The Final Newbie’s Information to Cryptocurrency Exchanges

The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Cryptocurrency Exchanges


  • Crypto exchanges are platforms for buying or buying and selling cryptocurrency.
  • Customers can commerce with digital currencies akin to Bitcoin or Ethereum, or use extra conventional fiat property.
  • A few of the main crypto exchanges embody Binance, Coinbase and Kraken.

Within the wake of the much-ballyhooed public itemizing of Coinbase final month, many crypto-newcomers have been asking the consultants at Decrypt: What are my different choices if I am prepared to purchase some coin? Who’re Coinbase’s opponents?

Certainly, whereas Coinbase has arguably develop into the closest factor to a family identify in cryptocurrency, which helped gas its development and model recognition, it’s removed from the one joint on the town. Thus, here’s a checklist of among the best-known crypto exchanges, beginning with Coinbase.

This isn’t a complete checklist of each single crypto change worldwide, neither is it ranked in any manner that represents a worth judgment. There are tons of of crypto exchanges, all serving completely different markets; what Decrypt has tried to do is pull collectively a listing of among the main exchanges on the market, significantly for these new to the house.

Bear in mind: Investing in crypto remains to be high-risk. It’s best to solely put in what you possibly can afford to lose—in the event you select to speculate in any respect. Decrypt shouldn’t be dishing out funding recommendation.

Earlier than we soldier on, let’s have a fast recap of what an change really is. They’re platforms (websites and, normally, cell apps) that permit customers purchase and/or promote cryptocurrency, both by means of buying and selling for different digital currencies or utilizing conventional fiat property. Some exchanges settle for deposits through bank card, checking account, or wire switch, whereas others commerce in crypto solely. Some provide withdrawals to your personal wallets, whereas others don’t, and have various arrays of cash, charges, and apps.

There are additionally extra difficult exchanges that allow customers to commerce in crypto derivatives, or decentralized exchanges (DEXs) that supply peer-to-peer transactions between customers with no middleman.

With all that stated, let’s check out among the largest names.


Coinbase is likely one of the largest crypto exchanges. Picture: Shutterstock

What’s Coinbase?

One of the crucial well-known and extensively used exchanges on this planet, Coinbase was based in 2012 and reached file highs on the finish of 2020, with $89B in buying and selling quantity. As a result of it lets customers buy standard cash like Bitcoin and Ethereum with fiat, Coinbase is usually the start line for most individuals on their crypto journey. Coinbase itself is extra of a brokerage that additionally gives a digital pockets. For extra skilled customers, there’s Coinbase Professional, a extra conventional change the place customers can commerce with one another utilizing extra refined instruments akin to restrict and cease orders.

What cash can I purchase on Coinbase?

Coinbase has a complete of 59 cryptocurrencies out there throughout its common and Professional change. These embody the likes of Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), XRP, DASH, DAI, and Tether (USDT).

Coinbase has just lately introduced that it’s going to checklist standard “meme coin” Dogecoin (DOGE), though buying and selling for the DOGE shouldn’t be but dwell. The change additionally shies away from itemizing some privateness cash; Zcash (ZEC) shouldn’t be out there to commerce for Coinbase customers within the UK, whereas Monero (XMR) is unavailable in any area, with CEO Brian Armstrong stating that regulators are uncomfortable with the cryptocurrency.

Maybe unsurprisingly, Coinbase additionally does not checklist rival change Binance’s BNB cryptocurrency.

What are the charges like?

You possibly can take a look at a full rundown of Coinbase and Coinbase Professional charges here and here, however right here’s a abstract of the charges on the whole.

  • Pockets service: Internet hosting cash in your Coinbase pockets and transferring funds from one pockets to a different is free.
  • Purchase/promote transactions: Coinbase fees a ramification of round 0.50% for crypto purchases and gross sales. The precise unfold is perhaps somewhat larger or decrease based mostly on market fluctuations on Coinbase Professional. As well as, the corporate additionally fees a Coinbase Charge which is “the higher of (a) a flat price or (b) a variable share price decided by area, product function, and cost sort.” Generally, the charges on common Coinbase are regarded to be fairly excessive, which is the trade-off for novices discovering a straightforward on-ramp into the crypto world.
  • Credit score transactions: If you happen to borrow USD from Coinbase or an affiliate and your BTC collateral is bought, you’ll be charged a flat price of two% of the whole transaction.
  • Variable charges: There are too many location-specific charges to checklist right here, however on the whole, you’ll be topic to share charges on credit score/debit card purchases, shopping for/promoting, financial institution transfers and withdrawals. Extra element might be discovered here.

How straightforward is it to make use of?

