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What Are Cryptocurrency Exchanges?


Cryptocurrency exchanges are platforms where users can exchange one kind of digital asset for another.  

Cryptocurrency exchanges are often confused with cryptocurrency brokerages, such as Coinbase.   

Cryptocurrency brokerages also allow users to buy and sell a range of popular digital assets; however, they tend to have limited functionality compared to exchange platforms.  

Cryptocurrency exchanges are more suitable for more serious investors as they tend to be more feature-rich and offer lower fees.  

What to Consider When Picking the Best Cryptocurrency Exchanges?


The following factors should be taken into consideration when looking for the best cryptocurrency exchange.  

Fees  


All exchange platforms have their fee structure. Fees will typically include:   

  • Deposit fees  
  • Trading fees  
  • Withdrawal fees  

Limits  


Exchanges also employ limits to their accounts. Some accounts will have a limit on how the user can deposit or withdraw in a set period.  

Security  


Security is one of the most important factors when using an exchange. It’s essential to use a platform with a suitable security protocol.  

Enabling 2fa on any exchange account you have is also recommended. 

Regulatory Status  


Exchanges need to comply with local regulations.  

Anonymity  


If you want to remain anonymous when purchasing or trading Bitcoin, finding an exchange that allows the user to trade cryptocurrency without completing KYC is necessary. As regulations have improved, this is a more challenging feature to find; some platforms still allow anonymous accounts.  

Payment Options  


Most exchanges accept the most popular payment methods; however, only some will let you deposit less conventional methods such as PayPal and other wallets. If looking to deposit through more non-conventional means, finding an exchange that accepts your payment method of choice is one of the most crucial factors. 

Supported Coins  


All exchanges list the major cryptocurrencies; however, the number of altcoins available for trading will depend on the platform.  

Binance  


Binance launched back in 2017, and since then, it has become the most popular cryptocurrency exchange in the world. The company has become popular among investors due to the low fees and many cryptocurrencies supported by the platform.  

It also has a newbie-friendly lite version of its site and apps which is ideal for inexperienced users. Binance Lite is set as the default version and only once you are ready to go deeper in the crypto rabbit hole, you can switch to Binance Advanced in the app’s settings.

Fees  


Binance boasts some of the lowest fees in the cryptocurrency space; they charge the following payments:  

Trading Fees 

Level Trade Volume &/or BNB Balance Maker/Taker Maker/Takaer (BNB 25% off) Maker/Taker (BNB x Referall 25% off x Kickback 20% 
< 50  ≥ 0 0.1000/0.1000 0.0750/0.0750 0.0600/0.0600 
≥ 50 or ≥ 50 0.0900/0.1000 0.0675/0.0750 0.0540/0.0600 
≥ 500 or ≥ 200 0.0800/0.1000 0.0600/0.0750 0.0480/0.0600 
≥ 1500 or ≥ 500 0.0700/0.1000 0.0525/0.0750 0.0420/0.0600 
≥ 4500 or ≥ 1000 0.0700/0.0900 0.0525/0.0675 0.0420/0.0540 
≥ 10,000 or ≥ 2000 0.0600/0.0800 0.0450/0.0600 0.0360/0.0480 
≥ 20,000 or ≥ 3500 0.0500/0.0700 0.0375/0.0525 0.0300/0.0320 
≥ 40,000 or ≥ 6000 0.0400/0.0600 0.0300/0.0450 0.0240/0.0360 
≥ 80,000 or ≥ 9000 0.0300/0.0500 0.0225/0.0375 0.0180/0.0300 
≥ 150,000 or ≥ 11,000 0.0200/0.0400 0.0150/0.0300 0.0120/0.0240 

Deposits and Withdrawals


Deposits are free and withdrawals vary on the asset; for a full list of fees see here.

Visit Binance Now

Cex.io 


CEX.IO is one of the oldest surviving Bitcoin exchanges. The company formed way back in 2013 and has over 3 million members. CEX has a mixed reputation in the cryptocurrency space; negative reviews focus on customer support rather than the actual platform.  

Fees  


Trading fees 

Monthly Volume (BTC) Maker Fees Taker Fees 
≤ 5 0.25 0.16 
≤ 30 0.23 0.15 
≤ 50 0.21 0.13 
≤ 100 0.20 0.12 
≤ 200 0.18 0.10 
≤ 1000 0.15 0.08 
≤ 3000 0.13 0.04 
≤ 6000 0.11 0.00 
> 6000 0.10 0.00 

Deposit and Withdrawal Fees

Deposit and withdrawal fees will depend on the payment method used; they range from 0% to 2.99%; for a full list of fees see here

Limits  


Account limits on CEX are dependent on account level; the following table outlines the different account levels on offer:  

Level Deposit Limit Withdrawal Limit 
3000 10000 
10000 10000 
No Limits No Limits 
No Limits No Limits 

Security  


CEX has a high-security level; they use cold storage solutions, protecting customer funds from hackers. Additional security protocols such as 2fa are also available. 

