Crypto exchanges are a place where traders can buy, sell and convert various cryptocurrencies. They are essential for cryptocurrencies to be traded on the scale they are today. Some exchanges offer the most competitive prices or speeds, while others provide specialized financial products.
Read on to learn about the best cryptocurrency exchanges, how they work and which one to choose.
Our top pick for the best crypto exchanges October 2022
- Coinbase - Best for Beginners
- Binance.com — the best at low commissions
- Crypto.com - best for safety
- the blockf is the best way to earn interest
- BISQ - the best decentralized exchange
Reviews of the best crypto exchanges
|Intuitive, user-friendly interface and simple purchase process||Higher fees|
|Wide range of educational material||Complicated pay structure|
|Wide selection of cryptocurrency|
Why we chose it: we chose Coinbase as the best crypto exchange for beginners due to its easy to use interface, extensive learning material on everything from blockchain to volatility, and solid security features.
If you are familiar with cryptography, chances are you have already heard about Coinbase. The exchange is one of the largest and best known in the US, and its debut on the public market last year was seen by many as legitimizing the crypto market.
The Coinbase platform does a great job of lowering the barrier to entry for investing in crypto with a simple signup process that makes it easy for users to trade. At the same time, its interface makes it easy to navigate the platform and manage your cryptocurrency.
Coinbase also offers an extensive and accessible set of learning materials. Users are encouraged to use these resources as part of the Coinbase Earn program, which teaches how to trade certain cryptocurrencies and rewards users with free cryptocurrencies.
Finally, the exchange’s security features are worth mentioning: Coinbase uses two-factor authentication on all versions of its platform, stores 98% of clients’ cryptocurrencies offline, and has an insurance policy to protect custodial accounts up to $250 (in line with FDIC-coverage limits for contributors). Such robust measures are why Coinbase is ultimately worth it despite the higher fees.
Users who like Coinbase but need more advanced trading and charting features may want to take a look at the company's other exchange platform, Coinbase Pro.
|Outstanding cybersecurity infrastructure||Credit card purchases are not currently available|
|Low commissions if your account is funded by money transfers||Some services are not available in some US states.|
|Advanced trading charts and data charts|
Why we chose it: we chose Binance.com as the best low-fee crypto exchange because it has one of the most generous fees of all the trading platforms we have reviewed.
Binance is the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume, and its US partner, Binance.US, offers many of the benefits of the former. One of its greatest advantages is its competitive fee structure for makers and takers, which goes as high as 0,1%. This fee starts low and continues to decline as your trading volume increases.
Binance.US also offers discounts for using Build and Build (BNB), one of the world's most popular utility tokens, to buy and sell other coins.
There are over 120 cryptocurrencies listed on the exchange, all of which can be purchased with US dollars, saving money on conversion fees for those looking to buy crypto directly. This variety of discounts and buying options benefits advanced users who can also benefit from the platform's extensive market dashboards, margin trading, and various order types, including limit orders, market orders, and stop-limit orders.
Binance.com is not available in Hawaii, New York, Texas, and Vermont.
|Outstanding cybersecurity infrastructure||Expensive credit and debit purchases|
|Low commissions if your account is funded by money transfers||Some services are not available in the US.|
|Large selection of crypto assets||No options for exchanging cryptocurrency for cryptocurrency|
Why we chose it: we chose Crypto.com as the best crypto exchange in terms of security due to its multi-layered protection against crypto-fraud and cyber-attacks.
Most reputable crypto exchanges have a solid cybersecurity infrastructure, but this is where Crypto.com really excels. The exchange ranks first in the cybersecurity and CERtification Platform rankings among Top 100 exchanges by cybersecurity rating.
Crypto.com uses a variety of methods to keep users' cryptocurrencies secure on its trading platform, including offline cold storage for all cryptocurrencies, a regulated custodian bank account for traditional currency, and regular software peer review. It also uses multi-factor authentication with a password, biometrics, email, phone, and authenticator verification.
In addition, its platform has successfully completed several penetration tests, which are simulated cyber attacks performed to assess the security of a system, and has demonstrated proof of its means over the years.
Security is not the only attraction of Crypto.com. The exchange offers the largest selection of currencies of any company on our list, with over 250 coins.
Other notable features are its non-custodial DeFi wallet that allows users to send crypto at their preferred rate and earn interest on tokens, margin trading, prepaid Visa cards for spending crypto, and crypto loans.
|Earn monthly interest payments on your cryptocurrencies||Available products vary greatly from state to state|
|US-based, regulated and institutionally supported||Interest accounts have limited free withdrawals|
|No commissions or monthly fees|
Why we chose it: we chose the blockf as the best crypto exchange for earning interest because it allows users to earn interest on their cryptocurrency and borrow money using bitcoin as collateral.
