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The Best Crypto Exchanges

What's the Best Cryptocurrency Exchange?

Are you interested in buying cryptocurrency? Want to know what all the fuss is about? Do you want to make sure you're a part of the next financial craze that sweeps the nation? When it comes to cryptocurrency, there's a lot to know - both good and bad. But it's not rocket science.

Obviously, one of the primary reasons that people to get involved in crypto is the potential for financial gain. Cryptocurrencies have experienced substantial price increases in the past, leading to significant profits for early adopters and investors. Conversely, cryptocurrencies have also experience significant decreases in value. With such a volatile asset, the old adage "buy low, sell high" has never been more true.

Friday, July 19th

2024 Crypto Exchange Reviews

Kraken Review Top Consumer Reviews Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award 5 Star Rating

Kraken

5 Star Rating Top Consumer Reviews Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award

Kraken is a solid crypto exchange that provides good 24/7 customer service phone support. They offer attractive transaction fees and sophisticated features with Kraken Pro, including futures and margin trading for U.S. investors. They also have a wide range of educational material where you can learn about cryptocurrency. Still, Kraken recently reached a $30 million dollar settlement with the SEC due to its crypto-staking program, and novice traders will be presented with higher fees than other exchanges. While it's understandable if you're cautious about Kraken, they've earned the top choice on our list - especially for those with prior crypto experience.

Coinbase Review 4.5 Star Rating

Coinbase

4.5 Star Rating

Coinbase is a very good, easy-to-use option for both novices and experts alike. They offer more than 200 tradable cryptocurrencies, with a user-friendly interface that simplifies the purchase process. Their Coinbase One subscriber program is worth its weight in gold. Still, as with all crypto exchanges in this young industry, Coinbase is not without its issues. Their non-subscriber service has relatively high transaction fees and notoriously poor customer service. The company has also had a recent history of lawsuits. All that being said, Coinbase is the largest, and one of the most dynamic, U.S.-based exchanges. It's a strong choice to consider for those trading in the U.S.

Binance Review 4 Star Rating

Binance

4 Star Rating

Binance was founded by Chinese entrepreneur Changpeng Zhao, and is a technically-maltese exchange that's grown to become the largest in the world. With an attractive UI and low transaction fees, Binance is - on the surface - a good choice for your exchange. However, its poor customer service, and role in facilitating money-laundering and regulation skirting, should be kept in mind before trading with Binance.

CoinSmart Review 4 Star Rating

CoinSmart

4 Star Rating

With a beginner friendly focus, this Canadian-based exchange is an excellent choice for Canadian or EU citizens looking to get started with crypto trading. And - having just recently merged with Coinsquare - CoinSmart is the largest Canadian-focused crypto trading platform. For those more experienced, or not located in Canada, you may be better off with a more robust or geographically-appropriate exchange.

KuCoin Review 3.5 Star Rating

KuCoin

3.5 Star Rating

With a huge amount of cryptocurrencies offered, and robust trading options, KuCoin is an excellent choice of exchange... for those outside the U.S. Unfortunately, U.S. users are mostly restricted to the buying and selling of their extensive list of coins. For the purchase of less-common cryptocurrencies, KuCoin can still be a great option for U.S. investors, even as their main exchange may be elsewhere.

Crypto Review 3 Star Rating

Crypto

3 Star Rating

Citing its (apparent) regulatory compliance and robust security measures, Crypto is a fast growing centralized exchange founded in 2016. One of Crypto's perks is its "Crypto earn" program: if you lend them specific coins through their integrated DefI wallet, you earn a percent-based reward. These loans, however, are uninsured and unsecured. Keep in mind that a similar program - Gemini earn - lost all of its users' assets, and never adequately informed them of the risks. All that being said, Crypto's reasonable .075 maker/taker fee, and no scandals, breaches, or lawsuits on record (a rarity in the crypto world), mean that it is an attractive choice for those who can afford the $500 deposit minimum.

Robinhood Review 2.5 Star Rating

Robinhood

2.5 Star Rating

With no exchange, transaction, or withdrawal fees (aside from the "gas" needed to transfer crypto), and a super-simple user interface, Robinhood can be an excellent choice for new investors. Their acceptance of payment for order flow (PFOF) means that large market makers pay Robinhood for the privilege of filling your order (which may affect the price you pay). You may remember them from their role in the 2021 Gamestop short squeeze, which made them infamous in many corners of the internet.

eToro Review 2 Star Rating

eToro

2 Star Rating

In contrast to other centralized exchanges on our list, eToro is part broker and part social media, billing itself as the" world's leading social investment community" . With robust virtual portfolios, and the ability to copy/crowdsource trading information, eToro is a great choice for newcomers looking to start investing in stocks, crypto and ETFs. However, its high transfer and transaction fees mean that if you are only looking to invest in crypto, or already know the ropes, you would be much better served elsewhere.

