6 Best Crypto Exchanges of August 2023

Crypto exchanges are where traders can buy, sell and convert different cryptocurrencies and NFTs (non-fungible tokens). They are necessary for digital assets to be traded at the scale they are today. Some exchanges offer the most competitive prices or speeds, whereas others provide specialized financial products.

Read on to learn about the best cryptocurrency exchanges, how they work, and which one you should pick.

What’s going on with the crypto industry?

Amid a broad crackdown on the crypto industry by the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), numerous organizations are currently under the spotlight. This crackdown comes in the wake of several high-profile failures that shook the industry starting in 2022.

Most recently, Coinbase has landed in hot waters for evading disclosure requirements meant to protect investors. The SEC says in a lawsuit filed on June 6th that the exchange has been acting as the middleman since 2019 in trades for at least 13 crypto assets that should have been registered as securities. The Commission also identified possible violations of securities law in the company’s crypto staking service.

This lawsuit came just one day after the SEC sued Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, for operating a “web of deception.” It claims that the exchange inflated trading volumes, mishandled customer funds and lied about its operations.

We acknowledge that the current state of the crypto industry may be unsettling, and want to assure our audience that the exchanges listed in our top picks have transparent financial backing and robust cybersecurity measures in place. Nonetheless, if you’re looking for the most secure method possible of managing your crypto, we recommend purchasing a cold storage wallet. Our top recommendation for the best hardware wallet can be found in our list of the best crypto wallets.

Why Trust Money on Crypto Exchanges

To pick the best crypto exchanges, we conducted more than 300 hours of research and vetted the companies according to security & safety, user experience and cost. We also studied the available cryptocurrency regulation compliance reports, compared fees and spoke to our in-house crypto experts.

Our Top Picks for the Best Crypto Exchanges of August 2023

  • Coinbase – Best for Beginners
  • Bitstamp – Best for Low Fees
  • Kraken – Best for Security
  • Pionex.US – Best for Automated Trading
  • Bisq – Best Decentralized Exchange
  • Public – Best $0 Commission Platform

Best Crypto Exchanges Reviews

Why we chose it: We chose Coinbase as the best crypto exchange for beginners because of its easy-to-use interface, extensive educational material on everything from blockchain to volatility, and robust security features.

If you’re familiar with crypto, chances are you’ve already heard of Coinbase. The exchange is one of the largest and most well-known in the U.S., and the crypto platform does a great job of lowering the barrier to entry for new investors, with a straightforward onboarding process that eases users into trading. At the same time, its interface makes navigating the platform and managing crypto a seamless experience.

Coinbase also features a comprehensive and accessible variety of learning materials. Users are encouraged to use these resources through the Coinbase Earn program, which teaches how to trade specific cryptocurrencies and rewards users with free crypto.

The exchange’s security features are worth mentioning, as well: Coinbase uses two-factor authentication on all versions of its platform, stores 98% of customers’ crypto offline, and has an insurance policy to protect custodial accounts of up to $250,000 (in line with per-depositor FDIC coverage limits). Such robust measures are why Coinbase is ultimately worth trying, despite its higher fees.

Users who enjoy Coinbase but would like more advanced trading and charting features may want to look at the company’s other exchange platform, Coinbase Pro.

Why we chose it: We chose Bitstamp as the best crypto exchange for low fees because of its highly competitive maker/taker fees, free bank account transfers and strong cybersecurity.

Many crypto exchanges promise low fees as a way to entice traders to join their platform, but then “catch” you with expensive transfer and withdrawal fees. This is not the case with Bitstamp, which features inexpensive fees across the board.

Bitstamp’s maker/taker fee schedule — ranging from 0.30% to 0.00% and from 0.40% to 0.03%, respectively — is one of the most affordable among all the exchanges currently operating in the U.S. Moreover, users with a 30-day trading volume of under $1000 don’t have to pay any trading fees at all — a considerable boon for less dedicated traders. Withdrawal fees for individual cryptocurrencies are markedly low, and ACH transfers are free of charge.

One of the oldest crypto exchanges in the world, Bitstamp has a long track record of operating securely and transparently. It was the first crypto exchange to receive a Payment Institution license in the EU and currently holds a BitLicense issued by the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS). Nonetheless, it’s worth mentioning that the company lost over $5 million in a 2015 cyber attack that took several months to go public.

Why we chose it: We chose Kraken as the best crypto exchange for security because of its robust security tools and protections, which has allowed the company to operate seamlessly since its inception.