While most cryptocurrency exchanges offer bonuses and discounts for large trading volumes, BlockFi has opted instead to create financial products targeted at conservative traders.
The main highlight of the exchange is the BlockFi Interest Account, which offers up to 9,5% per annum as monthly interest to crypto investors who store their assets on this account. The platform also allows users to use existing bitcoins as collateral for a loan.
In addition to its new financial products, BlockFi also offers an affordable fee structure and a strong cybersecurity infrastructure. The exchange charges a spread fee and a withdrawal fee, but does not charge a transaction fee when trading on its exchange. To keep your data safe, BlockFi uses tools such as two-factor authentication and whitelisting that allow users to prevent withdrawals or restrict them to certain addresses to avoid theft.
Consumers should be aware that decentralized finance (DeFi) products and services such as BlockFi carry significant risks related to software technology, assets involved, and regulatory compliance.
|Supports transactions with a wide range of coins and traditional currencies.||Mobile version only works for notifications|
|A wide variety of payment methods||Should only trade with Bitcoin or BSQ|
|Short verification process|
Why we chose it: we chose BISQ as the best decentralized exchange because it follows the spirit of Bitcoin in the best possible way by supporting an open source platform that is completely decentralized without the limitation of currency support.
Formerly known as Bitsquare, Bisq offers a clean, easy-to-use interface and extensive support for centralized exchange coins in a decentralized environment. The platform is built on open source software, which means its design is publicly available and the project is funded by personal savings and donations from the user community.
Bisq does not require a third party to conduct cryptocurrency transactions, nor does it require users to provide personal information to trade on the platform. This is a great alternative for bitcoin fans who are looking for a wide range of coins to trade, including altcoins like Cardano, XRP and Dogecoin. In fact, it is not typical for decentralized exchanges to support so many digital assets and fiat currencies.
In addition, the platform’s security features, such as multi-signature and collateral system, enhance the internal security and privacy of decentralized exchanges, ensuring that both parties act with integrity and have full control over their funds in the trading process.
Other Crypto Exchanges We Reviewed
All of the following trading platforms are great options, especially for beginner traders. However, they are not dedicated crypto or bitcoin exchanges, but mainly trade other securities such as stocks and futures. For this reason, we have decided to list them separately.
- Trading platform without commission
- Fractional stock investment available
- Cryptocurrency Volatility Reminders
- Social trading lets you see what others are buying and selling
- Lack of technical charts and research tools
- Long wait for withdrawal
- No commissions and minimum account balance
- Exceptionally easy to use and start trading
- Heavily regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission
- No Mutual Funds and Forex Trading
- Lacks educational content and research tools
- Recurring purchases and dynamic price alerts
- Allow cryptocurrency withdrawals only to approved addresses
- Display of transaction history and downloadable account statements
- Higher trading fees than other exchanges
- Limited customer service options
- Trade on multiple exchanges using a single platform
- Cryptocurrency betting and margin trading
- Strict safety standards
- Low commissions and spreads
- Not available in all US states
- Limited funding options (via fiat currencies)
- Active investment community ideal for social trading
- Crypto staking support for some coins
- Wide selection of cryptocurrency
- Disappointing withdrawal fees and spread fees
- Cryptocurrency trading is not available in all states
- One of the easiest platforms to buy bitcoins and get started with cryptocurrency.
- Lock in prices immediately and withdraw quickly
- Make and receive mobile payments
- No insurance coverage from FDIC
- It cannot be used for international payments.
- Only Bitcoin can be traded; no other cryptocurrency available
Cryptocurrency exchange guide
Even though cryptocurrency has gone mainstream, it can still confuse investors of all levels. How exactly do they work? What types of exchange exist and how do they differ from crypto wallets? Read our guide to understand all the ins and outs of cryptocurrency exchanges.
- What is a crypto exchange?
- How do crypto exchanges work?
- What to look for when choosing a crypto exchange?
- Latest news about crypto exchanges
What is a crypto exchange?
Crypto exchanges are platforms where users can exchange digital currencies for other assets, including cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), litecoin (LTC), and conventional currencies such as US dollars and euros.
Exchanges are an integral part of the crypto ecosystem as most traditional investment firms do not offer cryptocurrencies in their portfolios. Without exchanges, you would have to find another person willing to trade cryptocurrency and negotiate the exchange rate. You will then have to send coins directly to each other's cryptocurrency wallets, a somewhat confusing process.
