07 January 2022 • 23 min read
When it comes to finding the best crypto exchanges, there is no shortage of options from which you can choose. While it’s true that there are A LOT of options, not all of them will be suited to everyone and as a trader, you will have your own requirements.
Some common aspects that investors like to research before selecting an exchange are:
There are advantages and disadvantages that go with all platforms on this list and we’re going to try to make them as clear as possible for you. As each exchange excels in something different, we want to make it clear that this is not a ranking and the exchanges are in no particular order. With that in mind, let’s check out some of the best options.
Binance is the world-leading cryptocurrency exchange platform and was founded in 2017 by Changpeng Zhao who had experience developing solutions for the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Their mission is to be ‘the infrastructure services provider for the blockchain ecosystem’ and with hundreds of tradeable coins on Binance including the favorites such as Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum - they are making good on their promise. The company is mostly known for crypto-to-crypto trading and it does this well as you can not actually trade with fiat money on Binance.
The name itself is a portmanteau of the words ‘binary’ and ‘finance’ and in the short time that the company has existed, it truly rocketed to the front of the exchange race processing a staggering 1.4 million orders per second with over 15 million users worldwide.
As with any other exchange, Binance offers its trading, listing, fundraising and deposit/withdrawal services around the clock and seven days a week. In order to trade, users must first fill out the necessary ‘Know your customer’ application process before gaining access to an account. Once that’s completed, you can deposit cryptocurrencies and start trading.
Currently, you can make three types of orders: market, limit and stop-limit but that’s not where Binance has gained its massive popularity. The exchange is so beloved in the crypto world because of its notoriously low fees, high liquidity, airdrops and range of discounts that one can take advantage of when using the platform’s native cryptocurrency - $BNB (Binance Coin).
Binance deliberately avoids specifying in which countries it’s available and what this means is that it’s essentially available worldwide. US users can access Binance US which replaced the original main service that was removed from the country due to regulatory issues and Binance says nothing in its documentation about US citizens which has recently put the company in the US Department of Services’ sights as they may have broken local cryptocurrency laws.
With this useful feature, you can make your idle funds work for you. With a ‘flexible’ account type, you will yield varying interest rates while the locked savings account type pays a considerably higher rate for fixed-term deposits.
Binance fans often point to staking as a feature that makes the platform stand out from others. Staking gives users a return on their PoS and DeFi tokens without the hassle of knowing how to do the staking themselves. Binance’s Staking features also comes with a Flexible and Locked version of the account.
Binance Crypto Loans
If you want to get your hands on a loan in the form of some stablecoins such as USDT or BUSD then you can do so on Binance. Using BTC or ETH as collateral, Binance has made it easy for you to get your hands on some stablecoins while getting around the tax that goes with selling crypto.
The cryptocurrency exchange market is a fiercely competitive one with different companies vying to be number one with alluring prices and tempting offers. Binance, however, shines above the rest with its cutting edge fee structure that has left it unchallenged for its title of most popular exchange. If you simply want to know which is the best crypto exchange for fees then here's your answer.
The flat rate is 0.1% and that is certainly attractive to any trader who does not require fiat liquidation straight away. You can read the complete fee schedule right here. If you’re using the Binance Futures platform then you will get even lower fees. They start at 0.02% for makers and 0.04% for takers which is significantly better than any other prominent options specifically if you’re making large orders. Deposits are cost-free aside from the regular blockchain fees which are always the responsibility of the sender and there are some withdrawal fees but they seem to be in line with the blockchain fees too. Withdrawal fees are frequently updated and you can find the most current version here.
Additionally, Binance has its own platform token called BNB and when you use this token to pay your fees, you can get up to 50% off your trading fees. There are other perks of using this token too and Binance is constantly thinking of new uses for it.
Sign up to Binance here.
