Back to research

Crypto Exchanges

September 12, 2021

Table of Contents

Finding the right exchange is important and we want to make sure you have the necessary tools and information to make the best decision for your needs.
Our reviews are based on user testing and extensive background research. During the review process we cover end-user feedback and expert opinions to establish the real reputation and nature of any exchange.

Information is regularly fact-checked and we consult with crypto security specialists to make sure the exchanges we recommend are in your best interests. There is no single best exchange but our reviews can help users find the exchange that suits their individual needs and situation. We’ve included abridged reviews of 6 popular centralized exchanges.

In addition to reading our reviews, try to seek out more information on exchanges. Check to see if they’ve been in the news, or have had any major promotions. Remember, just because an exchange hasn’t been compromised at the time of writing doesn’t mean that it never will be.

Coinbase.com
Pros
  • Only crypto exchange listed in the stock exchange
  • Strong security and insurance on deposits
  • High liquidity
  • Smooth user interface
Cons
  • Higher fees when not using Coinbase Pro
  • Limited access to altcoins
  • Wallets are custodial

Overview

Coinbase is one of the first and certainly one of the best when it comes to the cryptocurrency space. It has a smooth and intuitive platform making it seamless for those new to the world of crypto trading. This simplicity comes at a high price however as the fees add up quickly, especially if you’re aiming to trade regularly. Coinbase can be used to convert one cryptocurrency to another, or to send and receive cryptocurrency. Traders can view price movement, trends, portfolio summaries, and related industry news. More recently, Coinbase became the first crypto exchange platform to go public and list on the NASDAQ stock exchange with a total value of over $90 billion.

Recommended for

Anyone looking for an easy, smooth experience while buying Bitcoin.

Luno
Pros
  • Intuitive, straightforward platform design that doesn’t require any hand-holding, so Grandma can buy her own BTC.
  • Easy to set up an account and buy crypto
  • Makes regulated crypto available to users in developing economies
Cons
  • Luno is a custodial wallet – you don’t own your keys
  • Difficult to access customer support
  • Confusing fee structure
  • Doesn’t operate in the US
  • Only 6 coins are offered – BTC, ETH, USDC, BCH, LTC, and XRP

Overview

Currently the largest Bitcoin exchange in terms of volume and liquidity, San-Francisco based exchange Kraken is a solid fit for experienced users that can take advantage of its high liquidity and advanced trading features. Newcomers will benefit from Kraken’s high security and 24/7 customer service as well, though they might be intimidated by the complex interface. Kraken has achieved the significant milestone of being listed on the Bloomberg terminal, a tool relied on by the world’s major financial decision-makers. Kraken has had its fair share of problems over the years. In 2018, Kraken experienced shutdowns lasting as long as 48 hours to address vulnerabilities, spiking unease among investors. However, Kraken’s powerful trading tools continue to appeal to high-powered crypto investors, particularly those based in the United States.

Recommended for

all types of investors, from beginners looking to buy a small amount of bitcoin to high volume traders.

Gate.io
Pros
  • IEO Platform, for traders looking to invest in upcoming blockchain projects the minute they hit the market
  • Extensive investment products
  • No deposit fees
  • Diverse selection of altcoins
Cons
  • Terrible security track record and lack of transparency
  • Cluttered platform
  • No fiat deposits

Overview

Founded in the fall of 2013, Cayman Islands based Gate.io (formerly known as BTER) currently ranks among the 20 largest exchanges. With 650+ cryptocurrencies, it also boasts one of the most diverse asset portfolios. While Gate.io has suffered several major security breaches, it remains a popular choice among traders for its huge stable of altcoins, sophisticated financial services, and robust rewards program. Gate.io also loses points for being a crypto-only exchange; users cannot deposit fiat. However, the sheer diversity of the coins on offer lessens the sting. Other than that, deposit and withdrawal are fairly easy, though enhanced security measures mean that it might take a little longer than usual.

Fees are slightly lower than industry standard, and start at 0.2%. While it is a standout for coin diversity, the excessive security breaches and cluttered interface mean that Gate.io is not beginner friendly.

Recommended for

Experienced investors willing to compromise on security for access to a large variety of altcoins.

Crypto.com
Pros
  • Planning to become carbon negative by 2023
  • Offers derivatives and margin trading
  • Offers derivatives and margin trading
  • Successful debit card service allows you to spend crypto on daily expenses
Cons
  • Lackluster customer service
  • Can be complex to use

Overview

With a dizzying array of features and slick interface, Crypto.com is an excellent choice for beginner to intermediate users looking to integrate crypto into their daily lives.

Founded in 2016, Crypto.com has made a name for itself by providing users the selling of cryptocurrencies at true cost. Their Visa card was launched in 2018, and is currently available in Canada, the US, Europe, and APAC. With perks that include up to 8% cash back and rebates on Spotify, Netflix, and Amazon Prime, it’s no wonder that the Crypto.com Visa Card is the largest program of its kind.

Recommended for

Intermediate to advanced users who enjoy earning rewards and want to start integrating crypto into their daily lives.

Binance
Pros
  • User-friendly platform
  • Large selection of crypto
  • High trading volume delivers greater liquidity to Binance traders
Cons
  • Customer support can be slow
  • KYC compliance can take a long time
  • Was hacked (big time) in 2019, causing doubts about security

Overview

Binance is a popular cryptocurrency exchange that was founded in 2017 by Changpeng Zhao (CZ). The platform provides trading opportunities for over 500+ cryptocurrencies, especially altcoins. It supports popular coins such as Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), Dogecoin (DOGE), including its own blockchain-based token, Binance Coin (BNB).

The exchange has relatively low fees and an attractive user interface. Security isn’t great, as the exchange was hacked badly in 2019. On the plus side, Binance has recorded the largest trading volume of any exchange. Binance is constantly adding more options and financial services.

Recommended for

crypto enthusiasts at any level.

Wallet Encryption

It’s all well and good to go buy bitcoin, but the important question is how you’re going to store it. There are a few important pieces of wallet terminology to explain, followed by key principles. The important thing to remember is this: if you don’t control access to the private keys for your wallet, you are not in control of the bitcoins in the wallet.