Money is not a client of any investment adviser featured on this page. The information provided on this page is for educational purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Money does not offer advisory services.
Money is not a client of any investment adviser featured on this page. The information provided on this page is for educational purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Money does not offer advisory services.
Since 2017, our team has spent hundreds of hours researching cryptocurrencies. To pick the best crypto exchanges, we evaluated more than 20 companies based on their security, user experience and cost. We also studied current crypto regulation and compliance reports, compared fee schedules and spoke to our in-house crypto experts for further guidance.
Why Trust Us?
Our editors and writers evaluate crypto exchanges independently, ensuring our content is precise and guided by editorial integrity. Read our full methodology to learn more.
- Reviewed 22 crypto exchanges available in the US
- Based on over 15 data points
- 500+ hours of research
Crypto exchanges are where traders can buy, sell and convert different cryptocurrencies and NFTs (non-fungible tokens). They are necessary for digital assets to be traded at the scale they are today. Some exchanges offer the most competitive prices or speeds, whereas others provide specialized financial products.
Read on to learn about the best cryptocurrency exchanges, how they work, and which one you should pick.
What’s going on with the crypto industry?
With the price of Bitcoin once again surging, many traders are rushing back to the market despite the broad crackdown on the crypto industry by the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC). Numerous well-known exchanges, including Coinbase and FTX, have been put under scrutiny in the wake of several high-profile failures that shook the industry starting in 2022.
Most recently, the SEC sued Kraken over allegations that it has been operating as an unregistered securities exchange. The Commission claims that it failed to register with regulators and commingled customers’ funds. Binance, another crypto giant, is also undergoing a lengthy legal battle with the SEC due to alleged commingling of customer funds.
We acknowledge that the current state of the crypto industry may be unsettling and want to assure our audience that the exchanges listed in our top picks have transparent financial backing and robust cybersecurity measures in place.
Nonetheless, if you’re looking for the most secure method possible of managing your crypto, we recommend purchasing a cold storage wallet. Our top recommendation for the best hardware wallet can be found in our list of the best crypto wallets.
Our Top Picks for the Best Crypto Exchanges of 2023
- Coinbase - Best for Beginners
- Kraken - Best for Advanced Traders
- Bitstamp - Best for Low Fees
- Bisq - Best Decentralized Exchange
- Pionex.US - Best for Automated Trading
- Public - Best $0 Commission Platform
Best Crypto Exchanges Reviews
- Intuitive, user-friendly interface
- Easy asset purchase process
- Broad assortment of educational material
- Wide selection of cryptocurrencies
- High fees compared to other popular exchanges
Why we chose it: We chose Coinbase as the best crypto exchange for beginners because of its easy-to-use interface and extensive educational material on everything from blockchain to web3 and public policy.
If you’re familiar with crypto, chances are you’ve already heard of Coinbase. The exchange is one of the largest and most well-known in the U.S., plus the crypto platform does a great job of lowering the barrier to entry for new investors, with a straightforward onboarding process that eases users into trading.
Navigating the platform and managing crypto is a seamless experience thanks to Coinbase’s simple interface. The exchange also features a comprehensive and accessible variety of learning materials. Users are encouraged to use these resources through the Coinbase Earn program, which teaches how to trade specific assets and rewards users with crypto.
The exchange’s security features are worth mentioning as well. It offers four types of two-factor authentication, allows customers to store their funds in a vault with time delayed withdrawals, and has an insurance policy to protect custodial accounts of up to $250,000. All this is why Coinbase is ultimately worth trying for beginners, despite its higher fees.
- Customizable, all-in-one interface with real-time market data
- Margin trading available
- Low fees and transparent fee schedule
- Rigorous security standards
- Not available in New York and Washington
- Futures and staking unavailable in the US
- Limited number of fiat funding options
Why we chose it: We chose Kraken as the best crypto exchange for advanced traders because of its generous fee schedule, comprehensive trading tools and robust security.
