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Many people miss out on cryptocurrencies because they do not know how to get around them. The simplest way to join the cryptocurrency market is through exchanges. Cryptocurrency exchanges serve as a platform in which people can trade cryptocurrencies with each other. Additionally, there are exchanges that allow you to trade cryptocurrencies for fiat money, making it easier to make use of your profits. In other words, a cryptocurrency exchange is an online platform that plays the role of an intermediary between buyers and sellers of crypto.
There are two types of Cryptocurrency exchanges: Decentralized exchanges (DEX) and Centralized exchanges (CEX). DEXs have various servers spread out around the globe which are operated by different users in order to keep it decentralized. Because they are not regulated and do not require identification for an individual to use them, they are often targeted as black markets. One of the main perks of being decentralized is safety. On the other hand, CEXs have one main company that owns and keeps them running. Even though they are more prone to security attacks, CEXs are regulated and, because of that, attract way more traders than DEXs.
If you want to know in detail about cryptocurrency exchanges take a look at this guide.
Throughout the article, we will list nine of the top cryptocurrency exchanges and compare them with one another. Moreover, we will elaborate on some important elements that you should look for when choosing your exchange.
1. Binance – Biggest Crypto Exchange
Binance was founded in July 2017 by Changpeng Zhao as a platform for trading various cryptocurrencies. At the time of writing, Binance is the biggest cryptocurrency exchange in terms of trading volume, with more than 1.4 million transactions happening per second. Since Binance is the leading crypto exchange right now, it is being updated constantly; with the most recent update being v1.17.0, where crypto traders can now use their crypto to invest in a handful number of major stocks such as Apple and Microsoft.
- Fast transactions
- Low trading fees
- Native token (BNB)
- Hard time depositing funds through Credit/Debit Cards
- Weak Customer Service
- Overwhelming for new traders
2. Kraken – Simple Interface
Kraken was founded in 2011 by Jesse Powell; it formally launched the trading operations in 2013. Being one of the biggest crypto exchanges, what makes Kraken unique is its simplicity – providing a friendly environment for new traders. Unlike Binance, Kraken is more beginner-friendly and it is easy to buy crypto using your credit/debit card; on the contrary, depositing funds through a credit/debit card is way faster and easier.
- Quick and effective customer service
- Supports most of the traditional methods for funding
- Simple interface
- High transaction fees
- Only a limited number of cryptocurrencies listed
- Not as flexible as some other exchanges
3. HotBit – Multi-Currency Availability
Hotbit is a cryptocurrency exchange that was founded in 2018 with its founders being from China, the US, and Taiwan. HotBit is fairly new to the game, but what makes it stand out is the availability of many cryptocurrencies that are not tradable on most of the other exchanges. One example would be Safemoon (SAFEMOON) which is not tradable in most of CEXs. Another thing worth mentioning is the HotBits negative makers’ fee (-0.05%), meaning you are getting paid to add liquidity to the order book.
- Variety of Altcoins available
- Negative Makers Fee
- 24/7 Customer service
- It is still a new exchange, meaning that it is not that developed
- It crashed many times, making people lose access to their assets for periods of time
- It does not support US users
4. Gemini – High Security
Gemini was founded in 2014 in the United States by two brothers, Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss. There are many controversial thoughts regarding cryptocurrencies and the safety of owning such assets. This is where the Gemini exchange comes into play. Being one of the safest exchanges out there, Gemini provides its users with the comfortability of fast and secure transactions. Gemini recently launched a platform called The Nifty Marketplace in which you can buy and sell digital art and collectibles known as Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs).
- It has never been hacked
- It launched The Nifty Marketplace
- You can spend your assets directly from the Gemini wallet to purchase products from retailers like GameStop, Whole Foods, Home Depot, etc.
- The maximum daily funding limit is $500
- It has a convenience fee of 0.50% and a flat transaction fee of $0.99 – 1.49% of your order value.
- Only 20 cryptocurrencies available
5. Exodus – Alternative of Kraken
Exodus was founded in 2015 by JP Richardson and Daniel Castagnoli. Exodus sets itself apart from other crypto wallets & exchanges by providing a simple interface for users of all kinds. Additionally, Exodus provides its users with a wide range of altcoins, not limiting them to trade only with Bitcoin (BTC) or Ethereum (ETH). What you should keep in mind when using Exodus is that Exodus has a light wallet that uses Simplified Payment Verification, meaning that it does not download complete blockchains to track wallet balances and verify them.
- Simple Interface
- Good Customer Service
- Wide Range of Altcoins
- It is a hot wallet
- Relatively high fees
- Not a good choice for experienced crypto-traders
6. Uniswap (V3) – Best Decentralized Exchange
Uniswap is a Decentralized Exchange (DEX) that was founded in November 2018 by Hayden Adams, a former mechanical engineer at Siemens. Because it is Decentralized, Uniswap is not that regulated. Additionally, being decentralized means that its servers are spread out, which means it is really hard for a hacker to get their hands on Uniswap. If that wasn’t enough, DEXs themselves never touch your assets, meaning that even if a hacker somehow got access to Uniswap, they still wouldn’t be able to access your assets.
