We know trading or investing in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin can be a little intimidating, especially since you frequently see news about scams and people losing their savings. While this isn’t false, and many scams exist in the crypto world, it has never been easier to invest in cryptocurrency.
New advancements in the past few years have not only made crypto trading safer but also more convenient. However, there’s a long list of available cryptocurrency exchanges, which can make it difficult to pick the right one.
Don’t worry, though! We have done the leg-work for you and created a list of the best exchanges to buy, sell, and trade Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies. Let’s dive in:
List of Top Crypto Exchanges
There are literally hundreds of cryptocurrency exchanges to choose from. The following recommendations are based on data from CoinMarketCap, which ranks and scores crypto exchanges on a variety of factors.
1. Binance (9.9)
Founded in 2017, Binance is a commonly used exchange with a focus on altcoin trading. It has a trading volume of more than $2 billion and provides around 600 different trading pairs. Most of the pairs are crypto-to-crypto, but it also offers some fiat-to-crypto pairs.
- Lower fees than other popular exchanges
- Hundreds of trading pairs
- Sophisticated charting system
- Geared towards advanced users
- The US version of Binance isn’t available in 13 US states, including Washington and New York.
- Binance US only has over 100 trading pairs
2. Huobi (9.3)
Huobi is one of the world’s best altcoin and Bitcoin exchanges with a trading volume of more than $911 million. It supports more than 250 cryptocurrencies and is available in two versions, namely Huobi Pro (designed for advanced traders) and Huobi OTC (suitable for beginners and offers fiat-to-crypto trading without any fees).
- Robust trading platform and simple to use
- Excellent customer support
- Great liquidity
- High-quality analytics
- Not available in the US due to regulatory concerns
3. Coinbase (8.9)
Coinbase is the most widely used cryptocurrency exchange in the United States. Catering to the needs of professional and newbie traders alike, it currently operates in more than 40 US territories and states. The exchange is simple to use and also allows you to purchase crypto with fiat currencies.
- Intuitive user interface
- Dozens of altcoin options
- Higher liquidity than other commonly used exchanges
- No control over wallet keys
- High fees
- Fewer altcoin offerings than some other exchanges
4. Bitfinex (8.4)
Bitfinex is a Hong-Kong-based exchange that offers the world’s most liquid order book, allowing users to easily exchange cryptos with minimal slippage. Founded in 2012, it supports the trading of more than 27 cryptocurrencies and boasts a trading volume of over $149 million.
- Unlimited withdrawals
- Tor support for an extra layer of anonymity
- Solid mobile app
- Rigorous verification process
- The exchange was compromised by hackers in 2016
5. Kraken (8.6)
Kraken is one of the biggest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world and records a trading volume of more than $160 million per day. The platform allows users to trade 17 different cryptocurrencies using a variety of fiat currencies like the Yen, the Euro, the British Pound, and the US Dollar.
- Minimal deposit fees
- Good customer support
- Reasonable exchange rates
- Trustworthy and secure
- Low transaction fees
- Not suitable for beginners
- Limited payment options for fiat currency deposits
6. BitStamp (8.2)
BitStamp is one of the most used cryptocurrency exchanges due to their low transaction fees. It’s easy to use and allows users to purchase cryptos through a variety of payment options. What’s more, the platform supports the buying, selling and trading of 10 different cryptocurrencies.
- Lower transaction fees than most exchanges
- One of the oldest active exchanges
- Secure and reliable trading platform
- Not ideal for beginners
- Unintuitive user interface
- High deposit fee
- Supports limited payment methods
7. KuCoin (7.9)
If you’re looking for a modern and secure exchange to trade crypto, Hong Kong-based KuCoin is a great option. It supports more than 70 different cryptocurrencies, charges low transaction fees, and boasts a trading volume of over $53.6 million.
- Secure trading platform
- Supports a wide range of cryptocurrencies
- Trading volume is low
8. Bittrex (7.5)
Bittrex is a US-based cryptocurrency exchange with high security standards. It’s designed for both amateur and advanced traders and supports the trading of more than 190 cryptocurrencies. It also offers over 284 unique pairings and has a trading volume of more than $61.2 million.
- Better security than most other exchanges
- Supports fiat currency deposits
- Easy sign up and verification process
- 1-minute charts are available
- Low liquidity with certain coins
- Lacks margin trading
9. OKEx (7.5)
With a trading volume of more than $1.3 billion, OKEx is one of the most trusted cryptocurrency exchanges worldwide. It has its own native coin (OKB), offers margin trading and short selling, and supports more than 145 coins.
- Supports multiple payment methods
- Well-known and trusted exchange
- More than 400 trading pairs
- Sleek and intuitive user-interface
- Not available in some countries like the US
- Fiat currencies aren’t accepted
- Beginners might be intimidated by some advanced features
10. Poloniex (7.5)
Poloniex is one of the leading crypto exchanges worldwide. With a trading volume of over $140 million per day, it has more than 100 different cryptocurrencies available for trade and comes with data analysis and advanced tools for experienced traders.