Kraken has been around for a while now, and is well known — and loved — by many crypto traders around the world. The exchange supports more than 230 cryptocurrencies and boasts arguably the safest digital ecosystem for trading your crypto. Moreover, its advanced trading platform, Kraken Pro, provides a wealth of tools for experienced crypto traders.
A big reason why Kraken Pro stands out from other platforms is its customizable interface. Users can choose as many trading modules as they want from an extensive list and resize, drag, drop and arrange them to create their ideal layout. Another reason is the platform’s fee schedule, which boasts some of the lowest maker and taker fees we could find.
The exchange’s security is also nothing to scoff at. All of the companies we included in this list employ stringent security measures, but Kraken’s are remarkable enough that the exchange has never suffered a large-scale hack since it first went online in 2011 — an accolade that very few exchanges of its size can attest to.
- Low trading fees and no spreads
- Supports multiple fiat currencies
- Funds can be withdrawn within 24 hours
- Regulated by the New York Department of Financial Services
- Fewer cryptocurrency offerings
Why we chose it: We chose Bitstamp as the best crypto exchange for low fees because of its highly competitive maker/taker fees, affordable funding fees and strong cybersecurity.
Many crypto exchanges promise low fees as a way to entice traders to join their platform, but then “catch” you with expensive transfer and withdrawal fees. This is not the case with Bitstamp, which features inexpensive fees across the board. Withdrawal fees for individual cryptocurrencies are markedly low, and ACH transfers are free of charge.
Bitstamp’s maker/taker fee schedule — ranging from 0.30% to 0.00% and from 0.40% to 0.03% as of December 7 — stands as one of the most affordable among all the exchanges operating in the US. Moreover, users with a 30-day trading volume of under $1000 don’t have to pay any trading fees at all, which is a considerable boon for less dedicated traders.
Bitstamp also has a long track record of operating securely and transparently. One of the oldest crypto exchanges in the world, it was the first crypto exchange to receive a payment institution license in the EU and currently holds a BitLicense issued by the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS).
- Supports trades with a broad selection of coins and traditional currencies
- Wide variety of payment methods
- Short verification process
- Crypto app only works for notifications
- Must trade with Bitcoin or BSQ only
Why we chose it: We chose Bisq as the best decentralized exchange because it follows the ethos of Bitcoin best by maintaining an open-source platform that is completely decentralized without limiting currency support.
Bisq brings the clean, easy-to-use interface and vast coin support of centralized exchanges to a decentralized environment. The platform is built on open-source software, meaning its design is publicly available, and the project is funded by personal savings and donations from its community of users.
Bisq doesn’t need a third party to conduct cryptocurrency transactions, nor does it require users to submit personal information to trade on the platform. It’s an excellent alternative for Bitcoin fans looking for a wide variety of coins to trade with, including altcoins like Cardano, XRP, and Dogecoin. In fact, it’s not typical for decentralized exchanges to support so many digital assets.
Additionally, the platform’s security features, such as multi-signature and a security deposit system, enhance the inherent safety and privacy of decentralized exchanges by ensuring that both parties act honestly and have complete control of their funds during the trading process.
- Manual and automated trading options
- Competitive fees on all types of transactions
- Tutorials, live chat and email customer support
- All bots are cloud based
- Some bots lack a detailed explanation on the exchange's website
- Unavailable in AK, HI, ID, IA, KY, NM, NY, TN and VT
- No fiat withdrawal options
Why we chose it: We chose Pionex.US as the best crypto exchange for automated trading because of its integrated trading bots, low fees and intuitive interface.
Since its launch in 2019, Singapore-based Pionex has garnered a sizable following online thanks to its affordable fee schedule and selection of 16 built-in trading bots. Pionex.US, the United States franchise of the platform, only allows for spot trading and has just 11 bots available, but remains the most comprehensive automated solution for cryptocurrency trading.
