When venturing into the world of cryptocurrencies, selecting the right cryptocurrency exchange is crucial. With numerous platforms available, it’s essential to consider several different factors to ensure a smooth and secure trading experience. Arguably the most important aspect to consider is the exchange’s reputation and credibility.
Look for well-established exchanges with a proven track record of reliable service and robust security measures. Research user reviews and check if the exchange has experienced any major security breaches in the past to weed out unreliable and unsecured platforms.
7 Best crypto exchanges: Unveiling the safest and most trusted crypto exchanges in 2023
While the security of your funds should be your top priority, there are several other factors that make selecting your go-to cryptocurrency exchange a rather complex task. Another crucial consideration, for example, is the variety of cryptocurrencies and trading pairs offered by the exchange. Different exchanges support different digital assets, so ensure that the platform you choose supports the cryptocurrencies you intend to trade.
Additionally, you should evaluate the exchange’s liquidity and trading volume. Higher liquidity usually translates to better price stability and faster execution of trades. Moreover, consider the fees charged by the exchange, including deposit, withdrawal, and trading fees. Compare the fee structures of different exchanges to find the most cost-effective option for your trading style.
By carefully considering all these factors, you can make an informed decision and select a cryptocurrency exchange that aligns with your requirements for security, variety, liquidity, and affordability and allows you to pursue the best crypto investment opportunities around the clock.
|Advantages||– High liquidity|
– Low fees
– Wide range of different products and features
– Debit card with up to 8% cashback in BNB
|– Features more than 700 coins|
– Competitive fee structure
– A variety of lending and other yield products
|– Exceptional customer support|
– Well-established reputation for maintaining high safety standards
– Fiat currency pairs
|Best for||Best exchange overall||Best for altcoin trading||Best for security|
|Trading fees||Up to 0.1% for both makers and takers (0.075% when paid with BNB)||Up to 0.1% for both makers and takers (0.080% when paid with KCS)||up to 0.16% for makers, up to 0.26% for takers|
|Bonuses||Up to $100||Up to $500||Bonuses not offered|
To further help you in your decision-making process, we present what we believe are the 7 best cryptocurrency exchanges for retail cryptocurrency traders in 2023:
1. Binance – The best cryptocurrency exchange overall
Binance was launched by serial entrepreneur Changpeng Zhao (also known as CZ) in July 2017. In less than 6 months, CZ grew Binance into the largest digital asset exchange in the world by trading volume. Today, Binance is the largest cryptocurrency exchange worldwide, dominating the market in terms of both trading volume and user base.
Why did we choose Binance?
We have chosen Binance as the best cryptocurrency exchange overall due to its competitive fee structure, extensive selection of cryptocurrencies, and diverse range of trading products and features, catering to all types of cryptocurrency investors and traders. On Binance, users can engage in spot trading, margin trading, as well as futures and contracts trading of more than 500 cryptocurrencies.
Binance supports fiat trading pairs and even offers a Binance Visa card, using which you can easily spend your crypto for day-to-day expenses. The platform also offers additional features such as lending and staking, allowing users to earn a yield on their idle crypto assets.
However, it’s important to note that Binance does not accept customers from the United States. US-based traders can resort to Binance.US, although this US-focused branch of Binance offers fewer features and lists a narrower range of cryptocurrencies. In addition, Binance does not have a clean sheet when it comes to the security of the funds, as the exchange’s wallets got hacked in 2019.
- Unparalleled liquidity among all exchanges
- Wide range of listed cryptocurrencies (500+)
- Margin trading and crypto futures are available
- One of the lowest fees in the industry (0.075% when paid with BNB)
- Numerous staking and lending products offered
- Crypto debit card with up to 8% cashback
- Binance.US, which is available to United States residents, has much fewer features and lists fewer cryptocurrencies.
- Experienced a hack in 2019, resulting in the theft of 7,000 BTC
2. KuCoin – The best exchange for altcoin trading
KuCoin is a prominent cryptocurrency exchange renowned for its extensive selection of cryptocurrencies, including low market cap coins that are often scarce on other major exchanges. This altcoin-focused exchange was established in 2017.
Why did we choose KuCoin?