Kraken is a veteran in the crypto exchange space having been founded in 2011 by Jesse Powell who himself has been in the digital currency space since 2001. Kraken is well-known for its cheap transaction fees, slick UI, variety of features and general security. After the infamous Mt. Gox hack in which the prominent Bitcoin exchange lost almost one million Bitcoins, Kraken helped in taking care of the various claims. Kraken is available across the U.S. (except New York), Canada, the European Union as well as Japan. Kraken touts its high liquidity, cutting-edge security measures and round-the-clock customer service for its users. The company has said that 100% of user funds are safely backed up in reserves and that they employ audits to cryptographically verify that all funds are held properly.
Kraken’s overall mission is to do everything they can to promote and push the adoption of cryptocurrencies so that we can all benefit from its financially-liberating features. The company is growing rapidly and they seek to hire like-minded employees who are passionate about bringing crypto to the mainstream.
Kraken users have access to an advanced trading platform with all sorts of technical features such as spot trading or margin trading. Experienced users will be familiar with these tools but if you’re newer to the trading world then the abundance of options here might be a little overwhelming. It’s not the most beginner-friendly interface and this is something you might want to consider before signing up.
Dark pool order book
A dark pool is an order book that the rest of the market can not see. Every trader can only know the orders they have made. That way, you can place big sell or buy orders anonymously and without exposing their interest to others. Usually, when other traders notice outsized orders, the market begins to move unfavorably which complicates the process of filling your order at a good price. Dark pools help to negate this issue.
For those of you who are trading high volumes, Kraken will offer you a one-to-one service with your own personal account manager to help you with anything you might need to trade comfortably.
Kraken also provides a staking service to allow its users to get a return on their proof-of-stake assets that would otherwise sit idle and unused by their holders.
As Kraken is known for its low fees, it should come as no surprise that the exchange boasts some of the lowest prices among all of the most prominent crypto exchanges.
What you end up paying depends on your last thirty days’ trading volume and in general, they are molded around a maker/taker model. Makers create limit orders on the exchange and pay lower fees whereas the takers who fill existing orders pay a little more. The fees for spot trading are in the range of 0.26% to 0% and fees for stablecoin trading are 0.2% to 0%. If you’re using the Dark Pool that we mentioned earlier, you can expect to pay fees from 0.36% to 0.2%. As these fees are constantly being tweaked and updated, make sure to read the full fee schedule here.
Depositing and withdrawing funds to and from the exchange can sometimes come with fees too. You can deposit via SEPA, SWIFT, bank transfer or wire transfer and it will usually take approximately one to five days.
Depositing cryptocurrencies is free of charge but comes with blockchain fees as per usual and when it comes to fiat deposits, SEPA is free making Kraken a particularly convenient option for its E.U. users. Conversely, U.S. bank transfers are quite expensive with fees ranging from $10 to $25 dollars.
If you want to check out Kraken you can make an account by clicking this link.
Coinbase was founded in 2012 by Brian Armstrong and Fred Ehrsam. As one of the most widely-known cryptocurrency companies that is available in over one hundred countries, it should come as no surprise that Coinbase has a whopping 35+ million users and a huge portion of the market share.
Coinbase believes that cryptocurrency is the future and it’s their mission to see that anyone — anywhere — has easy and secure access to Bitcoin. They see cryptocurrency as the catalyst for creating an open financial system around the world. With a plethora of services and an intuitive user interface, Coinbase is making good progress in its mission by creating a platform that is great for beginners and veterans alike. Added to that a range of payment options and generally fair fees and there’s little to dislike about the platform so let’s get into it.
At its heart, Coinbase is a broker for buying and selling cryptocurrencies quickly to and from Coinbase at a fixed price. For those who are just getting started with crypto trading, it’s likely that they bought their first Bitcoin via the Coinbase broker or at the very least heard of the platform when doing their research. The company is noted for its reputation, friendly UI and marketing geared towards new users. The main difference between the broker and the exchange is that you are trading directly with Coinbase and not other traders in a live marketplace.
Conversely, Coinbase Pro is the platform’s live cryptocurrency marketplace where users can trade with one another. It’s a professional exchange product that gives individuals the power to trade a broad range of digital assets in a safe, insurance-backed environment. The fees on the exchange are significantly lower than on the broker which we will discuss below.
