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5 Best Crypto Exchanges in 2021

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Last updated April 9, 2021

Whether we’re in crypto for personal or business reasons, finding the best crypto exchange that suits your needs can significantly improve your trading experience.

And thanks to the outstanding dynamics the cryptocurrency industry has, nowadays, we have a plethora of trading platforms to chose from.

But having so many options is not necessarily a good thing. 

On one side, it creates fierce competition that drives innovation and constant improvements. On the other side, it’s harder for end-users to choose one, and newcomers may have trouble establishing themselves on the market, even if their platform is revolutionary.

Here, we’ve chosen the best cryptocurrency exchanges by looking at their liquidity, trading volume, capabilities, listed cryptocurrencies, pairs, fees, reputation, and the community that gathers around them. 

Quick note. If, for you, the best crypto exchange is a decentralized one, we respect your opinion. We only took into consideration the centralized exchanges that deal with cryptocurrencies directly. 

The decentralized exchanges and mainstream trading apps and platforms that got involved with crypto did not make this article’s purpose.

The biggest crypto exchange – Binance

The biggest crypto exchange - Binance

Binance is, without a doubt, the nr. 1 centralized exchange in the world in terms of volume (more than $30 billion) and userbase (25 million weekly visits).

Binance offers an all purposes desktop interface together with a mobile trading app. 

The platform offers spot trading, features trading, and margin trading besides direct conversion for cryptocurrencies.

Binance has listed 348 cryptocurrencies up to today and combined them into 1,173 markets in terms of supported assets. Within the listed cryptocurrencies, Binance also offers its own coin, the Binance Coin, and its own stablecoin, the Binance USD (BUSD).

At some point, you could only get in on Binance with cryptocurrency; nowadays, you can deposit fiat as well, as it supports 46 national currencies.

However, if you’re in Europe or the US, you should first check if your bank allows you to transfer funds towards Binance as there are quite a few banks that will deny your transaction towards cryptocurrency exchanges. 

In terms of interface usability, Binance is quite versatile. The platform incorporates a classic, lightweight interface and an advanced trading interface for the more experienced traders.

Besides trading, you can find on their websites other cryptocurrency earning options such as mining, staking, liquidity providing, and loaning.

Binance Fees

Currently, Binance has the smallest cryptocurrency exchange fees.

For a starter with a trading volume of less than 50 BTC or a balance of less than 50 BNB, Binance has a crypto exchange fee of 0.1% for makers and takers. And as the trading volume or the BNB balance goes up, the maker/taker fees go down.

Additionally, you can opt to pay fees with BNB and receive a 25% deduction, or refer and use BNB for fees to get the BNB x Referral 25% off x Kickback 20% to start trading with a fee as low as 0.06%

As for the listing fee, theoretically, Binance has no listing fee but will receive donations to boost Binance’s charity initiatives and increase the use of blockchain for the greater good. There is no dictated minimum donation, and the review is what matters.

However, the word around the internet is that a Binance token listing still costs at least $120K. That’s not an official, but it’s good to keep in mind. 

Binance Reputation

Binance has quite a few strong points when it comes to reputation. Besides being the most known and used exchange worldwide, Binance is also a blockchain tech pioneer.

The company developed its own blockchain, the Binance Chain, and moded the BNB token out of Etereum, turning it into a coin. And currently, it’s actively expanding the use of the Binance SmartChain, encouraging startups to build upon it by granting funds through the Binance accelerator programs.

And although their security is not infallible, Binance did cover a 7,000 BTC security bridge from their #SAFU fund.

However, it’s still quite the mystery where Binance’s official headquarter is up to this day.

Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • 0.1% Maker/Taker Fees and fee discounts;
  • 348 cryptocurrencies and 1,173 markets;
  • Supports 46 Fiat currencies;
  • More than $36 billion in trading volume and 25 million weekly visits;
  • Has a Desktop and a mobile interface;
  • Has additional earning and funding capabilities.
  • As for unverified accounts, they are limited but still make up 2 BTC worth of trades or withdrawals in a 24-hour period. Buy/sell crypto via p2p trading (unlimited).

Cons

  • It’s rare, but it can be breached;
  • Your bank might consider transfers from and towards Binance as being suspicious;
  • The interface can be quite confusing for beginners due to its complexity;
  • No fiat-to-crypto trading on the main exchange.

