Thanks to its incredible volatility, cryptocurrencies have become one of the favorite tools for traders nowadays. Despite choosing the asset to buy or sell, it is also important to select the proper platform for trading. The leaders are changing each year, and here is the new 2020 list of top 10 crypto exchanges. In our opinion, they are best to fulfill the current industry needs.
Cryptocurrencies or so-called digital money would not be popular if they did not have a worthy technology laying behind. That is true: hundreds of experts consider blockchain as one of the most outstanding inventions of humankind nowadays.
However, for ordinary people, cryptocurrencies often stand for rather financial profit than any kind of technological advance. People have always been seeking a chance to earn extra money, and from that point, Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other cryptos with all their volatility seem just the right option to do so. Crypto rates can dramatically change in 24 or even fewer hours and bring either hundreds of dollars in profit or very significant loose. The main things here are perfect timing, deep analysis of the market, the right selection of a coin to invest, and, of course, proper choice of the exchange to make it all.
You can mine thousands of coins, but they worth nothing if no one is going to buy it; that is obvious. Sure, you can just find a random third party to sell your savings to, but there are no guarantees that you will not end up just losing your money since we are talking about decentralized systems. In many countries, digital currencies are not regulated in any way, so you will not be able even to appeal anywhere to punish the fraudsters.
To ensure that your crypto operations are safe and reliable, crypto exchanges have been created. The first such platform started operating in 2010, at the early dawn of Bitcoin. Since then, there have been crypto operations on billions of dollars, and hundreds of such trading platforms have been created. In this article, we are going to have a look at the world’s top-10 cryptocurrency exchanges and analyze their main benefits and disadvantages. We are also going to learn how different exchange types distinct from each other and get to know what instant exchanges, p2p exchanges, and traditional centralized platforms are. Let us start now.
Traditional centralized exchanges
Despite all amazing blockchain features, most of the world’s leading cryptocurrency exchanges are based on the traditional centralized system with the corresponding structure and security tools. If we are talking about serious and massive platforms, you can always contact the exchange’s support and get proper help in any situation. The fundamental mechanisms are quite transparent and understandable, so it is generally a good option for investors of any experience.
First, you choose the platform, then you select the payment method and top up your balance. Then, you should choose the currencies you want to invest in and follow their rate changes to catch the right moment to come into the game. Then, you will just have to wait for another precise moment to sell it at the highest price possible. The algorithm is quite simple and familiar for traders, so even traditional trading literature can, to some degree, help to trade on traditional cryptocurrencies exchanges. As for particular numbers, conditions, options, and tools, let us have a look at the global leaders.
Binance is one of the biggest crypto exchanges worldwide, and if you have shown interest in Bitcoin trading before, you most likely to know something about the platform already. It was launched in 2017 by Chinese businessman Changpeng Zhao, who still holds the CEO position.
It was not the first of its kind, but it had immediately become popular among crypto traders thanks to its low trading fees and a wide choice of assets to trade. You can find every serious cryptocurrency and token there. Even though it has been just a crypto-to-crypto platform for years, BTC and other coins’ holders have trusted Binance and used it for billions of operations. As for today, there are thousands of transactions made every day on about $600 mln worth.
As for the trading mechanisms, they are quite classic and well-known if you have ever dealt with it. You top up your account with either crypto or fiat (in some countries), you buy, you sell, you withdraw. There is no something special except for the fact that you can use more than 150 different cryptos in over 540 trading pairs for accomplishing your trading wishes. The numbers are massive, and traders from all over the world love it.
You will pay 0.1% for each transaction as a transaction fee, but this amount can be reduced by using several options. I.e., if you trade more than 500 BTC every 30 days, you can significantly reduce your transaction fees to 0.09% and even less if you deal with more significant sums.
If you do not have that many savings, do not worry, you can reduce your fees with Binance coin (BNB). The scheme is simple yet quite handy: you can get or earn BNB and use it for covering 25% of your transaction fees. So, you get not 0.1%, but 0.075% will save you plenty of money in the end.
