Top cryptocurrency exchanges
Selecting the exchange you operate with is not as easy as picking one and going all in. A fully decentralized and minimally regulated field has its upsides and downsides, and here’s where the downsides can become quickly apparent. Different rates, fees, transaction times, security standards and supported coins are things that make a big difference – and quite a big impact.
Here’s what you should be paying attention to when you choose.
- Exchange rates. That’s a pretty obvious one, but it makes an immediate impact. Cryptocurrency exchange rates can differ minimally, but you can save quite a bit in the long run if you choose a more advantageous exchange.
- Fees. They can vary wildly – well, perhaps wildly is not the right word when you buy 1 Bitcoin or 5 Monero, but when you’re dealing in larger amounts, fees can take a toll if you’re unaware of what’s going on. Transaction, withdrawal and deposit fees are usually stated somewhere on the exchange’s website.
- Ease of payment. Most Cryptocurrency exchanges require KYC compliance, especially when you buy with a credit card. Some only allow credit and debit cards, some allow PayPal or alternative methods. Some take longer to process. Just make sure you know what you can expect. Very few will exchanges these days actually allow complete anonymity. The upside is that there is higher protection from fraud for all involved.
- Regulatory restrictions. Depending on where you live, you may be legally banned from using certain exchanges. If you use a VPN or other sorts of bypassing regulatory controls, you may fail to notice, but there are restrictions imposed based on the geographical location of an exchange.
Any list of “top Cryptocurrency exchanges” is bound to differ from other recommendations. Things change, some apparently healthy exchanges get hacked, banned, or simply run foul of regulators. Some lose value because of shady operations. There are dozens of things that can shift from one week to the next, so make sure to do due diligence before you commit.
That said, you will find the exchanges below to be some of the more solid ones from all points of view, either by having a positive reputation gained in time or through fair practice, or by simply presenting compelling propositions to the new customer. Some of the exchanges with very high trading volumes, like Huobi or Bithumb, are not on the list because they are either not fully proven yet or have downsides like bad customer support, high fees or difficult interfaces, especially for beginners.
One of the oldest, healthiest and best-established Cryptocurrency exchanges. It’s easy to use, with lots of trading options, a great digital wallet and integration with its GDAX subsidiary. Traded currencies depend on where you reside.
One of the oldest and most respectable ones. Lots of fiat currency options, lots of trading options and lots of cryptocurrencies supported make it a great option if you’ve got a bit of experience.
Comprehensive platform, high trading volumes, lots of currencies supported. Limited geographical service depending on country regulation. The OKB, the platform’s own token, gives owners various forms of discount.
Cryptocurrency only platform, with low fees and various rewards and capture programs, including its own coin, which is their main attraction. Great technical architecture, decent fees and good customer support.
High volumes, a well-established exchange with lots of activity, rich options including margin trading and margin funding, but not a lot of coins. Regulatory problems make it unavailable to US customers. It was hacked in the past, but recovered well.
Although one of the newest Cryptocurrency exchanges, it’s currently the top one by trading volumes. Users love it, analysts are more cautious. 130+ coins supported, beginner and advanced trader modules, plus its own coin for discounts.
A very respectable Cryptocurrency exchange, with not only a plethora of coins to choose from, but also great analytical tools for traders. Very high trading volumes, a great chat bot, very fair fees, but no fiat support.
One of the oldest and more reliable Cryptocurrency exchanges, it’s European-based and European-focused, with fiat options and very low fees. Prides itself on yearly audits by established companies, it’s transparent, secure and easy to use.
Fiat and crypto both, with great trading options and dashboards for all levels; maybe not the very best exchange rates, but it’s secure and easy to use. Customer support somewhat lagging, but this is a common problem with many.
Buy-only platform, but extremely easy to use for all levels, with credit/debit cards and bank transfer buying. It’s strict about its KYC compliance, but once you’re set with your documents, it’s a breeze. Fast transactions times.
Brainchild of the Winklevoss twins, it’s relatively new, but already a solid contender. It’s fully regulated, offer limited trading options and coins, but it’s very well designed and secure in more ways than once.
Now, as we said before, things may change – who would have seen Binance running ahead of the herd a year ago? – and the list might evolve, but the basics remain. Look for the reputable ones, and check customer support reviews. None, to be fair, quite excel in this chapter; but some are more cumbersome than might be healthy for you. And, as always, remember not to store your digital assets in exchanges; always, always use wallets.