Best Cryptocurrency Exchanges 2023
Choosing the best crypto exchange can seem like a confusing task. Let’s break it down and make it simple. So you can make a confident choice from the top cryptocurrency exchanges listed below.
Top-Rated Crypto Exchanges
How Do the Best Crypto Exchanges Work?
Crypto is one of the biggest growth markets in today’s world and the fear of missing out is real! But we know that for beginners, the learning curve can be daunting. There’s a lot of jargon and seemingly a lot of technical information to understand.
Like most things in life, we can simplify it quite a lot by sticking to a few basic principles. To put it very simply: An exchange is an online platform where buyers and sellers can trade currencies with each other at the current market rate.
These can be fiat currencies or cryptocurrencies. As an example, if you plan to buy Bitcoin, let’s suppose 1 Bitcoin was equal to 50,000 USD. You could deposit your $50,000 and buy 1 BTC from someone else on the exchange who was selling it. (minus any transaction or exchange fees, of course).
Most exchanges have a few digital currencies that act as a unit of measurement to trade other smaller cryptocurrencies against. For a quick example, if 1 Bitcoin was equal to 1,000 of an alternative coin, you could buy 1,000 of that altcoin directly with your bitcoin rather than exchange back to USD to make that trade.
Not all crypto exchanges accept fiat currencies. So bear in mind that for some exchanges you might need to deposit crypto such as Bitcoin or Ethereum, before you can trade it in a pair with another cryptocurrency.
How to Choose the Best Cryptocurrency Exchange for Beginners
Of course, not all of us have $50,000 to invest! And for beginners we would recommend starting out with much smaller amounts of money – and only what you can afford to lose (just in case).
Before signing up to an exchange, follow the steps below to help you to define what you want so you can round down your choices.
Check to see if your chosen payment method is accepted by the exchange. Most accept debit and credit card payments and bank transfers. Some accept e-wallets and alternative payment options.
Exchange Comparison Table
Here is a detailed overview comparison of each exchange.
|Cryptos||90+||2||40+||600+, US: 80+||100+, Pro: 250+|
|Exchange Fee*||Stablecoins 0.9%. Crypto 1.5%||2% + 3.9%||7%||0.5%||≤ $200 flat fee. > $200 minimum 0.5%**|
|Maker / Taker*||0.16% / 0.26%||N/A||0.15% / 0.25%||0.1%||0.5%|
|Ease of use||8/10||9.5/10||8.5/10||8/10||9/10|
|Visit Kraken||Visit Coinmama||Visit CEX.io||Visit Binance||Visit Coinbase|
|Visit Binance US||Visit Coinbase Pro|
Maker / Taker*
Ease of use
0.16% / 0.26%
Maker / Taker*
Ease of use
2% + 3.9%
Maker / Taker*
Ease of use
0.15% / 0.25%
Maker / Taker*
Ease of use
600+, US: 80+
|Visit Binance US|
*These are standard fees. You can increase fees by using a credit card to buy. Or reduce the fees you pay in different ways on different exchanges.
**Coinbase have a complex fee system. Firstly the fee change is according to your location. 0.5% is the spread-based fee and other fees get added to that in accordance to what you use. Additionally your fee goes up depending on what payment method you use.
What Makes a Top Crypto Exchange?
When we test and review the best crypto exchanges, we look at a variety of things to ensure they offer the best services to our community.
Some of these criteria may be more or less important to you – depending on your level of knowledge in the crypto space. For the beginner, ease of use is a big factor so you can quickly understand how to use the exchange and not get lost with too many options.
For people who have a good understanding of crypto already, low fees, high liquidity, and a broad range of coins might be the bigger selling points.
Security is vital to everyone. And for that reason, we will only ever list the top crypto exchanges that we have personally used and can confidently recommend to our community.
Range of coins
The amount of different coins available on an exchange is useful to know before you sign up. Almost all exchanges have the top 10 – 25 coins, but there are thousands of different cryptocurrencies out there.