Kraken is another leading platform for purchasing, selling, and swapping cryptocurrencies. Like Binance or other ‘fellows,’ it has transaction fees, it has all classical tools, but what makes Kraken stand out of the crowd then?
Well, first, it is a mature platform that operates since 2013. It went through a lot since then, both up and down. Still, if we are talking about positive milestones, we have to mention a partnership with Bloomberg in 2014, collaboration with TradingView, and choosing Kraken as a Mt.Gox’s theft investigation support service in late 2014. These occasions had brought to Kraken thousands of traders who shaped today’s multi-million community.
Nowadays, Kraken is often referred to as one of the world’s five leading trading platforms with about $80 mln reported 24h volume. The figures might seem not that impressive compared to the previous platforms, but not only the numbers matter here. Kraken is famous for its security and legal benefits, as it uses 2FA and partners with traditional banks. Plus, it has a set of additional trading tools, such as automated trading strategy, profit-taking order types, and much more.
As for new pros, Kraken has a friendly interface that will help beginners master essentials. Plus, you can use about 30 cryptocurrencies and six fiat currencies (USD, EUR, GBP, JPY, CAD, CHF) to trade. As for the cons, we can mark high fees, i.e., if you are a maker, you will have to pay up to 0.16%, and for the takers, the fees can reach 0.26%. Finally, withdrawals can cost up to $15, and that is a lot.
One more platform you might have already heard about is Huobi. Found in Singapore in 2013, it became one of the world’s leading digital assets exchanges with an average $800 mln daily volume. It provides services in 130 countries, has offices in 5, and even has distinguished platforms for different countries, i.e., South Korea and Russia. The exchange supports 248 trading pairs and includes all the most influential coins and cryptocurrencies. Additionally, Huobi has an excellent security system.
For the cons, the main problems here are quite similar to the Kraken’s issues: high fees and low support service level. And if the second one can be linked with the intensively growing number of active traders, the first point can hardly be connected with anything. However, you can buy Huobi token or VIP membership to reduce the amount you pay on 50%. So, you end up with both maker and taker fees on a 0.1% level instead of 0.2%. As for withdrawal, you will have to pay 1%.
BitFinex was founded in 2012 by a Frenchman, Raphael Nicolle. Initially, it has been a Bitcoin-only platform, but today, there are 156 crypto and four fiat currencies (USD, EUR, GBP, JPY) that you can use for trading on BitFinex. It is also important to mark that BitFinex does not serve US individual or corporate customers, so it is unavailable for US residents. Anyway, even without American customers, the exchange always has its place among global leaders.
BitFinex operates nearly $60-80 mln a day and is considered as one of the most liquid platforms that offer a whole bunch of professional tools. Thousands of experienced crypto traders prefer BitFinex, and they are quite happy with everything except trading fees, which is quite high. For a maker, it starts at 0.1%, for a taker – from 0.2%. However, it can be lower if you trade a lot. As for withdrawal fees, it starts at 0.1% and goes higher.
And the last traditional exchange we are going to review is OKEx. Similar to Binance or Huobi, this platform is often included in different ratings as one of the biggest. According to Coinmarketcap, it has $600 mln 24h volume, and its community keeps growing, as it now expands from Asia to Europe.
OKEx supports unbelievable 409 trading pairs, and another important thing here is that it does not support any fiat currencies – only cryptocurrencies or fiat-backed tokens. Even though OKEx has a set of professional trading tools, it is quite useful for beginners with a user-friendly interface, no initial deposit limit, and low trading fees. It has no deposit fees and trading fees, starting from 0.1% for a normal and 0.06% for a VIP user.
A few months ago, no one would even think to mention the platform somewhere near the top. According to the most-trusted crypto analytics resource Coinmarketcap, TAGZ was not even seen somewhere in top-20, hopelessly losing market giants such as Binance or BitForex. Today the game has been changed, and TAGZ, with its new approach to the operations fees, holds his first place for a reason.