Kraken has been around for a while now, and is well known — and loved — by many crypto traders around the world. At first glance, the exchange may not seem to have any standout features: it’s a jack-of-all-trades, supporting more than 200 cryptocurrencies across a variety of services, which includes spot trading, margin trading, staking and futures.

Look a bit further and you’ll realize that Kraken excels at providing arguably the safest digital ecosystem for trading your crypto. The exchange’s security measures run the gamut from industry essentials, like two-factor authentication and account timeouts to more specialized solutions, such as PGP signed and encrypted email and global settings time lock.

All of the companies we included in this list employ stringent security measures, but Kraken’s are remarkable enough that the exchange has never suffered a large-scale hack since it first went online in 2011. This is an accolade that very few exchanges of its size can attest to, and has been possible thanks to its variety of information security management systems and user-facing security tools.

Why we chose it: We chose Pionex.US as the best crypto exchange for automated trading because of its integrated auto-trading bots, low fees and user-friendly interface.

Since its launch in 2019, Singapore-based Pionex has garnered a sizable following online thanks to the combination of an affordable fee schedule and a selection of 16 built-in trading bots. Pionex.US, the United States franchise of the platform, only allows for spot trading and has just 11 bots available, but remains the most comprehensive automated solution for cryptocurrency trading.

The bots available on Pionex.US have a variety of functions, including:

  • Buying at dollar cost average for a one-time sell off
  • Creating an index and rebalancing your portfolio automatically
  • Various strategies for buying low and selling high

Although there is no way to practice trading with them using a demo account, most of the bots have an educational video and a detailed explanation on the exchange’s website. Users can also request a 1-on-1 onboarding session to help them understand the bots better.

Lastly, like its global counterpart, Pionex.US offers inexpensive maker/taker fees on spot trades. These range from 0.05% to 0% depending on the crypto pairing and apply to trades made manually and by trading bot alike.

Why we chose it: We chose Bisq as the best decentralized exchange because it follows the ethos of Bitcoin best by maintaining an open-source platform that is completely decentralized without limiting currency support.

Formerly known as Bitsquare, Bisq brings the clean, easy-to-use interface and vast coin support of centralized exchanges to a decentralized environment. The platform is built on open-source software, meaning its design is publicly available, and the project is funded by personal savings and donations from its community of users.

Bisq brings the clean, easy-to-use interface and vast coin support of centralized exchanges to a decentralized environment. The platform is built on open-source software, meaning its design is publicly available, and the project is funded by personal savings and donations from its community of users.

Additionally, the platform’s security features, such as multi-signature and a security deposit system, enhance the inherent safety and privacy of decentralized exchanges by ensuring that both parties act honestly and have complete control of their funds during the trading process.

Why we chose it: We chose Public as the best $0 commission platform because, in addition to offering highly affordable trades, the exchange is remarkably easy to use and provides substantial educational content.

Public is a beginner-friendly platform that tries to mix accessible, affordable investing with an approach that puts financial literacy first. It does this by providing users with articles on a wide variety of investment topics, market updates and a daily live show called Public Live, where a panel of experts, analysts and journalists join to discuss market headlines.

It’s important to mention that Public is not a full-service cryptocurrency exchange. The platform focuses on stocks and ETFs first, meaning it lacks certain tools and operates fundamentally different from an actual crypto exchange. Most importantly, users cannot presently transfer crypto assets into or out of their Public account.

Other crypto exchanges we considered

The following trading platforms are all excellent options, especially for new traders. However, they didn’t make it to our top list because they lack certain core features, are not dedicated crypto exchanges or don’t excel in a particular area.

Crypto.com

Crypto.com boasts several noteworthy features, including a non-custodial DeFi wallet, prepaid Visa cards to spend crypto, margin trading and over 250 supported crypto assets — one of the biggest numbers on this list. Crypto.com also employs various security measures such as multi-factor identification, offline cold storage and a regulated custodian bank account for traditional currency.

Why Crypto.com didn’t make the cut: Crypto.com is a great centralized exchange with solid features and a wide range of services. However, it doesn’t stand out in any particular area. We fully recommend it for beginners and experts alike, but you may want to consider other exchanges if you’re looking for a more specialized platform.

Robinhood

Robinhood is another commission-free investment platform that caters to beginners and casual investors. Users can trade seven cryptocurrencies in addition to stocks, ETFs, options and more.

Why Robinhood didn’t make the cut: Robinhood lacks the tools and features of a full-service cryptocurrency exchange. It has also been the target of numerous complaints from users and regulators regarding its dishonest business practices (just last year, the app was fined 70 million by FINRA for misleading consumers) and involvement in the GameStop/meme-stock mania of 2021.