If you intend to stick to the more established coins, any exchange will serve your purpose. But if you want to trade altcoins for USD or trade across a variety of pairs, it’s worth joining exchanges with a longer list of coins.
Ease of use
Crypto exchanges can be complicated. Especially when you start to use complex trading functions and progress to crypto brokerages and trading platforms. We assess the best crypto exchanges for beginners based on their ease of use. This is because we understand that the learning curve can be overwhelming for newcomers to the crypto space.
Investing in cryptocurrency on an exchange is no more difficult than making a simple online purchase, and many of the top exchanges now have great mobile interfaces that make it as easy as online shopping.
We think it’s important to have fast responses to any issues you have when buying or trading crypto. The industry is still largely unregulated so it’s reassuring to know that the company running the exchange can be contacted and that you’ll receive prompt replies.
Many top crypto exchanges follow KYC (Know-Your-Customer) protocols, but they are not always subject to the same regulations as a traditional financial broker or a crypto brokerage.
Customer service can vary greatly between different exchanges. As recently as August 2021, Coinbase was under scrutiny for poor customer support. This is despite being one of the largest exchanges online. In our experience, Kraken has always provided excellent support, which is one of the reasons it ranks well as one of our best crypto exchanges online.
The methods you can use to deposit to your account and to buy crypto directly are of obvious importance. Most exchanges accept a variety of fiat currencies, including USD, EUR, and GBP. But it’s important to check if your currency is accepted, and if it can be used as a trading pair for the cryptos you intend to buy.
Some exchanges will only accept one or two fiat currencies, especially if they are targeting a particular market such as the US only. This may be fine if you only intend to trade USD/BTC or USD/ETH, for example, but if you want to deposit, withdraw and trade in other currencies it’s better to check before you create an account.
The amount of liquidity on an exchange is also a good indicator. In simple terms, this means the amount of a given currency that is available to trade on the exchange. The higher the liquidity means that buy and sell orders are more likely to be fulfilled quicker – as there are more people in the system looking to buy and sell.
A good place to check is Coinmarketcap which ranks exchanges based on average liquidity, volume traded, and several other factors. Binance exchange ranks as the top platform for 24 hour trading volume.
There have been various hacks of crypto exchanges over the years and we always strongly advise our community to take security seriously. The companies behind an exchange may not be based in the same country as you and are not likely to be subject to any industry regulations. In theory, if a company decided to close a crypto exchange and disappear with the money in your account, there would be very little you could do to get it back.
It’s worth remembering one of the golden rules in crypto: “Not your keys, not your money!”
In short, we recommend using a hardware wallet (cold wallet) to store your crypto once you have made an exchange with cash. So that you are fully in control of your investment.
Hacks are rare, and the best crypto exchanges have some of the highest security available, which we’ll cover later in this article. Stick to our recommended cryptocurrency exchanges and you are highly likely to stay safe.
When you invest in crypto, you’ll want to make sure you get the best deal. The fees vary and we’ve got some great info on individual fees in our exchange reviews. But for a simple overview, you should be aware that your bank may charge a fee for a card transaction when you buy crypto. The exchange will also charge a handling fee and/or conversion fees for making the trade. And again there will be more fees if you withdraw your crypto to a wallet. If you want to convert cryptocurrency to cash you can expect another exchange fee, and more transaction fees when you send the cash back to your bank account.
Although it sounds like a lot, the fees are generally just a small percentage each. However, they can quickly add up if you carry out a lot of transactions. Our advice is to use our crypto exchange rankings to find the most suitable for your currency and chosen payment methods. And to carefully plan what investments you want to make and minimise the number of transactions you need to make.
Check out our reviews of the best crypto exchanges below:
Should You Keep Crypto in Your Exchange Account?
Although the best crypto exchanges have a high level of security, it is not wise to consider them to be as safe and secure as you would a bank account. Once you have bought some crypto, our advice is always to send it to a secure wallet.