- High security because it is decentralized
- Only you have access to your assets
- Supports a large number of cryptocurrencies
- High gas fees
- Does not accept fiat money deposits
- Scamming is more likely to happen
7. Bitfinex – For Professional Traders Only
Bitfinex was founded in 2012 in Hong Kong, making it one of the first crypto exchanges in existence. It serves nearly every country in the world, making it one of a few crypto exchanges to do so. However, Bitfinex is designed to serve as a trading platform for more experienced traders, meaning that it focuses on improving the experience of those individuals. This makes it an exchange that is not for new traders or individuals that do not understand the principles of trading. We should mention that Bitfinex has been hacked twice, once in 2015 and once in 2016.
- A wide variety of services
- Easy to use for professionals
- Low trading and transaction fees
- Not a friendly place for new investors
- Has been hacked twice
- Takes a long time to verify an account
8 .Bittrex – High Security
Bittrex was founded in 2014 by a team of three senior security managers from Amazon and has its headquarters in the US. Because of this team, Bittrex is known for its high security. According to CoinMarketCap, Bittrex has had a trading volume of over $1.3 billion, making it the sixth biggest crypto exchange in existence. Despite having some legal issues in 2019, Bittrex continues to be a very credible crypto exchange and does not fail to satisfy its users.
- Very high security
- No deposit fees
- It allows traditional funding methods
- High trading and transaction fees
- No native token
- Only 4 fiat currencies supported
9. Huobi Global – Alternative of Binance on Asia
Huobi was founded in 2013 by Leon Li, a computer engineer. At the moment of writing, Huobi global is one of the biggest crypto exchanges in the world, having a trading volume of $10 billion over the last 24 hours. For many people, Huobi acts as a substitute for Binance, since many countries have banned Binance because of different reasons. Huobi is also known as the Binance of Asia because of its widespread usage throughout Asia. It also has a native token called Huobi USD (HUSD) which is backed by the US dollar.
- One of the biggest crypto exchanges in the world
- 300 cryptocurrencies listed for trading
- Has a very professional team
- Medium to low security
- Relatively high fees
- Lacks smooth performance
If you want to know more about the Huobi exchange here’s a review you can take a look at.
What to Consider When Choosing Your Exchange?
Choosing the exchange on which you will do most of the cryptocurrency trading is something that should be done carefully. Because of that, we tried to make it easier for you by listing SOME factors that supposedly play a big role in choosing an exchange.
The first thing you should check when choosing your exchange is if that particular exchange covers the region that you reside in, making it possible for you to join and start trading. Because of different reasons, there are exchanges that cover some specific countries that other exchanges don’t. The perfect example would be comparing Binance – which is the biggest cryptocurrency exchange at the time of writing – with Gemini. Binance is available in more than 180 countries around the world while Gemini is only available in around 50 countries. Because cryptocurrencies are decentralized, there are many countries that consider them outlaws since they cannot be regulated by any institution or government. This also has an effect on the availability of cryptos in certain regions.
Every person joining the cryptocurrency market has heard beforehand about one or two specific coins that they seek to invest in; therefore, they know which coins to look for in the exchange they want to use. When choosing your exchange, you should check if the coins you are interested in buying are listed in it. Since new coins are being created each day, many exchanges have a hard time keeping up. Again, let us compare two major cryptocurrency exchanges to paint a clearer picture. For example, Binance has about 360 cryptocurrencies listed on its platform while another major crypto exchange named Kraken has only 60 cryptocurrencies listed for trading. Thus, always check the availability of the coin you are seeking to buy before depositing fiat money into the exchange that you have chosen.
Because the online world is developing fairly quickly, there are many ways to make online payments, and most of these ways are accepted by crypto exchanges as well. When choosing your exchange, always check for the payment methods that are available. Payment methods include:
- Debit/Credit Cards
- Wire Transfers
- Bank Transfers
Keep in mind that the exchange you choose should fulfill your needs as a trader, not the other way around. Always pick the exchange that includes the payment method that suits you best.
Every cryptocurrency exchange mentioned above has its pros and cons, some having more pros than others and vice versa. That being said, it is nearly impossible to give the number one spot to one specific exchange. It all depends on the type of trading you want to do, the region that you reside in, and the payment method that fits you best. For example, people in Asia will get the most out of their trading experience by using Huobi Global, while people in Europe will do so by using Binance, and so on. Another example would be comparing the interface of Kraken and Bitfinex, one being very easy for new traders to use while the other being specifically designed for more experienced traders, respectfully.
- There are two types of cryptocurrency exchanges: Decentralized Exchanges (DEX) and Centralized Exchanges (CEX).
- Binance is the biggest cryptocurrency exchange in the world in terms of the trading volume.
- Kraken has a very easy-to-use interface.
- Many new cryptocurrencies with very low prices can be traded only on HotBit.
- Gemini has an NFT marketplace called The Nifty Marketplace where NFTs are traded.
- Exodus serves as an alternative to Kraken, having a very easy-to-use interface as well.
- According to CoinMarketCap, the best Decentralized Exchange (DEX) is Uniswap (V3).
- Huobi Global is the most used cryptocurrency exchange in Asia at the time of writing.
- Before choosing your exchange, always check what regions it covers, which coins it has listed for trading, and the payment methods accepted.