If you want to trade cryptocurrency, you’re going to need to use a cryptocurrency exchange. The best cryptocurrency exchange to trade on can vary depending on your personal requirements, geographic location, and the way you want to trade.
There are a number of factors that you should consider before choosing an exchange, including fees, security, and track record. We’ll proceed to break down the top five best crypto exchanges in 2019 to help you determine which trading platform is right for you.
How to choose the best exchange
Before signing up with a cryptocurrency exchange, there are a few factors you should check out:
- Location: Is the exchange available to traders in your country? Some exchanges are only available to traders in specific geographic locations.
- Security: Is the exchange safe? Does it offer 2FA security? How does the exchange store your crypto? A good exchange should store cryptocurrency in secure, air-gapped cold wallets spread out across multiple locations
- History: Has the exchange ever been hacked? If so, how did it handle the hack? A good exchange will compensate traders that lose cryptocurrency due to a hack.
- Background: Who owns the exchange? Are they a public figure? Does the exchange have a physical office address? Ensuring your exchange has a real-world presence minimizes the threat of fraudulent exchange scams
- Fees: What kind of fee model does the exchange operate on? A good exchange will offer a simple fee model, or a reasonable maker/taker model. It’s important to check that your exchange doesn’t charge extremely high withdrawal fees.
Coinbase is one of the most popular and widely-respected cryptocurrency exchanges and fiat gateways online. Coinbase is separated into two platforms — Coinbase, which allows users to buy and store cryptocurrency, and Coinbase Pro, a dedicated trading platform.
The Coinbase platform is focused on making cryptocurrency easy to use and promoting cryptocurrency adoption. In addition to allowing users to purchase cryptocurrency via a range of methods that include credit and debit card purchase, Coinbase frequently gives away free cryptocurrency via the Coinbase Lean system, which rewards users for learning about new cryptos.
Coinbase Pro is a highly secure, easy to use cryptocurrency exchange that offers a maker/taker model. If you’re making orders when trading cryptocurrency on Coinbase that add to the order book, you won’t pay any fees for trading. Importantly, the Coinbase platform has never been hacked.
Rubix is a unique cryptocurrency trading option. Rather than function as a centralized exchange platform, Rubix is a decentralized wallet solution that facilitates trading. Most exchanges don’t give traders access to their private keys and retain control over the wallets that traders store their crypto in — this presents a significant risk. If an exchange wallet is hacked, traders lose their capital.
Rubix is immune to this threat. Rather than handle user private keys, Rubix leaves them in the control of traders, and simply facilitates traders, and is thus an extremely secure solution. In addition to leaving private keys in the hands of users, Rubix also integrates industry-leading multi-factor authentication and encryption.
If you’re interested in the applications of decentralized exchanges but aren’t satisfied with the complexity and low liquidity of current DEX solutions, Rubix is one of the best decentralized trading options available in 2019.
Kraken is one of the oldest active cryptocurrency exchanges in existence, and has been active since 2011. Kraken offers an extremely diverse range of trading pairs, and maintains a strict listing policy to ensure less-reputable tokens don’t make it on the exchange platform.
Kraken holds a major advantage over Coinbase — it’s available to far more traders in more countries. Like Coinbase, Kraken allows users to purchase crypto via debit card or bank transfer, but also allows margin trading. The Kraken fee model is competitive when compared to Coinbase, although Kraken support can be slow in contrast. Kraken does offer extremely comprehensive trading and charting tools, making it ideal for advanced traders.
US-based Poloniex is a professional exchange aimed at experience traders. In addition to offering standard trading options, Poloniex offers margin trading across 90 different trading pairs. Poloniex fees are competitive, typically around 0.25 percent for most order types.
The Poloniex identification system can be complex, however — a tiered ID system means that users who provide greater levels of KYC/AML data are able to access higher limits. Poloniex customer service is also extremely slow, leading to long wait times.
Bittrex is a crypto-to-crypto only trading platform — it’s not possible to purchase cryptocurrency with fiat currency via Bittrex. While the Bittrex platform doesn’t offer fiat trades, it does offer an exhaustive list of trading pairs and extremely responsive customer service.
The Bittrex platform has been a high-profile target for phishing campaigns, which has resulted in Bittrex rolling out extremely aggressive security measures. Bittrex is widely regarded as one of the safest exchanges because of this. While Bittrex trading fees are slightly higher than the other exchanges in this roundup, it delivers greater levels of customer service and a streamlined, easy to understand user interface.