Online and offline wallets require a 12 or 24 word Seed Phrase to access them. This is a selection of randomly generated words that acts as a password and is impossible to hack. These words are only known to you and are not known to the service or the company that is providing you with the wallet. It is vital to store your seed phrase safely and never reveal it to anyone. The company providing your wallet will never ask so you should work on the basis that if anyone asks for your seed phrase – it is a scam.
You can read more about hardware wallets here, and we recommend the two leading providers, Ledger and Trezor. The advantage of a hardware wallet (sometimes called a cold storage wallet) is that it is a USB device that once disconnected from your computer, cannot be accessed online by anyone. The best form of security and protection against online hacking. The only way to access the crypto stored on your wallet is by entering your 12 or 24 word seed phrase.
You can choose any number of ways to remember or store your seed phrase. Many people write the seed phrase down on paper and store it somewhere safe at home. Some people use a safety deposit box or a safe. However, we strongly recommend that you do not store it online in any way. Not even in a photo on your mobile. Work on the basis that if it is on any device, it could potentially be hacked and your money stolen. The important point is that only you can know it and only you can have access to it.
Which Cryptos Should You Invest in?
It’s the million dollar question! But just like stocks and shares, nobody can see the future and say for sure which investments will grow and which will fail.
We always recommend that you DYOR (Do Your Own Research), and we’ll continue to share crypto beginner guides and resources to show you how to conduct good research. You can certainly check out our crypto buying guides to learn more about each of the major cryptocurrencies to help make a decision. We’d also recommend taking a look at some of the experts in the field and have even reviewed some of the top crypto advisors to give you a head start.
Two of the biggest and most talked about cryptocurrencies are Bitcoin and Ethereum. You can take a look at our price prediction pages to see the latest news and predictions from top sources about potential growth in the coming months and years.
It also depends on what type of investor you are. Are you looking to make a steady profit of 10-20% over the next year or two? Or are you hoping to see your investment grow by 10x or 20x it’s value? Having an idea of what you hope to achieve and how much risk you are prepared to take will give you a good sense of whether to stick with the top coins and aim for steady growth, or whether to take more risk with some smaller alt coins and hope for the big return.
You should definitely consider spreading out your portfolio so that you don’t have all of your eggs in one basket. Spreading out your portfolio based on your appetite for risk is a sensible approach.
How to Convert Cryptocurrency to Cash
This is a very simple process and a reverse of the process when you convert your cash to crypto on the exchange.
If you transferred your crypto to a wallet, you will need to send it back to the exchange. From there, you can head to the ‘trade’ or ‘buy/sell’ section and ‘sell’ your crypto for USD or your chosen currency.
If your crypto is not paired with your currency, you may need to exchange it for BTC or ETH first, before exchanging BTC/USD or ETH/USD. Just as you would have done to buy that particular coin in the first place.
Once you have the USD (or your chosen currency) in your wallet, you can simply withdraw from the exchange back to your bank account. This process is usually very fast, but it does depend on the exchange and on your choice of withdrawal method. Read more in our guide on how to cash out cryptocurrency.
What Are the Fees for Using Cryptocurrency Exchanges
Fees for fiat-crypto and crypto-crypto transactions on an exchange are typically less than 1%. They can often be reduced as your trading volume increases. Fees for using the instant buy options on exchanges are sometimes higher, so it’s worth checking to see if fees are lower on the trading section of the exchange.
Deposit and withdrawal fees are much higher, and in some cases can be up to 5% on debit and credit card deposits and e-wallet deposits. Bank transfers are often a much cheaper way to deposit your money as these are often without any fee at all.
Withdrawals may incur similar fees to deposits and many exchanges will take a small commission from your withdrawal. This commission could be capped at 1-3% or up to a certain amount per transaction. We can’t list all the exact fees for all the different exchanges here, but you can check out our exchange reviews to get a much clearer idea of fees and factor the costs into your investments.
Are the Top Crypto Exchanges Safe?
Since cryptocurrency is not a regulated space in the same way other financial industries are, we always advise our community to be cautious. Exchange hacks are rare, but they can and do still happen. As we said before, you should not assume a crypto exchange is a safe place to hold your money in the same way you would consider a bank.