The bots available on Pionex.US have a variety of functions, including:
- Buying at dollar cost average for a one-time sell off
- Creating an index and rebalancing your portfolio automatically
- Various strategies for buying low and selling high
Although there is no way to practice trading with them using a demo account, most of the bots have an educational video and a detailed explanation on the exchange’s website. Users can also request a 1-on-1 onboarding session to help them understand the bots better.
Lastly, like its global counterpart, Pionex.US offers inexpensive maker/taker fees on spot trades. These range from 0.05% to 0% depending on the crypto pairing and apply to trades made manually and by trading bots alike.
- Regulated by the SEC and FINRA
- Fractional stock investing available
- Volatility reminders on cryptocurrencies
- Social trading lets you see what others are buying and selling
- Charges a transaction fee for crypto trades
- Lack of technical charts and research tools
- Long waiting time for withdrawals
Why we chose it: We chose Public as the best $0 commission platform because, in addition to offering affordable trades, the exchange is remarkably easy to use and provides a wealth of educational content.
Public is a beginner-friendly platform that tries to mix accessible, affordable investing with an approach that puts financial literacy first. It does this by providing users with articles on a wide variety of investment topics, market updates and a daily live show called Public Live, where a panel of experts, analysts and journalists join to discuss market headlines.
It’s important to mention that Public is not a full-service cryptocurrency exchange. The platform focuses on stocks and ETFs first, meaning it lacks certain tools and operates fundamentally different from an actual crypto exchange. Most importantly, users cannot presently transfer crypto assets into or out of their Public account.
Other crypto exchanges we considered
The following trading platforms are all excellent options, especially for new traders. However, they didn’t make it to our top list because they lack certain core features, are not dedicated crypto exchanges or don’t excel in a particular area.
- Outstanding cybersecurity infrastructure
- Low fees if your account is funded with cash transfers
- Large selection of crypto assets
- Expensive credit and debit purchases
- No crypto-to-crypto trading options
Crypto.com boasts several noteworthy features, including a non-custodial DeFi wallet, prepaid Visa cards to spend crypto, margin trading and over 250 supported crypto assets. Crypto.com also employs various security measures such as multi-factor identification, offline cold storage and a regulated custodian bank account for traditional currency.
Why Crypto.com didn’t make the cut: Although Crypto.com is a great crypto exchange, it doesn’t stand out in any particular area. We recommend it for beginners and experts alike, but you may want to consider other exchanges if you’re looking for a more specialized platform.
- No commissions and minimum account balance
- Exceptionally easy to use and start trading
- Heavily regulated by the SEC
- No mutual fund and forex trading
- Lacks educational content and research tools
Robinhood is another commission-free investment platform that caters to beginners and casual investors. Users can trade seven cryptocurrencies in addition to stocks, ETFs, options and more.
Why Robinhood didn’t make the cut: Robinhood lacks the tools and features of a full-service cryptocurrency exchange. It has also been the target of numerous complaints from users and regulators regarding its dishonest business practices (just last year, the app was fined 70 million by FINRA for misleading consumers).
- Recurring buys and dynamic price alerts
- Enable crypto withdrawals to go only to approved addresses
- Output transaction histories and downloadable account statements
- Higher trading fees than other exchanges
- Limited customer service options
Gemini is a well-funded crypto exchange with a reputation for being easy to use. The platform supports 80 crypto to buy, sell and store. It also offers a variety of tools for high-performance traders and boasts excellent security practices.
Why Gemini didn’t make the cut: Gemini’s fees are markedly higher compared to those of other exchanges. And while the platform’s features make for a good package overall, none of them were impressive enough to earn Gemini a top spot with us.
- Active investment community, ideal for social trading
- Support crypto staking for some coins
- Broad selection of cryptocurrencies
- Disappointing withdrawal fees and spread fees
- Crypto trading not available in all states
eToro is a multi-asset investment platform that allows users to trade a variety of assets, including 30 popular cryptocurrencies. The platform’s main highlight is its social trading features, which allows users to create a custom news feed and follow, copy and interact with their favorite traders.
