In this article Samara Malkin from cryptocurrencynews analyses the top 10 crypto exchanges in popularity to help you choose the right combinations of features that best suits your needs as a trader.
When it comes to crypto exchanges, there are a lot of options out there. You need to choose the one that works best for you. To do this, you need to know what you want. Do you want to be able to exchange cryptocurrency for fiat currency? Do you want a specific crypto trading pair?
Knowing what you want will help you to choose the right cryptocurrency exchange for your needs. We’ve created a list of some of the most popular crypto exchanges to help you find the best crypto exchange for you.
The best things to consider when choosing a cryptocurrency exchange that’s right for you are safety and security, exchange volume, and exchange fees. For example, ideally, you would want an exchange that is high in volume but low in fees. It’s also important to know that not all crypto exchanges are available in every country and some countries may have restrictions on what you can access on an exchange, these factors alone may be an instant deciding factor for you against a particular exchange.
Popular Crypto Exchanges: Crypto-to-Crypto Trading
In a crypto-to-crypto exchange, all trading pairs are between cryptocurrencies. You cannot exchange fiat currency directly for crypto. Crypto-to-crypto exchanges include Binance, Huobi, and Bittrex.
If you want to be able to exchange, say, the US dollar directly for cryptocurrency, then none of these exchanges is the right one for you. But if you already own some cryptocurrency, and you just want to trade between cryptos, these popular crypto exchanges will do just the trick. (Just make sure the exchange supports the crypto trading pair you want to make!).
If you’re wondering about the name, it comes from ‘Binary’ and ‘Finance.‘ Binance is a popular exchange that offers a multi-tier and multi-cluster system for security and can process 1.4 million orders per second. You can access Binance from any device, and the exchange is available in multiple languages, including English, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.
There are over 300 cryptocurrencies supported on Binance, with multiple trading pairs among them, including ETH/BTC, EOS/ETH, and many more. Binance currently holds approximately 29% of the overall exchange market share (market share varies by day).
Binance charges a 0.1% trading fee, no deposit fee, and the fee for withdrawing will depend on the blockchain (for example, to withdraw BTC, Binance will charge you 0.0005 BTC).
Binance is available in all countries, including the US.
Some of the drawbacks of Binance are that users may experience delays when trying to withdraw coins from the exchange, and occasionally, user data may be logged.
Click here to see all Binance trading pairs.
Also read: Binance 101
Huobi is used by millions of customers every day and offers hundreds of trading pairs, placing it high on the list of “popular crypto exchanges” for many. It has security and risk control from Goldman Sachs and uses a decentralised structure with an anti-DDOS protection system. The majority of its digital assets are stored in multi-signature cold wallets to keep them safe.
The exchange also uses a SMART-chain evaluation model that analyzes the entire blockchain ecosystem to provide research-backed insights into cryptocurrency. Some other pros for this exchange include:
- Customers can access Huobi from iOS, Android, Windows, or Mac.
- Huobi offers 24/7 customer service, every day of the year.
- Trading fees on Huobi are 0.2%. There are no deposit or withdrawal fees.
- Huobi is available in over 130 countries, including Canada.
A con to be considered is that the Huobi exchange has been accused of falsifying trading volumes in the past. Accusations may abound but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are true, but it’s worth researching for peace of mind.
Click here to see all Huobi trading pairs.
Bittrex uses a custom-built trading engine that is meant to be scalable and provide real-time execution of trades. This, plus the exchange’s automatic monitoring platform, means that Bittrex’s transactions will be some of the fastest on the market. Its also an easy-to-use platform, even for beginners.
As a US-run crypto exchange, Bittrex complies with all US regulations to help ensure all customers have the best, and safest, experience possible.
There are over 190 cryptocurrencies offered on Bittrex, with numerous trading pairs between them, which is why it is often included in the list of popular crypto exchanges.
Bittrex ensures security by keeping the majority of its funds in a multi-stage cold storage wallet. All users will be put through two-factor authentication for added security.
There is a 0.25% trading fee on all coins but no deposit fee. Withdrawal fees will vary by coin.
Be aware that there is usually a long verification process to getting your account approved with Bittrex. The response time for customer service inquiries can also be a little slow.
