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Cryptocurrency Exchanges

Whether you are looking for the best cryptocurrency exchange platform, purchasing your first ever Bitcoin, or looking to diversify your coin portfolio, you need a list of the best cryptocurrency exchanges.

Definition: A cryptocurrency exchange platform is an online website which supports the buying, selling & trading of several cryptocurrencies.

Even though more than 100 cryptocurrency exchange platforms existing today, not all of them are trustworthy, not all of them provide fair fees, and not all of them safely secure your transactions. Many exchanges market themselves as the world’s No1 currency exchange.

 

Cryptocurrency Exchanges

In reality, a lot of factors have to be considered in rating these exchanges. For example, an inexperienced trader would expect it to be simple and user-friendly, so that it will take less time to create an account and start trading immediately.

On the other hand, a professional trader seeks cryptocurrency exchanges which offer advanced trading tools, high trading limits and chart analysis. Hence, the expectation varies depending on the nature of the trader. Certain features are sought after by both novice as well as professional traders. Cryptocurrency exchanges that offer the following are highly desirable:

  • Low trading fees
  • High security
  • Good customer support
  • Multiple payment options
  • Unlimited deposit/withdrawal
  • Support a large availability of cryptocurrencies & trading pairs

In this article, we have compiled a list of some of the best cryptocurrency exchanges which have succeeded in gaining the trust of both novice and professional traders. The ranking of these exchanges might vary depending on your needs. Hence, we opted to include a short summary on each, however, we highly recommend that you check out our full exchange reviews to learn more, before depositing funds.

Definition: FIAT refers to any currency whose value is backed up by the government. This includes currencies like Euro, USD, GBP, AUD and similar currencies.

We recommend you do your own research directly on the exchange’s website. Kindly note that although we do our best to list and update this article with accurate data, there might be slight changes from the time of writing.

 

eToro

eToro is a regulated multi-asset trading platform which offers CFD trading in Stocks, Commodities, Cryptocurrencies, Forex, ETFs, and Indices. With its offices in multiple locations, it provides its services to the residents more than 100 countries worldwide. eToro Europe Ltd is regulated and authorised by the CySEC (Cyprus Securities Exchange Commission) while its other subsidiaries are regulated in all jurisdictions where they operate.

eToro offers a diversified portfolio of financial assets on its trading platform. It offers CFD trading for the most popular cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin, EOS, Binance Coin, Stellar, Cardano and many more. It supports multiple fiat payment options like bank transfer, credit/debit cards and electronic wallets (PayPal / Skrill).

The trading platform is simple, user-friendly and is available in 20 different languages including Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese. Moreover, the platform also has a mobile app for both iOS and Android users for trading on the go. eToro offers a multi-signature mobile wallet for its members to securely store their assets.

eToro follows a strict registration process and doesn’t allow users to start trading without verifying their identity. Hence, users must verify their identity and address in order to start trading.  Even though eToro doesn’t provide advanced security measures, it offers basic features like two-factor authentication to protect customers’ funds.

With its Social Trading technology called OpenBook, it allows users to follow or copy trading positions of other members on the platform. As for fees, it doesn’t charge any commission for every trade, which is definitely an advantage. However, it does charge other types of fees which include spread, overnight funding and withdrawal fees.

Coinbase

Renowned Bitcoin broker Coinbase is operated by Coinbase Inc, and is headquartered in San Francisco, U.S.

Cryptocurrency Exchange that is registered with MSB with FinCEN, it is fully-licensed to make money-based transactions not only in the UK, EU and U.S.but also in other countries around the world. Recently, it received an E-Money License from the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) of the UK.

It is important to highlight the fact that Coinbase Exchange is also fully compliant with consumer protection laws. Moreover it follows the necessary local money transmission laws and regulations of the US states. It goes follows great measures to safeguard all its customers’ digital assets with an insurance policy so they can claim their funds if the exchange loses its coins in a rare and unfortunate case of hacking or security breach.

Coinmama

Coinmama, is owned by NBV International (a daughter company of New Bit Ventures Ltd) and accepts members from virtually all countries around the world.

The trading interface of Coinmama is so easily accessible that even if newbie traders are able to buy Bitcoins swiftly because the transaction literally takes a few minutes.

Update. Coinmama now also allows users to sell their crypto for FIAT money.

Customers can rest assured that Coinmama is a safe and trustworthy exchange. Although it is the user’s responsibility to protect their coins by sending them to a valid wallet address, to prevent scams, Coinmama requests its customers to confirm their wallet address prior to sending the coins. It’s worth pointing out that the exchange doesn’t store any type of users’ sensitive data on its servers.