As Coinbase believes that cryptocurrencies are the future of finance, it’s fitting that they should invest their energy into a solution that allows online retailers the ability to accept cryptocurrencies for their products and services. Coinbase provides the merchants with a dedicated plugin that supplies them the possibility to accept Bitcoin and other cryptos in their shops. It’s supported by a selection of the top online shopping content management services including: WooComerce, Shopify and Magento.
The fee structure is a bit of a touchy topic and the subject of much criticism in the Coinbase community as it can be tricky to decipher. We’re going to try and lay it out as clear as possible for you in this article but you might have to do some research of your own to get the full picture.
Generally, the transaction fees sit around 1.49% for regular buys and up to 4% when you use your credit card to buy directly.
Please find the complete fee structure here.
You can probably see that giving a clear answer to the question of how many fees you will pay on Coinbase is a bit of a mystery and as we said earlier, this is one of the major complaints directed at the company. Transparency is not their strong point which can make or break when selecting a cryptocurrency exchange to trade with.
Click here to make your account on Coinbase
Bitpanda is one of the most reputable and trustworthy cryptocurrency platforms in the industry and was founded in Vienna, Austria in 2014. The three founders, Eric Demuth, Paul Klanschek and Christian Trummer created Bitpanda in reaction to the murky and insecure world that was the cryptocurrency market around that time.
Buying Bitcoin was a shady and often technically-difficult process so they wanted to offer a safe and easily-accessed place for people to buy and hold digital assets. Through careful cooperation with local regulatory authorities - they have achieved their goal and earned a shining reputation.
Since its inception, Bitpanda has expanded to offer a massive range of asset classes and products including metals, stablecoins, DeFi tokens, Bitpanda Pay and the world’s first cryptocurrency index to name a few. If you live in the European Union then Bitpanda is probably the cheapest way to purchase Bitcoin and over 40 different curated coins and tokens.
Bitpanda’s penchant for innovation has not gone unnoticed and has caught the eye of investors closing the largest ever Series A funding round in Europe securing a massive 52 million euro in capital. That’s not all though, Bitpanda has announced partnerships with a number of important financial institutions including Raiffeisen bank.
Bitpanda is known for constantly pushing the boundary and trying new things. There are loads of cool features on this platform so this is just a selection of the best.
Bitpanda began as a cryptocurrency broker as their first mission was to create a safe space to buy and sell cryptocurrencies and this was the logical first step. As the company grew and added more innovative products to its selection, they evolved into a full ecosystem including a complete exchange.
Bitpanda Pro is Bitpanda’s professional exchange product geared towards European users with a heavy emphasis on fiat to crypto pairs. There are pairs for a number of the top cryptocurrencies against the euro, the pound, Swiss franc, Turkish Lira and the fact that this exchange is fully regulated in the EU makes it a particularly attractive option for businesses or institutions who are looking to expand into digital assets.
This central European scaleup wants to allow you to invest in anything and they started making good on their mission when they introduced a revolutionary product in the form of Bitpanda Metals. Bitpanda Metals allows users to diversify their portfolio by giving them access to 100% insured, physically-backed metals such as gold, silver, platinum and palladium. You can buy and sell the assets just like every other coin or token on the dashboard. This is a great option for those who want to invest in metals while avoiding the high fees that traditionally go along with that undertaking.
Bitpanda Savings is a handy feature that allows you to safely and consistently invest in an asset over a longer period of time by automatically purchasing that asset at the same time every day, week or year. This method is advantageous because it makes use of DCA (Dollar Cost Averaging) or the Cost Averaging Effect whereby you ride the waves of volatility and get an average price by investing consistently at the same time and day over a given period of time.
Bitpanda Crypto Index
The Bitpanda Crypto Index is ‘the world’s first crypto index’ and another one of Bitpanda’s original features. With a couple of clicks, observe as the crypto index automatically invests in a selection of the top 5, 10, or 25 cryptocurrencies based on market cap and liquidity. The index automatically alters its weighting in your portfolio as time goes on so you will never miss out on the next rising cryptocurrency. It basically curates your portfolio for you.
