There are a lot of crypto exchanges out there. Gone are the days when you were strapped for choice. Today the choice is overwhelming. This is not only a challenge for those new to crypto but, it also means those who are currently using an exchange constantly have to wonder if they do have the best deal. Fret not.
This blog post is going to give you exactly what you need to know about the best exchanges on the market right now. I’ll be going over the top Crypto exchange picks. I will cover their respective pros and cons and compare them side by side.
All this is to help you assess your options and pick the right crypto exchange for yourself. Finally, your time is important, I’ve placed a table of content below. Use it to skip ahead to the sections of the article that interest you the most.
I’m sure that many of you are like me and are that crypto guy in your friendship group. That means that you’re the guy that your so-called mates make fun of when those crypto markets are in the toilet.
What are The Best Crypto Exchanges?
What’s the best crypto exchange for me? After all, we all prioritize different things so there is no one-size-fits-all.
The first thing to note is that there are several versions of the Binance exchange. You have the likes of Binance Singapore, Binance Uganda, Binance US, Binance Jersey, etc.
The thing to know is that these are different exchanges from Binance which you can think of as Binance’s global exchange.
To put it simply Binance is the biggest exchange in the world and processes around 2 billion in daily volume. Who can use Binance? If you’re based in the US, Uganda, or Singapore, you’ll have to use the version of the exchange for your respective countries.
Aside from that the only countries blocked are those that fall under USA sanctions. I’m talking about the likes of Iran and North Korea.
Binance offers a lot of exchange features:
- On Binance you get access to the most extensive crypto spot market in the crypto market.
- A suite of advanced trading tools.
- The ability to trade on margin and an over-the-counter service to get you better pricing without slippage.
- There are a host of advanced derivative products. These enable you to dabble in futures markets with up to 125 times leverage and long or short tokens with up to three times leverage.
- You have crypto finance services like Binance earn which allows you to earn bank-busting interest rates on your crypto. The Binance crypto card gives you a cashback of up to eight percent.
- You also have access to flexible collateralized crypto loans.
- There are exclusive initial exchange offerings that you can take part in on the Binance launch pad.
There are a lot of features to Binance.
When it comes to depositing methods, all crypto deposits are free. Withdrawal fees are variable and dependent on the crypto or fiat currency you’re getting off the exchange.
Binance also supports some of the lowest fees for any exchange too. Remember I said that you would get 0.5 percent in trading fees on Coinbase pro. Binance kicks things off with a 0.1 percent maker and taker fee.
Pay that fee with BNB coin and you’ll get another 25 off, trade a ton and you’ll get further fee discounts too.
Binance also supports a range of deposit options for different currencies. They have recently activated Visa and MasterCard deposits in addition to methods like bank transfers.
Bank card fees for euros and GBP attract a fee of 1.8 percent whereas UK faster payments and SEPA bank deposits are entirely free.
That brings me on to supported cryptos. Binance is a bit of an altcoin buffet. Almost any crypto worth getting is listed here.
In terms of customer support, Binance has you covered 24/7 with an online ticket system. Those Binance customer support agents will then get back to you over email. I have never had to wait more than 24 hours to hear back from them.
When it comes to apps, Binance has gone the extra mile with an excellent mobile app for android and ios and a desktop app for mac os, windows, and Linux. If you like apps then Binance has you covered.
Touching on security, Binance does use best practices when it comes to cold storage, multi-signature wallets, tiered access, and enhanced cybersecurity detection systems.
However, the exchange did get hacked in 2019 for seven thousand bitcoin which was about two percent of all its bitcoin holdings
What we can glean from this is that Binance holds about 98 of its user’s funds in cold storage pretty much the same as Coinbase pro with all that being said users impacted by the hack were all reimbursed by Binance’s famous SAFU fund.
I can’t forget that to say that Binance is supported by every third-party trading bot worth considering.
With all that in mind who is Binance for? Honestly folks anyone who is a beginner and isn’t shy of dabbling in exotic old coins.