Why eToro didn’t make the cut: eToro did not make our top list because it’s not a full-service crypto exchange. This means it lacks basic tools and services, such as withdrawing your crypto, and directly depositing, trading or exchanging crypto on the platform.
- One of the easiest platforms to buy Bitcoin and get started with crypto
- Lock prices immediately and withdraw quickly
- Make and receive mobile payments
- No insurance coverage from the FDIC
- It cannot be used to make payments internationally
- Can only trade Bitcoin; no other crypto available
Cash.app is a great option if you just want to test the Bitcoin waters or simply need another platform to do quick bitcoin transactions. Unlike other non-dedicated cryptocurrency exchanges, Cash.app lets you keep custody of your coins. This alone makes it worth a try.
Why Cash.app didn’t make the cut: Cash.app is not a dedicated crypto exchange and its bitcoin services are bare bones. While it may be an accessible entry point for those interested in crypto (specifically Bitcoin), we cannot recommend it as an exchange for trading in the long term.
Trading Fees (Maker/Taker)
0.00% / 0.001% (Stable Pairs only) or 0.40% - 0.00% / 0.60% - 0.05%
0.16% - 0.00% / 0.26% - 0.10%
0.30% - 0.00% / 0.40% - 0.03%
No set list
0.1% / 1% (BTC) or 0.05% / 0.5% (BSQ)
0.05% of your total trade value
$0.49 - $6.29 or 1.25% of order amount (for orders of over $500)
0.0750% - 0% / 0.0750% - 0.0500%
0.00% / 0.001% (Stable Pairs only) or 0.20% - 0% / 0.40% - 0.03%
Flat 1% transaction fee on asks and bids
Undisclosed “small fee”
Crypto Exchanges Guide
Despite having broken into the mainstream, crypto can still be a confusing subject for investors of all levels. How exactly do they work? What are the different types of exchange and how do they differ from crypto wallets?
- What is a crypto exchange?
- How do crypto exchanges work?
- What are the different types of crypto exchange?
- Understanding crypto exchange fees
- What to look for when choosing a crypto exchange?
- How to be sure a crypto exchange is legitimate and secure
- How to open a crypto exchange account
- Latest News on Crypto Exchanges
- Our Methodology for Choosing the Best Crypto Exchanges
What is a crypto exchange?
Crypto exchanges are platforms where users can trade digital currencies for other assets, including cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), and regular currencies, like U.S. Dollars and Euros.
Exchanges are an essential part of the crypto ecosystem because most traditional investment firms do not offer cryptocurrencies in their portfolios. Without exchanges, you would have to find another person willing to trade crypto, agree on an exchange rate and send the coins directly to each other’s wallets — a somewhat convoluted process.
Crypto staking would also be impossible without the service that exchanges offer. Staking allows crypto holders to earn crypto back for setting aside a portion of the coins or non-fungible tokens (NFTs) in their wallet.
Crypto wallet vs exchange
Crypto wallets and exchanges are both essential tools used to manage cryptocurrencies. Wallets are meant to keep your crypto funds safe, whereas exchanges are trading hubs where users convert fiat currencies to digital ones and buy or sell crypto based on current market rates.
Facilitate trading between users
Hold the private keys that are necessary to access cryptocurrency on the blockchain
Convert fiat currencies into digital currencies
Are offered by exchanges and independent developers.
Are available 24/7, unlike traditional investment firms
Can be an online-only platform, a physical storage device, or incorporate both aspects.
Many crypto exchanges operate their own wallets, so users can start trading crypto as soon as they open their account without having to worry about getting a digital wallet of their own. These are known as web-hosted wallets, and their incorporated exchange is responsible for their security measures.
Serious traders are encouraged to keep an independent cryptocurrency wallet to deposit any coins they aren’t actively trading. This is because you could lose all your digital assets if the exchange is hacked.
Although you’ll be responsible for securing, backing up, and managing your own funds, independent digital wallets are a much safer alternative for safeguarding the bulk of your crypto.