- Low trading fees
- Seamless account creation
- User-friendly interface
- Security features like 2FA
- Doesn’t support fiat currencies
- Customer support is slow
11. Gemini (7.3)
Developed by venture capitalists Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, Gemini is a popular cryptocurrency exchange that provides its services to customers in Asia, Europe, and the US. It has reliable security, is known for cooperating with regulators, and currently offers a limited selection of coins.
- Great analytics
- Simple interface
- High liquidity
- Lacks margin trading
- Limited cryptocurrencies
- Not the best customer support
12. eToro (6.8)
eToro is a simple and straightforward cryptocurrency exchange, making it an ideal option for amateur traders. It has a great reputation and offers a wide range of cryptocurrencies for trading with support for more than 700 tokens and coins.
- Quick account creation
- Free ETF and stock trading
- Average customer support
- Non-trading fees are high
13. Cex.io (4.6)
Cex.io is another popular exchange with multiple payment options for using cryptocurrencies. It offers 54 trading pairs and provides a secure and simple to use platform, which is great if you’re a beginner. Furthermore, margin trading and trading dashboards are also available for professionals.
- Reasonable exchange rate
- Worldwide availability
- Supports automated trading
- Varying fees depending on the payment method used
- Rigorous verification process
Factors to Consider Before Joining a Crypto Exchange
These are some important features that you need to take into account when choosing a cryptocurrency exchange:
When it comes to crypto trading, safety is one of the most important aspects to look at. Exchanges will use different methods to keep your crypto and sensitive data safe, such as asset insurance, two factor authentication, and a strict ID verification process.
CoinMarketCap is one of the most trusted data authorities for cryptocurrencies and exchanges. Once you find a crypto exchange that interests you, make sure to check its rank and score on the CoinMarketCap website before you proceed further.
Ideally, you should choose an exchange in your country of residence. After all, policies and legislation governing a cryptocurrency exchange vary country-by-country.
Fees and Commissions
Price is one of the most important considerations when it comes to any service, and the same goes for crypto exchanges. They use different methods to monetize their service, such as brokerage commissions, transaction fees, etc. You wouldn’t want these to be too high so that you can bring home more profits.
Mode of Payment
Does your preferred exchange support the payment methods you’re interested in? Different exchanges offer different modes of payment. Some let you pay by Mastercard and Visa, some by bank transfer, and some by other cryptocurrencies.
Ease of Use
The crypto world is complex enough on its own, so don’t settle for anything less than a simple interface and intuitive UX. You can feel frustrated and lost if your exchange is too difficult to use.
The best exchanges will offer a wide variety of supported tokens and coins to cater to the needs and preferences of different crypto enthusiasts.
Is there someone you can reach out to when you encounter any issues? Great customer support goes a long way when you’re confused about the verification process or are unable to understand how to use certain features.
Types of Crypto Exchanges
You must understand the different types of exchanges available if you want to choose the best exchange for your needs:
Centralized exchanges are the most common kind of exchanges. Some popular names that fall into this category include Gemini, Coinbase, Kraken, and Binance. These exchanges offer platforms for users to trade cryptocurrencies and have Know Your Customer (KYC) policies in place. Moreover, they have high volumes, high liquidity, and active trading.
However, centralized exchanges aren’t in line with Bitcoin’s philosophy. They operate their own private servers, which creates a vector of attack. As such, if the company’s servers are compromised, sensitive user data could get released and/or the exchange could face downtime issues.
Decentralized exchanges work in the same way as Bitcoin does – there’s no central point of control. This is considerably different than one company running a server in a particular location as decentralized exchanges have servers that are spread out across the world.
Even if one of them goes off, it has no impact on the network because it has plenty of other servers to keep the network operating. This leads to a lower risk of service downtime and makes decentralized exchanges virtually impossible to hack.
These are websites that connect buyers with sellers and charge a certain percentage as fee for each transaction.
These are platforms that allow buyers and sellers to engage in peer-to-peer trading without an exchange that serves as an intermediary.
Just like forex exchange dealers, crypto brokers enable users to buy and sell cryptocurrencies at prices decided by them.
Why Do You Need a VPN for Cryptocurrency Trading?
Using a VPN when trading cryptocurrency will benefit you in a number of ways. For instance, you can access crypto exchanges blocked in your country or region with a VPN. It’s also going to increase the security and privacy of your crypto transactions.
Related Read: Best VPN for Cryptocurrency Trading in 2021
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the Difference Between a Crypto Exchange and Brokerage?
The difference between a cryptocurrency exchange and brokerage is quite simple. For the former, you are typically taking assistance through an exchange platform, meaning there is a middleman involved. Meanwhile, the latter focuses on a more direct-approach and means you just come in and exchange your cryptocurrency, without any involvement of a third-party!
What Cryptocurrency Exchange Should I Use?
There’s no straight answer to this question, as the type of exchange you use, depends on a myriad of factors. Where some people opt for a platform that utilizes the best of security measures, others may choose smoothing that’s light on the pocket, but still offers an easy-to-use interface.
Are there any other crypto exchanges that should be on this list? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.