Best Crypto Exchange
Cryptocurrencies are the most tempting asset class of the new century. The reason is that they are relatively easy to invest in and present the opportunity to earn significant profits. Due to this, the last few years have seen the digital currencies asset class experienced a considerable inflow of investors. Some started just for the speculation, while others are convinced by the fundamentals and believe in the blockchain protocol's long-term potential.
Although, from the surface investing in cryptocurrencies looks like an easy and straightforward task, the truth is that even choosing a cryptocurrency exchange is a tricky process if you don't do careful research. The following guide will help you find the best crypto exchange for your needs, no matter where you reside, whether you prefer trading altcoins, or want to pay with a credit or debit card.
Coinbase: Best Crypto Exchange Overall
Coinbase is the most popular and among the most established cryptocurrency exchanges worldwide. It was founded in 2012 and is fully regulated and licensed within the US. The best crypto exchange offers everything, from a rich set of cryptocurrencies to flexible payment options (via debit or credit card, wire transfer, and more) and relatively reasonable trading fees.
Over the years, the cryptocurrency exchange developed a variety of functionalities and trading tools. Today Coinbase unfolds user access not only to the standard buy and sell features but also a portfolio management tool, one of the best cryptocurrency apps for iOS and Android, custody services, interest-earning programs, and more.
Coinbase is ranked as the best cryptocurrency exchange overall because it serves all market participants' needs, no matter whether it comes to the beginner investor or the sophisticated trader. Besides, Coinbase users can take advantage of insured custodial wallets to store their cryptocurrencies safely and ensure their peace of mind.
Coinbase makes the process of buying and selling cryptocurrencies easy and straightforward. After successfully passing the identity verification process, the user can proceed to buy Bitcoin or altcoins with just a few clicks. The interface is intuitive and easy-to-navigate.
Coinbase also has a platform that is specifically tailored to the needs of professional traders and sophisticated investors, called Coinbase Pro. Coinbase Pro offers an intuitive interface with advanced trading tools, rich charting functionalities, trade history logs, real-time order books, and a simple buy sell process.
Coinbase also enables small business owners who want to accept crypto payments through its Coinbase Commerce platform. It has integration with the most popular eCommerce platforms, including WooCommerce and Shopify. And most importantly, Coinbase Commerce is easy to get started and doesn't charge fees.
Binance: Best Crypto-To-Crypto Exchange
Founded in 2017, Binance is a global digital asset exchange that quickly became the preferred platform for crypto-to-crypto transactions. The cryptocurrency exchange is led by one of the most famous figures in the crypto world, Changpeng Zhao (a.k.a. CZ).
Currently, Binance is a dominant force in the niche and among the best crypto exchanges worldwide. It has dedicated platforms for specific regions and countries.
Today, Binance supports over 600 trading pairs. The focus is on crypto/crypto pairs, but there are also are some fiat/crypto ones. This makes it a preferred destination for those interested in altcoin trading.
It is worth noting that Binance is among the crypto exchanges with the most significant number of extra features and functionalities. Among them are a P2P trading platform, a decentralized exchange, enterprise cloud solutions, crypto projects incubator, a token launch platform, research and analysis arm, crypto loans and interest-earning accounts, and more. It even has a charity foundation that allows users to donate and support different causes.
A downside of the Binance platform is it still isn't supported all across the United States. Besides, there is the sense that the platform prioritizes users who already know how to buy Bitcoin and have previous experience with crypto exchanges. Beginners might find it a bit complicated to get into, especially those who buy digital assets for the first time.
Kraken: Best Crypto Exchange for Institutional and OTC Trading
Founded in 2011, Kraken is among the best crypto exchanges and one of the most trusted and popular trading venues. Today, it is the largest digital assets exchange in euro-denominated volume.
The cryptocurrency exchange platform brings its users various features, packed in an intuitive design and easy-to-use interface. Traders can get started and buy and sell the most popular cryptocurrencies, as well as many altcoins and exotic digital assets, quickly and with minimum effort. The supported fiat currencies include US Dollars, Canadian Dollars, Japanese Yen, Euro, and British Pounds.
Despite being one of the best crypto exchanges for individuals, Kraken is also considered the best place for corporate clients and those looking to trade at a reliable OTC trading venue. The more experienced users can take advantage of Kraken's flexible margin trading functionality.
Kraken is renowned for its stellar reputation, high liquidity, stable trading volumes, user-friendly interface, decent rates, low transaction fees, and excellent customer support service.
Among the downsides is the relatively limited number of supported payment methods.
Changelly: Best Crypto Exchange for Complete Beginners
If you are yet to make your first Bitcoin or altcoin investment but have no idea where and how to start, then the most important thing is to make sure you find a cryptocurrency exchange that eases the process as much as possible. For that, look no further than one of the best and most user-friendly non-custodial exchanges, Changelly.
