If you’re getting serious about investing in cryptocurrencies, you’ll need to start researching the different exchanges on the market today. Once you start, you’ll soon discover that each one has its unique pluses and minuses it brings to the table. Some, like Bitstamp, allow fiat trading while others strictly trade with cryptocurrencies. Others, like Coinbase Pro and Gemini, are strictly regulated while others are intentionally headquartered in countries to avoid regulations. Binance, for instance, allows traders to use their own BNB currency to receive some of the lowest trading fees in the marketplace. Bittrex is an exchange known for their tight security while Bitstamp has had a problem in the past with recent hacks, costing traders hundreds of thousands in stolen coins.
These are some of the types of features and capabilities you need to be aware of when selecting a cryptocurrency exchange. In this guide we’ll cover the most important criteria in a cryptocurrency exchange, as well as a rundown of the top 10 exchanges from 2018.
Table of Contents
- 1. Coinbase Pro
- 2. Gemini
- 3. Binance
- 4. Changelly
- 5. Shapeshift
- 6. Bittrex
- 7. Kucoin
- 8. Bitstamp
- 9. Bitfinex
- 10. Poloniex
1. Coinbase Pro
Coinbase Pro Key Informaion
|Fees/ Exchange Rates:||10 to 30% for takers, no maker fee|
|Withdrawal and Limits:||Withdrawal limit of $10,000 per day for Pro account holders|
|Payment Methods:||Credit and debit card, bank transfer (depends on user’s geographic region)|
|Verification Requirements:||1-2 forms of ID depending on region|
|Geographical Restrictions||Operates only in US, Europe, UK, Canada, Australia, and Singapore|
|Website URL:||Register at coinbase.com|
A platform customized for advanced traders, Coinbase Pro is part of Coinbase, known as one of the most popular exchanges in the world. The advanced version first became known as GDAX (Global Digital Asset Exchange) in 2016 and later in 2018 rebranded to Coinbase Pro.
An exchange with high liquidity, competitive fees and a wide variety of cryptocurrencies, Coinbase Pro is also is a fully regulated exchange in the United States.
Coinbase Pro is not a platform for beginners, and some regions find find limited options of cryptocurrencies to choose from.
Gemini Key Information
|Fees/ Exchange Rates:||Fees/ Exchange Rates Maker/take fees 0 - .1%; typical $1000 bitcoin cost: $10|
|Withdrawal and Limits:||Withdrawal Limits $10,000 per day|
|Payment Methods:||Payment Methods ACH deposit or wire transfer|
|Verification Requirements:||US applicants: driver’s license or other ID. International residents: Passport and proof of address|
|Geographical Restrictions||Supports only US (except Hawaii), Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and the UK|
|Website URL:||Register with Gemeni.com|
A fully-regulated licensed bitcoin and ether exchange founded by the Winklevoss twins, Gemini holds US dollar deposits at an FDIC-insured bank. It is one of the only bitcoin exchanges regulated by the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYSDFS).
Gemini has a reputation for an easy-to-use platform with high liquidity, and good analytics.
Along with restricting trade to specific geographic regions, Gemini also has limited support for coins and does not offer margin trading.
Binance Key Information
|Fees/ Exchange Rates:||01% trading fee unless paying via BNB, $1 fee for every $1000 bitcoin|
|Withdrawal and Limits:||Basic users 2 BTC a day, Level 2 users 100 BTC a day|
|Payment Methods:||BNB, cryptocurrencies|
|Tradeable coins:||More than 130|
|Verification Requirements:||Government-issued ID|
|Website URL:||Register at binance.com|
Arguably the most popular cryptocurrency exchange in the market, Binance has one of the highest trading volumes of all of the exchanges, which it achieved in only six months. After stricter cryptocurrency regulations in China and Japan, Binance announced it would open an office in Malta and soon offer a fiat-to-crypto exchange there.