Bitpanda is connecting the old and new worlds of finance by allowing you to send money to your friends, pay your rent or shop anywhere you desire using cryptocurrency (or any other asset on Bitpanda including metals). It’s that simple, just enter the recipient’s IBAN and hit send!
$BEST (The Bitpanda Ecosystem Token)
The Bitpanda Ecosystem token is the glue that binds the whole platform and all of its services together. It’s similar to Binance’s $BNB and is a great way to really get the most out of your experience if you’re a Bitpanda user. There are loads of perks to this token but to name a few of the best (no pun intended), holders of this token enjoy 25% off trading premiums, lower deposit fees, regular token burns to decrease the supply and increase demand and much more. If you’re a regular user, it really is not a bad idea to grab a few $BEST.
Like most platforms, Bitpanda applies no fees when depositing cryptocurrencies to its platform. The transaction fees for trading cryptocurrencies are 1.49% but the fees are already included in the price so they are kind of invisible to the users. This is both good and bad. It’s good because you know exactly what you will pay and it’s bad because it sort of distorts the true price of the asset. You can find all fees for all currencies here.
On Bitpanda’s exchange, you can expect to pay a max maker fee of 0.1% and taker fees are 0.15%.
Fiat deposits vary depending on which of the payment methods you choose however SEPA deposits are free with a couple of days’ delay and Mastercard/VISA deposits are instant with a 1.50% fee on top as standard.
Get started on Bitpanda today.
BitMEX, which stands for Bitcoin Mercantile Exchange was founded by a handful of experts in the financial services world. Arthur Hayes, Samuel Reed and Ben Delo launched BitMEX in 2014 under their company name HDR or Hayes, Delo and Reed Global Trading Limited. The company is based in Seychelles.
BitMEX is a margin trading platform for those with more experience in Bitcoin trading. It allows you to trade ‘contracts’ for cryptos (not the tokens themselves) which is combined with margin trading (also known as leverage). Even though BitMEX offers contracts for a variety of cryptocurrencies, for deposits and withdrawals you can only use Bitcoin.
BitMEX is going through a growth phase at the moment and recently hired Alexander Höptner—who is a veteran in the German stock exchange world—as its new CEO.
The platform is definitely not for beginners and there are some things you should know before signing up but we’re going to get into all that right now.
What you’re actually getting with BitMEX is a derivatives platform with a strong focus on margin trading that is, you’re not actually trading the cryptos but ‘contracts’ that correlate a cryptocurrency price. On top of that, you can leverage your trade by as much as 100x.
This method of trading is, for better or for worse, extremely volatile and means you can make huge profits with a relatively small amount of money. On the flip side, you can also lose your whole investment with the click of a finger. If all this sounds a little complex then you should think hard about whether BitMEX is for you as this way of trading should really be reserved for the very most experienced of us.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the contract types:
This is essentially an agreement to buy or sell particular cryptos at a preselected price at a specific time in the future.
Not unlike the Futures contract, the only thing that differentiates this contract type is that it has no settlement or expiry.
Upside profit contract
This allows users to take part in the potential upside of given crypto. The user simply pays a fee on the trade date and they are given the difference between the crypto price and the strike price on the maturity date if the price is up. If not then no payment will be made.
Downside Profit Contracts
The is quite literally the opposite of the above Upside Profit Contract. It gives buyers the chance to take part in the possible downside of any crypto on the platform and the difference is paid out if the price is down.
The fee schedule on BitMEX is very competitive and the majority of users are going to find them easily forgotten in comparison to the potentially chunky profits that can be made if you properly use the platform.
Taker fees are set at 0.0750% whereas maker fees can sink to -0.0250% so makers actually get a little back on trades and you can read the complete schedule here.
You’ll be pleased to note that withdrawals and deposits have always been and continue to be completely free of charge on BitMEX. Aside from the Bitcoin network users don’t have to worry about extra costs which add to the platform being a very appealing option.
If you are a little more experienced in the cryptocurrency market then you might want to check out BitMEX right here.