Designed as an instant cryptocurrency exchange, Changelly allows you to buy and exchange digital assets with a bank card and in just a few clicks. Unlike many other solution providers, though, here convenience doesn't come at the expense of cost. Changelly supports over 150 cryptocurrencies and sources prices from the best cryptocurrency trading platforms to develop a competitive crypto-to-crypto exchange rate. The exchange also accepts three fiat currencies for buying crypto: USD, EUR, and GBP.
Besides, it doesn't charge any hefty fees. Crypto-to-crypto transactions are subject to a single 0.25% trading fee. There are no minimum or maximum account requirements, which means even those with limited capital can taste cryptocurrency investing without a hassle.
Another benefit of Changelly is that it doesn't require strict KYC or AML verification. The trading platform offers 24/7 live chat support and maintains an excellent reputation.
According to Changelly's team, the platform is used by over 2m clients, which makes it one of the most popular exchanges on the market.
All-in-all, buying Bitcoin, Ethereum, and the most popular altcoins on Changelly is extremely easy and takes just a few minutes. The only thing you should take care of is ensuring you have a wallet to transfer your coins to. This isn't even a downside of the exchange, as it is often advisable to avoid storing your cryptocurrencies in your built-in exchange wallet for security reasons.
Bisq: Best Decentralized Crypto Exchange for Anonymous Bitcoin Trading
There are many decentralized cryptocurrency exchanges worth mentioning, including Uniswap, Bancor, Airswap Protocol, dYdX, and more, but if we should single out one, we will go with Bisq.
It might not have the highest trading volume, be renowned for its ease-of-use, or support the biggest number of assets, but we consider it the best exchange because it combines the key aspects of all alternatives. It is functional, with reasonable fees, and easy-to-navigate, making it suitable even for beginners.
And most importantly, it allows you to buy Bitcoin with fiat and entirely anonymously. The platform supports over 25 different payment methods, including the most popular ones like a bank transfer, credit/debit card payments, as well as some which you might have never heard of.
Also, unlike many other cryptocurrency exchanges in the category, with Bisq decentralized really means decentralized. From placing, through matching, to executing the order - not a single part of the trade process is centralized.
Bisq is singled out also because it allows users to exchange Bitcoin for a variety of national currencies and digital assets, making it easily accessible for beginners and crypto veterans.
Another distinguishing feature is that Bisq runs locally on your computer. All you have to do is download a .exe file and install it. Unlike many of the top centralized crypto exchanges, here you are in total control of your funds, data, and trading-related content. The solution employs Tor routing and local computing to provide users with personal wallets, accessible only by their owners.
All funds are held in a 2-of-2 multi-signature escrow, which adds an additional security layer for Bisq users. However, to gain all that, you might have to sacrifice on the liquidity front. Bisq indeed isn't the most liquid exchange in the world but is gradually improving on that front since its user base grows by the day.
Binance Dex: Best Decentralized Crypto Exchange for Advanced Traders
If you are a fan of decentralized trading venues and want access to a continuously-developing trading ecosystem, Binance DEX is a great fit.
There are numerous reasons for this. First of all, Binance has one of the largest communities in the cryptocurrency world. This allowed it to build the Binance Chain (on top of which runs the Binance DEX) and have it tested and improved by the public. Besides, the community continuously votes for the addition of new features, which leads to a gradual improvement in technology and the way it is employed.
Binance DEX grants users access to all types of markets, including the most popular crypto-to-crypto trading pairs, altcoins, and fiat currencies. Besides, users can also send and receive BNB, issue new tokens, burn, mint, freeze and unfreeze tokens, propose the creation of new trading pairs, etc.
Starting on Binance DEX is an easy and straightforward process. You don't even have to register, pass any additional verifications, or provide personal information.
All you need is a Binance Chain address, which can be generated by basically all of the leading crypto wallet solutions.
The fee structure also is reasonable and way lower than many of the other decentralized exchanges.
Bitmex: Best Crypto Exchange for Margin and Derivatives Trading
If you are looking beyond traditional buying and selling of crypto and seek more sophisticated features, Bitmex is among the exchanges' best. The exchange is considered the top choice for professional traders and those pursuing higher purchasing power and more significant profits. It also allows you to trade crypto derivatives with various spot and futures offerings for Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other altcoins.
Bitmex offers its users up to 100x leverage, which is unmatched in the cryptocurrency world. This makes it a convenient pick for more aggressive traders and market participants who know what they are doing. However, for beginners, leverage might pose a significant risk, especially when it comes to a highly-volatile asset class like cryptocurrencies. Besides, it is a crypto-to-crypto exchange only, making it better suited for traders who already have digital assets in their portfolios.
The platform has advanced built-in charting features and great UI, ranking it among the best exchanges for professional and advanced traders.
When it comes to crypto exchanges and trading platforms, Bitmex is considered a leader in security. It adopts a variety of the latest safety features and also stores all funds in cold storage. As a result, the exchange claims not to have lost even a single Bitcoin through intrusion or hacking. This means all your funds, trading-related content, and information (personal data, IP address, etc.) are safely stored.
