Best Crypto Exchanges: A Guide For 2022
Updated: Feb 5
If you are a crypto trader or investor looking for the best exchange, there is much to consider.
To help you find your way through the often confusing crypto exchange ecosystem, we have pulled together a concise summary, covering a number of the leading crypto exchanges. This guide for 2022 provides you with a breakdown of the core services and account types on offer, associated fees and charges, as well as providing our opinion of the customer experience across each exchange.
Needless to say, what is right for you, might not be right for everybody. Some crypto exchanges offer a broader range of tradable crypto assets, some provide a wider array or trading options, such as the use of margin, and some offer additional services such as lending your crypto, as opposed to simply offering trading capabilities.
So as you read through this guide, keep at the front of your mind what you are looking for from your crypto exchange. Let's get you trading and investing crypto with confidence!
There is only one place to begin, and this is with Coinbase. It is fair to say Coinbase is probably the most well known crypto exchange, having become the first crypto exchange to list on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange during 2021.
Coinbase is an established household name, and in the somewhat murky world of crypto exchanges, that is a significant consideration for crypto traders, especially newbies. If you are dipping your toes into crypto for the very first time, you could do much worse than opening an account with Coinbase, to guide you as you find your feet. Coinbase's platform is secure, easy to understand and operate, as well as offering great web and mobile app platforms, making it accessible to the masses.
Naturally, as you'd expect for one of the best-known crypto exchanges, Coinbase is a competitive offering. Fees and commissions are relatively high. Trading fees can vary between 0.5% - 4.5% based on the type of transaction, and other fees may apply. This should be taken as the price you pay in crypto for using the best-known name in the game. Coinbase is somewhat of a barometer for a cryptocurrency's legitimacy. If a crypto coin or token is listed on Coinbase, it more often than not is taken as a nod to the legitimacy of the crypto project and ultimately adds value to the coin or token. And this underlines the main reason for opting to open an account with Coinbase - it is about as reputable as it comes in the cryptosphere.
Coinbase provides strong coverage across the cryptocurrencies you will have heard of - Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin, Solana and so on - plus a hundreds of lesser-known tokens and coins, which may be the 'next big thing'.
Coinbase offers its customers the ability to buy and sell crypto through a straight-forward trading service, supported by a number of 'on-exchange' wallets to store your crypto assets. As part of its custodial services, you can fund your chosen crypto wallet with fiat and convert to your chosen coin, or transfer crypto wallets held at different exchanges or your own private wallet.
On top of this core crypto trading offering, Coinbase offers a number of interesting services aimed at making crypto more mainstream. For example, for more experienced crypto traders, Coinbase Pro - the sister to Coinbase's core platform - offers awesome market insights, analytics and trading capabilities. If you're an active crypto trader and haven't discovered Coinbase Pro yet, it is definitely worth your time to explore what it can offer you.
You can also borrow money from Coinbase - yes, like you would from a bank - except in this case, you can use your Bitcoin holdings as collateral against your borrowings. You can borrow as much as 40% of the value of the Bitcoin in your account, up to $1,000,000!
Coinbase also offers its customers the opportunity to 'earn crypto while they learn crypto', by offering a number of educational programs aimed at enhancing the knowledge of its customer base. To incentivise its students, Coinbase offers crypto as a reward for completion of these programs.
And finally, Coinbase offers a Coinbase Card, much like a standard Visa debit or credit card, except this one enables you to connect the card to one of your Coinbase crypto wallets, and spend your crypto at a number of worldwide locations.
😍 Strong service offering, with the advantage of being the most trusted crypto exchange out there!
😍 Good selection of tradable crypto coins and tokens.
😍 Secure and easy to use trading platforms, both web and mobile based apps.
😍 Additional crypto services and offerings, making crypto more accessible.
😍 Coinbase Pro offering is a great platform for experienced crypto traders.
😩 Watch out for fiat deposit and trading fees - this might catch you out.
Next up is KuCoin.
Now, KuCoin is not usually a headline-grabber, nor is it the first name you'd probably conjure up with when thinking about crypto exchanges - but it's offering to crypto traders is first-rate.
KuCoin's biggest problem is the hesitation of potential customers wondering whether they can trust them. Well, it's my crypto platform of choice, so that's all I can really say on that matter. KuCoin is a relatively new crypto exchange having been established in 2017, but is now used by over 8 million customers around the globe. It uses multi-layered security, including micro-withdrawal wallets, industry-level multilayer encryption and dynamic multi-factor authentication. So, yes, in our view it can be trusted.
KuCoin is a crypto trader's paradise. The fees and commissions charged are reasonable. And similarly to Coinbase, you can trade crypto spot with ease using KuCoin's 'on-exchange' crypto wallets. You also can, should you wish, trade using margin - which if you're new to this means that you can leverage your trading position to magnify your gains or losses. Tread carefully here, but if you want to trade using margin, KuCoin certainly has an offering for you. And if that isn't enough for you, how about bot trading? There are literally millions of trading bots set up on KuCoin, enabling you to take the effort out of active trading by selecting a trading strategy and bot, and setting it loose. What about trading crypto futures? KuCoin has that offering covered too! Again, not one for the newbie, but certainly an extra service worthy of consideration when deciding which crypto exchange to opt for.
