Cryptocurrency exchanges are were traders in the crypto community go to buy and sell coins and tokens of all kinds. But what is the difference between all these exchanges?
Read on, to learn about…
- The four kinds of exchanges.
- What to look for before you trade.
- The 26 most popular exchanges.
Types of Cryptocurrency Exchanges
Since not all cryptocurrency exchanges work the same way, it’s good to understand the differences between the different types. The term “cryptocurrency exchanges” often covers traditional exchanges, fiat exchanges, peer-to-peer exchanges, and brokers.
1. Cryptocurrency Exchanges
A cryptocurrency exchange is a website that enables investors to buy and sell cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. Many cryptocurrency exchanges work similar to the foreign exchange market, but some have extra features or limitations that set them apart from the rest.
2. Cryptocurrency Brokers
A cryptocurrency broker works in a similar fashion to a cryptocurrency exchange. However, many of them also add a premium on top of the market value of the cryptocurrencies. That means brokers are often a more expensive option than traditional exchanges.
3. Peer-to-Peer Exchanges
A peer-to-peer cryptocurrency exchange is a marketplace similar to Craigslist where anyone can list cryptocurrencies for sale. It’s possible to get a better deal since you trade directly with other buyers and sellers, but it’s often riskier without the security of a traditional exchange.
4. Fiat Exchanges
A fiat exchange can either be a cryptocurrency exchange that also enables fiat currency trades or a traditional foreign exchange that allows cryptocurrency trades. For many people, these are one and the same, but not all cryptocurrency exchanges involve fiat money.
What to Look for In A Cryptocurrency Exchange
There are many cryptocurrency exchanges, so it’s important to understand what to look for before you trade. Some are safe and easy to use, while others are cheaper and more widely available. As a rule of thumb, it’s best to research each exchange before you invest.
1. Fees and Commissions
Cryptocurrency exchanges and brokers are businesses, which means they want to make a profit. That means they charge fees and commissions like traditional foreign exchanges.
2. Supported Currencies
There is an almost endless list of cryptocurrency coins and tokens on the market, but not all are available on every exchange. Check if the cryptocurrencies you want to trade are supported.
3. Supported Countries
Cryptocurrency exchanges are based all over the world, and there are discrepancies in which countries they support. Certain exchanges only allow traders from specific countries to join.
4. Ease of Use
Not all cryptocurrency exchanges are equally easy to use. Some have clunky designs, while others have so many options that it can be overwhelming — especially if you’re a beginner.
5. Payment Methods
You need a way to pay money into the exchange and withdraw from it. Some exchanges only use cryptocurrencies, while others support methods such as PayPal and bank transfers.
6. Privacy and Security
It’s important to be safe when you deal with investments of any kind. Not all exchanges are equally safe, and some have been hacked. Few exchanges will allow you to trade anonymously.
7. Additional Services
Finally, certain exchanges offer additional services, such as offline storage with insurance protection. That gives you an extra layer of protection in case of a hacking attempt.
The 26 Best Cryptocurrency Exchanges
It’s time to look at some specific exchanges you can use to buy and sell your cryptocurrency. Click the name of each exchange to visit their website and look around, but make sure you read some third-party reviews of them before you invest any money.
Binance was only launched in 2018 but has already become the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world based on trading volume.
Bitfinex started in as a peer-to-peer Bitcoin exchange 2012 but has since then become a fully-fledged cryptocurrency exchange.
BitMex is an exchange based in Seychelles and has been operating since 2014. It also enables derivatives trading addition to cryptocurrencies.
Bitpanda is one of the most well-known exchanges in Europe. It was founded in 2014 and has its headquarters in Austria.
Formerly Bitsquare, Bisq is a fully decentralized cryptocurrency exchange. Like Bitcoin itself, the exchange is therefore not based in any one location.
Bitstamp is based in Luxemburg and has been running since 2011. As an extra perk, Bitstamp offers users an API that allows for custom access to the exchange.
Bittrexx started in 2013 by former Microsoft security professionals. It has been operating out of Seattle since then, and also works with corporate clients.
Based in London, CEX.io started as a cloud mining provider in 2013 but has since then expanded into the cryptocurrency exchange market.
ChangeHero is a lesser-known exchange but claims to be the fastest option in terms of real-time market rates for trading cryptocurrency.
Changelly sets itself apart from other cryptocurrency exchanges by offering a non-custodial instant platform. That means your funds won’t be stored on their platform.
ChangeNOW is also a non-custodial exchange. As an added bonus, you don’t need to register your personal details to trade on the platform.
Coinbase is perhaps the most famous Bitcoin exchange. Based in San Fransisco, it also offers Coinbase Pro for experienced traders who want more options.
Coinmama is a well-known cryptocurrency broker operating out of Israel. It has been running since 2013 and supports a wide variety of coins and tokens.
Launched in 2015, Gemini brands itself as “the regulated cryptocurrency exchange,” and for good reason. Many state governments are after dodgy exchanges.
Huobi is a smaller exchange that focuses on Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Ethereum. It brands itself as the safest platform for trading in these cryptocurrencies.
itBit is not only a cryptocurrency exchange but also enables users to trade in crypto assets. It’s the first regulated exchange of its kind.
Kraken is an American exchange that, similar to its namesake, has grown huge over the years through several acquisitions of other exchanges.
KuCoin claims to be the most advanced cryptocurrency exchange and currently serves over 5 million users across the world.
LinkCoin is the brainchild of Bibox and Yesbit. It’s an over-the-counter (OTC) cryptocurrency exchange based in Canada.
LocalBitcoins is perhaps the most well-known peer-to-peer Bitcoin exchange. Traders create ads with Bitcoins they want to buy or sell.
Formerly BitX, Luno claims to be the world’s most powerful exchange. It’s based in London and has over 3.5 million users worldwide.
OKEx was founded in 2017 and is an exchange based in Malta. Before Binance was launched, OKEx was the world’s largest exchange in terms of turnover.
Poloniex is an American cryptocurrency exchange that offers quite favorable commission rates for traders. Unfortunately, it recently suffered an information leak.
ShapeShift enables users to trade in traditional cryptocurrencies but also doubles as an instant digital asset exchange.
Unocoin is the most widely regarded exchange in India. It was founded in 2013, back when cryptocurrency was still not trusted by Indian banks and investors.
Wall of Coins is another decentralized exchange where users connect directly to buy and sell Bitcoin and Dash tokens.
Which Cryptocurrency Exchange Will You Use?
Phew! That was a lot of cryptocurrency exchanges. The question is now which one you’ll try first? Remember to do your research carefully before transferring any money.