Click here to see all Bittrex trading pairs.
Popular Crypto Exchanges: Fiat-to-Crypto Trading
A fiat exchange allows fiat currency to be traded for certain cryptocurrencies. Many fiat exchanges also have crypto-to-crypto listings (usually BTC/ETH). Coinbase, OKEx, Bitfinex, Bithumb, Kraken, Bitstamp, and Gemini are all fiat exchanges.
Fiat exchanges are good for when you want to exchange cryptocurrency directly with fiat currency; however, they may not offer as many crypto-to-crypto pairings, so it’s good to go into a fiat exchange knowing what cryptocurrencies can be exchanged for one another.
Fiat exchanges, because they accept fiat currencies, are a good entry-way into cryptocurrency investing since you can buy cryptos directly from the exchange. This is also what makes them popular crypto exchanges.
Coinbase is one of the most popular crypto exchanges in the US. The exchange has over 20 million users.
On the platform, you can link your bank account directly with the exchange. It’s an easy setup; you pretty much just create an account, link your bank account, and then you can start buying and selling.
Other pros include:
- High liquidity
- Coinbase offers an instant “buy” feature
- Low fees: a 1.49% fee on all bank purchases and a 3.99% fee on credit and debit purchases
- Supports Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), and Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
- Available in many countries
Some may find it to be a con that:
- The exchange also only support the tokens mentioned above
- At the moment, accounts on Coinbase are monitored, which is not something that everyone wants
- Coinbase has limited payment methods
Coinbase is available in many countries; however, in Australia and Canada, customers will only be able to buy cryptos. They won’t be able to sell them again through Coinbase. The payment method you can use will also depend on what country you are in. For example, in Australia, the only payment methods available is through credit and debit card. Other countries may also allow direct deposit and via a bank account.
Click here to see all Coinbase trading pairs.
OKEx makes security their number one priority by employing GSLB and distributed server clusters, among other safety technologies. To give customers the best trading experience possible, OKEx develops products based on customer feedback, making it one of the more popular crypto exchanges among customers.
With over a million customers, OKEx is one of the top exchanges by trading volume. The exchange will soon be launching its C2C program, which will allow its customers to trade cryptocurrency with fiat currency.
The exchange offers both token and futures trading pairs with 100s of options to choose from.
The fees charged by OKEx are volume-based, which means that the exchange adjusts your fees depending on your daily trading volume. The more you trade, the lower your fee will be. Fees can range anywhere between 0% and 0.19%, depending on what you’re trading (regular or futures) and how much you’re trading.
OKEx is available in hundreds of countries.
The customer support from OKEx may at times be slow, and it is not the easiest exchange to use if you are a beginner.
Click here to see all OKEx trading pairs.
Bitfinex is the largest cryptocurrency exchange with 37% of the overall market share, making it also one of the most popular crypto exchanges. It’s one of the earlier exchanges, having been founded in 2012. Many coins can be traded with the US dollar, and a smaller selection of coins can also be traded with the euro, Japanese yen, and British pound.
It’s important to note that for a period of time last year, fiat deposits into Bitfinex were suspended. Fiat deposits are back up and running now, but may take some time to appear in your account. To deposit fiat currency into your Bitfinex account (or to trade with fiat), your account must be verified. Verifying your account allows you to deposit, trade, and withdraw fiat currencies and will speed up the process of doing these things.
Account verification may take up to five weeks but you can still deposit, trade, and withdraw among cryptos while you wait – that’s still doable. To verify your account, you will need to go through AML, KYC, and CTF processes. Learn more about the verification process here.
Two concerns regarding this exchange are:
- Bitfinex isn’t the easiest exchange to follow, especially for beginners. Its UI is considered complicated but you can read a Beginner’s Guide to Bitfinex to help get you started.
- Also, worthy of note is that US residents cannot sign up for Bitfinex. You can trade in US dollars, but cannot be a resident of the States.
Withdrawal and deposit fees will vary by coin; however, coin deposits over USD $1,000 will not be charged a fee. Trading fees range between 0% and 0.20% (trading fees include both maker and taker fees).
Click here to see all Bitfinex trading pairs.