Best crypto exchange welcome bonuses – Huobi Global

Best crypto exchange welcome bonuses - Huobi Global

Huobi Global is the best cryptocurrency exchange when it comes to welcome bonuses. You get $40 just for completing your ID authentication and depositing $100 worth of tokens for the first time. And after that, as your trading volume increases, you win additional rewards.

In terms of how used it is, Huobi Global registers over $9 billion in trading volume and over 1.5 million weekly visits.

Huobi Global offers an easy-to-understand desktop interface together with a mobile trading app that includes stop and stop-limit trading, features, margin, options trading, and a quick converter.

In terms of supported assets, the platform has listed 318 cryptocurrencies up to today and combined them into 944 markets. Within the listed cryptocurrencies, Huobi Global offers its own exchange token, the Huobi Token (HT), and its own stablecoin, the Huobi USD (HUSD).

The platform supports 50 fiat currencies; however, check if your bank allows transfers towards Huobi Global before deciding to deposit funds, especially if you’re in Europe or the US. 

In terms of interface usability, Huobi Global is quite optimized. The spot trades have an easy-to-use design; however, the futures’ interface needs some previous advanced knowledge in order to use it. 

Besides trading, the Huobi Global website offers other cryptocurrency earning options such as Ethereum staking, liquidity providing, and loaning.

Huobi Global Fees

Huobi Global offers a maker/taker crypto exchange fee of 0.2% for starters. After that, the trading fee starts going lower with the increase in trade volume. Also, the fee lowers down through the HT deduction service.

A new account holding over 10 HT will operate on a 0.1% maker/taker fee; the fee only goes down as the HT holdings go up.

And for high trading volume accounts, the fees go even lower, even faster. Starting with a trading volume of 1,000 BTC and a holding of 2,000 Huobi Tokens, you can trade for as low as 0.0362% (Maker) / 0.0462% (Taker).

As for the token listing fee, Huobi has no official statement for a price. However, in the application center, they state that a project has to have its documentation in order, a defined community, and provide support as the evaluation team will check it thoroughly. 

Besides evaluation and voting, the listing policy for Huobi Next points out that a project has to provide no less than 10% of the total tokens or 20% of the tokens in circulation to enter the voting. Also, the delisting policy further specifies that a token has to maintain a daily average transaction volume of over 100,000 USD or the equivalent tokens in a 30 days period.

Huobi Global Reputation

Without a doubt, Huobi is known as one of the first-tier top crypto exchanges in the world that offers a great number of cryptocurrencies and markets, plus additional earning opportunities. They are one of the few crypto exchanges to have integrated a trading bot within their platform.

Besides that, Huobi Global is quite the pioneer in blockchain technology, being the first major exchange to run a ChainLink node, back in July 2020, in an effort to improve data authenticity and integrity.

Furthermore, Huobi announced in December 2020 that it’s aligning with The Web3 Foundation to pour resources into supporting projects on Polkadot and encourage the fast growth of the network.

Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • 0.2% Maker/Taker Fees and fee discounts;
  • 318 cryptocurrencies and 944 markets;
  • Supports 50 Fiat currencies;
  • More than $9 billion in trading volume and 1.5 million weekly visits;
  • Has a Desktop and a mobile interface;
  • Has additional earning and funding capabilities;
  • Has integrated a trading bot;
  • 0 fee for deposits;
  • Has several welcome bonuses that are not hard to achieve.

Cons

  • Loosely regulated and limited regulatory protections;
  • Your bank might consider transfers from and towards Huobi Global as being suspicious;
  • The pro-level deduction fees are quite challenging to achieve;
  • You can’t make a deposit without verifying your account. 

Best crypto exchange for beginners – Coinbase and Coinbase Pro

Best crypto exchange for beginners - Coinbase & Pro Coinbase

Coinbase & Coinbase Pro are the best crypto exchange for beginners thanks to their simple, straightforward interface and compliance with regulations.

The exchange is based in the US and is one of the few cryptocurrency-related companies that won’t be viewed as suspicious by many banking institutions.

In terms of how used Coinbase is, it registers over $1.8 billion in trading volume and over 4.3 million weekly visits.

Coinbase’s interface has the clearest design for the desktop interface. It’s easy to use even on the mobile by people who are getting involved in trading cryptocurrency for the first time. The exchange offers a cryptocurrency converter on the main domain (coinbase.com) and a trading platform on their subdomain (pro.coinbase.com) that includes market, limit, and stop orders.

