Top cryptocurrency exchanges

Top cryptocurrency exchanges for trading bitcoin and other digital assets

Top cryptocurrency exchanges for trading bitcoin and other digital assets

The main difference between a cryptocurrency exchange and a traditional exchange is that cryptocurrency exchanges are focused on providing access to trading cryptocurrencies e.g. facilitate physical buying and selling of digital assets for you. Technically, crypto exchanges can be centralized or decentralized (e.g. all the trades are executed on an exchange-specific blockchain).

Top cryptocurrency exchanges reviewed in this post are all centralized though, as centralized architecture is still very popular. Last, but not least – traditional exchanges are heavily regulated and well established, while cryptocurrency exchanges are very young businesses and are not regulated in the same way as traditional exchanges are. You need to check legal status of cryptocurrency trading status and of a particular exchange in your country before using it.

Before signing up with any of crypto services providers (even from this list of top cryptocurrency exchanges) or buying any digital assets consult with a financial adviser, as cryptocurrencies are extremely risky assets and regulations in relation to cryptocurrencies are country-specific. I am not a financial advisor and all of the information in this post represents my personal opinions, not a financial advice. Please discuss your investment ideas with a qualified financial advisor before committing any capital.

Below I am listing top cryptocurrency exchanges by volume and overall popularity, with some information about each exchange. Please note that links provided on this website are affiliate links, you read affiliate disclosure at the bottom of this page for more details.

Binance cryptocurrency exchange

binance cryptocurrency exchange

Binance was founded by Changpeng Zhao in 2017 in China and quickly became the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world. It was originally funded by issuance of Binance Coin (BNB) through an ICO (Initial Coin Offering). Binance is currently headquartered in Malta, but not regulated as a financial institution there. As of now Binance processes $23.0bn trading volume per day and more than 1 400 000 transactions per second. It offers trading services, investment and savings products and services to corporate customers.

Binance offers following services:

Trading

  • Buying cryptocurrency with credit/debit card, bank transfer or peer-to-peer
  • Trading in major cryptocurrency pairs and alternative coins
  • Trading in cryptocurrency futures and on leverage
  • Trading cryptocurrency on margin
  • Binance fee structure depends on a particular pair. It’s not a flat fee structure.

Financing

  • Fixed term and flexible cryptocurrency savings that can earn you interest in a particular cryptocurrency
  • Earning interest from staking cryptocurrencies that use staking to function. Staking is form of cryptocurrency mining, where stake in a cryptocurrency is used to support its blockchain functioning e.g. to verify transactions and add them to the blockchain. You can learn more about staking here
  • Join a cryptocurrency mining pool managed by Binance to earn mining rewards
  • Get a tether-currency loan for your crypto assets. For example you can get USDT (cryptocurrency pegged to USD) putting your Bitcoin as a collateral
  • Provide liquidity in a particular cryptocurrency to earn part of trading fees.
  • Get a visa card that supports cryptocurrency payments

Other

  • Through its Launchpad platform Binance offers investors to participate in new innovative crypto services (such as Decentralized Finance – DeFi projects)
  • Provides institutional research
  • TrustWallet– cryptocurrency wallet that provides also provides crypto savings and staking

To summarize, Binance is a large cryptocurrency exchange offering loads of additional cryptocurrency services such as financing / investment opportunities.

Pros: It offers very broad selection of cryptocurrencies and more sophisticated crypto services such as crypto savings and staking.

Cons: It’s not clear where exactly it is regulated and what legal protections investors have (quite common for crypto exchanges though). Fee structure is complex, so you’ll need to research fees for each digital asset separately.

You can register with Binance here

Coinbase cryptocurrency exchange

Coinbase cryptocurrency exchange

Coinbase was founded in 2012 by Brian Armstrong and Fred Ehrsam in San Francisco (California, US). It was backed by major VCs (Venture Capital firms). This is a well-established and reputable exchange with one significant upside – all digital assets are insured and USD balances up to $250K are protected by FDIC. Currently Coinbase provides following services:

  • Coinbase exchange that allows users to trade major cryptocurrency pairs. It offers trading in most established coins, so don’t expect to see exotic coins here. Fee structure is tiered based on your monthly trading volume
  • You can deposit or withdraw funds by direct transfer from your bank account or with cryptocurrencies
  • Prime trading services for institutional clients
  • Crypto wallet for people interested in holding cryptocurrencies and making crypto transactions
  • Coinbase provides cryptocurrency payment integration services
  • Operates its own investment fund focused on cryptocurrencies and digital assets.