Bithumb technically is a fiat exchange, however, the only fiat currency supported is the South Korean Won (KRW), and fiat deposits are only available to Korean residents. Outside of Korea, Bithumb would, therefore, be a crypto-to-crypto exchange.
Despite this, Bithumb is still highly regarded among the popular crypto exchanges, especially among South Koreans. Bithumb has one of the largest trading volumes of all the crypto exchanges. Its popularity means that the exchange has a high liquidity—a good sign for an exchange.
The exchange provides customer service around the clock all throughout the year and gives customers access to the most popular cryptocurrencies. Bithumb is fairly straightforward to use, making it a good first stop for beginners, although English-speaking customers may find some of the translations confusing.
Bithumb charges a 0.2% trading fee, while its deposit and withdrawal fees will vary depending on the cryptocurrency. In terms of KRW, there is no deposit fee, but it will cost 1,000 KRW to withdraw KRW from the exchange.
Click here to see all Bithumb trading pairs.
Kraken is a popular crypto exchange because of its high liquidity. The exchange is rated as the best and most secure Bitcoin exchange by multiple independent sources. Kraken is trusted by government officials in Japan and by many European regulated banks. It was also the first exchange to be listed on the Bloomberg terminals.
However, it doesn’t just trade Bitcoin (BTC) (on Kraken, Bitcoin is labeled as XBT). Other coins are supported by Kraken too, such as Ethereum (ETH) and Litecoin (LTC). The fiat currencies it supports are the US dollar, Euro, British pound, Japanese Yen, and Canadian Dollar.
Kraken’s trading engine is one of the fastest among the popular crypto exchanges.
Like OKEx, Kraken’s fee system is based on the user’s trading volume. It’s tier-based, so your fees will vary depending on what “tier” you are trading in – i.e. users with a trading volume below 50,000 will be subject to fees of 0.16% (maker) and 0.26% (taker). The exact fees will also depend on what the customer is trading.
Kraken doesn’t always have the best customer support and may not be ideal for beginners.
Click here to see all Kraken trading pairs.
Bitstamp is one of the most popular crypto exchanges, giving it a high liquidity. Despite not offering many cryptocurrencies, Bitstamp is a globally recognized Bitcoin exchange and was the first crypto exchange to become fully licensed.
Bitstamp is used around the world, but currently, the exchange only offers the US dollar and Euro fiat currencies.
Trading fees will depend on how much the user is trading in 30 days, with the larger the trading volume, the lower the fee. Trading fees range between 0.10% and 0.25%. There are no deposit or withdrawal fees for the supported cryptocurrencies. For fiat currency, deposit and withdrawal fees will depend on the method of depositing and/or withdrawing.
Deposits and withdrawals can be done through a SEPA and through an international wire. You can also purchase crypto with a credit card and make withdrawals with your debit card. All of these methods have different fees associated with them.
Bitstamp has a more complicated interface than some exchanges and so may not be the best exchange for beginners.
Click here to see all Bitstamp trading pairs.
Gemini is another licensed crypto exchange that has earned its place among the popular crypto exchanges. It uses a cold storage system to keep all information offline, giving the exchange top-of-the-line security.
The exchange was built with security at the forefront of all operations. In addition to its cold storage system, users can feel safe with Gemini’s multi-factor authentication. It is also a simple platform to navigate, making it a good option for beginner investors.
Gemini’s downfall is its limited trading pairs, but the exchange did recently add support for Zcash (ZEC), opening things up a little more. Litecoin (LTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) may be up next. The only supported fiat currency is the US dollar.
Fees are determined by the customer’s gross trading volume of that trading pair over 30 days and will vary by currency and deposit/withdrawal method. High-volume traders will receive discounts and rebates.
Gemini is a highly regulated exchange, which gives it a good reputation but may also inhibit customer transaction privacy.
One of the unique things about Gemini is its auction feature, which gives customers across the globe a time where they can all trade at the same prices regardless of the time zone they are in.
Gemini isn’t available everywhere. It’s only available in 48 states in the US (excluding Hawaii and Arizona, although they are supposedly coming soon), and in Canada, Puerto Rico, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and the United Kingdom.
Click here to see all Gemini trading pairs.