Binance is known for extremely high processing speeds of 1.4 million orders per second, multilingual support, its mobile app for both iOS and Android and a track record of success. It also offers some of the lowest trading fees in the market, especially for those paying in BNB.
Binance does not allow fiat trading and has limited payment options.
Changelly Key Information
|Fees/ Exchange Rates:||Trading 5%; deposit and withdrawal fees: 1- 7.1%;|
|Withdrawal and Limits:||Varies by region from $200 to first transaction to $10,000 for first month; no limits in any one month at all|
|Payment Methods:||Credit and debit, cryptocurrency|
|Tradeable coins:||More than 69|
|Verification Requirements:||Photo ID and passport|
|Website URL:||Register at changelly.com|
Headquartered in the Czech Republic in 2013, Changelly is unique in that it aggregates different exchange rates in order to suggest the best rates to users. This feature is also integrated into other exchanges such as Poloniex and Bittrex.
Changelly offers low fees and a user-friendly interface to those just starting out in the cryptocurrency world.
Changelly’s rate are high compared to other exchanges, but only when purchasing cryptocurrency directly.
Shapeshift Key Information
|Fees/ Exchange Rates:||Varies by coin|
|Withdrawal and Limits:||Individual orders have maximum and minimum amounts, but you can use ShapeShift as much as you want each day|
|Payment Methods:||Cryptocurrencies only|
|Tradeable coins:||Over 50|
|Website URL:||Register at shapeshift.io|
Known as a platform for cryptocurrency traders who want to make quick and anonymous trades, Shapeshift enables trades without having to sign up for an account. Unfortunately, it is also had many complaints from users of having lost their money. Shapeshift suffered a significant hack in 2016 with up to $200K stolen from users, and has had its reputation damaged as a result. In response to this, it has announced plans to make the platform AML/KYC mandatory by the end of the year.
With low fees and almost instant trading, Shapeshift is a popular choice for cryptocurrency users who want to quickly make trades.
Due to the 2016 hack and the lack of passwords and verification, security might be an issue for users. Shapeshift also does not offer fiat currency trading.
Bittrex Key Information
|Fees/ Exchange Rates:||.25% for trades, none for deposits or withdrawals (except for network transfer fees)|
|Withdrawal and Limits:||3 or 100 BTC a day depending on the account|
|Payment Methods:||Cryptocurrency, wire transfer|
|Tradeable coins:||More than 190|
|Verification Requirements:||Selfie and government-issued ID|
|Geographical Restrictions||North Korea, Iran, Crimean region, Syria or Cuba, or citizens of any region with an economic sanction from the US government|
|Website URL:||Register at bittrex.com|
A US-based cryptocurrency exchange founded in 2014, Bittrex has a reputation as a secure site trusted by its users, operating according to US regulations. Bittrex also has an impressive team behind it, with its CEO, Rami Kawach, having experience working as an engineer at Amazon, Qualys and Microsoft. Recently, Bittrex announced that it would be opening an EU-regulated exchange in Malta. It also recently removed the listing of BitShares, Bitcoin Gold and Bitcoin Private from its platform, citing insufficient liquidity to support their trading.
Bittrex offers a host of advanced tools for technical analysis such as candlestick charts and crosshairs which is ideal for advanced traders, while at the same time offering a user-friendly platform for beginners.
Bittrex sometimes has a long verification process and its customer service turnaround time can be slow.
Kucoin Key Information
|Fees/ Exchange Rates:||0.1%|
|Withdrawal and Limits:||2, 100 or 500 BTC per 24 hour depending on the account type|
|Tradeable coins:||More than 70|
|Website URL:||Register at kucoin.com|
A more recent cryptocurrency exchange launched in September 2017 that has not yet suffered any hacks or scams, Kucoin still has yet to prove itself as secure in the long-term. It offers low withdrawal fees as well as the ability of users to earn passive income through its referral program (Kucoins). This is one of the reasons for its explosive growth despite being relatively new on the market.