With over 700 different cryptocurrencies available for trading, KuCoin reigns supreme among large centralized exchanges in terms of the availability of different digital assets. By offering margin trading, crypto futures trading, crypto lending, NFTs, and various other products, the platform also proves that it is not merely a simple exchange for low market cap altcoins. KuCoin also features “Beginner Zone,” a designed section for newcomers entering the crypto space, where they can learn about crypto and blockchain and earn crypto rewards along the way.
KuCoin has gained recognition among the crypto community and is one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges by trading volume, making it a reliable choice for users seeking a comprehensive crypto exchange experience. However, it should be noted that KuCoin is not licensed to operate in the United States.
- An extensive list of supported cryptocurrencies (700+)
- Offers spot trading, margin trading and crypto futures
- Competitive fee structure
- Integrated NFT marketplace, launchpad and beginner zone
- Features several lending products
- Not licensed to offer services to residents of the United States
- Suffered a notable security breach in 2020
3. Kraken – The centralized exchange with the best security
Kraken was founded in San Francisco, California in 2011. Kraken was among the pioneers of the cryptocurrency exchange business and was one of the first Bitcoin exchanges to be listed on Bloomberg Terminal.
Why did we choose Kraken?
We have selected Kraken as the best centralized exchange in terms of security because of its outstanding security track record. Over more than a decade of operation, the exchange has not reported a single compromise of its wallets. Besides being among the first exchanges to offer users security features such as 2-factor authentication, Kraken apparently also takes good care of users’ funds in the exchange’s cold and hot wallets. This solidifies Kraken’s position as one of the safest cryptocurrency exchanges.
Although Kraken may not list as many cryptocurrencies as some competitors like Binance and KuCoin, it still offers a diverse selection, ensuring users can find the coins they desire, excluding those with very low market capitalization. The base trading fees are also a bit higher than with some other exchanges (makers pay 0.16% and takers pay 0.26%).
- Unbeatable security track record
- Excellent and prompt customer support
- Lists several fiat-crypto trading pairs
- The trading interface can be customized
- Supports staking of several coins and tokens directly from the platform
- Fewer listed cryptocurrencies compared to some competitors (around 200)
- Trading fees are higher than those of some competitors
4. OKX – A versatile crypto exchange with a wide range of features
Established in 2017 by Star Xu, OKX is not the oldest nor the youngest cryptocurrency exchange on our list. Nevertheless, since 2017 OKX has grown to become one of the prominent cryptocurrency trading platforms, consistently ranking among the top 5 exchanges in terms of trading volume.
Why did we choose OKX?
OKX impresses with its comprehensive range of features designed for both crypto investors and traders, offering an extensive selection of diverse cryptocurrencies. OKX’s trading platform manages to satisfy the needs of various crypto participants, including newcomers, Web3 enthusiasts, and traders seeking professional-grade trading capabilities.
Users can engage in spot markets, margin trading, crypto futures, options, and other products, allowing for versatile trading with cryptocurrencies. Additionally, OKX provides staking and lending products for those interested in earning yield on their crypto holdings. OKX also has a designated dashboard that facilitates interaction with decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols across different blockchain networks.
- OKX provides a full suite of features
- Suitable for both beginners and professional users
- Has low trading fees (Base fees are 0.08% for makers and 0.1% for takers)
- Easy interaction with Web3 applications
- Lists more than 300 cryptocurrencies
- Does not offer services to customers from the United States
- It does not support fiat deposits (crypto can be bought using a credit card, though)
- No fiat trading pairs
5. Bybit – The best exchange for trading crypto derivatives
Established in 2018 as a cryptocurrency exchange specializing in derivatives products like futures, Bybit has evolved over the years to become a top-tier platform catering to diverse investors and traders.
Why did we choose Bybit?
Bybit is a derivatives-focused exchange renowned for its BTC/USD perpetual contracts, providing traders with leverage of up to 100x. The platform boasts live 24/7 multilingual customer support and offers exceptional order execution speeds, ten times faster than the industry average. Bybit stands out with its unique Bybit Launchpad, enabling users to participate in token sales from emerging crypto projects. The exchange also features copy trading functionality, which enables the automatic replication of trades made by high-performing traders.