2. Coinbase pro
This is an advanced trading platform operated by the folks at Coinbase. That begs the question, who is this Coinbase? They were one of the first companies to enter the crypto exchange game back in 2013.
The company is based in San Francisco and has 35 million users that have traded more than 220 billion dollars in volume. Another fun fact is that Coinbase’s most recent round of funding for 300 million dollars valued the company at 8 billion.
This lot runs a pretty damn serious crypto exchange. That brings me on to a key question. Who can use Coinbase pro? The good news is that Coinbase is accepted in over 100 countries.
Chances are that if you’re reading this post, you’ll be able to trade on Coinbase pro. This also includes my friends from the US in any state other than Hawaii.
Signing up to Coinbase pro is pretty damn straightforward. However, the thing to know is that you need to create a regular Coinbase account first and then log into Coinbase pro.
Your login and password for pro are exactly the same as your basic Coinbase account. Once you log into Coinbase pro you’ll see a trading panel like the one below:
You can place a market or limit order and stops. I know that may sound complicated and daunting to crypto newcomers. However, I can promise you that it is quite straightforward.
Another feature offered on this exchange would be leveraged trading up to three times. Honestly, I would not recommend using leverage unless you know what you’re doing and you are comfortable trading stock markets. For many newbies, this is a very fast way to lose money.
When it comes to depositing methods it’s a little all over the shop at Coinbase and dependent on which country you’re based in. Major supported payment options include bank transfer, Paypal, debit, and credit card.
All that brings me nicely onto the topic of fees. I know it can be tempting not to pay too much attention to these, but trust me folks they do add up and can seriously eat into your long-term profitability.
There are two main fees here, deposit/withdrawal fees and trading fees. Let’s look at deposits first.
The thing to know is that ACH and Swift’s deposits are completely free. USD wires are charged at 10 dollars and SEPA euro deposits incur just 15 cents in fees.
Withdrawals are free for ACH, 25 for USD wires, 15 cents for SEPA euro transfers, and one pound for swift. The good news for people wanting to withdraw crypto off the exchange is that this is entirely free.
Now if you are like most people and are trading less than 10 000 per month, then you’ll be paying 0.5 percent in trading fees. That scales down the more volume you do.
The next thing to talk about is the range of cryptocurrencies available for trading on Coinbase pro. Some people might use Coinbase pro to just buy bitcoin and send it over to another crypto exchange to buy more exotic old coins.
However, right now about 50 different cryptos are available for trading. That’s not too shabby at all.
I know all of us hope to never have to use customer support, but it is something worth considering when choosing an exchange. After all, it’s damn annoying if you have a problem and you’re left hanging for ages.
At Coinbase pro you can submit a support ticket through their form and they’ll get back to you over email. However, I’m going to level with you, I’ve personally had my patience stretched to breaking point by Coinbase support.
They just seem to ignore me for days and sometimes they will never reply at all. Just be aware of that, if you opt for Coinbase pro, and pray you never need to enter that customer support maze.
Coinbase pro does offer phone support at 6 am and 6 pm PT. However, here’s the bad news, these support agents cannot help with any account-specific queries like order statuses, specific transactions, or your account history.
Every customer support query I’ve ever made has been linked to one of these things. This type of support might as well not be there if you ask me.
The next thing to discuss would be security. Coinbase pro holds 98 of user funds offline. Those private keys are then split with redundancy encrypted and copied to super secure USB devices and paper backups.
These are then popped in safe deposit boxes and scattered throughout the world. If you want to keep your funds on an exchange, Coinbase is pretty damn secure.
Coinbase Pro also has FDIC insurance for us dollar accounts. This is the same insurance banks use to protect customers. What that means is that US dollar balances below a quarter of a million dollars are insured by the US government. Good news if you’re a US citizen and you are holding us dollars on Coinbase.
In terms of securing your account, Coinbase Pro has a host of security features like two-factor authentication.
One major drawback that I need to tell you about is the frequent exchange outages at times of high market volatility. That can be insanely annoying if there is a massive market move that you can’t take advantage of.
Finally Coinbase pro does offer ios and android mobile apps for those that want to trade on the go.