TradeStation Review 1.5 Star Rating

TradeStation

1.5 Star Rating

With its roots in designing software stretching all the way back to 1982, TradeStation has been in the business for a long time. However, this holds less weight in an industry where the business is often a bit shady to retail investors to begin with. With high maker/taker fees, in addition to accepting payment for order flow, there are much better cryptocurrency exchanges out there than TradeStation, for both beginner and advanced traders.

Gemini Review 1 Star Rating

Gemini

1 Star Rating

Founded in 2015, and registered in New York, Gemini positioned itself as a convenient, growing exchange that used to cover 10 crypto transfers per month. However, Gemini has lost the assets of 340,000 participants in their "Gemini earn" program. As such, we think it best you avoid Gemini, and choose exchanges who actually ensure your crypto is safe.

Uphold Review 1 Star Rating

Uphold

1 Star Rating

Uphold distinguishes itself from its competitors via the diversity of assets it offers and its uniquely terrible business practices. While you can buy a mix of precious metals, stocks, and crypto with Uphold, they are infamous for convincing their customers to lend their crypto to CredEarn, a company whose CCO was an escaped convict. It did not go well for the investors, and while Uphold is limping along, none of their customers have been reimbursed.

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Continued from above...

Another reason people have turned to crypto is for financial freedom: Cryptocurrencies offer the possibility of financial freedom by providing an alternative to traditional financial systems. They operate on decentralized networks, which let you have more control over your money and bypasses the need for intermediaries such as banks.

If you want o to buy cryptocurrencies, then you need to open an account with a crypto exchange. Cryptocurrency exchanges are a sort of marketplace where buyers and sellers can connect and transact with various digital assets. Exchanges typically offer a wide range of cryptocurrencies, which can let you diversify your investment portfolio. There are literally hundreds of crypto exchanges available to you - it's enough to make your head swim.

Good crypto exchanges provide a user-friendly and accessible platform for you to trade digital currencies. They can also display real-time price information, which let you monitor market trends and make informed decisions more quickly. The best exchanges implement robust security measures in order to protect your funds and personal information. They will employ encryption, two-factor authentication, and possibly cold storage solutions to safeguard assets from theft or hacking attempts.

So which crypto exchange is the best? That's a tough question to answer, as exchanges - just like cryptocurrency itself - are currently in flux. Whether you're looking at security breaches, lawsuits and regulatory side-stepping, exploitative data harvesting practices, consistently poor customer service, high-profile collapses such as FTX, irresponsible crypto lending like Gemini, or payment-for-order flow profiteering, the crypto-scene is not for the risk averse, and not for those unwilling to do their homework. However, if you are going to be trading crypto, it is well worth your time to do the research to ensure the security of your investments, and the quality of the exchange you choose to utilize.

If that wasn't enough to make you pause, consider that a whole slew of exchanges are being sued by the SEC and the CFTC. Whatever your position, the future of crypto is being actively negotiated in the U.S, as the SEC and CFTC (Commodities and Futures Trade Commision) wage regulatory battles over the status of cryptocurrency as an unregistered security.

In short, there is a lot to consider when choosing a cryptocurrency exchange. By doing some digging on your behalf, we at TopConsumerReviews.com hope to help you find the right exchange in an increasingly volatile landscape.

Before you start with our list, here are some critical points to keep in mind:

  • Maker/Taker fees: In order to run an exchange, someone needs to pay for the transactions. Usually it's you, paying a percentage of the total transaction. An exchange's Maker (selling), and Taker (buying) fees are important to consider, because they can add up if you make frequent trades.
  • Transaction Fees: In addition to maker/taker fees, crypto exchanges will often charge a separate transaction fee to execute your trade. Some exchanges offer a subscription-based program for a nominal fee, and eliminate the transaction fee altogether.
  • Lawsuits: While it seems like most exchanges are getting sued by the SEC, some are also being sued for abusing their customers. Understanding what an exchange has been sued for, and why, can help you gauge whether or not it is safe to use.
  • Payment for order flow: Some exchanges/brokerages on our list accept payment for order flow. This means that market makers pay the brokerage for access to your orders: often leading to questionable, lightly-fined business practices. Many people object to the practice along ideological grounds, as it often strategically takes advantage of retail investors.
  • Not your keys, not your crypto: While not our mnemonic, it's an excellent one to remember. Never leave your crypto sitting in an exchange, unless you have a very good reason to be doing so. Crypto exchanges have just proven to be too volatile. Until your crypto is safely in a wallet on your device (or even better, on a flashdrive), do not consider it yours, and do not be surprised if it is lost.