Gemini: Best Crypto Exchange for Day Trading
For day traders, finding the perfect exchange is usually narrowed down to several key characteristics: low fees, high liquidity, reasonable rates, and fast order execution.
Several crypto exchange providers are known for their excellent service on these fronts, including Bitmex, Binance, etc. However, we shouldn't miss Gemini. Founded in 2014, the exchange is one of the most popular and oldest US trading venues in the world (today, it has global coverage). Behind Gemini's rise are the Winklevoss brothers – some of the most prominent figures in the crypto industry.
It is essential to single out Gemini as a great choice for day traders, mostly because of its Active Trader™ interface that was launched recently. The portal offers advanced charting features and brings day traders to access additional pairs, deeper order book visibility, order books following a price-time priority model, auctions, block trading, and a plethora of order types unleash the full potential of their strategies.
The goal behind the trading interface design was to bring Gemini's sophisticated users a high-performance crypto trading platform capable of delivering a professional-level experience. Unlike many other solutions, Active Trader™ can execute trades in microseconds, which helps users capture even short-lived market opportunities.
The trading interface of the exchange works on most mobile browsers. This allows day traders to make money on-the-go without compromising on reliability or functionalities.
Gemini's downside is that the fees are a bit higher than some of the other platforms. The exchange adopts a dynamic maker-taker fee schedule based on the generated gross trading volume. Although this isn't much of an issue since the differences aren't so significant, it might force some day traders to look for alternatives.
Still, considering Gemini's stellar reputation and functional platform, it definitely is a worthy choice for day traders.
Localbitcoins: Best p2p Cryptocurrency Exchange
If you don't trust centralized exchanges or find the decentralized ones too complicated, you can opt for the most popular P2P trading venue.
The platform serves as a medium between buyers and sellers. This means it doesn't have a fixed rate for particular cryptocurrencies as both sides are free to agree on the terms of the deal.
LocalBitcoins is a convenient choice even for beginners as it supports both fiat and Bitcoin transactions. It also avoids regulations and taxes that are, otherwise, present on traditional exchange venues.
Buying and selling Bitcoin is completely free. This isn't to say that trading on the platform is free, though. It charges the users who create advertisements a 1% fee of the total value of a trade once it is completed. Even with that in mind, trading on LocalBitcoins can still be much cheaper than a variety of other exchanges.
A convenient feature is that buyers and sellers have a reputation score based on their transaction history on the platform. By sourcing those with the best score, you can essentially guarantee to trade only with those who seem credible enough. The platform is reliable, and all trades you make there are protected by escrow.
However, it is worth noting that the platform supports only Bitcoin. If you are interested in ETH, LTC, or any other altcoin, you won't find LocalBitcoins of any use.
Bitstamp: Best Crypto Exchange for EU Citizens
Suppose you are a Bitcoin investor situated in the EU who wants a reliable crypto exchange with a clean reputation, high liquidity, support for debit cards and bank accounts payments, an excellent user interface, professional customer support, and a fair market price. In that case, Bitstamp is probably the best exchange for you. It supports various trading pairs (exotic altcoins included) and fiat currencies like EUR and USD. Besides, the trading fees are reasonable, and the market rates are within the best in the industry.
Although not the only one, Bitstamp is undoubtedly one of the best cryptocurrency exchanges for Europeans, especially if you want to avoid passing rigorous KYC checks and provide full information. With Bitstamp, you can register quickly and easily just by providing your Driver's License and a selfie. The exchange's platform and its mobile apps are intuitive and easy-to-use, even for the complete Bitcoin beginner.
This is essential because many crypto investors are sensitive regarding their personal data. They usually prefer not disclosing their IDs to a third-party service provider, especially considering the industry's shady past.
Bitstamp is among the first crypto exchanges ever to exist. It was founded in 2011 and has ever since managed to build a stellar reputation in serving individual and corporate clients (banks, fintechs, brokers, and neo-banks). It also has a separate platform tailored to professional traders.
All-in-all, Bitstamp is an excellent choice for those who want to start quickly and without any hassle. You can buy crypto with fiat currency through your debit or credit card, bank transfer, or whatever your preferred payment method is. Considering that users can cash out directly to their bank account without any difficulties, it is no secret why Bitstamp is considered among the best cryptocurrency exchanges in the world.
Choosing the cryptocurrency exchange to go with isn't as easy as it may sound. The reason is that today, there are many more factors at play than just safety and security. Investors value functionalities, trade execution, fee structure, professional support, convenient registration process, flexible payment options (debit and credit card support, bank transfer options, crypto, etc.), and many others.
A list of exchange rankings will always be subjective and dependable on each users' preferences, goals, and circumstances (residency, capital, etc.). That is why it is essential to create your score chart by spending some time researching each of the recommended crypto trading platforms. Make sure to look for their reputation score and user satisfaction on forums like Reddit and Bitcointalk, platforms like Trustpilot, and other credible sources of information.
In the end, the most objective evaluation often is the one of the market.