A good cryptocurrency exchange is essential to start or continue investing in cryptocurrency. In this article, I will explain what I believe are five of the best cryptocurrency exchanges and what makes them stand out. 

If you want to buy and trade cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, you normally do this via a cryptocurrency exchange. It is important to understand what crypto exchanges are and which ones are safe to use.

What Is a Cryptocurrency Exchange?

A Cryptocurrency exchange is a platform where various cryptocurrencies can be traded. There are Bitcoin exchanges that only offer the possibility to trade Bitcoin, but there are also exchanges that offer the trading of other digital assets. These digital assets are also called altcoins. Examples of altcoins are Ethereum, XRP, and Litecoin.

There is a multitude of cryptocurrency exchanges that trade a variety of coins, including Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum and many, many more. Which exact altcoins can be traded changes per platform. On some exchanges, it is only possible to trade some of the largest currencies such as Ethereum and Litecoin. On other exchanges, however, you can also trade smaller, more unknown cryptocurrencies. Because there are more than 2000 altcoins available, before buying an altcoin, it is advised to look on which exchanges a certain it is offered for trading.

Along with circulating supply and market capitalization, the 24 hour trading volume is one of the most prominent metrics in crypto. From volume, you can analyze the direction and movements of a coin. If a certain digital asset has a very low trading volume on an exchange, it will be harder to sell the coin when you want to. This, of course, is very important to keep in mind.

The Best Cryptocurrency Exchanges

Below I listed 5 cryptocurrency exchanges that I believe are currently the best exchanges to use for crypto trading. Of course, it is up to you to decide which exchanges to use, but if you are a newcomer to the space, these exchanges might be a great starting point. Happy trading!

1. Binance

Founded in mid-2017, Binance within 1 year became the worlds biggest cryptocurrency exchange by daily trading volume and available digital assets. The CEO, Changpeng Zhao, is a well-known and inspiring voice within the crypto space.

Currently, Binance supports over 130 tradeable cryptocurrencies and is one of the best exchanges to buy altcoins. Binance has an exchange fee of only 0.1%, making it financially more attractive than many other exchanges.

To protect users, Binance started to delist projects with low trading volume or projects that lack development activity. Binance is doing everything in its power to prevent being hacked and keep the funds of its users safe. Besides daily updates and development, the exchange created a Secure Asset Fund for Users (SAFU) and began allocating 10% of all trading fees received into this fund to provide insurance to potential breaches.

Last but not least, Binance has its own coin called Binance Coin (BNB), which has been a very solid investment opportunity and gives users a discount when you use BNB to pay for on trading fees. When using BNB – trading fees are reduced by 50%.

Pros: Low transaction fee- around 0.1%, over 130 tradeable cryptocurrencies, SAFU (funds of its users safe).

Cons: The user interface might be hard to understand for beginners,  no margin trading or short selling.

2. Coinbase 

Coinbase was founded in 2012 by Brian Armstrong and Fred Ehrsam. The company is run from its headquarters in San Francisco, California. Coinbase has been one of the most popular cryptocurrency exchanges until Binance took over in 2018. Besides Coinbase, the company also operates Coinbase Pro (formerly known as GDAX), an advanced trading platform for professional traders.

Coinbase is designed for users to buy, sell and store cryptocurrencies relatively easily. Assets can be bought with a push of a button and especially the mobile app is perfect for newcomers. In addition to Bitcoin, it is also possible to trade altcoins, such as Ethereum and Litecoin. Unfortunately, due to US regulations, Coinbase currently only offers 10 digital assets on the platform.

Coinbase is famously known for its wallet services and fiat-to-crypto option. The fiat-to-crypto option makes Coinbase one of the best way to enter the crypto market as people often need to buy Bitcoin or Ethereum with their fiat currency (instead of using a Credit Card).

