Cryptocurrency exchanges are the platforms that allow people to invest in and trade digital currencies. The Bull Run of 2017 opened up the cryptocurrency space, leading to the entry of more cryptocurrency exchanges. Coinmarketcap currently keeps track of 259 crypto exchanges, providing users with valuable data such as the 24-hour, seven days, and 30 days trading volume, the 24-hour percentage change in trading volume, and the date the platform was launched.
Binance, Coinbase, OKEx, and Huobi Global are some of the most popular crypto trading platforms in the world. In this post, I will discuss the pros and cons of the eight most popular cryptocurrency exchanges and their attributes. Armed with information about each trading platform, you can make an informed decision on which one to choose when venturing into the crypto space.
Let us now review the eight leading platforms. These are not in any particular order.
• has a substantial trading volume
• One of the lowest trading fees on the market
• A good user interface
• Supports the highest number of cryptocurrencies
• Multi-device support; available on Android, web browsers, and more.
• Fast transaction processing speed
• Multilingual support
• The platform doesn’t support fiat (except for Binance Jersey)
• Binance provides only options for limit and market orders
• Lists shitcoins
Some people regard Binance as the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world. Binance was established in 2017 and quickly rose to become one of the largest exchanges in terms of trading volume. Binance has an average daily trading volume of $1.7 billion.
The Malta-based cryptocurrency exchange has gained the trust of the crypto space despite the recent security breach it experienced. The CEO Changpeng Zhao (CZ) announced a year ago that they had opened a bank account in Malta. However, CZ didn’t disclose the name of the bank. In terms of transparency, Binance is as good as they come. The exchange ensures that its customers are kept in the loop, with CZ ever-present on Twitter to provide the latest information on their activities. Previously, Binance wasn’t too big on KYC. However, its recent partnership with IdentityMind will see Binance improve its data protection and compliance practices.
• Coinbase has an excellent user interface and is easy to understand
• Has a relatively low transaction fees
• Supports credit cards, wire transfer, debit cards, and PayPal
• Coinbase Pro for expert traders
• Coinbase has an independent wallet
• Offers custody solutions for institutional investors
• Has robust security (yet to experience a hack)
• Coinbase is covered by FDIC insurance up to $250,000
• It doesn’t have a global coverage like Binance
• Coinbase supports a limited number of cryptocurrencies
• Has poor customer support
Coinbase is one of the oldest cryptocurrency trading platforms (founded in 2012). It has a significant trading volume, with Coinbase Pro recording an average of $310 million daily transaction volume. The San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange has become the darling of some venture capital firm, with ICE, MUFG, BBVA, ICE, ANDRESSEN HOROWITZ, and a few others investing in the company.
As one of the most reputable crypto entities, Coinbase operates a bank account with UK’s Barclays. Coinbase has always been transparent with its customers, providing them update via Twitter and blog posts. The cryptocurrency exchange takes identity verification very seriously. Without verifying an account, there is a limit to what a customer can do with their Coinbase account.
• Has active and multilingual customer support at all times
• Supports a large number of cryptocurrencies
• Has low trading fees
• New users can use the pre-trade education programs to learn about crypto trading
• Multi-device supports; available for web browsers, Android, and iOS users
• Available to users in over 190 countries
• High-level security
• Was accused of faking trading volumes
• Doesn’t support fiat deposit and withdrawals
• The account registration process is lengthy
Huobi, a Singapore-based cryptocurrency exchange, was established in 2013. Huobi tags itself as ‘a digital asset exchange’ instead of a crypto exchange. With an average daily trading volume of $1.1 billion, Huobi is one of the leading crypto trading platforms in the world.
The cryptocurrency trading platform partnered with Prime Trust, a Nevada-based company that provides fiat deposit and withdrawal services for Huobi’s services. Australian-based Goldfields Money is another bank Huobi operates with. Asides the fake trading volume allegations, Huobi operates in a very transparent manner. Huobi has a strict KYC policy. Unverified accounts on the platform will have maximum withdrawals amount per transaction and per day.
• Supports fiat to crypto exchange
• Offers leverage trading
• Has low transaction fees
• Supports over a hundred cryptocurrencies
• It is a high-level trading platform
• Offers other trading options like futures
• Mostly focuses more on the Chinese market
• Yet to release its mobile app
Headquartered in Malaysia, OKEx is one of the leading cryptocurrency exchanges in the world. It allows traders to trade over a hundred cryptocurrencies and has an average daily trading volume of $1.3 billion. The support of fiat currencies is one of the features that attract more users. However, the lack of a mobile app is a bummer for some users.
OKEx has been around since 2014 and is one of the most reputable cryptocurrency exchanges in the world. It offers its services to millions of users globally, with a wide range of cryptocurrencies supported on the platform. Huobi ensures that it keeps its customers updated about the latest happenings. KYC verification is required before a user, or a corporate entity can fully access all the features of OKEx. It is essential that you provide accurate information as you can’t change any data after submission.