An affordable exchange offering low fees, Kucoin has built a strong interface and bank-level security for its assets. Kucoin offers customer service 24/7 through its hotline, email and website. It is also known as an exchange that quickly supports the latest altcoins.
Kucoin does not support the purchase of cryptocurrency with fiat currency. In addition, English-language support can be a challenge for this Hong Kong-based exchange.
Bitstamp Key Information
|Fees/ Exchange Rates:||0.1 – 0.25% trading fee, deposit and withdrawal fees free for payments with cryptocurrency only|
|Withdrawal and Limits:||None, but support asks for more details after $10,000|
|Payment Methods:||Cryptocurrency, debit and credit bard, bank transfer (SEPA) and wire transfer|
|Verification Requirements:||Government-issued ID and proof of residence|
|Geographical Restrictions||Open to European Union and US users only|
|Website URL:||Register at bitstamp.net|
A European-based exchange, Bitstamp has been able to create notable partnerships with Swissquote and Credit Agricole SA, and became the first partner in the Ripple Incentive Program. Unfortunately, Bitstamp suffered from hacks in both 2014 and 2015. The loss of 19.000 BTC in the 2015 hack put Bitstamp in the news as the largest cryptocurrency exchange hack in history. Since then, Bitstamp has employed many steps to tighten their security, including multi-sig technology and storage of crypto assets offline. Recently, Bitstamp announced its acquisition by NXMH, a Belgium- based investment company.
As the first fully licensed bitcoin exchange in the market, Bitstamp enjoys high liquidity and is able to offers its users both cryptocurrency and fiat currency transactions with low transaction fees.
Bitstamp may not be the best choice for beginners in cryptocurrency trading, with its high deposit fees on smaller sums of currency.
Bitfinex Key Information
|Fees/ Exchange Rates:||Taker fees between .055 and .2% depending on amount traded; no maker fees until above a certain sum|
|Withdrawal and Limits:||None for verified users|
|Payment Methods:||Cryptocurrency, wire transfer|
|Tradeable coins:||Over 60|
|Verification Requirements:||2 forms valid government ID with picture, bank statement and proof of address|
|Geographical Restrictions||Does not serve US customers|
|Website URL:||Register at bitfinex.com|
An exchange headquartered in Hong Kong and most known for its close relationship with Tether, Bitfinex has often been in the news and has been frequently criticized for the two companies having shared the same shareholders and management team. The exchange suffered a hack in August of 2016 in which $72 million was stolen from user accounts. In 2017, Wells Fargo stopped facilitating wire transfers to Bitfinex.
Bitfinex is one of the largest bitcoin exchanges in terms of volume and offers a trading experience especially targeted to advanced trading and institutional investors.
Bitfinex has been immersed in controversy in the last few years, causing users to be way of using the exchange for their cryptocurrency trading. It has blocked service to US customers without communicating if and when that service will return.
Poloniex Key Information
|Fees/ Exchange Rates:||Maker: 0 – 0.15%; Taker: 0.05 – 0.25%|
|Withdrawal and Limits:||$2000 a day at first-level verification, $25,000 after two-level verification|
|Tradeable coins:||Over 65|
|Verification Requirements:||Basic: name, email and country of residence|
Two-level: address, date of birth, phone number passport ID and photo
|Website URL:||Register at poloniex.com|
A cryptocurrency exchange based in San Francisco, Poloniex gives traders the opportunity to trade on margin. The exchange suffered a hack in 2014 which equaled to 12.3% of all bitcoins. The users were repaid their funds. As a result, it now stores most deposits in cold storage and monitors activity of traders 24/7. The exchange was acquired by Circle, a reputable crypto business, in February of 2018. Recently, Poloniex announced the addition of USDC, a fully collateralized US dollar stablecoin to their exchange.
Poloniex enjoys the benefit of allowing traders to trade a wide variety of cryptocurrencies, advanced analysis tools, margin trading and good liquidity.
Poloniex has suffered negative reviews in regards to its slow website and lack of customer service.