How do crypto exchanges work
Most crypto trading platforms function as a brokerage, acting as intermediaries between buyers and sellers. Users can deposit money into exchanges to buy crypto or deposit their own crypto to trade for other currencies, known as crypto-to-crypto spot trading.
Traders can expect to pay a fee for converting one crypto to another, like when exchanging regular currencies at a bank (for example, converting USD to EUR). In exchange for digital currencies, exchanges may accept a wide variety of payments, including credit card payments, ACH transfers, Visa debit cards, money orders and even gift cards.
Dedicated crypto and bitcoin exchanges will allow you to withdraw your crypto funds and transfer them to another wallet of your choice. Others, especially those that focus on other assets, like stocks and ETFs — including Robinhood and eToro — only let you purchase the crypto but not transfer it out of their web wallets.
What are the different types of crypto exchanges?
Crypto exchanges come in three varieties: centralized, decentralized, and hybrid.
Centralized exchanges (CEX)
Centralized exchanges are the most common and traditional type of crypto exchange. These are owned by private companies and offer investors a platform to trade cryptocurrencies. This type of exchange tends to have higher trade volumes and liquidity and a greater number of trading pairs.
Centralized exchanges are often considered a good option for new crypto traders because of their smoother onboarding and user interface, availability of customer support and insurance should the platform’s systems fail. However, this type of exchange is inherently more vulnerable to hacking attacks, and some users may feel uncomfortable sharing their personal information.
Decentralized exchanges (DEX)
Decentralized exchanges follow in the spirit of Bitcoin by operating with no central point of control. Servers for this type of exchange are spread throughout computers located across the world, which means if one computer is attacked, the network keeps running.
Where centralized exchanges operate as brokerages, decentralized exchanges are more like marketplaces. They facilitate peer-to-peer trading and have a less rigid registration process. The main drawbacks of decentralized exchanges include lower trading volume, small liquidity, generally poor user interface, and a lack of customer support.
Examples: Bisq, Uniswap, PancakeSwap, Tokenlon, dYdX
Hybrid exchanges aim to overcome the limitations of older exchanges by offering the greater functionality and liquidity of centralized exchanges together with the security advantages of decentralized exchanges.
Hybrid exchanges boast fast transaction speeds without compromising their users’ privacy but are still a relatively new development in the crypto world. Time will tell if they will be successful or struggle due to high costs, limited scalability and limited assets.
Examples: Nash, Qurrex, Eidoo, Legolas
Understanding crypto exchange fees
Crypto exchanges charge several fees, and it’s not always clear what exactly you’ll be charged for.
There are two main types of fees to look out for: exchange fees and network fees.
Exchange fees are how crypto exchanges make money. In other words, they’re service fees that include:
- Trading fees, charged when making transactions and are also called “maker/taker” fees. Trading fees indicate whether a crypto order provides liquidity to the market or not. These also apply when converting currencies.
- Deposit fees, charged when users add money to their account, usually via debit card, credit card, or PayPal instead of through a wire transfer.
- Withdrawal fees, charged when withdrawing regular currency or cryptocurrencies from your account.
- Account fees, charged on a regular basis, usually monthly.
Network fees are paid to cryptocurrency miners, who process and secure crypto transactions on the blockchain. Many centralized crypto exchanges incur this cost, though some may allow their users to pay more in miner fees to speed up transaction speeds.
Users on decentralized exchanges generally have to pay this fee themselves, since there is no third party between them and the crypto miners.
What to look for when choosing a crypto exchange
Not all investors have the same priorities when it comes to choosing a crypto exchange. However, for most people, supported currencies, security measures, liquidity, ease of use, and geographic availability should be top of mind.
Some crypto exchanges support as many as 500 currencies, while others may only support a single coin. Your exchange of choice should allow you to buy and sell any crypto you are interested in trading, be it mainstays like bitcoin and ether or altcoins such as Cardano, Litecoin and Ripple. It should also allow for any fiat-to-currency and currency-to-currency trade pairings.