The common taste of Coinbase is likely one of the best methods for anybody to purchase crypto, because it helps fiat purchases utilizing your financial institution or card particulars. Coinbase Pro is barely extra complicated in that it’s a must to create promote/purchase orders, however that’s bread and butter stuff for any change, and is likely one of the first issues that neophyte merchants be taught. The truth that you possibly can switch property from Coinbase to your Coinbase Professional account is one other helpful bonus.

Does it have an app?

Coinbase really has three completely different apps, with completely different features and goal customers in thoughts. Coinbase (for iOS and Android) permits you to purchase crypto with fiat, whereas storing them in an in-built pockets. Coinbase Professional, additionally out there on iOS and Android, unlocks the extra superior buying and selling choices with purchase/promote orders. Coinbase Pockets (out there on, you guessed it, iOS and Android) is a 3rd app that truly permits you to possess your personal cash, utilizing your personal personal key. This is much better than storing your cash on an change pockets, and is all the time advisable.

Learn our full Coinbase evaluation


Bitcoin price chart
Kraken’s UX is clear and streamlined. Picture: Kraken

What’s Kraken?

Launched in 2013, Kraken is now one of many largest exchanges on this planet—the fourth-largest in actual fact. Out there in 48 US states and 176 international locations, it was based by crypto fanatic Jesse Powell, who was prompted to create his personal change after the notorious Mt. Gox safety breach.

What cash can I purchase on Kraken?

Kraken at the moment sells 56 cryptocurrencies, together with BTC, DAI, AAVE, ETH, DASH, and DOGE. Decentraland gamers also can purchase and promote MANA, in the event that they so want. Courageous Browser customers also can commerce their earned BAT (or snap up some extra). Notable cash which can be lacking from the change embody Binance’s BNB (spot a recurring theme?) and VeChain (VET).

What are the charges like?

Kraken fees charges for various various things. Right here’s a common overview:

  • Funding charges: There are charges in place for once you make deposits and withdrawals with each crypto and fiat, together with debit/bank card buy charges too. 
  • Buying and selling charges: There are additionally the standard buying and selling charges, which kick in when your order is executed (canceled orders haven’t any charges). Charges vary from 0-0.26% of the whole worth of your order and rely upon the foreign money pair being traded, your 30-day buying and selling quantity in USD, and whether or not your order is maker or taker. There’s additionally a minimal commerce price.
  • Margin charges: If you happen to’re buying and selling utilizing leverage, you’ll be topic to margin opening and rollover charges

Kraken’s full set of charges might be discovered here.

How straightforward is it to make use of?

Kraken’s super-clean interface and format make it one of many best-looking exchanges round. Rookies ought to discover it much less overwhelming than different choices, with fewer charts, graphs and buttons cramming the display screen. As with most different exchanges, you’ll want to offer some info and official ID if you wish to do something greater than probably the most fundamental trades, however when you’ve handed KYC checks, all the things is clearly laid out and defined.

Does it have an app?

Kraken gives iOS and Android apps which offer customers with a finger-friendly cell model of the change. Having stated that, the app isn’t out there in sure international locations, together with the US.

Learn our full Kraken evaluation


crypto exchange gemini supports 2FA hardware keys
Gemini is a New York-based crypto change. Picture: Shutterstock.

What’s Gemini?

Gemini is one other US-based crypto change. Headquartered in New York Metropolis, it was based in 2014 by Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss. In 2016 it turned the world’s first licensed ETH change. It prides itself on its safety measures, which embody personal keys, password safety, and storing solely a small share of the change’s Bitcoin provide on-line, to scale back the danger of losses by means of hacking.

What cash can I purchase on Gemini?

Gemini has a complete of 52 cash out there to commerce on the time of writing. These embody heavy hitters like BTC and ETH, in addition to DAI, BAT, AAVE, Cardano (ADA), Uniswap (UNI), Litecoin (LTC) and extra. As with a number of different exchanges on this checklist although. The change just lately added Dogecoin, although some notable cash are lacking from the checklist, notably Monero, VeChain and (but once more) BNB.

What are the charges like?

Like different exchanges, Gemini funds itself by means of charging charges. It’s past the scope of this text to dive into the nice particulars (you possibly can view these here), however right here’s a common overview:

  • Dealer charges: Gemini makes use of a maker-taker price mannequin, and orders might be topic to each. If you happen to place an order that’s partially crammed straightaway, for instance, you’ll be charged a taker price on the crammed portion. The rest might be charged a maker price when it’s crammed. Apparently, the buying and selling charges are dependent in your quantity in USD in 30-day durations. The extra you commerce, the lower the fees. All orders positioned through the cell app even have a various convenience fee, and the identical goes for desktop browsers too.
  • Custody charges: Gemini fees an annual fee for storing your digital property which, on the time of writing, is 0.4%.
  • Switch charges: Past buying and selling charges, you’ll additionally should pay the usual community charges for the likes of BTC and ETH deposits.

How straightforward is it to make use of?

