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.
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:
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.
Coinbase is a US-based exchange which provides services to millions of people all over the world especially beginners. It is considered the world’s most popular Bitcoin broker due to its high liquidity.
You can buy and store all the top five cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash and Ethereum Classic) from Coinbase using your bank account or debit card.
Should you encounter any issues with your account, you can send an email or contact the 24/7 customer support phone number. Coinbase also provides offline storage to store your coins in highly secured cold storage wallets. Visit Coinbase Exchange >
Coinmama was launched in the year 2013 and its headquarters are in Israel. You can buy the most popular cryptocurrencies like BTC, ETH, LTC, XRP, BCH, ADA, QTUM & ETC using your credit or debit card from this cryptocurrency exchange.
Coinmama sends the coins immediately to your wallet address, once you place the order. Hence, before buying from Coinmama, you need to set up a wallet which supports the coin you plan to buy.
The trading fees for using the credit card option are a bit high when compared with other cryptocurrency exchanges, especially against Coinbase. The good thing about Coinmama is that it doesn’t impose any minimum deposit restrictions. The daily spending limit is $5,000 (approximately €4,313 or £3,780) and up to $20,000 monthly (approximately €17,258 or £15,120). Visit Coinmama Exchange >
CoinEx is an all-in-one cryptocurrency exchange as it allows the traders to buy, trade and store coins in the same platform. It works on the maker/taker model and supports 50+ trading pairs but does not allow cryptocurrency purchase with FIAT (Euro, USD, GBP etc.) currency.
CoinEx does not charge any fee to deposit crypto coins into your account.
Additionally, you can withdraw your coins anytime you like, and the request will be processed within 5 minutes. CoinEx offers 2FA protection for your accounts to safeguard against unauthorized access. You can opt to receive the authentication code via SMS or TOTP (Time-based One Time Password). Visit CoinEx Exchange >
Changelly is a great option for busy traders who would like to convert one cryptocurrency to another rapidly. This exchange offers many trading pairs, even FIAT to crypto. You can quickly exchange crypto without depositing any coins on to your account.
All you require is two different wallet addresses, one address where you are storing your current coin, and another wallet address for the coin you would like it to exchange to.
Regarding KYC (Know Your Customer), it doesn’t require any kind of documents to create your account. It is enough that you provide and confirm your email address.
Changelly’s spending limit is based on your geographical location. They have a flat fee of 0.5% per trade when converting crypto to crypto. When converting FIAT to crypto through credit card, Changelly charges 5% plus an additional 5% Simplex fee, which is quite expensive. Visit Changelly Exchange >
Binance, launched in 2017, has become the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world within a short span of time. As it is a pure cryptocurrency exchange, you may deposit either Bitcoins (BTC) or Ethereum (ETH) to start trading on Binance. It charges a marginal value of 0.1% fee for every trade.
Binance also offers an app for both iOS and Android platforms so you can easily buy altcoins on the go.
Binance takes all the adequet security measures to prevent phishing scams/attacks on the user’s accounts. When compared with other exchanges, their customer support tends to take more time to resolve the issues faced by its customers. Visit Binance Exchange >
CEX.io is a London based cryptocurrency exchange launched in the year 2013. It is officially registered as CEX.IO LTD in the UK. It allows the users to buy Bitcoins using fiat currencies like EUR, GBP, USD, and RUB.
CEX.io allows the traders to quickly buy Bitcoins either using a credit card or via bank transfer (there are zero fees for the bank transfer option). It also accepts cryptocurrencies as payments. CEX.io offers full protection to your account against DDos attacks.
CEX exchange provides advanced trading tools for professional traders such as margin trading. Visit CEX Exchange >
BitMex (Bitcoin Merchantile Exchange) is a Hong Kong based trading platform with a daily trading volume of more than 30,000 BTC.
Since it offers advanced trading options like margin trading, it is more suitable for professional traders rather than beginners. BitMex does not accept FIAT based payments.
You must only deposit Bitcoins before starting to trade. Regards security, BitMex provides 2FA protection, through Google Authenticator or Yubikey, against unauthorized transactions. Visit Bitmex Exchange >
EXMO is an ideal cryptocurrency exchange for beginners because of its simplicity and ease of use. It was launched in the year 2013 in the UK. Even though EXMO doesn’t have a high trading volume, it is possible to buy Bitcoins and many altcoins from this exchange.
It supports multiple payment options like credit/debit cards, wire transfer, SEPA etc.However, you have to pay the deposit/withdrawal fees based on the payment method.
Additionally, it charges a flat fee of 0.2% for every trade. EXMO has a 24/7 customer support team to quickly resolve issues faced by its customers. Visit Exmo Exchange >
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.
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:
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Try to find out the approximate launching date of the exchange. 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 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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
If you are looking for some more cryptocurrency exchanges, you can also check out:
Originally launched in China, Binance plan to move 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.
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 tools and techniques for its users. It accepts wired transfers as well as cryptocurrency payments. Bitfinex is more suitable for serious and long-term investors than novice traders.
BitMEX, a P2P cryptocurrency trading platform, owned by HDR Global Trading Limited, has its headquarters in Hong Kong. At the time of writing, BitMEX is not registered with any legislative board. Still, it is considered a trustworthy exchange because no hacks have been reported till date. Additionally, BitMEX has also taken extensive security measures to protect the digital assets of its customers.
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.