Crypto exchanges have become a prime target for cybercriminals. According to Chainalysis, a blockchain analysis firm and data platform that has worked directly with the U.S. government, crypto hackers stole $3.8 Billion in 2022. Look for a crypto exchange with robust encryption that provides additional lines of defense, such as two-factor authentication and Bitcoin locks.
In the context of cryptocurrency, liquidity refers to how easily a coin can be converted into cash or other coins. For crypto markets and exchanges, higher liquidity means there are more traders active at any given time, so orders get filled faster. Look for exchanges with high liquidity if quick trades are a priority for you.
Ease of use
A clunky user interface is the bane of everyday users when it comes to software applications. Even advanced traders may struggle at times if a crypto app is poorly designed. Before settling on an exchange, try several of them out and see which ones are easier to navigate and trade on.
Not all crypto exchanges are available in the United States. Some exchanges, like Pionex.US, only operate in certain states. Make sure the crypto exchange you are signing up for is available in your location.
How to be sure a crypto exchange is legitimate and secure
When looking for a crypto exchange, it’s essential to keep an eye out for fake websites and mobile apps. Always check for any misspellings in the copy or inauthentic branding. In the case of a website, make sure there’s a small lock icon indicating security near the URL bar.
It’s important to remind yourself that, scams aside, trading crypto can be dangerous. Cryptocurrencies are highly volatile, meaning that they are subject to sudden increases and decreases in values that even the wisest investors cannot predict with certainty.
Financial advisors recommend that if you invest in cryptocurrency, practice caution and keep it below 5% of your total investments.
How to open a crypto exchange account
Every crypto exchange has its own registration and setup process. Some exchanges may let you open an account without verifying your identity or submitting sensitive information. Others will require new users to undergo an extensive “Know your Client” (KYC) process to comply with U.S. government regulations meant to prevent money laundering and fraud.
However, some parts of registration are shared across platforms. You will need the following information and documentation to open an account on most crypto exchange platforms:
- Your full name and date of birth
- Your phone number and email address
- Your physical address
- Your Social Security number
- A government-issued ID (e.g., driver’s license, passport) and a picture of you holding it or a scan of the ID
The sign-up process generally starts by asking for your personal information, followed by an email to confirm your address. Some exchanges may also ask for a copy of a utility bill sent to your physical address and inquire about your interest in trading crypto. Then, you’ll need to add a payment method to deposit funds into the exchange and start to buy and sell cryptocurrency.
Latest News on Crypto Exchanges
It’s the best time of the year for bitcoin, as a recent spike in price to over $40,000 has shown. The last quarter of the year is when the price of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency often see significant surges. However, some experts still question whether there’s any truth to this pattern.
As crypto markets remain under the radar, speculators are wondering if bitcoin halving will cause crypto prices to soar next year. Bitcoin halving limits the amount of new bitcoins that come into the market by reducing the total reward that miners receive for their work. Halving occurs every four years, and the next one is anticipated to take place sometime around April or May 2024.
The impact of halving on miners have driven some to ask if bitcoin mining is profitable in the long term. Mining requires a substantial upfront investment, and because there are a lot of variables involved with the practice, a high profit isn’t guaranteed. Escalating energy costs, coupled with the environmental consequences associated with mining, have added to the growing skepticism surrounding the financial viability of mining operations.
Crypto Exchanges FAQs
Where can I buy bitcoin?
To purchase bitcoins — or any cryptocurrency, for that matter — you'll most likely have to open an account on a crypto exchange. However, this isn't the only way to acquire bitcoin.You can buy bitcoin through some financial apps, such as PayPal and Venmo, and on trading apps like Webull and Cash.app. A few traditional brokers, including Interactive Brokers and TradeStation, also allow bitcoin purchases. Lastly, you can use a Bitcoin ATM, though you will need a Bitcoin wallet for this last method.
