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Guide to crypto exchanges.

What is a crypto exchange?

A crypto exchange is a website, usually it is ran by a for profit company that is a centralized marketplace of people buying and selling cryptocurrencies and tokens. There are some decentralized exchanges, but many of the most popular exchanges are ran by companies like Coinbase, Binance and Bittrex.

There are also investing apps like Robinhood and neo banks like Revolut that offer access to some cryptos but typically don't offer the ability to send these cryptos to an outside wallet.

How do crypto exchanges work?

A crypto exchange's main aim is to convert Bitcoin or fiat into other cypto currencies and tokens. Unfortunately those exchanges that take bank transfers or card payments of Fiats charge hefty fees, due to card processing costs. Many crypto exchanges offer trading pairs like BTC/USD or ETH/GBP if you don't have access to those Fiats we recommend using another service like Wise or Revolut to access that currency then transferring it to the exchange. However the easier way to interact on an crypto exchange is with Bitcoin directly as this will save on fees.

Unfortunately not every exchange offers support for every coin, so you may need to send Bitcoin from multiple exchanges.

How many crypto exchanges are there?

We track a few hundred, but there are any estimated 500-1000 exchanges. We highly recommend if you're using a crypto exchange that isn't on our list you check their reputation. There have been a number of exchanges that defrauded their customers, been hacked or aren't licensed properly so lost their customers money. 

Do crypto exchanges allow top up by card?

Some exchanges allow credit card top ups, but many do not. Also some banks block crypto purchases or top ups on exchanges. Also the fees associated with using your card are pushed onto you, so it's a costly way to access crypto. So in short whilst it's possible it's not the best way to access crypto.

Many exchanges will allow a bank transfer which is cheaper, albeit a bit slower, you can also use sites like LocalBTC to buy Bitcoin directly from people in your home country and have that Bitcoin sent to a Crypto Wallet. (See our Crypto Wallet page to understand which wallet suits your needs.)


Which crypto exchanges that allow shorting?

Huobi (3x), PrimeXBT, Poloniex (5x), Okex, Bitmex (100x), Binance (125x), Kraken (5x), ByBit (100x), Bitfinex and Deribit (100x) all allow shorting and Coinbase is working on a Pro feature but only for higher net worth users.

Currently it's possible to purchase and sell prospects contracts on 16 digital currencies: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, EOS, NEO, Binance, Litecoin, Stellar, Cardano, IOTA, Monero, NEM, ICON, Elastos, Decred, Digibyte, all agreements are against Tether USD.

We recommend you don't short cryptos unless you have a lot of experience trading financial instruments.

What are the top crypto exchanges?

There are many many great exchanges, all have different unique selling points, and often offer different cryptos so what's best for me may not be best for you.

In saying that some of the most renowned exchanges are Coinbase Pro, Binance, Bittrex and Kraken. However depending on your needs there are exchanges with less cryptos that may be better for you. Check our comparisons above.

What are Binances Fees?

Binance charges based on your volume, so if you trade less than 50 BTC a month your fees are 0.1% if you're trading over 50 BTC a month it costs 0.09%.

Binance fees and other crypto exchanges fees can be found above in our comparison list. 

Is Binance safe?

We get asked this question a lot, and even though Binance was hacked in 2019 and 40M Bitcoin was stolen, Binance acted exceptionally well, refunding all those users whose cryptos were stolen. So yes Binance is generally considered safe, but any exchange can be hacked so no exchange is 100% safe.

Any hot wallet (a crypto exchange where you store crypto) is susceptible to a hack, so we recommend unless trading you move your currencies into a hardware or paper wallet. You can follow our guide here.

Binance vs Coinbase

Binance has more cryptos on their exchange, around 150 versus Coinbase's 50. Both cover user funds if hacked.

Coinbases trading fees can be as high as 1% versus Binance's 0.1%. Both charge around the same withdrawal fee (to take cash out of the exchange.)

Bottom Line:

Coinbase has a simpler interface and accepts Fiat currencies, so we recommend Coinbase for those with less experience.

Binance has cheaper fees and with more offerings and so we recommend this for the more experienced trader.

Binance vs Kraken

What is the difference between Binance vs Kraken?

Binance has more cryptos on their exchange, around 150 versus Kraken's 40. Only Binance explicitly says they'll cover loses due to hacking but Kraken has been known to in the past. However Kraken keeps 95% of its users funds in Cold Storage which is a super useful security mechanism meaning, that 95% of your funds are very well protected.

Kraken fees are 0.26% versus Binance's 0.1%.

Bottom Line:

Binance is cheaper with more currencies, but Kraken is a well respected and used platform with a great interface and a solid track record.


Bittrex vs Binance

What is the difference between Bittrex vs Binance?

Bittrex has more cryptos on their exchange, around 250 versus Binance's 150. Binance explicity notes it covers user funds that are hacked and Bittrex has a 300M insurance policy over user held funds.

Bittrex fees are 0.2% versus Binance's 0.1%.

Bottom Line:

Binance is cheaper with fewer currencies, Bittrex is a more advance platform with more features and cryptos and is probably better for a more advanced trader who wants access to more trading options.

What are Gemini fees?

Gemini charges 0.35% for takers and they also charge fees based on volume and cash out fees.

You can find Gemini's full schedule of fees here.

Coinbase vs Gemini

What is the difference between Gemini vs Coinbase?

Coinbase has more cryptos on their exchange, around 50 versus Gemini's 18. Both cover user funds if hacked, Gemini has 200M insurance to cover user funds.

Coinbases trading fees are 1% versus Gemini's 0.35%.

Bottom Line:
Coinbase has more currencies but costs a bit more, Gemini's interface is second to none is a great platform and set up by the Winklevoss twins.



Coinbase vs Robinhood

What is the difference between Coinbase vs Robinhood?

Coinbase has more cryptos on their exchange, around 50 versus Robinhood's 7. Both cover user funds if hacked.

Coinbases trading fees are 1% versus Robinhood's 0%. 

Bottom Line:
Coinbase has more currencies but comes with a cost, Robinhood is more an investing app with some cryptos for sale, but they sell them without commission, Robinhood doesn't allow cashing out of cryptos either.

Coinbase vs Kraken

What is the difference between Kraken vs Coinbase?

Coinbase has more cryptos on their exchange, around 50 versus Kraken's 40. Only Coinbase explicitly says they'll cover loses due to hacking but Kraken has been known to in the past. However Kraken keeps 95% of its users funds in Cold Storage which is a super useful secritty mechanism meaning, that 95% of your funds are very well protected.

Coinbases trading fees are 1% versus Kraken's's 0.26%.

Bottom Line:

Coinbase has more currencies but comes with a cost,  Kraken is a well respected and used platform with a great interface and a solid track record and is better for those trading more actively as they have much lower fees.



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