With a focus on comprehensive safety measures, financial industry-grade risk management, and an intuitive and customizable user interface, Bybit ensures a seamless trading experience for almost every kind of cryptocurrency trader.
- Comprehensive futures and margin trading options with up to 100x leverage
- Competitive fee structure (base fee is 0.1% for both takers and makers)
- Copy trading mode and trading bot function
- Offers opportunities for earning yield through lending products
- Does not offer services to customers from the United States
- Lists fewer cryptocurrencies compared to some competitors (around 150)
6. Coinbase – The best exchange for beginner traders
Coinbase was established in 2012 and has since then emerged as a prominent player in the cryptocurrency exchange market. In April 2021, Coinbase became a publicly traded company in the United States. As such it has to suffice much higher standards when it comes to transparency of its operations compared to privately held exchanges.
Why did we choose Coinbase?
Renowned for its user-friendly interface, Coinbase serves as a popular entry point for individuals looking to venture into the world of cryptocurrencies. The platform facilitates easy deposits through wire transfers and card payments, positioning it as an ideal platform for beginners. Coinbase also offers plenty of educational materials as well as a learning program, where users have the opportunity to earn cryptocurrencies by engaging with educational materials on different digital assets.
Coinbase is headquartered in the United States and is therefore the exchange of choice for many U.S.-based traders. Additionally, Coinbase provides various fiat currency trading pairs, enabling direct digital asset trading against currencies such as USD and EUR. Last but not least, Coinbase boasts an exceptional security track record, with no reported instances of wallet breaches.
- Publicly traded company in the U.S.
- Exceptional security track record
- Very easy to use and, therefore, perfect for onboarding beginners
- Supports fiat deposits and withdrawals
- Offers several crypto-fiat trading pairs
- All trading pairs boast high liquidity
- Higher fees than other CEXs (base taker fee is 0.6%)
- Low leverage (only up to 3x) that is only available in Coinbase Pro
7. Uniswap – The leading decentralized exchange (DEX)
Uniswap launched on the Ethereum mainnet in November 2018 and has been setting high standards for DEXs ever since. Today, Uniswap v3 is used by a large number of traders and repeatedly posts impressive trading volumes.
Why did we choose Uniswap?
We chose Uniswap to represent the decentralized exchanges due to its simplicity, transparency, and ability to facilitate token swaps directly on the blockchain through smart contracts. Utilizing Uniswap, users can perform trades directly from their own wallets without the need for intermediaries or completing KYC procedures. Uniswap naturally supports all ERC-20 tokens, but the emerging tokens usually have rather low liquidity.
Nevertheless, Uniswap has become a go-to platform for trading promising tokens before they are listed on centralized exchanges. While Uniswap offers high liquidity and potential for earning profits through liquidity provision, users should be cautious of potential scams (swapping valuable assets for fake tokens) and be aware of potential network congestion that leads to fee surges. Trading fees are 0.05%, 0.30%, or 1%, depending on the liquidity pool. In addition, the taker also has to cover the gas fees of the transaction.
- Trading straight from your wallet without third-party involvement
- The DEX with the highest liquidity
- No registration or KYC procedures required
- Allows liquidity providers to earn rewards
- On average, fees are higher than on centralized exchanges
- Fees skyrocket when the Ethereum network is congested
- Scammers will try to sell you fake tokens
Our methodology for selecting the best crypto exchanges
When assessing a cryptocurrency exchange, numerous factors demand consideration. Here are 7 aspects we focused on while selecting and ranking the top 7 cryptocurrency exchanges for 2023:
- Security: When assessing cryptocurrency exchanges, security was the number one qualifying factor. We examined the security track record of each exchange and investigated the level of transparency regarding the reserve holdings of each exchange.
- Longevity: We ranked exchanges that have been in business for an extended period of time higher on our list as compared to emerging platforms.
- Trading fees: High fees can eat away a large portion of your profits, so we favored exchanges with lower fees. Trading fees as well as deposit and withdrawal fees, were taken into account.
- Trading features: Exchanges that offer advanced features, such as leveraged trading through margin trading, futures, options, and other instruments, were given higher regard in our assessment.