That might seem like a lot to keep in mind. It's natural to feel some anxiety when choosing an appropriate exchange, but don't let it discourage you! Taking the time to find the right exchange can pay (and protect) your dividends down the line. Here at Top Consumer Reviews, we've waded through the best (and worst) of what's out there, and have found the best exchanges for your consideration.

The Best Crypto Exchanges Compare Crypto Exchanges Compare Crypto Exchange Reviews What are the best Crypto Exchanges Best Crypto Exchange Reviews

Crypto Exchange FAQ

Cryptocurrency is a method of payment that exists as entries in an immutable online database: the blockchain. The blockchain is "trustless" in that it is not verified by any central authority, but through proof-of-stake or proof-of-work consensus mechanisms; all transactions made in a specific cryptocurrency are immutably recorded in its own blockchain, with each coin competing for a niche use-case in the "Web3" future. But for many, cryptocurrency is a speculative investment, one with infamous volatility, and the ability to make - or lose - fortunes overnight.
Crypto staking is the practice of putting your coins to work in verifying "proof-of-stake" cryptocurrencies and projects. Where "proof of work" coins are verified through huge databases of computers competing to be the first to verify a chain by solving - in essence - a very hard math problem, "proof-of-stake" coins are verified by user's volunteering portions of their coins to help verify the chain. Not only does staking use less processing power, but offers those "staking" rewards for their support. There is risk involved in staking, however, as you cannot sell your staked tokens; if the price plummets, you'll be left holding the bag. As such, do your due diligence before staking, especially for volatile cryptocurrencies.
A "hot" wallet is a wallet on your desktop or phone connected to the internet, one that can send and receive crypto to other wallets or exchanges. A "cold" wallet is not connected to the internet, and is usually located on a flash drive or similar storage device. As such, cold wallets are impervious to the majority of scams in the crypto world (unless you just... hand it to someone you shouldn't. Don't do that!). The safest wallets are cold, so if you plan to own a large sum of crypto (or already do), then do yourself a favor and secure your investments. Have a hot wallet for transactions and integrations with an exchange, and a cold wallet to store your holdings.
Payment for order flow is the practice of a market maker (a large company that provides liquidity to the market) paying a brokerage to route customer orders to them. Some exchanges will do this in lieu of charging transaction fees to their customers - but some still charge those fees anyway. This practice (PFOF) is illegal in many countries, as it encourages brokerages to send customer orders to the highest bidder. It also allows brokerages to harvest data on retail investors, and potentially bet against them en-masse. Many companies accepting PFOF have been fined for their practices, but as the fines are far less than profits, there is little incentive not to behave unethically regarding PFOF.
First, make sure to understand the difference between hot and cold wallets. Second, don't follow links in your email, don't join crypto-pump-and-dump groups in private platforms such as Telegram or Discord. And - in general - assume that anyone trying to get you to perform any specific action through the internet is trying to scam you.
Crypto dusting is the process of placing marginal amounts of cryptocurrencies in a myriad of wallets. When this crypto is spent, attackers can trace transactions and de-anonymize your wallet. Once identified, attackers can engage in phishing attacks and other targeted scams. Most users don't have to worry about Crypto dusting, but if something just appears in your hot-wallet, don't trust it.
It essentially boils down to one question: are crypto-assets a security? While that is far too large a topic to debate here, securities are required to be registered, in order to protect consumers from fraud and misrepresentation. SEC litigation over unregulated securities, then, could either be read as government overreach into a nascent financial system, or as long-overdue consumer protections in an unregulated industry facilitating questionable activities.
A smart contract is essentially a piece of code embedded into a blockchain network. When mutually agreed-upon parameters are met, the smart contract automatically executes. Be careful with smart contracts, as - unless you yourself are able to read and analyze the code - there very well could be malware or unfavorable terms embedded into the contract.
All the exchanges on our list are centralized exchanges (CEX); a centralized exchange acts as an intermediary to connect your buy-and-sell orders to their appropriate buyers/sellers. A decentralized exchange (DEX) has no intermediary, and allows peer-to-peer exchanges via smart contracts. As smart contracts can be dangerous for new investors, or for anyone unfamiliar with the code inside them, it's best for most to stick to CEX before experimenting with DEX.
The Best Reviews of Crypto Exchanges