Gemini

Gemini is a well-funded crypto exchange with a reputation for being easy to use. The platform supports more than 100 crypto to buy, sell and store, has tools for high-performance traders and boasts industry-leading security.

Why Gemini didn’t make the cut: Gemini’s fees are markedly higher compared to those of other exchanges. And while the platform’s features make for a good package overall, none of them were impressive enough to earn Gemini a top spot with us.

eToro

eToro is a multi-asset investment platform that allows users to trade a variety of assets, including 30 popular cryptocurrencies. The platform’s main highlight is its social trading features, which allows users to create a custom news feed and follow, copy and interact with their favorite traders.

Why eToro didn’t make the cut: eToro did not make our top list because it’s not a full-service crypto exchange. This means it lacks basic tools and services, such as withdrawing your crypto, and directly depositing, trading or exchanging crypto on the platform.

Cash.app

Cash.app is a great option if you just want to test the Bitcoin waters or simply need another platform to do quick bitcoin transactions. Unlike other non-dedicated cryptocurrency exchanges, Cash.app lets you keep custody of your coins. This alone makes it worth a try.

Why Cash.app didn’t make the cut: Cash.app is not a dedicated crypto exchange and its bitcoin services are bare bones. While it may be an accessible entry point for those interested in crypto, we cannot recommend it as an exchange for trading in the long term.

Crypto Exchanges Guide

Despite having broken into the mainstream, crypto can still be a confusing subject for investors of all levels. How exactly do they work? What are the different types of exchange and how do they differ from crypto wallets? Read our guide to understand the ins and outs of cryptocurrency exchanges.

  • What is a crypto exchange?
  • How do crypto exchanges work?
  • What are the different types of crypto exchange?
  • Understanding crypto exchange fees
  • What to look for when choosing a crypto exchange?
  • How to be sure a crypto exchange is legitimate and secure
  • How to open a crypto exchange account
  • Latest News on Crypto Exchanges
  • Our Methodology for Choosing the Best Crypto Exchanges

What is a crypto exchange?

Crypto exchanges are platforms where users can trade digital currencies for other assets, including cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), and regular currencies, like U.S. Dollars and Euros.

Exchanges are an essential part of the crypto ecosystem because most traditional investment firms do not offer cryptocurrencies in their portfolios. Without exchanges, you would have to find another person willing to trade crypto and agree at an exchange rate. Then, you would have to send the coins directly to each other’s cryptocurrency wallets — a somewhat convoluted process. Crypto staking would also be impossible without the service that exchanges offer.

Crypto wallet vs exchange

Crypto wallets and exchanges are both essential tools used to manage cryptocurrencies. Wallets are meant to keep your crypto funds safe, whereas exchanges are trading hubs where users convert fiat currencies to digital ones and buy or sell crypto based on current market rates.

Many crypto exchanges operate their own wallets, so users can start trading crypto as soon as they open their account without having to worry about getting a digital wallet of their own. These are known as web-hosted wallets, and their incorporated exchange is responsible for their security measures.

Serious traders are encouraged to keep an independent cryptocurrency wallet to deposit any coins they aren’t actively trading. This is because you could lose all your digital assets if the exchange is hacked.

Although you’ll be responsible for securing, backing up, and managing your own funds, independent digital wallets are a much safer alternative for safeguarding the bulk of your crypto.

How do crypto exchanges work

Most crypto trading platforms function as a brokerage, acting as intermediaries between buyers and sellers. Users can deposit money into exchanges to buy crypto or deposit their own crypto to trade for other currencies, known as crypto-to-crypto spot trading.

Traders can expect to pay a fee for converting one crypto to another, like when exchanging regular currencies at a bank (for example, converting USD to EUR). In exchange for digital currencies, exchanges may accept a wide variety of payments, including credit card payments, ACH transfers, Visa debit cards, money orders and even gift cards.

Dedicated crypto and bitcoin exchanges will allow you to withdraw your crypto funds and transfer them to another wallet of your choice. Others, especially those that focus on other assets, like stocks and ETFs — including Robinhood and eToro — only let you purchase the crypto but not transfer it out of their web wallets.

What are the different types of crypto exchanges?

Crypto exchanges come in three varieties: centralized, decentralized, and hybrid.

Centralized exchanges (CEX)

Centralized exchanges are the most common and traditional type of crypto exchange. These are owned by private companies and offer investors a platform to trade cryptocurrencies. This type of exchange tends to have higher trade volumes and liquidity and a greater number of trading pairs.

Centralized exchanges are often considered a good option for new crypto traders because of their better onboarding and user interface, availability of customer support, and insurance should the platform’s systems fail.

