit fees.
LocalBitcoins was developed with the intention of providing Bitcoin buyers and sellers with a safe platform where they can exchange this cryptocurrency. To this day, it remains strictly a peer-to-peer marketplace, renowned for secure Bitcoin trading.
Users can either trade online or meet in person to finalize the transactions. A wide range of payment options is available to LocalBitcoins users, including Paypal, Wire transfer, SEPA, Neteller, Skrill, and other e-wallets.
The exchange specializes solely in Bitcoin transactions; however, due to the exchange’s popularity, various clones have emerged in recent years, such as LocalEthereum and LocalMonero.
The exchange charges no fees if you simply wish to buy or sell Bitcoins. So, how does it remain operational? Well, LocalBitcoins provides its users with the option of advertising their services. Those who opt to run advertisements on the platform don’t pay for the ads themselves, but are rather charged a 1% fee on every completed transaction.
Bitpanda is a decent crypto exchange with a focus on the EU market. It allows everyone in the Eurozone to purchase cryptocurrency with ease, using a wide range of payment methods, including credit/debit cards, e-wallets, and even cash through the Bitpanda to go service. Namely, you can purchase coupon codes in post offices across Austria, which you can utilize to purchase a variety of popular coins and altcoins on the platform.
Moreover, verified Bitpanda users will enjoy high deposit and withdrawal limits and very reasonable fees. One thing to note is that the fees are incorporated into the price of coins, so you will always know exactly how much you’re paying to obtain a particular cryptocurrency.
Moreover, Bitpanda boasts excellent customer support and has an above-average rating of 4 stars on TrustPilot. On top of that, you can always refer to its extensive knowledge base, where you’ll find answers to nearly all of the common questions.
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If you’re relatively new to the world of cryptocurrency, Coinmama is a great place to start. The user-friendly platform is incredibly easy to use and facilitates coin purchases through instant delivery and credit/debit card support. Another advantage of Coinmama is that its services are available to most countries worldwide.
One thing to keep in mind, however, is that Coinmama doesn’t provide a crypto wallet on the exchange. But, as long as you have one prior to creating an account on Coinmama, you won’t experience any issues.
Coinmama’s fees are undoubtedly on the high-end, with 5.5%. Furthermore, the platform doesn’t allow you to convert cryptocurrency back into fiat currency. So, we would only recommend it to people who are exclusively looking to purchase crypto via their credit and debit cards.
Cex.io offers both the brokerage service and a trading platform. You can purchase a wide range of coins with USD and Euro, and some with GBP. Supported coins on their trading platform include Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ripple, and Ethereum.
Whereas Cex.io makes it easy to get into the world of cryptocurrency and purchase the desired coins, they do charge a premium fee of 8% for their brokerage service. Although admittedly a bit high, it includes the service fee as well – meaning that it’s the only fee you’ll be required to pay.
The situation on the trading platform is quite different. With fees only going up to 0.2%, Cex.io appeals to traders all over the world. Moreover, the exchange supports advanced trading features, such as margin trading and limit orders.
Potential drawbacks of this exchange, aside from high brokerage fees, are the sub-par customer support and the amount of personal information you have to submit when creating an account. There have also been several cases of missing funds in the past, so that’s another thing to consider.
Bitfinex is one of the veterans in the cryptocurrency exchange world. This exchange is best known for its high trading volume and customizable trading interface, which provides traders with unmatched functionality. Bitfinex features an upwards of 50 trading pairs, and accommodates a plethora of order types, such as limit, stop-limit, trailing stop, and scaled orders.
The exchange is particularly appealing for people looking to trade a significant amount of cryptocurrency privately, through its over-the-counter trading facility. Moreover, the standard fees on the platform are 0.2%, with the fees dropping to 0% for larger market maker orders.
Although Bitfinex started out as a Bitcoin-exclusive peer-to-peer margin lending program, today it allows the buying and selling of an array of cryptocurrencies. Traders can make deposits in EUR, JPY, GBP, and USD.
That said, we can’t overlook the fact that Bitfinex has experienced quite a few difficulties over the years. Namely, the exchange was hacked on two separate occasions, resulting in over 120,000 BTC being stolen from the exchange’s users. Although everyone was eventually compensated, one can’t help but question the security of this exchange.
Additionally, due to persistent banking headaches dating back to 2017, the exchange no longer accepts traders from the United States.
Bells and whistles can be very attractive but aren’t necessary to build an effective trading platform. When you look at Binance that can become quite apparent. They first surprised all of the traders in the crypto market when they announced that they offer no fees for transactions.
Of course, the surprise was short-lived as traders soon found out that the “zero-fee” policy only applied for trades with NEO or NEO-GAS coins. Nevertheless, they got the attention they needed to make it big. Binance is now one of the platforms that boast the largest monthly trade volume around. Namely, they trade over $39 billion per month. Unfortunately, Binance doesn’t accept fiat currencies and their liquidity isn’t what it used to be prior to the latest efforts from China’s regulators to limit crypto trading.
Nevertheless, it is still one of the best platforms around.