• It has high liquidity
• Supports anonymous trading
• Has an advanced application building protocols
• Excellent customer support in multiple languages
• Supports fiat deposits of USD and EUR
• It has an order-matching engine
• Currently supports over 50 cryptocurrencies including BTC
• Has a relatively low transaction fees
• The verification process is complicated and often time-consuming
• Doesn’t have a mobile app
• Users experience slow withdrawals sometimes
• The platform was hacked in 2015
HitBTC was founded in 2013 and is one of the earliest Bitcoin trading platforms. According to Coinmarketcap, the exchange has an average daily trading volume of $2 billion and provides over 300 cryptocurrencies. Despite the 2015 hack it experienced, it has earned a reputation for its innovation and high availability.
At the moment, there is no information regarding HitBTC’s banking partner(s). The Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency exchange has a strict KYC policy, and users can’t access all the features if they don’t complete their ID verification.
• It has a strong reputation and was founded by two tech innovators
• Supports both USD-to-crypto and crypto-to-crypto trading
• Trading high volumes give users discount
• Gemini has a very tight security
• Offers its own stablecoin
• It is fully registered and complies with the banking standards in the US
• The FDIC insures its USD reserve
• Gemini has an excellent customer support
• It has low transaction fees
• Customer support is available 24/7
• It is not as liquid as the others discussed above
• Limited number of altcoins available
• Funding methods are finite
Gemini is a cryptocurrency exchange that was founded by the Winklevoss twins. It is one of the first fully registered and compliant cryptocurrency exchanges in the world with the hope of bridging the gap between crypto entities and institutional investors.
The New York-based exchange which has been around for a few years now was also the first platform to earn an Ether license. The fact that it is regulated by the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYSDFS) makes it one of the most trusted exchanges at the moment. Gemini claims that it is a New York trust company that is regulated directly by the NYSDFS. Due to its total regulatory compliance, Gemini is very strict with KYC, with users expected to complete their ID verification before accessing some services on the platform.
• It has a Mobile app
• Offers competitive trading fees
• Has a wide range of cryptocurrencies
• Offers advanced trading features and
• It is highly liquid
• Suited for advanced crypto traders
• It is a very controversial exchange with a tainted record
• Has a slow verification process.
• Experienced a security breach in 2016
• It has banking and payment problems.
Bitfinex is perhaps the most controversial cryptocurrency exchange in the history of the crypto space. It has a 24-hour trading volume of roughly $230 million and remains one of the most widely used crypto exchange platforms despite its controversial nature. It offers excellent trading features to users. However, it is suited for traders with years of experience under their belt.
Bitfinex was officially launched by a Hong Kong-based company, Bitfinex Limited in 2012. The exchange’s involvement with Tether, the company behind the USDT stablecoin, affected its credibility, and it has been accused of artificially pumping the market to help push the price of Bitcoin higher. Due to regulatory concerns, Bitfinex is not available to US residents. It has also been experiencing banking issues since 2017 after Wells Fargo stopped providing banking services to the company. Due to its lack of transparency, Bitfinex has lost its credibility within the cryptocurrency space. Despite that, Bitfinex is very serious about ID verification, with some services available to only verified users.
Despite the controversies, Bitfinex has demonstrated to be on the side of it’s users in the past. Arguably a lot of their banking problems stem from being too lax in regards to regulations. It doesn’t seem like Bitfinex is operating with an outright scammy business model, but keeping your coins on this exchange is risky for other reasons – they are under a lot of pressure, so a hack or shutdown is not improbable.
• Supports over a hundred cryptocurrencies
• Backed by a reputable tech company in South Korea
• It has a high level of security
• It has an excellent trading platform
• It has an active customer support
• It is tough for users outside South Korea to use (although it has an English version)
• No margin trading available on Upbit
• It supports only one fiat currency, the South Korean Won
Upbit is the largest crypto exchange in South Korea and was launched by Kakao Corp and Dunamu. The average daily trading volume of Upbit currently stands at $450 million, making it one of the largest exchanges in the world. The fact that two leading South Korean tech companies founded it increases the credibility of Upbit.
Upbit makes use of the Kakao Pay for maintaining its accounts. It is worthy to note that Kakao Pay is second only to Samsung Pay in South Korea, making it easy for people to carry out transactions on the platform. To curb its low presence in the US and other markets, Upbit launched its English version and partnered with Bittrex, a US-based crypto exchange to offer its services to more people across the globe. Upbit is very strict with ID verification due to the strict regulatory policies in place in South Korea.
The cryptocurrency exchanges reviewed in this article are some of the most popular in the industry. The trading platforms offer crypto investors and traders different features but ultimately allow them to buy, sell, store, and exchange cryptocurrencies. All of them have their pros and cons, and after reading this article, you can make an informed decision on which one best suits your needs.