In terms of supported assets, the platform has listed 57 cryptocurrencies up to today and combined them into 171 markets. It’s important to know that Coinbase is also the parent company of USDC, the most regulated stablecoin up until now.

The platform supports only USD, EUR, GBP fiat currencies, and most banking institutions and financial management apps will allow interactions with Coinbase. However, if your local legislation prohibits cryptocurrency involvement, you may not be able to legally and seamlessly interact with Coinbase as well.

Besides trading, the platform has a rewards section and a staking section, but those are quite limited and only work for a few countries’ residents. 

Coinbase Fees

When it comes to trading fees, Coinbase is quite expensive. It operates with a maker/taker fee of 0.5% that goes down as the volume grows (goes as low as 0 for makers and 0.04% for takers). 

The converter lets you swap your crypto at the market price without a fee. However, if you try to convert to fiat, Coinbase will perceive a fee of $0.99 that can grow depending on the amount you want to sell.

When it comes to listing fees, Coinbase is one of the cryptocurrency exchanges that have claimed to renounce them. Technically, anyone can list an asset for free on Coinbase, according to assethub.coinbase.com; however, the company will check your documentation thoroughly before allowing it to go live on the platform.

Coinbase Reputation

Coinbase is known for being the most regulated cryptocurrency exchange out there. It’s one of the most expensive to use but is one of the safest from a regulatory perspective. 

The exchange is also known for being the parent company of USDC. 

And despite the difference in approach compared to the other major exchanges, Coinbase’s IPO turned to gather quite the buzz around the crypto community. 

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Low minimum amount to fund account;
  • More than $1.8 billion in trading volume and 4.3 million weekly visits;
  • Easy to use;
  • Has a Desktop and a mobile interface;
  • You can move your funds between Coinbase and Coinbase Pro freely without fee;
  • The convert option inside Coinbase is quite extensive and doesn’t charge you anything in most cases;
  • Is one of the most compliant crypto exchanges to regulations.

Cons

  • Quite reduced number of listed assets and markets;
  • The trading platform is separate from the main website;
  • It is one of the most expensive crypto exchanges;
  • It contains a long list of assets that are non-tradable or purchasable.

Best crypto exchange for institutional traders – Kraken

Best crypto exchange for institutional traders - Kraken

Crypto exchanges usually approach the market holistically. However, Kraken saw an opportunity to explicitly addressing institutions and answering their needs. 

Retail investors are, of course, allowed to trade on the platform, but Kraken is quite the best crypto exchange for institutional traders, granting higher limits for funding and trading, together with business solutions that are very helpful for banks and fintech companies.

Kraken registers over $1.1 billion in trading volume and over 4.6 million weekly visits and supports 62 assets on 284 markets, integrating 7 fiat currencies. Although it integrated 7 fiat currencies and is based in San Francisco, check if your bank has whitelisted Kraken.

There aren’t many sites like Coinbase; however, in a way, the main platform manages to be as lightweight and easy to use. On the other hand, Kraken uses separate domains for spot trading and futures trading. If the main website offers a straightforward converter, the trade subdomains are quite hard to get used to, as they have their own unique arrangements.

Besides trading, the platform has comprehensive staking and funding interfaces.

Kraken Fees

In terms of fees, Kraken practices an Instant buy fee of 0.9% for stablecoin purchases with account balance and 1.5% for FX pairs for any other crypto.

As for trading, that happens on Kraken Pro (trade.kraken.com), and as a beginner with a volume of between $0 – $50,000, you can trade with a 0.16% Maker fee and a 0.26% Taker fee.

Stable coins and FX Pairs have a slightly different fee – 0.20% Maker/taker. And like any other exchange, the fee lowers as the volume grows.

There is no information about an asset listing fee in Kraken’s case. And as it seems, they are not as prone to receive listing applications but would rather reach out to the projects they’re interested in on their own.

Kraken Reputation

Kraken is one of the oldest cryptocurrency exchanges out there, being officially opened to traders since 2013. The platform represents a gateway to fiat funds, and traditional banks usually allow transactions with it.

One of the most impressive feats of Kraken’s is with hacking. It is considered one of the most secure crypto exchanges out there, managing to avoid any major incident up until now.

On their side, the exchange scored top marks in user account security, web security, DoS attack prevention, and domain security while keeping 95% of its assets safely locked up in offline, air-gapped cold storage that is geographically distributed.