Gemini is a clean-looking change, which makes navigation and use straightforward for novices and execs alike. The signup course of is comparatively simple, and also you’ll want to produce private info like your identify, handle, electronic mail and extra. You’ll additionally want to finish KYC (Know Your Buyer) verification. In contrast to different exchanges which settle for issues like driving licenses, Gemini will solely settle for legitimate passports. Proof of handle necessities are much less strict, and may embody issues like payments and financial institution statements.

Does it have an app?

Gemini has an app that places the options of the change in a smartphone-friendly kind issue. It’s out there on each iOS and Android, and even the Samsung Galaxy Store too.


Binance logo in front of trading screen
Binance is a well-liked crypto change. Picture: Shutterstock.

What’s Binance?

Subsequent to Coinbase, Binance is likely one of the most recognizable crypto exchanges round, and is the primary change on this planet by way of buying and selling quantity. Based in China in 2017 by Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, the corporate moved its headquarters and servers from China to Japan forward of China’s ban on crypto buying and selling in 2017. Over time its headquarters have moved, and it was, till early 2020, positioned in Malta. Whereas it has numerous places of work with workers in over 50 international locations, its formally registered headquarters is now within the Cayman Islands.

What cash can I purchase on Binance?

Binance has an enormous providing of cash for customers to commerce. At the moment it lists greater than 150 cash, together with BTC, ETH and LTC, together with, after all, its personal native BNB tokens. The change is repeatedly rising its assortment of listed cash too, and is usually seen because the holy grail of exchanges for cash to get listed on, particularly by enthusiastic coin communities. And sure, DOGE can also be listed, as is Shiba Inu Coin (SHIB), which has discovered its manner onto the change regardless of Binance CEO CZ describing it as “tremendous excessive threat”.

That is maybe no shock; Binance is adept at quickly responding to rising developments in crypto, and rapidly itemizing the most recent sizzling coin; one motive why its checklist of supported cash is so complete.

What are the charges like?

Binance’s fees are among the lowest within the trade, made attainable, little doubt, by the truth that it’s the world’s largest change. 

  • Deposit charges: Deposits on Binance are fully free.
  • Withdrawal charges: Binance’s withdrawal charges fluctuate and are robotically adjusted based mostly on the present market.
  • Buying and selling charges: There are numerous buying and selling charges, relying on what your use case is. Every commerce carries a regular 0.1% price in the event you don’t use BNB to pay your buying and selling charges. Binance additionally makes use of a maker-taker construction, and gives other ways to decrease the charges. You possibly can, for instance, purchase Binance’s personal BNB tokens to pay charges with a 35% low cost. You too can refer buddies to the change to snap up extra reductions, and high-volume merchants can degree their account up for some VIP reductions too.

How straightforward is it to make use of?

The sheer dimension of Binance’s coin and commerce choices might be overwhelming for novices. There’s a hell of loads to soak up, and it may be a bit complicated. When you perceive the fundamental idea of promote and purchase orders although, it’s straightforward to make use of, although not fairly as accessible because the common model of Coinbase (which isn’t actually a fully-fledged change anyway). Binance Academy is a helpful useful resource for newbies to find out about crypto on the whole, in addition to providing in-depth guides to all of the buying and selling choices that Binance has to supply.

Does it have an app?

Binance has each an iOS and Android app, each of which carry the performance of the desktop web site to your pocket. The app is very rated throughout each platforms—simply ensure you’re downloading the official one and never a dodgy copy, particularly in the event you’re an Android person.


FTX exchange screenshot
FTX’s interface is acquainted, however daunting for inexperienced merchants. Picture: FTX

What’s FTX?

Launched in Might 2019, FTX is a comparatively new entry, and is likely one of the high crypto derivatives exchanges on this planet. This implies it’s completely different out of your conventional change within the sense that customers can commerce contracts on crypto property, or purchase tokens representing different property or funds. One instance are futures—investments which offer customers with an obligation to purchase or promote property at an agreed future date.

What cash can I purchase on FTX?

Whereas FTX is primarily a derivatives change, it nonetheless gives a spot market (extra conventional shopping for and promoting orders). It at the moment gives simply over 100 cash together with BTC, BNB, UNI, ETH, BAT, and DOGE, with buying and selling pairs together with BTC, USDT, and AUD, EUR and USD. Exceptions on the spot buying and selling market embody XMR and VET, though they’re supported within the futures market.

What are the charges like?

FTX has a tier-based fee structure that’s based mostly on buying and selling volumes in USD. 