Cryptocurrency wallet vs exchange
Cryptocurrency wallets and exchanges are important tools used to manage cryptocurrencies. Wallets are designed to keep your cryptocurrencies secure, while exchanges are trading centers where users convert fiat currencies to digital currencies and buy or sell cryptocurrencies based on current market rates.
|Crypto exchanges||Cryptocurrency Wallets|
|Facilitate trade between users||Keep the private keys needed to access cryptocurrencies on the blockchain.|
|Convert fiat currencies to digital currencies||Offered by exchanges and independent developers.|
|Available 24/7, unlike traditional investment firms||May be an online platform, a physical storage device, or both.|
Many crypto exchanges have their own wallets, so users can start trading crypto as soon as they open their account without having to worry about getting their own digital wallet. They are known as web wallets and their built-in exchange is responsible for their security measures.
Serious traders are advised to have an independent cryptocurrency wallet to deposit any coins they are not actively trading. This is because you could lose all of your digital assets if the exchange gets hacked.
While you will be responsible for the security, backup, and management of your own funds, independent digital wallets are a much safer alternative for protecting the majority of your cryptocurrencies.
How crypto exchanges work
The way crypto exchanges work depends on the type of their platform. Most crypto trading platforms are known as centralized exchanges that function as brokerage services, acting as intermediaries between buyers and sellers.
Users can deposit money to exchanges to buy cryptocurrencies, or deposit their own cryptocurrencies to exchange for other currencies, which is called cryptocurrency spot trading. Traders may expect to receive a commission for converting one cryptocurrency to another, for example, when exchanging ordinary currencies at a bank (for example, when converting US dollars to euros).
In exchange for digital currencies, exchanges can accept a wide variety of payments, including credit card payments, direct bank transfers, credit or debit cards, money transfers, and even gift cards.
Dedicated crypto and bitcoin exchanges will allow you to withdraw your crypto funds and transfer them to another wallet of your choice. Others, especially those focused on other assets such as stocks and ETFs, including Robinhood and eToro, only allow you to buy crypto, but not transfer it from your web wallets.
What are the types of crypto exchanges?
There are three types of crypto exchanges: centralized, decentralized and hybrid.
Centralized Exchanges (CEX)
Centralized exchanges are the most common and traditional type of crypto exchange. They are owned by private companies and offer investors a platform for trading cryptocurrencies. This type of exchange tends to have higher trading volumes and liquidity, as well as a larger number of trading pairs.
Centralized exchanges are often considered a good option for new crypto traders due to their better onboarding and user experience, availability of customer support, and insurance in case the platform systems fail.
The main problem with this type of exchange is that users, by their very nature, more vulnerable to hacker attacks . Some users are also uncomfortable sharing their personal data during the KYC process.
Examples: Binance, Coinbase, Kraken, Gemini.
Decentralized Exchanges (DEX)
Decentralized exchanges follow the spirit of Bitcoin by operating without a central point of control. Servers for this type of exchange are scattered across computers located all over the world, which means that if one computer is attacked, the network will continue to operate. This alone attracts many users who are afraid of losing their cryptocurrency due to a security vulnerability in the company's trading platform.
Where centralized exchanges operate as brokerage houses, decentralized exchanges are more like marketplaces. They facilitate peer-to-peer trading and have a less rigid registration process. The main disadvantages of decentralized exchanges include lower trading volume, little liquidity, generally poor user experience, and lack of customer support.
Examples: Bisq, Uniswap, PancakeSwap, Tokenlon, dYdX.
Hybrid exchanges are part of a new generation of crypto trading platforms that aim to provide the best of both worlds. They aim to overcome the limitations of older exchanges by offering the greater functionality and liquidity of centralized exchanges along with the security benefits of decentralized exchanges.
Hybrid exchanges boast high transaction speeds without compromising the privacy of their users, but are still a relatively new development in the world of cryptocurrencies. Time will tell if they will be successful or if there will be problems due to high costs, limited scalability and limited assets.
Examples: Nash, Kurrex, Eidu, Legolas.
Understanding Cryptocurrency Exchange Fees
Crypto exchanges charge several fees, and it is not always clear what exactly you will be paying for.
There are two main types of fees to look out for: exchange fees and network fees.
Exchange fee is how cryptocurrency exchanges make money. In other words, it is a service fee that includes:
- Trading fees , charged on transactions and also referred to as maker/taker fees. Trading fees show whether a cryptocurrency order provides liquidity in the market or not. They are also used when converting currencies.
- Deposit fee , charged when users add money to their account, usually with a debit card, credit card, or PayPal, rather than a bank transfer.
- Commission for withdrawals charged when you withdraw regular currency or cryptocurrencies from your account.
- Pay per account charged on a regular basis, usually monthly.