If crypto trading bots are something that you’re interested in, then the good news is that most major third-party bot software supports Coinbase pro.
Now you know the ins and outs of Coinbase pro. Who is it for? Honestly, out of all the exchanges I’m going to mention on this list, Coinbase pro is probably the easiest one to use.
However, you should know that you’ll be paying some of the highest exchange fees out there for that privilege and dealing with less than stellar customer support
If you’re new to crypto and are wanting an easy way to get into crypto using fiat, then Coinbase pro is certainly worth considering. However, there are probably better options out there for more experienced crypto dabblers.
Kraken is focused on the cryptocurrency exchange. It offers margin and leverage trading. Kraken does have a good set of tutorials, how-to’s, and faqs. If you’re just learning about bitcoin and cryptos.
You can go and see those before you sign up for an account. If you have signed up for an account, there is good support as well. You get 24/7 support and live chat which definitely should not be overlooked especially if you’re a first-timer.
95% of deposits are held offline to increase security. Not as much as the competition, some at 98%, but it is in the ballpark of what would be industry standard.
Kraken’s trading platform has improved over the years and it is more than enough for most normal consumers who are looking to just dip their toe with cryptocurrencies.
Fees are way lower as well. Starting at 0.26% which is almost half of what you’re getting charged on Coinbase.
Kraken also offers something called a maker-taker fee model and this means that there are different prices and a pricing structure for people that are taking liquidity off the platform versus people that are giving the platform liquidity.
This essentially means that if you are adding liquidity; you are trading and adding investment into the platform, you get cheaper prices. Trading fees can be as low as 0.16% for makers versus 0.26% for takers.
Security options are outstanding in my opinion. There are multiple methods that you can secure your account and your cryptocurrencies by using offline and physical methods as well and some digital methods too.
Some of the options are configurable account timeout, SSL encryption, and even a physical security key to log into your account. You can use it with google authenticator.
Kraken is a very good choice. It’s been around for a long time, it’s used by a lot of people and it’s known to be very secure.
How does Gemini compare? A reason you would use Gemini is that you want something like Coinbase that’s heavily regulated. It’s a US exchange. It is one of the most secure and it has a lot of licenses.
Barstool Sports CEO uses Gemini to buy chain link, to buy bitcoin. It is good for US customers. What are the fees? Well, they are volume-based and they range anywhere from one percent to zero percent if you trade in high volumes.
The cons of which I would say to any US exchange is there are limited coins which again could be a blessing because you’re only going to get sort of the safest ones because of the heavy regulation.
In general, if I had to describe Gemini in one word I would say safe and reliable, and good for US residents.
This is a decentralized market-making exchange. It’s essentially an open-source dap built on Ethereum that enables you to swap Ether for any ERC20 token in a truly decentralized way.
All that is combined with a super simple and easy-to-use interface that also connects to popular web 3.0 wallets like Metamask.
How does Uniswap differ from centralized alternatives like Coinbase pro? On Uniswap there is no company holding your funds and instead, you’re always in control of your crypto assets. In other words, it is non-custodial.
Now, that may not sound like a big deal. However, try telling that to the poor souls who had their crypto controlled by the likes of QuadrigaCX, Mt. Gox, or Cryptopia.
The lesson to learn from these centralized exchange disasters is that things can go pear-shaped in a very big way if you trust the wrong company with your crypto.
Indeed that’s the key reason why so many people in the crypto space support decentralized exchanges. Now here’s something that a ton of people don’t know. In September of last year, Uniswap reported more trading volume than Coinbase.
Gone are the days when DEXs were a plaything of super crypto geeks. The upshot of Uniswap’s decentralized nature is that there are no country restrictions to speak of.
In terms of unique features, liquidity pools are what make Uniswap decentralized and are the mechanism through which you can earn trading fees with Uniswap. These are basically pools of tokens that sit in smart contracts.
Another feature that privacy hawks value is that there is no KYC to speak of on Uniswap. If you value that then this is the exchange for you.