- Tailored user experience: We believe that a good cryptocurrency exchange should offer both a simple UI for beginners as well as advanced layouts, which give access to a broader range of customizable options for advanced users.
- Additional products: Exchanges offering additional products like lending, staking, and NFT marketplace were given bonus points.
- Availability: We evaluated only exchanges that are available in a large number of jurisdictions, leaving out niche country-specific platforms.
How to select the crypto exchange that is best suited for you?
You must be aware that because of every trader’s specific needs, the exchange that is the best for one trader might cause a lot of nuisance to another. This is why you should answer a few key questions yourself before continuing the search for the perfect exchange.
- Are you an active trader, or do you perform just a few trades per month? If you assume you are going to perform a lot of trades, you should likely steer away from exchanges with high fees. If you only buy or sell crypto every once in a while, low trading fees should not be your top priority. Also, you can check our selection of the best cryptocurrencies to buy for the long term.
- Which cryptocurrencies are you looking to trade? While most exchanges support most major cryptocurrencies, the support gets more and more limited the lower you move towards, the lower market capitalization coins. Therefore, make sure that the exchange supports your favorite cryptos (especially if you are into low market-cap altcoins).
- Do you plan to keep the crypto on the exchange for longer periods? Although we strongly recommend moving your digital assets to a hardware wallet or other cold storage, active trading and waiting for a good investment opportunity can require having your funds on the exchange. If you plan to hold crypto in the exchange wallet for an extended period, make sure to prioritize the reliability and security track record of the exchange in your decision.
- Will you trade using leverage or trade crypto contracts and derivatives? If you only want to trade on spot markets, the additional trading products are irrelevant to you.
- How do you wish to deposit and withdraw your assets? Some cryptocurrency exchanges only offer crypto-to-crypto trading. Make sure your exchange supports crypto-fiat trading as well as fiat deposits if you want to fund your account using fiat currencies like USD and EUR. The same goes for withdrawals if you want to withdraw to your fiat bank account, for example.
What is the difference between centralized and decentralized exchanges?
Centralized exchanges (CEXs) and decentralized exchanges (DEXs) differ in their fundamental operating principles.
- Centralized exchanges are entities that act as intermediaries between buyers and sellers and have custody over the users’ funds. The transactions and trades are verified by a centralized authority – the exchange itself. CEXs often have user-friendly interfaces, high liquidity, and support for various trading features. However, they require users to trust the exchange with the security and control of their funds.
- Decentralized exchanges operate on a distributed network without a central authority controlling the trading process. DEXs leverage smart contracts to enable peer-to-peer trading directly between users. The biggest advantage is that users retain control over their funds and can perform trades directly from their wallets. DEXs also offer greater privacy, transparency, and resistance to censorship, as there is no single point of failure. However, DEXs often have lower liquidity and lack more complex trading products compared to their centralized counterparts. In addition, the user interference of DEXs is usually more clunky.
The bottom line: These are the best crypto exchanges
Regardless of your cryptocurrency trading habits and goals, it is very likely that the most suitable crypto exchange that will cater to all your requirements is among our selection. To sum up the large amounts of data provided in this article, we have compiled a selection of the top crypto exchanges along with their biggest advantages:
- Binance – The best all-around exchange with high liquidity and plenty of additional features
- KuCoin – An exchange that supports over 700 different coins, ideal for altcoin traders
- Kraken – A CEX known for its top-tier security, the best choice for safety-conscious traders
- OKX – A CEX with a wide array of features and products, the best alternative to Binance
- Bybit – The best exchange for trading crypto futures and crypto derivatives
- Coinbase – A USA-based user-friendly exchange with a strong security record
- Uniswap – The leading decentralized exchange for convenient token swaps
We sincerely hope that our article has assisted you in finding the optimal cryptocurrency exchange that aligns with your needs and preferences.If you want to move your crypto from an exchange account to cold storage, check our list of the best cryptocurrency hardware wallets. For an additional layer of security for your recovery phrase (used to recover crypto in case your hardware wallet is stolen or lost), you can protect it with purpose-made metal devices designed to protect recovery phrases from physical storage.