The best crypto exchanges have made great strides in customer security. Some keep all or the majority of client funds off the exchange and in ‘cold storage’. Others offer insurance against lost funds. We only recommend the most reliable crypto exchanges, so you can feel more secure about investing in cryptos.
Once again, our best advice is to use a separate wallet to store your cryptos. This could be an online wallet that you can download as an app or use as an extension on your browser. These will come with a seed phrase that gives you the extra security. Better still, would be to use a hardware wallet that you can disconnect from your device and take offline. There is no chance of hacking and losing your money, although the downside is that hardware wallets can be an expensive one-off purchase. Check out: Ledger Wallet Review and Trezor Wallet Review. Our main crypto buying guides page has all the information you need to make safe decisions.
Centralized Exchanges vs Decentralized Exchanges
There are two main types of cryptocurrency exchange – Centralized and Decentralized.
A centralized crypto exchange is managed by a central company that offers a platform for trading. This is the type of exchange most investors use, such as Coinbase or CEX. They are typically easier to use and more efficient as they manage your transactions off the blockchain.
Advantages of centralized exchanges are that they tend to have high volume, active trading and high liquidity. Disadvantages would be that they run on private servers which are a potential target for attack. If the company’s servers were compromised, the system could be shut down for periods of time, or sensitive user data could be accessed. However, the top crypto exchanges generally offer some level of insurance against system failures, and are very easy for beginners and new users to get started.
A decentralized exchange (DEX) is much more in-line with the principles of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, in that there is no central point of control. A network of computers spread across the globe manage the system, with each computer controlled by an individual. Even if some of these computers are compromised, the others will continue to run the network. This kind of decentralization makes a whole network almost impossible to attack or compromise. Examples of decentralized exchanges include Uniswap and PancakeSwap.
Rather than a central company acting as the ‘middleman’ for transactions, they are carried out via smart contracts which reside on the blockchain. You pay miners to carry out these transactions on the blockchain, so there is a fee and a short delay as the transactions are verified.
DEXs may be more expensive, but many investors prefer to use them for their unique advantages. You do not need to declare your identity to trade on a DEX and you can trade cryptos directly from your private wallet. As the trades are conducted by smart contracts on the blockchain, you do not need to rely on a third party. This means investors can use DEXs anonymously and can stay in full control of their digital assets in their wallet. The disadvantage here is that DEXs cannot be subject to the rules of any regulatory body as no single person or company is running the exchange.
Crypto Exchanges vs Crypto Brokerages
We’ve talked about the best crypto exchanges in detail above. So what are the key differences between an exchange and a brokerage?
Cryptocurrency brokerages are sometimes referred to as crypto trading platforms, and you may see these terms used interchangeably.
A crypto brokerage acts in a similar way to a traditional financial broker – as an intermediary between the trader and the markets. In this way, you can deposit your fiat or crypto to the trading platform’s account, and take advantage of the range of services a broker provides.
Brokerages tend to be better for investors who wish to trade higher amounts of money for reasons including higher liquidity and better security. After depositing, you can use sophisticated trading analysis tools and take advantage of a number of opportunities such as leveraged trading. Bear in mind that with an exchange the physical asset is delivered in ‘spot trading’; while with ‘margin trading’ on a trading platform, only the underlying asset is traded, not the physical asset.
The target audience is a factor here, and it’s worth asking yourself what sort of investor or trader do you want to be? Exchanges are more geared towards crypto HODLers who want to invest and hold onto their crypto as a long-term investment. Brokerages and trading platforms are targeted more towards speculative traders who want to use the trading tools and various opportunities to open up long and short positions on the movement of a currency. They are more likely to be looking for short-term or mid-term profit, and use the brokerage as a means to do it.
An advantage to brokerages is that they are usually audited by a regulator in the company’s resident country and must provide a higher level of transparency and security. They also usually keep all of their client’s funds offline and in a bank account.