KuCoin offers a broader range of tradable coins and tokens when compared to Coinbase - and a number of alternative services. To earn from your crypto assets, you can stake your coins, or you can lend your crypto through the KuCoin platform. Again, not a service that is suited for everyone, but certainly worth your consideration depending on your trading or investment strategy. You can also borrow crypto through KuCoin should that form part of your strategy.
KuCoin is certainly a more complex platform than Coinbase, with more complex offerings. It takes some getting used to. But once you get over that hurdle it offers so much. KuCoin also offers its customers referral and affiliate programs which means you can earn commission for each friend or family member you bring to the KuCoin platform.
There’s one huge caveat you need to understand before you even think about opening a KuCoin account: KuCoin is not licensed to operate in the United States. This does not mean you are unable to use KuCoin in the U.S., although it does make using this platform more complicated and risky. Only advanced U.S. traders who want access to coins or trading features unavailable on other exchanges should consider KuCoin.
😍 Strong core 'spot' crypto trading service, with secure 'on-exchange' wallets.
😍 Good array of additional services, such as crypto lending, staking and borrowing.
😍 Strong selection of additional 'advanced' trading services such as margin, bot and futures crypto trading.
😍 Lower trading fees than most competitor exchanges.
😩 Platform can seem complex and hard to navigate for the newbie trader.
😩 Limited access for crypto traders based in the US.
Where to start with Binance?
A somewhat controversial crypto exchange, Binance is probably the second best-known crypto exchange after Coinbase. Binance is the largest exchange in the world in terms of daily trading volume of cryptocurrencies. It was founded in 2017 by Changpeng Zhao, a developer who had previously created high frequency trading software - something which is reflected in Binance's platforms and advanced crypto trading capabilities.
Those who visit Binance for the first time will quickly notice that the platform offers two options for digital currency trading - basic and advanced. Neither the basic, nor the advanced versions are particularly easy to use for complete beginners. However, anyone with a background crypto and with a bit of knowledge regarding how exchanges work should be able to navigate the platform and its different services. The main difference between the basic and the advanced version is that the advanced service offers more-in-depth technical analysis of your chosen cryptocurrencies.
Binance has often been praised for its wide variety of tradable crypto coins and tokens, as well as its low trading fees. All your favourites cryptos are listed, from Bitcoin all the way through to the more obscure and less well-known meme tokens.
Binance, similarly to KuCoin, provides a wide array of trading services. You can trade crypto spot, with on-exchange wallets, or you can use leverage through Binance's margin trading service. You can also trade crypto derivatives, if that's you thing. Futures and options can be traded through the Binance platform. Binance also offers the opportunity to put your crypto assets to work and earn through staking and mining services, or lending out your crypto in return for a fixed rate of return, making it easier for traders and investors alike to 'sweat' their crypto assets.
Now at the outset I said that Binance is somewhat controversial. The reason for that is its checkered history in terms of security concerns and brushes with the various law enforcement authorities around the world. Binance has also been the target of a number of security attacks, which I would put down to its high-profile status and position at the leading edge of the crypto revolution.
Definitely worth your time to research further, but maybe one for the more experienced crypto trader, than somebody starting out on their crypto journey.
😍 Strong selection of alternative and advanced crypto trading services.
😍 Like KuCoin, Binance offers a wide array of additional services, such as crypto lending, staking and mining.
😍 Very competitive trading fees and commissions.
😍 If you believe in the crypto revolution, you'll like Binance.
😩 Platform can seem complex and hard to navigate for the newbie trader.
Gemini has a simple interface for new crypto investors, while more experienced traders will appreciate its ActiveTrader platforms. You can definitely find crypto exchanges that charge lower fees for crypto trades (some of which are included in this guide!), but Gemini’s safety measures and insurance against online security breaches might ease the minds of those of you that are new to crypto trading.
Gemini also has the added benefit for US crypto traders of being available to residents in all 50 states. This is not something that all crypto exchanges can boast about!
So far so good! Gemini has a lot to offer, but that comes with slightly higher fees than some other crypto exchanges. Similar to Coinbase, Gemini is a relatively well-established and secure platform. Therefore it can continue to compete whilst charging higher trading fees - varying between 0.5% - 3.99%, depending on payment method and platform. For mobile and web app users, Gemini charges a flat 0.5% above the current trading price (which Gemini calls its “convenience fee”). On top of that, it charges a transaction fee, similar to Coinbase, based on the amount traded: a tiered flat fee up to $200; orders above $200 are charged 1.49%.
Where Gemini has an edge on its competition is in withdrawal fees. With most brokerages, withdrawing crypto from the platform incurs at least a network fee (the cost of running a transaction on the underlying blockchain), but with Gemini, you can make up to 10 withdrawals per crypto per month for free. However, it’s important to note that beyond these 10 withdrawals, the fees are high.