Crypto exchanges take transaction and withdrawal fees – this is their profit, and they mostly exist thanks to the earnings. However, TAGZ and its CEO Bryan Seiler have decided to change the game and cancel fees on transactions across the platform. The only thing you have to pay for is a withdrawal fee that is, as you might have expected, is a little higher than on other exchanges (about $5). However, as experts count, you will still profit in the end. As for other benefits, the exchange claims to be quicker than NASDAQ and very easy to use.
According to Coinmarketcap, TAGS shows the largest 24 hours trading volume in the world, with about $3.5 bln circulating on the platform every day. Just to compare, the second exchange reports nearly $1.5 bln.
It is not a secret that cryptocurrencies are banned in some countries, such as India or China. But it has not been that way forever, and people in these countries have used and traded cryptocurrencies before. When a government blocks cryptos, banks block the exchange’s bank accounts and refuse all crypto-related operations. In P2P type, an exchange is only a bridge between traders with two personal bank accounts that are used for the transaction. In other words, users trade with each other, and banks do not even know that the transactions anyhow related to cryptocurrencies.
This is a P2P platform, rated worldwide as one of the best. Even though it is not automated enough as most users would wish it to be, it does it work and offers free crypto trading with no fees at all. The only thing you pay for is ad creation when selling assets.
The main pros of LocalBitcoins include anonymity, availability in most countries (in some, it is the only way to buy BTC), as well as the support of fiat and dozens of different payment methods.
As for cons, there are scammer traders, so you should be careful while choosing a seller/buyer. Additionally, you should keep in mind that the fees for paying with fiat may be quite high, and you will have to pay for your anonymity. At the moment, the 24 hours trading volume of the platform is somewhere near $30 mln.
There are a lot of different pros if talking about instant exchanges, and some experts believe these are nothing but the next generation trading platforms. The main idea is entirely predictable: making crypto swaps faster and less complicated, and if you have worked with traditional centralized crypto exchanges, you know what it is all about.
In instant exchanges, you do not need complicated verifications, neither sending your savings to the exchange wallet. In some cases, you do not even need an account to make a transaction. You just send funds directly from your wallet and get what you need back in only 5-60 minutes. Sounds like magic, does not it?
Changenow is one of the platforms that use such mechanics as its foundation. It was launched at the end of 2017, and since then it has changed and modified a lot. Today Changenow is a truly universal platform with 170 different tokens, its audience, its ERC-20 token, and its daily volume. Though it is quite hard to estimate its 24h statistics to compare, we can say for sure that this platform becomes more and more popular day by day thanks to the advantages it brings to the traders’ lives.
You do not need an account to exchange your crypto; you do not need to send your money to exchange internal wallets – you just make one operation from your wallet and get what you want. As studied by some experts, a typical swap operation on Changenow takes no more than two minutes, and it is genuinely staggering figures.
This is another instant exchange that is quite popular among crypto enthusiasts worldwide. It brings a quite similar experience to what Changenow offers but with slight differences and peculiarities. I.e., it provides slightly fewer cryptocurrencies to choose from for trading (only 51), it requires an account to start, and you cannot use fiat to do anything.
It also takes more time to complete a swap (25 minutes on average), but still, ShapeShift has its army of users who find it perfect for their non-custodial needs. As a bonus, the platform offers membership benefits that include 100 free FOX tokens.
Changelly was founded in 2013 in the Czech Republic, and since then has become one of the leading platforms of its kind. As for 2019, Changelly has more than 400,000 trusting customers worldwide. As for benefits, it mostly has the same advantages as its other instant fellows; however, differently from ShapeShift, it supports three fiat currencies (USD, EUR, GBP) and 115 cryptocurrencies.
Among other pros, we can mention low flexible fees for crypto-to-crypto exchanges and a quite fast operation speed. For the cons, there are transfer limits for the first four days ($500) and the first month ($1000). You should also take into account that this platform has high rates of direct purchasing cryptocurrency for fiat.
There are hundreds of different trading platforms that have advantages and disadvantages, and there is no better way to choose than to try a few of them yourself and decide. The final choice depends on various factors, such as personal goals, current market trends, the amount of time one has, his willingness to stay anonymous, and the best slogan here is ‘analyze, calculate, decide.’