CEX.io has been around for a long time and could be one of the oldest Bitcoin exchanges on the market. As both a broker and an exchange, you can get your hands on Bitcoin, Ethereum, and a number of other cryptocurrencies.
The company was established in London in 2013 and originally was just a Bitcoin exchange and provider of cloud mining services. The original name was not actually CEX.io but Ghash.io and at one point it even dominated the Bitcoin network commanding an enormous 42 percent of the network mining power. The company ceased its mining operations in January 2015 and CEX.io operates only as an exchange. The company has a registration with FINCEN and requires standard KYC procedures meaning you will have to verify your identity in order to buy or trade.
CEX.io is definitely among the most popular exchanges that people go to when they want to buy and sell cryptos and we’re going to outline
The broker is a way for new users to get their hands on crypto through a simple and (usually slightly more expensive) process. You will buy and sell cryptocurrencies directly to and from the company at a premium.
The fee price on the broker can sometimes reach up to 7% but purchasing there means you don’t need to learn how to use the exchange product. It’s aimed at newer users or users who just want to buy or sell crypto really quickly.
CEX.io exchange platform
Designed for advanced users, CEX.io’s trading platform gives you the perk of considerably lower fees. In comparison to the broker where fees can reach 7%, the fees on the exchange are about 0.025% maximum. It is quite an advanced tool and gives you all the features you would come to expect such as both limit and market orders. There is pretty good liquidity and the platform permits cross-platform trading (with its app and APIs) plus you can gain a deep insight into your trading with advanced reporting.
CEX.io used to allow its users to execute margin trading directly from its trading platform however they suspended that and opened a dedicated service in 2019.
Confusingly named ‘CEX.io Broker’ (even though it has nothing to do with their brokerage), this service allows users to take part in cryptocurrency CFD trading and boast an array of order types, cutting-edge trading tools, and T/A instruments. You can leverage your position and boost your potential for profit (and potential to fail). Of course, as we mentioned with BitMEX, margin trading is only recommended for very experienced traders. Margin trading is currently only available for Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin.
Users often point to the fee structure as a negative point of using CEX.io and the number of fees and hidden charges is certainly something to be concerned with as it can go up to 7% - in other words, when purchasing 1000 dollars of BTC, you only get 920 dollars’ worth. I certainly would not be happy about that.
However, the above only applies to the brokerage and the exchange platform offers significantly lower fees. Find the full structure here.
If you want to try it out for yourself, just type the name into your search bar: CEX.io
Binance has been serving the cryptocurrency industry for a decade being founded in 2011 by Nejc Kodrič and Damijan Merlak in Slovenia. Having been founded in 2011, it was one of the main competitors to the formerly very popular Mt. Gox.
In 2013, Bitstamp moved to the United Kingdom, then on to Luxembourg in 2016 and eventually to Belgium when it was bought out by NXMH - a Brussels-based investment company. The exchange is suited to all sorts of users from those with just a little exchange experience to those who are more advanced. The exchange offers a diverse range of Bitcoin, altcoin and fiat pairs and attracts users looking for a low-fee option to trade digital assets in higher volumes.
In both 2014 and 2015, Bitstamp was the victim of hacks. In the 2015 incident, over 19,000 Bitcoins were stolen. Since then, there does not seem to have been any problems.
Bitstamp seems to focus on quality over quantity and while they maintain just a limited number of cryptocurrencies - they work hard on the overall user experience. If you are located within the European Union and want to buy and sell BTC, ETH, XRP, LTC or BCH then this could be one of the best options for you.
Bitstamp trading platform
As mentioned in the previous paragraph, Bitstamp doesn’t offer such a wide range of products however what they do, they do very well. The trading platform is Bitstamp’s main product and it takes center stage here.
The exchange offers Bitcoin and a number of other curated altcoins. There are no fancy features to speak of really but what you get is a lightning-quick, responsive and very polished trading platform. Everything just works very well.
You can make a number of different order types and the list is always evolving, these include market, limit, stop or instant and you can conduct your trading through Bitstamp’s particularly sleek mobile trading app that contains all the functionality that you get on the desktop version. You can get the ap on both iOS and Android.