The company also offers free insurance on deposits of up to $250,000 for US residents, something to consider if you are from the US.  

Anonymity  


Customers must complete KYC to trade on the platform.  

Payment Options


CEX allows users to take advantage of a variety of payment methods; these include:

  • Visa  
  • Mastercard  
  • Epay  
  • Advcash  
  • Skrill  
  • Bank transfer  
  • Ach  
  • Sepa  
  • Faster payments  
  • Qiwi  

Supported Cryptocurrencies


CEX allows for trading of the most popular cryptocurrencies; however, they lack a diverse range of alt-coins and only support a handful of the lesser-known tokens. 

Overview 


Pros 

  • Low fees 
  • Lots of payment options 
  • Good security 

Cons 

  • Lacking in different cryptocurrencies
  • Not the best customer support 
  • KYC required 

Visit Cex.io Now

Kraken  


Kraken is a popular exchange based in the US. The platform launched back in 2011 and has positive reviews in the cryptocurrency space.  

Fees  


Trading fees

There are several tiers on offer; accounts that trade more get lower fees.

30 Day Volume (USD) Maker Taker 
0 – 50,000 0.16 0.26 
50,001 – 100,00 0.14 0.24 
100,001 – 250,000 0.12 0.22 
250,001 – 500,000 0.10 0.20 
500,001 – 1,000,000 0.08 0.18 
1,000,001 – 2,500,000 0.06 0.16 
2,500,001 – 5,000,000 0.04 0.14 
5,000,0001 – 10,000,000 0.02 0.12 
10,000,001+ 0.00 0.10 

Deposit and withdrawal fees 

Deposit and withdrawal fees are free for most payment methods, for a full list of withdrawal fees see here. 

Limits  


Cryptocurrency limits  

Level Daily Deposit Limit Daily Withdrawal Limit Monthly Deposit Limit Monthly Withdrawal Limit 
Starter Unlimited 5,000 Unlimited Unlimited 
Intermediate Unlimited 500,000 Unlimited Unlimited 
Pro Unlimited 10,000,000 Unlimited Unlimited 

Fiat currency limits

Level Daily Deposit Limit Daily Withdrawal Limit Monthly Deposit Limit Monthly Withdrawal Limit 
Starter 5,000 
Intermediate 100,000 500,000 500,000 500,000 
Pro 10,000,000 10,000,000 100,000,000 100,000,000 

Security  


Kraken boasts a world-class security team. All sensitive customer information undergoes encryption at rest at both the system and data level. 

They also make use of cold storage to keep customer funds secure. 

Other security features include:

  • 2-factor authentication 
  • Email confirmations for withdrawals 
  • Responsive customer support 

Anonymity  


Customers must complete KYC before using their account.  

Payment Options  

Kraken offers a wide range of payment options, they accept the following:

  • FedWire
  • Swift
  • Signet
  • SEN
  • SEPA
  • Wire Transfer
  • Bank Transfer
  • BACS
  • CHAPS
  • SIC

Availability of each payment method will vary by region.

Supported Coins  


Kraken supports all of the most popular cryptocurrencies alongside a good range of altcoins, with the platform hosting over 50 tokens in total; although this is not the most comprehensive list of tokens, most users should find the tokens they are looking for.

Overview 


Pros 

  • Good security 
  • Low fees 
  • High limits when fully verified 

Cons 

  • KYC required 

Visit Kraken Now

Kucoin  


Fees  


Trading Fees

Level Min. KCS Holding Last 30 Days Monthly Trading Volume BTC Maker/Taker KCS Pay Fees Maker/Taker Daily Withdrawal Limit BTC 
< 50 0.1/0.1 0.08/0.08 200 
1000 ≥ 50 0.09/0.1 0.072/0.08 200 
10,000 ≥ 200 0.07/0.9 0.056/0.072 200 
20,000 ≥ 500 0.05/0.08 0.04/0.064 200 
30,000 ≥ 1000 0.03/0.07 0.024/0.056 200 
40,000 ≥ 2000 0.00/0.07 0.00/0.056 500 
50,000 ≥ 4000 0.00/0.06 0.00/0.048 500 
60,000 ≥ 8000 0.00/0.05 0.00/0.04 1000 
70,000 ≥ 15,000 -0.005/0.045 -0.005/0.036 1000 
80,000 ≥ 25,000 -0.005/0.04 -0.005/0.032 2000 
10 90,000 ≥ 40,000 -0.005/0.035 -0.005/0.028 2000 
11 100,000 ≥ 60,000 -0.005/0.03 -0.005/0.024 3000 
12 150,000 ≥ 80,000 -0.005/0.025 -0.005/0.02 3000 

Deposit and Withdrawal Fees

Deposits to KuCoin are free, withdrawal fee varies by coin https://m.kucoin.com/vip/fee 

Limits  


Account limits will depend on the KYC level of the account. Account limits are shown in the table below:

KYC Level Withdrawal Limit (Daily) 
Unverified  5 BTC 
Level 1 5 BTC 
Level 2 200-3000 BTC 

Security  


KuCoin has had security issues in the past; however, they now use cold storage solutions to safeguard customer funds. 