To summarize, Coinbase is a well-established crypto exchange platform.

Pros: Coinbase has developed a strong reputation since 2012. Digital assets offered on the exchange are insured and private USD balances up to $250K are protected by FDIC for US customers. It has an easy to understand tiered fee structure

Cons: You can trade only established cryptocurrency pairs, so if you want to access more exotic coins or crypto derivatives you’ll have to use another exchange.

You can start trading cryptocurrencies with Coinbase here

Kraken cryptocurrency exchange

Kraken Cryptocurrency exchange

Kraken is a US-based crypto exchange that was founded by Jesse Powell in 2013. Interesting fact about Kraken is that it’s supplying cryptocurrency data to Bloomberg terminal.

Here are some key features of Kraken exchange:

  • Kraken provides high level of security, including 2FA (two-factor authentication), PGP encryption of emails and other security features (you can check it directly on their website)
  • You can fund your account and withdraw money with traditional currencies through bank transfer or with cryptocurrencies
  • You can trade many crypto-fiat and crypto-crypto pairs with Kraken
  • Kraken offers margin trading and leveraged trading in crypto futures
  • You can participate in staking, earning interest in cryptocurrencies and fiat (EUR and USD)
  • It offers a tool called CryptoWatch to facilitate your trading
  • Offers transparent fee structure on a tiered basis
  • It’s one of top crypto exchanges by volume and offers high liquidity

Pros: Kraken takes security seriously, suggest you check their website for more details. It also offers wide range of crypto and fiat pairs for trading and way to earn some interest via staking.

Cons: There is no way to trade options or participate in mining. Options for staking are also quite limited.

Overall, Kraken is a well-established crypto exchange that offers cash and margin trading in cryptocurrencies and fiat currencies. You can start trading with Kraken here

Huobi Global exchange

Huobi global exchange

Huobi Global is a Singapore based cryptocurrency exchange. It was founded back in 2013 in China by Leon Li. It was originally funded by angel investors and then raised venture capital from famous Sequoia Capital.

So, what are key features of Huobi Global?

  • You can quickly buy or sell cryptocurrencies with your credit or debit card, both from Huobi or using their peer-to-peer service
  • Huobi offers access to wide range of cryptocurrencies and crypto derivatives. You can trade crypto futures, swaps and options too.
  • Trading on margin is available for those interested in it
  • You can lend your crypto assets on Huobi platform to margin traders
  • It also provides savings in cryptocurrencies, possibility to join mining pools and access various DeFi yield farming options

To summarize, Huobi Global is a well-established, reputable exchange offering wide range of crypto assets.

Pros: well established, offers access to major and alternative crypto currencies. Huobi allows you to trade more sophisticated instruments such as crypto swaps and options. Trading platform is available in many languages. You can also make use of their crypto savings products, access mining pools and crypto lending through their wealth management section.

Cons: It’s not clear how Huobi is regulated and what form of legal protection you may have, so you have to fully rely on Huobi reputation, which is the case with majority of crypto exchanges to be fair. Trading for US and Japan citizens on Huobi is prohibited, so please seek legal advice before using Huobi exchange

You can start trading with Huobi here

Bitstamp exchange

Bitstamp exchange

Bitstamp was founded in Slovenia (European Union) in 2011 by Nej Kodric and Damian Merlak. Company moved to Luxembourg in 2016 and is regulated as an EU payment institution. Bitstamp is focusing on security and compliance and offers trading in most established cryptocurrencies. You can fund your account by transfer, card or crypto.

Pros Focused on compliance, legal aspects and security. Has a transparent fee structure

Cons Trading is limited to most liquid cryptocurrencies, so you cant access alternative coins.

You can register with Bitstamp here

In this post I reviewed top cryptocurrency exchanges and provided additional information about each exchange. Hope this post gave you a good overview of what these crypto currency exchanges can offer you. You can read how to choose the best cryptocurrency exchange here or how to choose the best crypto wallet. Good luck!

Posted by Crypto Novice in Crypto 101, Trading and exchanges