CoinEx

Launched quite recently in December 2017, CoinEx has its headquarters in Hong Kong, and aims to build a highly secure, user-friendly, low cost and high-speed cryptocurrency platform to trade a wide range of cryptocurrencies by using its proprietary trade matching system. It supports multiple languages and accepts users from more than 100 countries. CoinEx exchange is not registered with any legislation yet. To learn more about CoinEx tools and fees visit Cryptimi’s CoinEX full review.

CoinEx offers the basic 2FA option to protect the customers’ funds. Moreover, it uses security factors like multi-signature strategy and HTTPS to provide full-dimension protection for the customer’s funds and data protection.

Changelly

Changelly Exchange is a platform that allows its users to buy and/or exchange a vast selection of cryptocurrencies instantaneously. By means of its easy-to-follow verification process (without the need of document uploads) it literally takes a few minutes to purchase digital currencies on this exchange. Although it charges high fees for buying cryptos using fiat currency, the crypto-to-crypto rates are very reasonable.

Changelly Exchange is great whether you’re a novice or seasoned trader. So whether you want to get hands-on experience with cryptocurrency trading, or are a professional trader you can instantly exchange any cryptocurrency without divulging your identity since the transactions are kept anonymous. Additionally, it allows its users to expand easily their coin portfolio. While it is not regulated with any legislative board, it has managed to gain a good reputation and the trust of its customers by partnering up with other reputed cryptocurrency exchanges. The main objective of the Changelly Cryptocurrency Exchange is to offer a transparent, simple, quick and accessible interface to buy and/or exchange cryptocurrencies.

Binance

Originally launched in China, Binance moved to Malta in 2019. It is considered to be the world’s largest crypto asset exchange by trading volume, and although the exchange was launched only in 2017, it’s managed to gain the trust of millions of investors, quickly becoming a top contender within the cryptocurrency exchange world.

Thanks to the extra security steps, like anti-phishing code, PCI Scanning, Secured Sockets Layered encryption technology, pseudonymisation, internal data access restrictions (amognst others) it’s really no wonder why it’s considered a trustworthy exchange. Such precautionary safety features aim to protect the customer’s funds as well as personal information from unauthorized personnel, further putting their client’s mind at rest.

CEX.io

Launched in 2013, CEX.io is a multifunctional cryptocurrency exchange, with its headquarters located in the UK capital, London. The exchange is fully licensed to practise monetary-based transactions, since it is registered as an MSB (Money Service Business) with FinCEN. Moreover, CEX.io exchange is registered with the non-departmental public body ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office) in the UK.

Providing advanced trading options such as margin trading for serious and/or professional traders, CEX.io exchange is popular whether you are a seasoned or novice trader. Perhaps one of the greatest features CEX.io boasts of is its accessibility: where customers can instantly purchase cryptos using their credit card.

This detailed overview of CEX.io attempts to evaluate several aspects as a means to provide you with an objective summary of both the exchange itself as well as the services it offers. While Cryptimi does its utmost to present you with accurate and relevant information, we still advise you to visit CEX.io for any updates that might be available once this text is published.

BitMEX

As of yet, BitMEX is not registered with any legislative board, yet this does not affect its reputability and is still considered as a trustworthy exchange since no hacks have been reported to date. Moreover, BitMEX has ensured that the best security measures have been implemented to safeguard its customers’ digital assets.

BitMEX is a futures trading platform which allows its users to buy future and perpetual contracts. And while the trading interface of BitMEX is simple, it isn’t a popular choice among novice traders, as it only offers advanced trading options like margin trading with 100x leverage. Therefore if you’re a newbie, this exchange is not quite for you.

EXMO

EXMO is one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in Europe averaging a monthly trading volume of 1.5 Billion USD – which is very impressive. Although EXMO exchange offers lower liquidity than exchanges like BitMEX, it is great for those who are a bit less experienced in the trading scene. It is owned by EXMO Finance LLP, a registered company which complies with the laws of England and Wales. Even though the exchange offers an online wallet to store customers’ coins, unfortunately, it doesn’t provide any insurance as Coinbase does.

The trading interface of EXMO exchange is so simple that a new investor can buy cryptocurrencies the moment an account is created.