The main issue with this type of exchange is that users are inherently more vulnerable to hacking attacks. Some users also feel uncomfortable sharing their private data in the KYC process.

Examples: KuCoin, Coinbase, Kraken, Gemini

Decentralized exchanges (DEX)

Decentralized exchanges follow in the spirit of Bitcoin by operating with no central point of control. Servers for this type of exchange are spread throughout computers located across the world, which means if one computer is attacked, the network keeps running.

Where centralized exchanges operate as brokerages, decentralized exchanges are more like marketplaces. They facilitate peer-to-peer trading and have a less rigid registration process. The main drawbacks of decentralized exchanges include lower trading volume, small liquidity, generally poor user interface, and a lack of customer support.

Examples: Bisq, Uniswap, PancakeSwap, Tokenlon, dYdX

Hybrid exchanges

Hybrid exchanges aim to overcome the limitations of older exchanges by offering the greater functionality and liquidity of centralized exchanges together with the security advantages of decentralized exchanges.

Hybrid exchanges boast fast transaction speeds without compromising their users’ privacy but are still a relatively new development in the crypto world. Time will tell if they will be successful or struggle due to high costs, limited scalability and limited assets.

Examples: Nash, Qurrex, Eidoo, Legolas

Understanding crypto exchange fees

Crypto exchanges charge several fees, and it’s not always clear what exactly you’ll be charged for.

There are two main types of fees to look out for: exchange fees and network fees.

Exchange fees

Exchange fees are how crypto exchanges make money. In other words, they’re service fees that include:

  • Trading fees, charged when making transactions and are also called “maker/taker” fees. Trading fees indicate whether a crypto order provides liquidity to the market or not. These also apply when converting currencies.
  • Deposit fees, charged when users add money to their account, usually via debit card, credit card, or PayPal instead of through a wire transfer.
  • Withdrawal fees, charged when withdrawing regular currency or cryptocurrencies from your account.
  • Account fees, charged on a regular basis, usually monthly.

Network fees

Network fees are paid to cryptocurrency miners, who process and secure crypto transactions on the blockchain. Many centralized crypto exchanges incur this cost, though some may allow their users to pay more in miner fees to speed up transaction speeds. Users on decentralized exchanges generally have to pay this themselves, since there is no third party between them and the crypto miners.

What to look for when choosing a crypto exchange

Not all investors have the same priorities when it comes to choosing a crypto exchange. However, for most people, supported currencies, security measures, liquidity, ease of use, and geographic availability should be top of mind.

Supported currencies

Some crypto exchanges support as many as 500 currencies, while others may only support a single coin. Your exchange of choice should allow you to buy and sell any crypto you are interested in trading, be it mainstays like bitcoin and ether or altcoins such as Cardano, Litecoin and Ripple. It should also allow for any fiat-to-currency and currency-to-currency trade pairings.

Security measures

Crypto exchanges have become a prime target for cybercriminals. According to Chainalysis, a blockchain analysis firm and data platform that has worked directly with the U.S. government, crypto hackers stole $3.8 Billion in 2022 — a roughly $5 Billion increase from 2021. Look for a crypto exchange with robust encryption that provides additional lines of defense, such as two-factor authentication and Bitcoin locks.

Liquidity

In the context of cryptocurrency, liquidity refers to how easily a coin can be converted into cash or other coins. For crypto markets and exchanges, higher liquidity means there are more traders active at any given time, so orders get filled faster. Look for exchanges with high liquidity if quick trades are a priority for you.

Ease of use

A clunky user interface is the bane of everyday users when it comes to software applications. Even advanced traders may struggle at times if a crypto app is poorly designed. Before settling on an exchange, try several of them out and see which ones are easier to navigate and trade on.

Geography

Not all crypto exchanges are available in the United States. Some exchanges, like Pionex.US, only operate in certain states. Make sure the crypto exchange you are signing up for is available in your location.

How to be sure a crypto exchange is legitimate and secure

When looking for a crypto exchange, it’s essential to keep an eye out for fake websites and mobile apps. Always check for any misspellings in the copy or inauthentic branding. In the case of a website, make sure there’s a small lock icon indicating security near the URL bar.

It’s important to remind yourself that, scams aside, trading crypto can be dangerous. Cryptocurrencies are highly volatile, meaning that they are subject to sudden increases and decreases in values that even the wisest investors cannot predict with certainty.

Financial advisors recommend that if you invest in cryptocurrency, practice caution and keep it below 5% of your total investments.