  • Deposit charges: There aren’t any deposit charges on FTX.
  • Withdrawal charges: Withdrawals are additionally free, until the withdrawal exceeds your buying and selling quantity, by which case there’s a 0.10% price. BTC withdrawals over 0.01 BTC are free, whereas decrease quantities are topic to charges, as are  ETH, ERC-20 tokens, and Omni withdrawals.
  • Buying and selling charges: Most customers can have maker charges of 0.02%, with taker charges at 0.07%. Greater quantity merchants will see these charges scale back. Different charges can be discovered with leveraged tokens and redemption charges that are 0.01%, whereas customers buying and selling with a 50x or 100x leverage on futures contracts will see elevated buying and selling charges of 0.02% and 0.03%.

How straightforward is it to make use of?

FTX is a slick, polished change, however there aren’t any two methods about it—in the event you’re a newbie then the choices of Futures, Shares, Leveraged Token, Volatility and extra will make for a really complicated and intimidating first impression. That’s not a knock towards the change itself, it’s simply that it’s aimed toward skilled crypto customers in search of one thing past easy buying and selling.

Does it have an app?

The FTX app is on the market on iOS and Android, and gives a equally easy expertise to the total fats desktop web site.

Learn our full FTX evaluation (MCO) cryptocurrency logo displayed on smartphone is likely one of the main crypto exchanges. Picture: Shutterstock


Based in 2016, was beforehand often known as Monaco, however was rebranded one yr later after the (costly) acquisition of the area. Whereas it’s greatest recognized for its Visa card, which permits customers to transform their cryptocurrency and spend it anyplace that Visa is accepted, it additionally has different options—together with an change.

What cash can I purchase on has over 70 cash out there to commerce on the time of writing towards USDT and the change’s personal native token, CRO. BTC-tradable pairs are lowered to round 26 cash.

Exceptions embody XMR, and whereas BNB is supported in some states, it’s not out there in Alabama, Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Louisiana, New Mexico, North Carolina, Vermont, Washington, Georgia, and Oregon.

What are the charges like?

As with various different exchanges,’s fees are volume-based, which implies they lower as your buying and selling quantity will increase. 

  • Deposit charges: Deposit charges are free.
  • Withdrawal charges: Withdrawal charges are topic to minimal withdrawal quantities, and range relying on the asset. You possibly can view the detailed checklist here.
  • Buying and selling charges: The best charges are 0.10% for makers and 0.16% for takers. These drop all the best way all the way down to 0.04% and 0.10% respectively, though your buying and selling quantity should attain the lofty ranges of $200,000,001 inside a 30-day window. You too can select to stake CRO and pay your buying and selling charges in CRO, which nets you a further 10% price low cost throughout all tiers.

How straightforward is it to make use of?

The principle change is straightforward to make use of for anybody who’s acquired to grips with fundamental buying and selling choices. The interface is clear and minimal, and ought to be straightforward to select up. Issues get extra difficult in the event you click on round and discover the likes of derivatives buying and selling after all, however that’s purely as a result of expertise required to seek out your self at dwelling there.

Does it have an app? has apps on each iOS and Android which makes for a helpful strategy to carry on high of buying and selling, whereas additionally checking your card info, in the event you determine to enroll in one. If you happen to do, you possibly can rise up to eight% cashback in addition to incomes curiosity in your crypto property.


eToro. Picture: Shutterstock

What’s eToro?

Based in 2007, eToro is an Israeli multi-asset brokerage firm. It has places of work registered around the globe, together with the UK, the US, Australia, and Cyprus. It added cryptocurrencies to its funding choices in 2014, with a crypto pockets for Android and iOS launching in 2018. You too can use the location to commerce shares, currencies, and commodities.

What cash can I purchase on eToro?

At the moment, eToro permits you to commerce 17 cash, together with BTC, ETH, LTC, DASH, XLM and BNB. That’s the bottom providing on this checklist, however we count on it to develop over the approaching years. It is also just lately added Dogecoin to its roster, although some key omissions embody XMR, BNB, and AAVE.

What are the charges like?

The one buying and selling charges eToro fees are for spreads.

  • Buying and selling charges: The charges for buying and selling really range a good quantity relying on the coin. BTC charges are, for instance, 0.75%, whereas BNB charges bounce as much as 2.45%. You possibly can take a look at the total checklist of charges for the completely different crypto property on provide here.
  • Switch charges: eToro customers are topic to minimal withdrawal quantities and costs which range relying on the asset in query. Once more, the total checklist and additional particulars might be discovered here. Deposits are free.

How straightforward is it to make use of?

eToro is pretty simple to make use of, and it additionally handily gives a free apply account. Registered customers can mess around with buying and selling with a pretend stability of $100,000, which is a good, distinctive strategy to become familiar with all the things. Not solely that, however you even have the choice to repeat different profitable merchants’ investments, with the plain caveat that there are dangers concerned.

Does it have an app?

eToro has an app that’s out there on each iOS and Android, with the Android app score somewhat larger based mostly on person suggestions.


The views and opinions expressed by the writer are for informational functions solely and don’t represent monetary, funding, or different recommendation.

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