Bittrex is a very simple platform that allows users to quickly trade almost 200 cryptocurrencies. The platform has proven itself to be very stable and operates at a relatively high speed. With that in mind, you can see how they get their monthly trading volume of just over $1,7 billion.
It’s worth noting that the platform was fully revamped in 2018 and now features a much more user-friendly interface. Additionally, Bittrex’s trading/matching engine is custom built to effectively manage extensive load, all the while matching trades in miliseconds.
The main issue of the Bittrex platform lies in the fact that it doesn’t allow the users to leverage stop-loss orders, which makes trading on this platform potentially risky.
KuCoin is a relatively new player in the crypto market. However, this Singaporean company has been growing rapidly during the previous year and the trend is likely to continue. It offers over 300 trading pairs, as well as their own coin (KCS – KuCoin Shares).
KuCoin’s monthly volume is just above $833 million and they operate in 406 markets. When you look at bitcoin trades alone, they trade over 2,300 BTC each day.
By Primakov, Shutterstock.
What makes this exchange particularly appealing are the comparatively low trading fees. Rather than following the standard maker/taker model, KuCoin implements a 1% trading fee. Furthermore, KuCoin Shareholders can enjoy a discount of up to 30% on trading fees.
One thing to bear in mind is that high-traffic periods have shown to periodically slow the platform down.
Poloniex is one of the exchanges that take pride in having an interface that is rather simple to use. Moreover, they are very reliable and offer a lot of trade pairings between cryptocurrencies. Their daily trading volume has taken a hit lately, but Poloniex is still holding strong with a monthly volume of over $715 million.
To ensure the safety of their system, they use a 3-step verification during the registration process. But, more importantly, they have very low fees. Unfortunately, the reason for that is the fact that they don’t accept fiat currencies. So, if you plan on solely trading coins, Poloniex could be the best place for you. But, if you want to purchase coins using fiat currency, you will have to look elsewhere.
Kraken is another US-friendly crypto exchange, with a daily volume of well over $225 million. Their reliability, low fees, and an abundance of trading possibilities make Kraken an excellent choice for experienced traders. If you find yourself slightly confused by the platform, you can always turn to their detailed guide on how to trade. They have 16 cryptocurrencies in their offer and allow trading with euros, dollars (US and Canadian) and Japanese Yen.
However, traders have noticed that sometimes the order execution can be very buggy which can lead to a trade failure or at least a delay. And, as we know, delays can cost professional traders a lot of money.
Coinbase is one of the most popular exchanges in the world of cryptocurrencies. They owe that success to the fact that they have an extremely user-friendly interface and are available around the world. In fact, you can use their services from 32 different countries. In 2018, they crossed 30 million monthly users.
So, what are their main advantages? For starters, they offer everything a beginner needs to get started in trading cryptos. Moreover, they enable fast trading operations through the use of credit (or debit) cards, they support PayPal, and offer insured deposits.
However, despite being one of the best, Coinbase still has its flaws. Namely, their transaction fees are slightly higher than what you would expect from a crypto exchange. Furthermore, the list of available currencies you can trade on Coinbase isn’t very broad (which is true for both crypto and fiat currencies).
DOBI Trade is a China-based exchange that currently holds the no.1 spot as the exchange with the highest daily trading volume. This achievement is all the more impressive if you consider that the exchange launched only recently, in May 2018.
The success of DOBI Trade likely comes from its high liquidity and the fact that the platform supports Chinese, Korean, and Japanese languages, on top of English. However, the exchange is still fairly new to give an accurate estimate, but the extremely high trading volume is likely inflated by an abundance of Asian traders who prefer DOBI Trade over other, objectively better exchanges.
As a matter of fact, DOBI Trade only offers support for a very limited amount of currencies. Apart from the major coins such as BTC, ETH, and LTC, users can trade a variety of lesser-known coins, mainly popular on the Asian crypto market. Moreover, the exchange doesn’t support fiat currency deposits, imposes various transaction limits, and applies comparatively high fees on all transactions.
So, although a decent option if you wish to trade some more obscure altcoins, it may not be the best option for people only just entering the world of crypto trading.
These are, in our opinion, the best 20 cryptocurrency exchanges currently available to anyone looking to trade or invest in crypto. As you can clearly see, each of these exchanges comes with its own set of pros and cons. So, in the end, it’s up to you to decide which one is the most convenient for you, based on a variety of different factors.
What you should consider when making a final decision is the exchange’s reputation, trading volume, supported payment methods, security, fees & limitations, and ease-of-use. This list should only help you get started, and give you a general idea of what the most popular crypto exchanges have to offer. We would still strongly advise you do to your own, comprehensive research, before you make a deposit and delve into the world of crypto trading.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this post is not legal, accounting, or financial advice. I am not a lawyer, accountant, or financial advisor. I am not registered as an investment adviser with any federal or state regulatory agency. The Information should not be construed as investment or trading advice and is not meant to be a solicitation or recommendation to buy, sell, or hold any cryptocurrencies.
Title photo by lucadp, Shutterstock.