Because Uniswap is non-custodial that means there are no such things as deposit or withdrawal fees instead you’ll pay Ethereum gas fees to send those tokens to the protocol and a 0.3 liquidity provider fee to swap them.
I do need to give you a brief warning about these Ethereum gas fees. If the network is super congested, then these can cost you an arm and a leg.
Indeed in early September last year, a straightforward eth-to-die swap on Uniswap cost a staggering 55 dollars in gas fees. Since then these fees have fallen to more reasonable levels, but just keep an eye on those fees before you make a swap.
Another thing to note is that Uniswap is solely ERC20 crypto to crypto exchange. That means to use it, you’ll need to have at least some Ethereum or ERC20 tokens already. There are no fiat deposits or withdrawals here.
In terms of supported cryptocurrencies, If you want to get your hands on an ERC20 token, then chances are it’s listed on Uniswap. That’s literally hundreds of cryptos however, just be aware that you won’t be able to get your hands on any cryptocurrencies outside of the Ethereum ecosystem here.
Next, I want to talk about customer support. As Uniswap is DEX things work a little differently here.
The best way to get help here is by bumbling into the Uniswap discord group and asking your question in the support chat there. Uniswap doesn’t have a dedicated mobile app. However, you can launch the app in your mobile browser and connect it to a mobile wallet. The Uniswap UI is well optimized.
Seeing that Uniswap is non-custodial you might not think there are any security concerns. However, the key risk here is the same as any other DEFI project and that would be smart contract bugs. I’ve not heard of anything on that front but, just be aware of that.
Who is Uniswap for? In my humble opinion, it’s the perfect exchange for anyone who is reasonably experienced in crypto and wants to keep control of their private keys and not entrust their funds to a centralized exchange.
Privacy hawks will also love the lack of KYC however, some might find the lack of support for crypto outside of the Ethereum ecosystem limiting and gas fees can sometimes make the exchange prohibitively expensive to use.
This one is for all you advanced traders out there. Who are these folks? FTX is an exchange that was founded in May 2019 and is registered in Antigua and Barbuda. However, their offices are based in hong kong.
The exchange has also raised eight million dollars in external funding and was incubated by Alameda research. A quantitative trading firm that trades up to one billion dollars a day and manages over 100 million dollars in assets.
Who were some of those investors you might wonder? One was Binance who announced a strategic investment in FTX. The key takeaway here is that FTX is a damn serious crypto exchange with some serious backers.
When it comes to blocking countries, FTX doesn’t accept residents of the United States, Cuba, Crimea, Sevastopol, Iran, Syria, North Korea, or Antigua and Barbuda. If you’re living in any of these places, then you are bang out of luck here. Sorry.
In terms of features:
- you first have the box standard spot markets with dozens of different cryptocurrencies to choose from.
- You have the widest range of perpetual futures markets that I’ve ever seen.
- A host of three-time short and long leveraged tokens.
- Volatility tokens and some interesting indexes.
You can buy a lot of coins on FTX using their shitcoin index or maybe you just want to get exposure to DEFI easily by getting that DEFI index.
If you’re an options trader then don’t you worry FTX has also got you covered with some sweet bitcoin options as well. The exchange also offers an OTC portal to get those trades done with minimal slippage. A great deal if you need to get large block trades done.
FTX has a whole host of features geared towards the more advanced traders out there.
What are the fees? Taker fees start at just 0.07 and scale down from there according to trade volume. Even better, maker fees are zero and you can get up to a 60% fee discount by holding various amounts of the FTX token.
All this means that FTX is the cheapest exchange that I’ve mentioned in this list.
When it comes to deposits and withdrawals for crypto assets FTX has the best price possible. Free. However, the thing to know here is that if your deposit or withdrawal amount exceeds your trade volume on the exchange, then you might be charged a 0.1 percent fee.
You probably don’t want to deposit here if you’re not going to trade much.
When it comes to fiat deposits, credit cards and wire transfers would be the methods available too. I need to be straight up and warn you that if you’re withdrawing a fee using FTX, then you’ll incur a 75 dollars fee for withdrawals under 10 000 dollars. Be aware of that.