This EXMO review will analyse various aspects to provide you with an all-rounded detailed overview of the exchange and its services. While Cryptimi does its utmost to provide you with the best and most current information on a regular basis, we highly recommend that you to visit Exmo.com for any updates which might occur after the time of writing.

Why You Need Exchanges To Buy Cryptocurrency

Both novice as well as professional traders are buying Bitcoins or other altcoins from Cryptocurrency Exchanges. Even though there are few additional options like Bitcoin ATMs to buy cryptocurrencies, these are only available at limited locations which make them inconvenient.

The best exchanges provide a lot of features like flexible payment options, ease of use, variety of cryptocurrencies, storage wallets and more.

More importantly, top exchanges can be used by anyone located anywhere in the world. Having said that, certain exchanges have geographical restrictions based on government regulations and operational licenses.

Digital Exchange Types

Cryptocurrency exchanges come in two main varieties. Centralized exchanges (CEX) and decentralized exchanges (DEX). CEX (Centralized Exchanges) act as a middleman between the buyer and seller for trading cryptocurrencies. Therefore when trading on a CEX, your funds are held by a third party company.

In the case of DEX (Decentralised exchange), the concept of intermediary is eliminated as it directly connects the buyers and sellers via the blockchain.

A DEX is technically more secure, however, they have their drawbacks of low liquidity, low popularity and slow platform updates. To date, centralized exchanges are the goto exchanges, however, the crypto community is working on several DEX to try to solve their drawbacks. The best crypto exchanges can be classified under the following categories:

Trading Platforms

Trading Platform Best Exchanges

Generally, a trading platform is a website which connects the buyers and sellers and then deducting a fee for every transaction. Apart from buying Bitcoins/altcoins using FIAT currencies, trading platforms may also allow you to trade two cryptocurrencies.

A crypto trading platform can be considered as a stock exchange. BitMex is an example of a trading platform which, however, does not support FIAT. Nonetheless, BitMex offers advanced margin trading tools, ideal for serious traders.

Peer to Peer Exchanges

Peer to Peer Exchanges

A P2P (Peer to Peer) exchange does the job of a matchmaker. That is, it connects the sellers and potential buyers. In a P2P exchange, the price of the cryptocurrency and payment option will be agreed between the buyer and the seller.

The exchange is not directly involved in the transaction between the seller and the buyer. LocalBitcoins.com is the best example of a P2P exchange.

Brokers

Broker Exchanges

Brokers are company websites which purchase a sufficient supply of the cryptocurrencies and then sell them at their own price. It can be visualised as one seller with multiple buyers. Coinbase is an example of the cryptocurrency broker.

Choosing The Best Cryptocurrency Exchange

Now it is time to choose the best cryptocurrency exchange to start your crypto trading. This step is a crucial one because your investment is at stake and a wrong decision may lead to a financial loss.

Instead of sticking to one particular exchange, try to make a list of at least 5 of the best cryptocurrency exchanges which you really like, and analyse them with respect to the below-mentioned factors before making the final decision. You can create a table and give points to the exchanges with respect to all factors. The exchange with maximum points will be your winner.

Payment Methods

Some cryptocurrency exchanges will not accept fiat currencies. Fiat currencies are your typical government controlled currency like EUR, GBP & USD. If the exchange platform does not support the purchase of Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency using Fiat, then it means you will not be able to use your debit/credit card to buy crypto. Hence, you will be forced to buy Bitcoins from another FIAT to Crypto exchange and then send them over to the other exchange to start your cryptocurrency trading. If the exchange platform supports multiple payment options like PayPal, Wire transfer, debit/credit cards, SEPA & Crypto Deposits then it will be easier to trade and cash out.

If the exchange platform supports multiple payment options like PayPal, Wire transfer, debit/credit cards, SEPA & Crypto Deposits then it will be easier to trade and cash out. If not, you will have to transfer your funds from one exchange to another.

Coin Pairs

Long-term crypto investors will be more interested in trading pairs. Trading pairs refer to trades between two different types of cryptocurrencies. A trading pair would look like

  • EUR/BTC (Trading Euro to Bitcoin or vice-versa)
  • BTC/ETH (Trading Bitcoin to Ethereum or vice-versa)
  • LTC/BTC

There are 1000s of trading pairs but not all exchanges support the same pairs. It is important to keep in mind that a trading pair BTC/ETH on Binance is not exactly the same as the trading pair BTC/ETH on Bitmex. Every exchange has its own market for every pair that it supports. If you are an experienced trader who would like to diversify his coin portfolio, then look for the best cryptocurrency exchanges which support a lot of trading pairs and high liquidity.