Network fees are paid to cryptocurrency miners who process and secure cryptocurrency transactions on the blockchain. Many centralized crypto exchanges incur this fee, although some may allow their users to pay more fees to miners to speed up transactions. Users of decentralized exchanges usually have to pay themselves as there is no third party between them and the crypto miners.
What to look for when choosing a crypto exchange
When choosing a crypto exchange, the main thing to pay attention to is the functionality and security measures. The exchange you choose should have most, if not all, of the features you expect to use, whether it be fiat-currency trading pairs, liquidity aggregation, or the specific altcoins and stablecoins you want to trade. It should also provide additional lines of defense such as two-factor authentication and bitcoin locks that help against hackers.
Ease of use is another factor to consider and is especially important for novice traders who may find it difficult to use platforms with a less intuitive user interface. However, experienced traders can also benefit from greater ease of use.
It is also important to consider geography. Not all exchanges are available in the US, some only work in certain states.
How to make sure a crypto exchange is legal and secure
When searching for a cryptocurrency exchange, it is important to keep an eye out for fake websites and mobile apps. Even if the platform appears to be legitimate, make sure the copy is free of spelling errors, misleading branding, and, in the case of a website, a small padlock icon next to the address bar to indicate security.
Similarly, it's important to remind yourself that apart from being a scam, trading cryptocurrencies can be dangerous. Cryptocurrencies are highly volatile, which means that they are subject to sudden price increases and decreases that even the wisest investors cannot predict with certainty.
Financial advisors recommend that if you are investing in cryptocurrencies, exercise caution and do not exceed 5% of your total investment.
How to open a crypto exchange account
Each crypto exchange has its own registration and setup process. Some exchanges may allow you to open an account without verifying your identity or providing sensitive information. Others will require new users to go through an extensive Know Your Customer (KYC) process to comply with US government regulations aimed at preventing money laundering and fraud.
However, some parts of registration are common across platforms. You will need the following information and documentation to open an account with most crypto exchange platforms:
- Your full name and date of birth
- Your phone number and email address
- Your physical address
- Your social security number
- Government-issued ID (e.g. driver's license, passport) and a photo of you holding it, or a scanned image of your ID.
The registration process usually begins with a request for your personal information, followed by an email to verify your address. Some exchanges may also ask for a copy of a utility bill sent to your physical address to inquire about your interest in trading cryptocurrencies. You will then need to add a payment method to deposit funds to the exchange and start buying and selling cryptocurrencies.
Latest news about crypto exchanges
The crypto world continues to feel the impact of the Ethereum Merge, an update to the Ethereum blockchain completed on September 15, 2022. The merger replaced the original network health check mechanism with a stake check mechanism. This reduced the energy consumption of Ethereum by about 99,95% and led to fluctuations in the prices of the coins and the processors used to mine them.
Stock and crypto prices have followed the same patterns too closely this year. Some experts believe that this could be used to discredit the common argument that cryptocurrencies are a good investment product because they do not correlate with stock prices. Others believe that this is an effect of inflation or that it could even be a positive trend for the cryptocurrency in general.
Why did the cryptocurrency fall?
Cryptocurrency is falling because it is being affected by the same factors that are currently affecting stocks and other financial assets.
Rising inflation, higher interest rates that make it more expensive for businesses to borrow money, and events like the war in Ukraine have destabilized the global economy.
This has spread to the cryptocurrency market, which is already known for its high volatility.
What is the best crypto exchange?
There is no best exchange for every user.
However, some of the features that the best cryptocurrency exchanges have include strong security tools, low fees, multiple payment options, an accessible platform, and availability for both mobile and desktop.
The large number of tradable cryptocurrencies that include various altcoins and trading pairs such as Bitcoin/Litecoin (BTC/LTC) and Ethereum/Bitcoin Cash (ETH/BCH) is something to look out for.
How many crypto exchanges exist?
Since crypto exchanges do not register with any central authority, it is difficult to know how many crypto exchanges exist at any given time.
Many exchanges can be set up and then closed after a very short time, making this number even more difficult to track.
As of September 28, 2022, CoinMarketCap lists over 270 exchanges, the largest of which are Binance, Coinbase, and FTX (by trading volume).
Which crypto exchange has the lowest fees?
Cryptocurrency exchange fees are complex and can be a source of great frustration, especially when the value of a transaction suddenly skyrockets due to unexpected fees.
Based on our research, we found that the best crypto exchange with low trading fees is Binance.US.
Its maker and taker fees start at a very generous 0,01%/0,01% and its rebate programs allow active traders to enjoy even lower rates.
Which crypto exchange is the safest?
The security nature of a crypto exchange depends on whether it is centralized or decentralized.
The most secure crypto exchange should offer one or more methods to protect your login and personal information.
According to our research, Crypto.com is the most secure exchange among all centralized exchanges.