Why is crypto down?
What is the best crypto exchange?
There is no one best exchange for every user. However, some of the features shared by the best cryptocurrency exchanges include solid security tools, low fees, several payment options, an accessible platform and availability on both mobile and desktop.
A large number of tradable cryptocurrencies that include various altcoins, stablecoins and trading pairs — for example, Bitcoin/Litecoin (BTC/LTC) and Ethereum/Bitcoin Cash (ETH/BCH) — is also something to look for.
What is crypto trading?
Cryptocurrencies are down because they are subject to the same factors that are currently impacting stocks and other financial assets.
Growing inflation, higher interest rates — making it more expensive for businesses to borrow money — and events like the war in Ukraine have destabilized the global economy. This has spilled over into the crypto market, which is already infamous for its high volatility, but has seen some growth in the last couple of months.
What is spot trading in crypto?
Spot trading in crypto refers to buying crypto assets and waiting for them to rise in value before selling them. It’s called “spot trading” because it takes place over a spot market or exchange, which is a public financial platform where commodities, currencies and securities are traded for instantaneous delivery.
This is the most common form of crypto trading and is what the majority of people associate with the term “trading” when they think of cryptocurrencies.
Our Methodology for Choosing the Best Crypto Exchanges
We looked at over 20 crypto exchanges and evaluated them based on cost, security, and user experience. Other factors we considered in our methodology include their cryptocurrency selection, payment options and trade volume.
We mainly focused on dedicated crypto exchanges and then looked at trading platforms that let you trade other securities. The best cryptocurrency exchanges scored high in the following categories:
Users should feel that their crypto is secure on their trade platform, so security breach prevention measures and safe account management methods are essential. We looked at each platform’s history of keeping their users’ funds and information safe and considered whether they offer insurance to users in case they lose their money due to a mistake on their part.
Security Breach Prevention
In order to proactively safeguard user accounts against hackers, exchanges may schedule penetration tests, bug bounties and third-party audits to validate the company’s proof of reserves. These assessments help exchanges ensure that their platform lacks vulnerabilities and is equipped with the latest security measures.
Safe Account Management
Crypto exchanges should follow cybersecurity security best practices to limit vulnerabilities in their system. This includes enforcing TLS/SSL encryption and, for centralized exchanges, multi-factor authentication (MFA), which requires the user to provide two or more verification factors — SMS and email, for example.
An exchange that is easy to use and navigate is always a plus regardless of whether one is a novice or an expert. We considered each crypto exchange’s mobile (iOS and Android) and desktop interface, favoring those with more intuitive designs. We also looked at the educational content and research tools available for users.
Mobile and Desktop Interface
Modern crypto exchanges tend to have a more streamlined user interface that is accessible to new traders. This is true even for decentralized exchanges, which have historically been designed for more experienced users.
Educational content is helpful for all levels of traders, but especially for those new to crypto, who may need to find their bearings before they begin investing. This type of content ranges from blog articles and explainers on specific coins to test runs and guided transactions for learning how to use an exchange.
Market data is an indispensable resource for crypto investors. Research tools allow users to fine-tune their crypto search results by limiting them to specific types of coin and sorting based on a variety of metrics, such as market cap, daily price changes and social trends.
Fees can be a headache for users, especially for active traders. We favored crypto exchanges that offered low service fees and ways of reducing transaction fees. We also valued transparency when it came to their fee structure.
Low or reduced fees
Many popular crypto exchanges employ a declining fee schedule where the greater your order volume, the less you have to pay for the transaction. Some exchanges will lower fees further if you’re trading with their native token — Cronos (CRO) on Crypto.com or Binance Coin (BNB) on Binance.us, for instance — or even waive fees altogether for high-volume orders.
Fee structure transparency
All crypto exchanges — dedicated or not — must openly share their fee schedules. This was a prerequisite for us when it came to featuring companies on our list. Some exchanges have more complex fees than others, in which case we also considered how well they explain these fees and their exceptions.