Withdrawals, deposits and trading fees are relatively low compared to many other exchanges on the market. For example, if you’re making an international bank transfer, you can expect to pay just 0.05%.
Your trading fees will vary depending on the volume of your buys and sells. The maximum trading fee is 0.05% for volumes under $10,000 while they can drop to just 0.01% if you are one of the lucky few who are handling more than ten million dollars.
On the other hand, credit card deposits will cost you a hefty 5% fee! Take a look at the complete fee structure here.
Bitstamp has been in the game for a while which means it has had enough time to really refine its product and it shows. If you want to find out more about this exchange click here.
Luno is a fascinating and quickly-rising exchange that started out focusing on emerging markets like Malaysia, Indonesia or Nigeria which are normally not available countries on most Bitcoin exchanges. The company was founded in 2013 as BitX and changed its identity to Lumo in a 2016 rebrand. Luno boasts a decentralized workforce of 100 employees in offices across the globe - London, Singapore and Cape Town. They have over three million users from approximately 50 countries and it has raised almost 15 million dollars in investments.
Please note that, although the Luno fee structure looks very appealing, it is actually quite confusing so it’s important to double-check before purchasing to avoid any surprises.
This is Luno’s advanced Bitcoin-to-fiat trading platform that gives users state-of-the-art charting tools, API access to executed auto trading, a whole load of cool indicators and great reporting. The trading volume leaves something to be desired but it’s not the worst and this is mostly attributed to Luno’s userbase in developing markets. Recently, Luno has added Ethereum, XRP, Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash to its offering.
As is the case with most exchanges out there, Luno provides its users with a ‘simple’ method of trading Bitcoin or Ethereum without the use of the exchange. Luno facilitates the whole process by selling to you or buying from you directly and for that luxury, you are charged a premium. The premium varies a lot depending on which country you are in and the purchase amount which is a bit of a negative point for Luno as it’s tough to get a fixed number based upon their fee schedule - we’ll discuss it a little more below.
Luno mobile wallet
Luno provides its users with a mobile wallet solution that can be linked to their Luno account for great flexibility and access to your assets on the move. As it’s a custodial service, Luno controls your funds and you can’t see your private key or seed if you need to.
On the exchange platform, fees are based on a maker/taker fee schedule. In other words, makers will not pay anything while takers can pay somewhere between 0.25% to 1% depending upon which currencies are being traded.
As mentioned earlier, the ‘Instant buy’ feature fees are a little less clear and change depending on which country you are in and the volume of your purchase. Please double-check the full fees here to be clear before purchasing.
If you think Luno would suit your needs then check it out now.
All of the exchanges in this list have earned their reputation one way or the other. Be that through offering great customer services and communicating properly with their communities or simply having millions of happy users. Once you’ve found the one that suits your needs, you might be ready to think of a better, more stress-free way to trade.
Trality is a platform that allows anyone to benefit from the perks of automated trading. The VC-backed startup was founded in Vienna, Austria in 2019 and aims to give everyone the same advanced trading automation instruments that you see on Wall Street.
Unfortunately, due to biological limitations, you are unable to react to the market 24/7 and that means you’re missing some of the best trading opportunities out there. Trality is solving that problem though by empowering you to fully automate your trading strategy in a matter of clicks and have a trading bot do your work for you - 24 hours a day.
With Trality’s flexible and browser-based Python Code Editor, advanced users can develop cutting-edge bots. Make use of numpy, pandas and other popular libraries to seamlessly create any number of bots in a snap.
The Rule Builder is Trality’s tool for non-coders and designed with simplicity in mind. It caters to those who want to build an algorithmic trading bot the easy way by just dragging and dropping indicators and strategies from an extensive library that Trality constantly updates. With the Rule Builder, anyone can build a bot in minutes.
Trality supports high-speed backtesting with both of its tools so you can ensure your trading theories are sound before deploying your bots into the live trading world and the best part about all this is that it’s 100% free to get started.