Additional security options such as 2fa are available. 

Anonymity  


Non-KYC accounts are available; however, verification gives higher limits and helps keep the account secure. 

Payment Options  


  • Paypal  
  • Wire Transfer  
  • Interac  
  • Visa/Mastercard  
  • SEPA  
  • ApplePay  

Supported Coins  


KuCoin supports all the most popular cryptocurrencies along with a diverse range of altcoins. Customers may still have issues trading some of the lesser-known tokens 

Overview


Pros 

  • Low fees 
  • Wide range of payment methods 
  • Anonymous accounts available 
  • Secure 

Cons 

  • Not the largest range of tokens available 
  • Security issues in the past 

Visit KuCoin Now

Coinmama  


Unlike the other platforms mentioned, Coinmama is a broker exchange. The platform is not suitable for people interested in trading. The platform is more suited for anyone looking for an easy way to buy cryptocurrency. 

Fees  


Coinmama calculates buy order fees based on the XBX + 2% (standard deviation) plus a commission fee up to 3.90%.  

Additional fees:

  • Credit/debit card: 5% 
  • SEPA bank transfer: No additional fee  
  • SWIFT bank transfer: No additional fee for orders above $1,000; there is a $20 fee for any orders under $1000 

Coinmama calculate sell order fees based on the XBX Index average + 2% (standard derivation) + a sell fee of 0.10-0.90%.  

Coinmama will apply the following automatic fee calculations depending on whether you’re a Crypto Curious, Enthusiast, or Believer.  

Curious: 2.9%  

Enthusiast: 2.5%  

Believer: 2.1%  

Limits  


Level Max Lifetime Buy Daily Buy (Credit Card) Daily Buy (Bank Transfer) 
Level 1 15,000 5,000 12,000 
Level 2 50,000 5,000 30,000 
Level 3 1,000,000 7,000 30,000 

Security


Coinmama doesn’t allow users to store cryptocurrency on the platform. Users will need an external wallet to receive the cryptocurrency they purchase.  

Anonymity  


Users are required to complete KYC before using the platform. 

Payment Options  


  • Credit card  
  • Debit card  
  • Apple Pay  
  • Bank transfer  

Supported Coins  


The following coins are available on Coinmama:  

  • Bitcoin  
  • Ethereum  
  • Litecoin  
  • Bitcoin Cash  
  • Qtum  
  • Ripple  
  • Ethereum Classic  
  • Cardano  
  • Tezos  
  • EOS  

Overview


Pros 

  • Easy to use 

Cons 

  • Lacking in cryptocurrencies 
  • Higher fees than exchange platforms

Visit Coinmama Now

Read also:

Conclusion


In conclusion, cryptocurrency exchange platforms provide investors with improved functionality and lower fees than broker exchange platforms. Each platform has its own unique features that may make it suitable for one investor and less suitable for another. Our pick for the best bitcoin exchange for beginners is Binance; the comprehensive list of cryptocurrencies on offer, along with its standout fees and ease of use make it the best bitcoin exchange for beginners getting started in the cryptocurrency space

FAQs  


How to pick the best crypto exchange for yourself?  

The best cryptocurrency exchange for an individual will depend on factors such as:  

  • Fees  
  • Limits  
  • Security  
  • Regulatory Status  
  • Anonymity  
  • Payment Options  
  • Supported Coins  

What is the difference between a crypto exchange and a brokerage? 

Cryptocurrency brokerages allow users to buy and sell a range of popular digital assets; however, they tend to have limited functionality compared to exchange platforms.  

Cryptocurrency brokerages are ideal for first-time buyers.  

Exchange platforms are best for people more invested in cryptocurrency.  

Are all the top cryptocurrency exchanges based in the United States?  

No, not all cryptocurrency exchanges are based in the United States; in fact, many popular options operate from other parts of the world.  

What makes an exchange suitable for beginners?  

Ease of use and security are perhaps the most important factors for beginners; we recommend using Binance to have a user-friendly interface and excellent protection.  

What types of exchange are there? 

Many different kinds of exchange exist, the main platforms tend to be:

  • Brokers
  • Centralized Exchanges
  • Decentralized Exchanges
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CaptainAltcoin's writers and guest post authors may or may not have a vested interest in any of the mentioned projects and businesses. None of the content on CaptainAltcoin is investment advice nor is it a replacement for advice from a certified financial planner. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of CaptainAltcoin.com

Torsten Hartmann

Torsten Hartmann

Torsten Hartmann has been an editor in the CaptainAltcoin team since August 2017. He holds a degree in politics and economics. He gained professional experience as a PR for a local political party before moving to journalism. Since 2017, he has pivoted his career towards blockchain technology, with principal interest in applications of blockchain technology in politics, business and society.

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