And on the user’s side, Kraken provides 2FA, email confirmation for withdrawals, global setting time lock, granular API key permissions, customizable account time account, SSL encryption.

And despite all that, Kraken CEO Jesse Powell repeatedly warns users against storing funds on any exchange (including Kraken).

Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Traditional banks usually allow transactions with Kraken;
  • Highly secure;
  • Easy-to-use interface;
  • Has a Desktop and a mobile interface;
  • Has additional staking and funding capabilities;
  • High trading limits, especially for institutions.

Cons

  • Quite reduced number of listed assets and markets;
  • The trading platform is separate from the main website;
  • Trade.kraken.com can be pretty hard to get used to;
  • Verification for advanced accounts can take quite long.

Best app environment crypto exchange – Crypto.com Exchange

Best app environment crypto exchange - Crypto.com Exchange

Before going more in-depth in the trading side of cryptocurrency, Crypto.com was a financial management app dedicated to cryptocurrency. In the beginning, it offered a more specialized mobile banking solutions for cryptocurrencies.

Nowadays, Crypto.com is a lot more than that. But building up from that foundation turned Crypto.com into the best app environment crypto exchange.

The Crypto.com exchange is one of the fastest-growing platforms out there and currently has a trading volume of over $206 million, over 1.3 million weekly visits, and trades 52 assets on 117 markets. As for fiat deposits, Crypto.com offers fiat wallets supporting AUD, CAD, EUR, GBP, and USD, and banks usually allow transfers with Crypto.com for areas covered by their services.

The desktop and mobile interfaces are user-friendly with great UI and UX, one of the cryptocurrency services providers with extraordinary connections between their own data.

Crypto.com also has its own coin, the Crypto.com Coin, which is built on top of its own Crypto.com chain.

Besides spot, margin, and derivatives trading, Crypto.com is quite the significant service provider in terms of payment solutions, debit cards, and earnings from DeFis and liquidity providing.

Crypto.com exchange Fees

In terms of fees, the Crypto.com exchange has a trading fee as low as 0.1% for makers and 0.16% for takers, with the fees going lower as the trading volume grows. Additionally, paying fees in CRO comes with a discount, allowing traders to access a 0.09% maker fee and a 0.144% taker fee.

In terms of listing fees, Crypto.com does not perceive one. However, all projects attempting to get on the platform must have passed legal and security reviews. Additionally, projects must provide an allocation of their own token for sale to Crypto.com Exchange users with up to a 50% discount. All funds from the sale will be passed back to the project to help it raise the necessary resources to continue building critical infrastructure.

Crypto.com exchange Reputation

Crypto.com has built a strong brand as being one of the fastest-growing cryptocurrency apps in the market. It’s pretty well built, and the exchange grows thanks to that quickly.

And thanks to the strong brand, Crypto.com is one of the few crypto-related companies Visa plans to allow partners to settle fiat transactions with.

And as non-fungible tokens have seen significant growth in interest, stars such as Snoop Dogg and Tom Brady have chosen to launch their own NFTs using Crypto.com’s capabilities.

Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Low fees;
  • Ability to buy and sell crypto with fiat, credit/debit card, or cryptocurrency
  • A strong connection with one of the fastest-growing cryptocurrency apps out there.
  • More than $36 billion in trading volume and 25 million weekly visits;
  • Has extraordinary desktop and a mobile interface;
  • Has additional earning capabilities;
  • As for unverified accounts, they are limited but still allot 2 BTC of trades or withdrawals in a 24-hour period. Buy/sell crypto via p2p trading (unlimited).

Cons

  • Quite reduced number of listed assets and markets;
  • It contains a long list of cryptocurrencies, the tradable ones meshed together with the unsupported ones;
  • Unlike most crypto exchange platforms, Crypto.com does not offer educational resources.

In conclusion

In 2021, we know of 306 cryptocurrency exchanges only from Coin Market Cap, and in reality, there may be even more. 

If you don’t like your current exchange, you can easily switch to another one. But what’s most important is to choose your exchange wisely, as all cryptocurrency exchanges have their pluses and minuses. 

Even a first-tier top bitcoin exchange can fail you at some point or create discomfort within their platform. So looking down the top might help you find an even better platform that is just climbing up.

If you’ve found a fantastic cryptocurrency exchange that we haven’t heard about yet, please let us know.

Good luck trading! 

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