Trading Fees

If you are serious about cryptocurrencies and would like to be a long-term trader, then you should select the best cryptocurrency exchanges with low fees. If you do so, you will save a lot of money from trading fees. The best option would be to try out exchanges which offer zero fees to deposit/withdraw funds on your account. Some exchanges will charge a flat trading fee while others may follow the Maker-Taker model.

Also, find out the trading fee for your preferred payment method. For example, let’s assume that you are planning to buy the cryptocurrencies using a credit card. If the exchange deducts 5% or 7% as a fee apart from the credit card fee, then it will not be profitable for you.

Reputation & Trust

Try to find out the approximate launching date of the exchange or go through our exchange platform reviews. An old exchange will most likely have a good reputation when compared with a new one. Check whether the cryptocurrency exchange is officially registered and whether it has a license as well. You may search on the internet to find out whether the exchange has been involved in any kind of scams or hacks. Visit the contact page of the exchange’s website and find out if it has a physical address. PO Box address is not accepted and considered as a red flag.

Security

Security is a feature you need to take seriously before depositing any funds as your investment might be at risk. The majority of the cryptocurrency exchanges offer 2FA (Two Factor Authentication) protection for your account. This means, whenever you are making any transaction, you need to enter the security code received on your phone or authenticator app. Only then, your transaction will be processed. Security features include:

Best Exchanges Security

  • 2 Factor Authentication
  • KYC & AML procedures
  • IP protection
  • Cold storage
  • Encryption
  • Anti-phishing procedures

A few exchanges provide IP based protection so that you will receive a warning if a login is made from an unauthorized device. The best exchange is one that provides the utmost protection for your account and transactions.

Geographical Restriction

Since cryptocurrency investments are unregulated in certain countries you need to find out whether the cryptocurrency exchange you have chosen is available in your country or not.

Customer Support

Any crypto exchange should have a dedicated customer support team to quickly resolve the issues faced by the customers. Unfortunately, only a few exchanges provide live chat or 24/7 customer support. Some exchanges may take up to a week to answer simple questions. They might also send some standard reply messages which do not solve your problems. When choosing the best exchange make sure it has at least a dedicated email to solve your issues quickly. We highly recommend checking Reddit and their social media channels.

Exchange Liquidity

Liquidity is an important aspect not only for digital assets but also for the cryptocurrency exchanges. You should always choose exchanges which have high liquidity, as this helps you to get a fair and stable price for your crypto coins. 

Definition: Liquidity is the ease at which an asset can be converted to cash.

Unfortunately, you are not able to yet compare the liquidity of cryptocurrencies with other tradable assets like gold, because digital currencies are not yet listed and traded globally on stock exchanges. Nonetheless, the more active traders an exchange has, the higher the liquidity it tends to have.

KYC Verification

Some exchanges will not allow you to buy/sell Bitcoins or altcoins without completing the KYC (Know Your Customer) process. This process is typically required by law to protect from scams and money laundering, hence you should provide documents to verify your identity and address. To pass through KYC you would typically need the following:

  • Photocopy of  your ID card or passport (Front & Back)
  • A photo of your face holding the ID card or passport
  • Proof of address which can usually be obtained through a bank statement
  • Some exchanges require you to write the date on a piece of paper and take a photo of it

All serious platforms which allow the purchasing of cryptocurrency using fiat require KYC verification. There are some exchanges which require KYC only to increase your crypto to crypto buying/selling limits. An exchange which does strict KYC is generally considered a good sign.

Ease of Use

A user-friendly interface is not only beneficial for novice traders, but also for experienced traders and investors. Ask yourself, does it feel too complicated to use this exchange? Check if the exchange has FAQs, help or knowledge base section so that you can easily refer to it if you get stuck.

Storing Coins

A wallet is required to store your cryptocurrency coins. There are two types of wallets used to store digital assets within an exchange: Web-based and Cold storage. A Web-based wallet, also known as a hot wallet, is always connected to the internet, whereas a hardware wallet, also known as cold storage wallet, is most of the time offline and is only connected to the network during transactions.

Few exchanges offer the commodity of a wallet to safeguard your investment. For security reasons, you should always store your coins on hardware wallets, but having an exchange with a built-in wallet provides you quick and easy access to your funds. For storing your coins check our best cryptocurrency wallets section.

Other Benefits

Few cryptocurrency exchanges provide insurance for the digital assets which are stored either on their servers or in cold storage vaults. Trading on an insured exchange means you will be able to receive compensation if someone had to hack the exchange and steal your coins from your account.