How to open a crypto exchange account

Every crypto exchange has its own registration and setup process. Some exchanges may let you open an account without verifying your identity or submitting sensitive information. Others will require new users to undergo an extensive “Know your Client” (KYC) process to comply with U.S. government regulations meant to prevent money laundering and fraud.

However, some parts of registration are shared across platforms. You will need the following information and documentation to open an account on most crypto exchange platforms:

  • Your full name and date of birth
  • Your phone number and email address
  • Your physical address
  • Your Social Security number
  • A government-issued ID (e.g., driver’s license, passport) and a picture of you holding it or a scan of the ID

The sign-up process generally starts by asking for your personal information, followed by an email to confirm your address. Some exchanges may also ask for a copy of a utility bill sent to your physical address and inquire about your interest in trading crypto. Then, you’ll need to add a payment method to deposit funds into the exchange and start to buy and sell cryptocurrency.

Latest News on Crypto Exchanges

As crypto markets remain under the radar, speculators are wondering if bitcoin halving will cause crypto prices to soar next year. Bitcoin halving limits the amount of new bitcoins that come into the market by reducing the total reward that miners receive for their work. Halving occurs every four years, and the next one is anticipated to take place sometime around April or May 2024.

The impact of halving on miners have driven some to ask if bitcoin mining is profitable in the long term. Mining requires a substantial upfront investment, and because there are a lot of variables involved with the practice, a high profit isn’t guaranteed. Escalating energy costs, coupled with the environmental consequences associated with mining, have added to the growing skepticism surrounding the financial viability of mining operations.

Our Methodology for Choosing the Best Crypto Exchanges

We looked at over 20 crypto exchanges and evaluated them based on cost, security, and user experience. Other factors we considered in our methodology include their cryptocurrency selection, payment options and trade volume.

We mainly focused on dedicated crypto exchanges and then looked at trading platforms that let you trade other securities. The best cryptocurrency exchanges scored high in the following categories:

Security

Users should feel that their crypto is secure on their trade platform, so security breach prevention measures and safe account management methods are essential elements. We looked at each platform’s history of keeping their users’ funds and information safe and considered whether they offer insurance to users in case they lose their money due to a mistake on their part.

Security Breach Prevention

In order to proactively safeguard user accounts against hackers, exchanges may schedule penetration tests, bug bounties and third-party audits to validate the company’s proof of reserves. These assessments help exchanges ensure that their platform lacks vulnerabilities and is equipped with the latest security measures.

Safe Account Management

Crypto exchanges should follow cybersecurity security best practices to limit vulnerabilities in their system. This includes enforcing TLS/SSL encryption and, for centralized exchanges, multi-factor authentication (MFA), which requires the user to provide two or more verification factors — SMS and email, for example.

User Experience

An exchange that is easy to use and navigate is always a plus regardless of whether one is a novice or an expert. We considered each crypto exchange’s mobile (iOS and Android) and desktop interface, favoring those with more intuitive designs. We also looked at the educational content and research tools available for users.

Mobile and Desktop Interface

Modern crypto exchanges tend to have a more streamlined user interface that is accessible to new traders. This is true even for decentralized exchanges, which have historically been designed for more experienced users.

Educational content

Educational content is helpful for all levels of traders, but especially for those new to crypto, who may need to find their bearings before they begin investing. This type of content ranges from blog articles and explainers on specific coins to test runs and guided transactions for learning how to use an exchange.

Research Tools

Market data is an indispensable resource for crypto investors. Research tools allow users to fine-tune their crypto search results by limiting them to specific types of coin and sorting based on a variety of metrics, such as market cap, daily price changes and social trends.

Cost

Fees can be a headache for users, especially for active traders. We favored crypto exchanges that offered low service fees and ways of reducing transaction fees. We also valued transparency when it came to their fee structure.

Low or reduced fees

Many popular crypto exchanges employ a declining fee schedule where the greater your order volume, the less you have to pay for the transaction. Some exchanges will lower fees further if you’re trading with their native token — Cronos (CRO) on Crypto.com or Binance Coin (BNB) on Binance.us, for instance — or even waive fees altogether for certain order volumes.

Fee structure transparency

All crypto exchanges — dedicated or not — must openly share their fee schedules. This was a prerequisite for us when it came to featuring companies on our list. Some exchanges have more complex fees than others, in which case we also considered how well they explain these fees and their exceptions.

Summary of Money’s Best Crypto Exchanges of August 2023

  • Coinbase – Best for Beginners
  • Bitstamp – Best for Low Fees
  • Kraken – Best for Security
  • Pionex.US – Best for Automated Trading
  • Bisq – Best Decentralized Exchange
  • Public – Best $0 Commission Platform

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