Cryptocurrency Exchange Reviews 2022

From financial institutions to everyday investors, more and more people are interested in cryptocurrency these days. To get in on the action, you need a crypto exchange account where you can buy and sell digital currencies, like Bitcoin, Ethereum and Dogecoin.

To help you pick the right account for your needs, Simplecryptoguide.com reviewed the top centralized cryptocurrency exchanges based on their functionality, reputation, security, support and fees. We then weighed each of these data points in accordance with their importance to different types of cryptocurrency investors to provide the following ranking.

Cryptocurrency Exchanges

A cryptocurrency exchange provides an online platform for buyers and sellers who trade cryptocurrencies with each other based on current market prices. Cryptocurrency exchanges act as intermediaries and generally charge fees for trading.

Cryptocurrency Brokers

A cryptocurrency broker is a firm or an individual that acts as an intermediary between the cryptocurrency markets to facilitate buying and selling of cryptocurrencies. Cryptocurrency brokers enable buying and selling for customers at prices set by the broker.

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Cryptocurrency Exchange Methodology

Different Types of Crypto Exchanges

Broadly speaking, there are two categories of crypto exchanges: centralized exchanges and decentralized exchanges. Each category comes with its own advantages and disadvantages.

Centralized Exchanges

Centralized crypto exchanges (CEX) are managed by one organization. Centralized exchanges make it easy to get started with cryptocurrency trading by allowing users to convert their fiat currency, like dollars, directly into crypto. The vast majority of crypto trading take place on centralized exchanges.

Some crypto enthusiasts object to centralized exchanges because they go against the decentralized ethos of cryptocurrency. Even worse in the eyes of some crypto users, the company or organization may require users to follow Know Your Customer (KYC) rules. These require each user to divulge their identity, much as you would when you apply for a bank account, to combat money laundering and fraud.

There’s another concern with centralized exchanges: hacking. With a CEX, the exchange holds the crypto traded on its platform—at least in the short term, while trades go through—raising the risk of hackers stealing assets.

To address this risk, centralized crypto exchanges have beefed up security over recent years. Among other strategies, they now store most customer assets offline and take out insurance policies to cover crypto losses in the case of hacking.

If you like the convenience of a centralized exchange, you can reduce your risk by transferring crypto to a separate, off-exchange hot or cold wallet.

Decentralized Exchanges

Decentralized crypto exchanges (DEX) distribute responsibility for facilitating and verifying crypto trades. Anyone willing to join a DEX network can certify transactions, much like the way cryptocurrency blockchains work. This may help increase accountability and transparency as well as ensure an exchange can keep running, regardless of the state of the company that created it.

The trouble is that decentralized exchanges are much less user friendly, not only from an interface standpoint but also in terms of currency conversion. Decentralized exchanges, for instance, don’t always allow users to deposit dollars and exchange them for crypto. This means you either have to already own crypto or use a centralized exchange to get crypto that you then use on a DEX.

You’ll also likely be engaging in direct peer-to-peer trades. This means it may take longer for you to find someone looking to buy what you’re selling and, if liquidity is low, you may have to accept concessions on price to buy or sell a low-volume crypto quickly.

Cryptocurrency Exchange Fees

You pay two types of fees when you buy and sell crypto: trading fees and withdrawal fees.

Trading Fees

Trading fees may be charged as a flat percentage of the amount of crypto you buy or sell, or an exchange may differentiate between orders that are makers and those that are takers, charging a different percentage accordingly.

On a basic level, makers are orders that add liquidity to an exchange, meaning they do not fulfill standing orders. Takers, meanwhile, remove liquidity from an exchange by completing orders that are waiting for a trade. Depending on the exchange, maker fees are usually slightly less than taker fees, although this isn’t always the case.

While you’re ideally picking an exchange with the lowest costs, dwelling too much on the ins and outs of maker and taker fees can be counterproductive. That’s because you can’t choose whether your order is processed as a maker or a taker. Instead, you’re better served considering overall fees and any discounts available for trading a certain amount each month or holding an exchange’s native cryptocurrency.

An important note: Some crypto investment apps claim to charge zero fees, but this isn’t entirely accurate. Instead of charging you an outright, they charge a spread—that’s the difference between the rate at which they buy or sell crypto. Spreads can, and frequently do, wind up being much more expensive than if you paid a percentage trading fee.

Withdrawal Fees

Many exchanges charge fees to withdraw coins from their platform. This can be an issue if you prefer to move your crypto to a secure third-party wallet or onto another exchange. Withdrawal fees typically vary by cryptocurrency.

If you anticipate moving your crypto off of an exchange, you should choose a platform that allows a certain amount of fee-free withdrawals, like Gemini.

Other Fees

If you engage in more advanced trading strategies, like margin trading, there are additional fees associated with borrowing money. Beginner-friendly exchanges like Coinbase and Gemini offer quick buy features that charge higher fees. You can avoid them by learning how to buy and sell on an exchange’s trading platform.

If you make purchases using a credit card or debit card, you may be charged a premium by both the exchange and your card issuer. That’s why it’s best to buy crypto with bank or wire transfers.

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