Crypto traders can choose to trade on many different cryptocurrency exchanges. The exchanges operate all around the world and provide traders the opportunity to make trades 24/7/365. Each trading platform has its own unique features and benefits. Each offers different types of cryptocurrency for trade, locales for operations, and fees charged.
It is possible to go on a very deep dive into the world of cryptocurrency exchanges to find the niche platform that you like best but, for most traders, sticking to the biggest and most popular exchanges is the easiest way to go. To help you sort through which of the most well-known platforms are best for you, we will go over some pros and cons of three crypto trading platforms you should know.
Coinbase is the biggest and most popular crypto exchange available. The platform has over 35 million users and operates in over 100 countries. Over $220 billion in crypto trades have been executed on the platform and the company has over 1,000 employees. The exchange got to this place by being early to the market and capitalizing on the Mt. Gox hacking scandal in 2014.
In addition to external factors in the industry, Coinbase provides many benefits to users. This is part of the reason it has become the top crypto exchange. The exchange is user-friendly and makes it easy to turn your crypto into fiat currency. It is available in more places than many crypto exchanges, including New York State which is a notoriously hard locale for crypto exchanges to be accepted.
The exchange is also widely trusted, thanks to its commitment to safety and security on the exchange. On several occasions over the years, when the site has seen irregularities and it has suspended trading. Even though there have been attacks on company employees in the past, the exchange has never been compromised.
Coinbase may not be for every crypto trader, though. The site offers a smaller selection of cryptocurrencies for trade when compared to some of its competitors. Depending on where in the world you are trading from, Coinbase usually carries 50 or fewer of the thousands of cryptocurrencies available for trade.
Another downside: Coinbase has high fees. You will generally pay more per trade on Coinbase than on other exchanges. For high volume traders, Coinbase does provide another option in the form of its Coinbase Pro platform. This platform will only be an advantage to traders who make a huge number of monthly trades or are market makers versus market takers.
Kraken is a very popular crypto exchange and is considered by many to be the number one competitor to Coinbase. The exchange was founded about a year earlier than Coinbase, in 2011, so it is very established in the industry. We will go through the pros and cons of the platform but if you want to get more detailed information about the difference between the two exchanges, Cove Markets takes a deeper look into Kraken versus Coinbase here.
Kraken’s biggest advantages are that it has lower fees than Coinbase and many of its other competitors and it accepts a wide range of fiat currency. This makes the platform’s liquidity on par with Coinbase. The exchange also allows for trading a good amount of cryptocurrencies and provides a user-friendly experience.
Kraken is currently available in over 150 countries and 48 U.S. states. It is not available in New York State, however. The exchange was famously accused of violating state regulations by the New York State Attorney General in 2015.
The main issues many users report with Kraken are poor customer service and periodic slowness. These issues vary from user to user, but enough users report struggling with these issues that it can be considered a trend. One more complaint is that the site holds on to your crypto keys so you don’t have as much control over the currency as you do on other platforms.
The third exchange crypto traders should know about is Binance. Originally founded in China in 2017, Binance is now headquartered in Malta and hosts an average of $2 billion worth of trading per day. The main branch of Binance is not available in the U.S., but the company now offers Binance US for U.S.-based users.
There is much to like about Binance. It has a trusted site security reputation, offers low fees, even for small volume traders, and includes many educational and informational tools. The big draw for many traders, though, is the amount of crypto listed on the exchange. Binance offers around 10-times more cryptocurrencies to trade than Coinbase or Kraken.
Unfortunately, Binance does not offer much live customer support and the exchange interface can be difficult for beginners to use and understand. Bigger problems come with the U.S. site, though. The site is a watered down version of the main company, with fewer trading options and liquidity than the main platform. It also isn’t available across the country. Thirteen states do not allow access to Binance.
Coinbase, Kraken, and Binance are three of the major cryptocurrency exchanges you should definitely know about. These exchanges offer a good number of cryptocurrencies to trade, good liquidity, and are generally widely available to use. Each site has additional plusses and minuses but most traders will find at least one of these suitable for their needs.
If you don’t love any of these three platforms, plenty of others are available to investigate. For traders looking beyond these exchanges, you may want to look into some of the other widely used platforms such as Bitstamp, Gemini, BitMEX, eToro, and others.