However, note that no cryptocurrency exchange will offer compensation if an individual’s account is compromised for lack of due diligence. You can only file an insurance claim if there is a security lapse on the entire exchange platform. Therefore, we recommend you not to keep your coins on the exchange, but to store them on a hardware wallet such as the Ledger Nano S.

Top Cryptocurrency Exchange Platforms

If you are looking for some more cryptocurrency exchanges, you can also check out:

Bitfinex

Bitfinex is one of the most advanced cryptocurrency exchanges in the world. It was launched in 2012 in Hong Kong. Even though it was hacked and more than 100,000 Bitcoins were stolen in 2016, it managed to compensate for most of the losses and pay back the user’s investments.

This has won the trust of many new traders who classify it as a truly reputable exchange. Since then, it has improved its security measures and now stores coins in cold storage wallets. Bitfinex offers advanced trading channels for its customers. Accepting wired transfers as well as cryptocurrency payments. Bitfinex tends to be an exchange which is favoured by serious, long-term investors. While novice traders can try this service out, it doesn’t offer live chat support – a feature which is rather essential for those unfamiliar with crypto exchange practices.

Kraken

As one of the world’s oldest Bitcoin exchange, Kraken has its headquarters in San Francisco. Although Kraken Exchange is not registered with any legislative board, it is still a very respected by regulated banks in the EU as well as the government of Japan. Virtually accepting all countries worldwide, it offers extremely high security for its customer’s accounts so that it will be very challenging for hackers to steal the coins.

Kraken’s trading platform is perfect whether a customer is new to the trading scene or a professional, seasoned trader. It allows its users to trade more than 50+ currency pairs on its exchange. What’s more, it offers great security thanks to its advanced settings, especially when compared to other cryptocurrency trading platforms. The only lacking feature against its competitors is a Mobile app.

Update. Kraken now offers margin trading.

Indacoin

Indacoin has its headquarter in the UK and is trusted Bitcoin & altcoins broker within the crypto community. They have been selling Bitcoin since 2013 and gained over 500,000 customers over the years.

Their service is all about efficiency. They don’t require the user to set up an account and KYC verification is not mandatory for purchases less than $200. This is great especially for beginners as KYC can be intrusive to some. Additionally, Indacoin allows the purchase of popular coins such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Monero, Binance Coin and 100+ more.

The only downside to Indacoin is the fees. Compared to the competition the fees are higher, however, we believe this shouldn’t be a deal-breaker. Beginners benefit from excellent customer support, clear instructions and an excellent choice of coins. Through Indacoin, one is able to set up an Indacoin Wallet which is a separate product provided by this exchange. Indacoin does not support Crypto to Fiat payment, hence, users will not be able to cash out and must transfer their funds to another exchange to do so.

Bitpanda

Considered as one of the most trustworthy cryptocurrency exchanges available the EU, Bitpanda allows its users to buy, sell and trade cryptos using 4 fiat currencies. Despite the fact that Bitpanda is not compliant with any regulatory standards or any related organization, it is an exchange which has built a solid reputation amongst its users, having gained the trust of close to one million users across the globe.

When it comes to safety and security for users’ digital assets, Bitpanda stores them on offline cold storage which makes it safer, since it is not connected to the internet. Moreover, it even offers two-factor authentication to protect users’ accounts from illegal or shady access. What’s more, Bitpanda also provides DDOS protection and SSL encryption, and if a user decides to amend their personal details or 2FA, Bitpanda might contact them personally in order to verify such changes.

Bitpanda directly supplies coins to users,  since it is a brokerage service, so they needn’t interact with other traders when it comes to exchange cryptocurrencies. Bitpanda even offers an integrated web wallet for its customers to temporarily store their digital assets.

Final Thoughts

Before finalizing on the top cryptocurrency exchange, it is highly recommended to do an in-depth study on that exchange by visiting their official website and FAQ or Help section. You can also read the reviews of other people who have used the exchange. There are plenty on Reddit and on other social media platform which can help you do that.

Always remember that cryptocurrency investment is associated with high risk. If you do a wrong decision, then it may result in a severe financial loss. It is always advisable to spend some time and do your homework before buying any cryptocurrency from the exchange. The content provided on Cryptimi should not be treated as financial advice.

Never risk more money than you afford to lose. To learn more about investment techniques you may visit our ‘Investment 101‘ guide.