The exchange offers 'Gemini Wallet' for customers who don’t already have an external crypto wallet. With gemini your crypto assets are insured against losses that result from a security breach or hack, a fraudulent transfer or employee theft. Gemini prides itself on its security measures and hasn’t recorded a successful hacking attempt on its site. The crypto assets stored on the site are insured against security breaches and hacks, and the bulk of its assets are kept in “cold storage,” away from online threats that could breach security. That said, loss of assets due to unauthorized access to your personal account — such as theft of your private codes and logins — isn't covered by Gemini's insurance.
In terms of the crypto trading services offered, Gemini offers direct trading between buyers and sellers through the Gemini Clearing Portal - fees are the cost of the spread and have no minimum order size.
For desktop users, Gemini has Gemini Basic - a straightforward, simple interface to purchase cryptocurrency based on the total amount of crypto or the total amount of U.S. dollars you want to spend. Gemini’s ActiveTrader platform has more bells and whistles, such as advanced charting, tracking multiple order types and block trading.
Gemini offers a quick setup and convenient interface for new cryptocurrency investors, as well as strong tools for more serious traders. While its fees may be higher than some competitors on its mobile and web apps, Gemini’s security features, such as insurance for digital assets, are attractive, especially for those new to the crypto world.
😍 Excellent security features and peace of mind through Gemini insurance.
😍 Simple and intuitive trading platform for beginners.
😍 Advanced trading platform for experience crypto traders through ActiveTrader.
😍 Offers direct peer-to-peer trading through the Gemini Clearing Portal.
😩 Trading fees are relatively high.
BlockFi offers something a little different.
If you’re interested in using your crypto as a way to earn interest or are looking to free up some cash without selling your crypto assets, BlockFi’s loans and interest products may be worth your consideration. BlockFi has made its name trying to extend traditional financial services into the world of cryptocurrency. People who use its platform can earn interest on their bitcoin or use it as collateral for loans — a service that many competitors do not offer. Customers can earn up to 4.5% APY on their Bitcoin, depending on how much they are holding on the platform.
Though BlockFi’s withdrawal fees aren’t the lowest we’ve seen, you can avoid them by limiting your withdrawal frequency. BlockFi does not charge trading fees on its platform, but it does mark up crypto-assets with a spread of about 1%. The company says that figure can vary based on market conditions. BlockFi offers one free monthly withdrawal of stablecoins and one free crypto withdrawal. After that, fees kick in, and they vary based on the type of cryptocurrency in question. A withdrawal of bitcoins, for example, would cost 0.00075 BTC.
BlockFi’s novel approach, combining aspects of the crypto world with some services traditionally offered by banks, has subjected it to a good deal of regulatory scrutiny. Several states in the US have not cleared Block to provide all of its services, and offerings such as interest accounts are facing additional uncertainty in states where they are currently allowed.
BlockFi offers up to 12 cryptocurrencies, depending on state regulations. BlockFi has as many as 66 trading pairs in some states, though the number is as low as 28 in states where it is not allowed to offer stablecoin trading. BlockFi doesn’t offer any trading pairs in New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Vermont, and West Virginia.
BlockFi allows customers to use their own digital wallets to transfer assets to and from the BlockFi platform. The company says it takes security seriously and that it has taken both financial and technological steps to secure its accounts. However, it’s important to note that while BlockFi’s interest and lending services might be reminiscent of those offered by a bank, assets held on the platform are not subject to protections like Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. coverage.
BlockFi’s interest-earning products are distinct from “staking” programs that are operated by some other exchanges. Staking is a way of earning rewards on certain cryptocurrencies by using them to help verify transactions on a blockchain network.
If you’re interested in using your cryptocurrency as a way to earn interest or are looking to free up some cash without selling your crypto assets, BlockFi’s loans and interest products may be worth considering. However, if you’re looking for a place to buy, sell and trade a variety of crypto assets without borrowing or earning interest, there are other platforms that offer greater selection or wider availability.
😍 Great for crypto lending and staking services.
😍 Fees are relatively competitive.
😍 BlockFi is looking to make crypto a mainstream asset class.
😩 Some service limitations for US based customers.
😩 Not the best crypto exchange for crypto 'spot' trading.
So there you have it: a whistle-stop tour of five of the leading crypto exchanges for you to select from in 2022.
There are many different options for crypto investors and traders to choose from. Be it trading crypto spot, lending, staking, mining or more complex trading capabilities, there is something for all risk profiles, budgets and requirements. This means that there are many considerations when choosing the right crypto exchange for you.
Keep in mind that your choice of stockbroker must be arrived at with consideration for your specific circumstances.
What type of service or account are you looking for?
Which crypto coins and tokens are you looking to trade? Not all exchanges offer the same set of tradable cryptos.
How frequently do you anticipate trading, and therefore how much will you be charged in product fees and trading commissions?
How do you want to access your account and what kind of platform are you looking for?
What level of customer support will you need?
We hope that this has helped you to narrow down your search and find the best solution for you. Remember, there is no right or wrong answer, it is all about thinking about what you really want from a crypto exchnage and finding a solution that fits.