To keep users safe from hacks and loss of funds, Coinbase is doing everything in its power to make sure the platform is not hackable. Coinbase has no history whatsoever with hacks or lost funds. Furthermore, Coinbase maintains commercial criminal insurance in an aggregate amount that is greater than the value of digital currency we maintain in online storage.

Pros: Very easy to use interface for beginners, solid cryptocurrency exchange backed by institutions, insurance in case of a hack, excellent wallet service, fiat-to-crypto option.

Cons: Only 10 assets available, high fees when you extract funds from Coinbase to another wallet or exchange.

3. Kraken

Kraken is very familiar in the cryptocurrency space. Founded in 2011 by Jesse Powell, the exchange has been fully operational since 2013 and could be considered one of the original cryptocurrency exchanges. Kraken is one of the largest Bitcoin exchanges, serving clients in over 190 countries.

One of the reasons why Kraken is one of the largest bitcoin exchanges is for its popular fiat-to-crypto system that includes the Euro, Yen, USD, and Pound. The exchange supports over 20 cryptocurrencies with a maker and taker fee of 0% to 0.26%.

Something that Kraken can be proud of is the fact that they have, to this day, still not suffered any sort of an exchange hack. While other exchanges from the early days, such as Mt Gox, Bitstamp, Poloniex, and Bitstamp, have all been hacked at least once. Kraken, however, managed to avoid any breaches.

Pros: Well-established exchange, easy-to-use interface, over 20 digital assets available.

Cons: The processing time is slow. Arbitrary closure of accounts.

4. Huobi

Established in September 2013 in Beijing, Huobi is operated by Huobi Global Limited. Although the exchange originally concentrated on the Chinese market, Huobi began focusing on crypto traders around the globe following the Chinese government’s crackdown on cryptocurrency exchanges in 2017.

Nowadays, Huobi is one of the biggest cryptocurrency exchanges available, offering its platform to users in more than 130 countries and with offices in Singapore, the United States, Japan, Korea, and Hong Kong. The exchange is supporting around 250 different cryptocurrencies.

Similar to Coinbase, Huobi also has two different versions, which are Huobi Global (for advanced trading capabilities and Huobi OTC (that allows trading of cryptocurrencies with fiat currencies at zero fees for big merchants and/or investors).

In regards to the safety of your funds, Huobi claims to offer a decentralized structure and anti-DDOS protection system, with over 98% of its digital assets stored in multi-signature cold wallets. Furthermore, Huobi has been around since 2013, which is a long time in the crypto world and therefore is an established platform for crypto traders.

Huobi also launched their own coin called Huobi Token (HT). The token gives Huobi VIP users reduced transaction costs, early access, & voting rights.

Pros: Very wide range of different cryptocurrencies, 24/7 customer support, competitive fees, Huobi token for lower transaction costs.

Cons: User experience and front-end design of Huobi is lacking, not a great exchange for new retail investors, has been accused before of falsifying trading volumes, mostly focusing on South-Asian market with content and language support.

5. OKEx

Founded in 2011, OKEx is also a well established and cryptocurrency exchange. Originally, the digital asset exchange is from China, but in 2018 the company shifted to the cryptocurrency friendly island of Malta. The OKEx headquarters is still based in Hong Kong.

In terms of trading volume, OKEx is currently the second-largest cryptocurrency exchange worldwide. It is serving millions of users in over 100 countries and supporting more than 145 cryptocurrencies. OKEx provides hundreds of token & futures trading pairs.

OKEx is known for having low trading fees – ranges from 0.03% to 0.2%. This is considerably cheaper than most other crypto exchanges. Similar to Binance and Huobi, OKEx has its own cryptocurrency called OKB.

Unlike exchanges like Binance, OKEx allows regular currency deposits via bank transfer, Alipay, and WeChat Pay. That said, the exchange does not support credit card payments at the moment.

Pros: A trusted global cryptocurrency exchange, wide range of digital assets on platform.

Cons: For now still not supporting the US, made for professional traders, no credit card payments.

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