In terms of crypto support, FTX doesn’t offer the widest range of cryptos for spot markets. However, it does offer the largest range of perpetual futures that I’ve come across and a ton of special futures products like that shitcoin index. If that’s what you’re looking for, then FTX is a cracking choice.
On to the support, FTX has simple email support options.
When it comes to security FTX operates a cold storage protocol. The majority of the funds are stored offline. For individual accounts, they also have two-factor authentication and you can whitelist IP addresses too.
Finally, FTX operates a leveraged exchange. One of the major risks is volatility and that’s why FTX operates an insurance fund. This insurance fund acts as a reserve in case liquidations of losing positions cannot be done fast enough.
That insurance fund currently sits at about 2 million dollars and an additional 5 million FTX tokens.
Who is FTX for? This exchange is for experienced traders looking to use those exotic instruments like perpetual futures and leveraged tokens. If that’s your bag, you won’t find a better selection anywhere else.
This is another one that I definitely want to put on the list and I would say eToro is, even more, consumer-focused than Coinbase. If you just want to dabble in some cryptocurrency trading and you have some other trades as well, eToro is kind of an all-in-one solution.
eToro is a full-service kind of broker. You can trade stocks like amazon and apple on there. More
recently they have added cryptos to trade and they have a pretty extensive list of all of the top cryptocurrencies.
eToro isn’t a crypto first type of brand but, I like the way that they’ve set it up. It is incredibly simple to just trade cryptocurrencies along with stocks in your account. It has a lot of other features as well though like copy trading which is essentially social trading.
Instead of just buying cryptocurrencies or stocks you can go and copy trade other high-profile traders on the system and they may be more towards cryptocurrencies or they may be more towards stocks.
You can copy all of their trades. Maybe they have a portfolio of stocks and they have a holding of some cryptocurrencies, you can actually copy them. That is a unique thing about eToro as a trading platform over the more straightforward cryptocurrency exchanges.
eToro does also have a crypto wallet, meaning that you can easily buy bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies move them into your wallet for later use.
What’s great about eToro though is you also get a free paper trading account so you can download the app, see if you like how to trade on there, and learn a bit about trading.
When it comes to deposits and fees, there are no deposit fees with eToro even if you use Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, Skrill, and others. There are also no trading fees either.
eToro makes their money in the spread. When you’re buying and selling. There are no fees.
when it comes to withdrawal fees, that is a flat five dollars to take your money out. It’s not as pro and focused on cryptocurrencies as the others that I mentioned but, as an overall service and a broker, eToro has a lot of benefits.
Robinhood is even less of a cryptocurrency exchange but I’m going to mention it anyway. The reason I mention this is because Robinhood is so popular. It’s really one of the most widely used trading platforms for younger people.
Is Robinhood good to use or should you actually have a Robinhood account and then open another crypto account as well?
Well, firstly Robinhood does have cryptocurrency trading now. It’s kind of a little bit different from their stocks but it is available in the app. You can trade all of the most popular cryptos on there.
There are some glaring issues with Robinhood when it comes to crypto trading and that is made up by the ease of use and trading cryptos in your Robinhood account.
You definitely don’t get the vast array of features and access to endless cryptocurrencies like you do in Binance, but the simplicity, ease of use, and short learning curve are the huge benefits of Robinhood.
You get 24/7 support. Everything is commission-free and you don’t have to open a new account if you already have a Robinhood account that you’re trading stocks and shares in.
If you need a more pro solution, Robinhood is not for you. This is just a consumer-focused easy to use way of dabbling, maybe buying some bitcoin.
security is a big question mark as well. If you want to transfer your bitcoins or the other cryptos, you have to verify your identity with Robinhood.
I’ve spoken about exchange security quite a bit here. However, I don’t recommend anyone keep
large coin holdings on a centralized exchange unless you’re actively trading. No matter how secure an exchange might be, there is simply no substitute for a hardware wallet to give you that maximum security.
That is my roundup of the best cryptocurrency exchanges on the market right now. Please share if you got value.