7 Best Cryptocurrency Exchanges

The last few years have been quite a ride for the digital asset markets. The November 2022 collapse of the once-dominant cryptocurrency exchange FTX had a chilling effect on investor enthusiasm, and stricter regulatory scrutiny on the sector became the norm. But thanks in large part to the long-term promise of "Web 3.0" Technological innovations and fintech, not to mention a significant increase in the value of cryptocurrencies, are being closely followed. Bitcoin (BTC) – We have seen digital assets gain popularity again in 2024.

However, beyond the daily gyrations of the crypto markets, there is a list of major crypto players that stand out for their management of the infrastructure of this asset class. These exchanges are the points where transactions take place and in some ways influence whether an individual buyer or seller makes a profit on a specific cryptocurrency. The volume of transactions that take place can be an indicator of investor interest.

Because the global and often decentralized nature of crypto Juxtaposed to the very specific local regulations of each jurisdiction, some of these exchanges have restricted use for US investors. Sometimes that means limited products by the exchange itself, as operators seek to limit liability, and other times that means an outright ban by the regulators themselves. But if you care about cryptocurrencies, then you should care about these top exchanges as the top markets for trading right now:

Binance is arguably the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume, with tens of billions of dollars in cryptocurrency traded each day and access to over 350 cryptocurrencies. Beyond spot cryptocurrencies, it also includes derivatives such as Bitcoin futures and options.

The scale comes with many tools to improve security, including storing the vast majority of digital assets in “cold wallets” not connected to the Internet and protected from hacking, as well as real-time monitoring to detect fraud and manipulation. From the market.

Admittedly, there has been a big black eye recently that its CEO, Changpeng Zhao, pleaded guilty to a money laundering violation in November and was fined $50 million. However, the situation is different from the one that ruined FTX and its founder Sam Bankman-Fried. Zhao, also known as "CZ," is accused of lax controls that allowed dirty money from countries including Russia, Iran and Cuba to circulate. That's a serious violation, one that Binance's CEO is making amends for, but it's in a different category than FTX. Total fraud. Therefore, investors can still trade on Binance with confidence. Another drawback: Binance is allowed without restrictions in only 46 out of 50 states, so check your local laws regarding access before funding an account.

Coinbase, another massive crypto exchange that generates billions of volume daily in the spot and derivatives markets, has high recognition among digital asset investors. And unlike privately held Binance, Coinbase Global Inc. (ticker: CURRENCY) is a publicly traded company valued at more than $50 billion on the Nasdaq, which means an additional degree of oversight that comes with a public listing and related financial filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. .

Coinbase also has relationships with main runners and payment platforms, including Paypal Holdings Inc. (PYPL). This cooperative approach to traditional finance has made Coinbase one of the largest exchanges out there and ensured its legitimacy. That's part of the reason why institutional volume is prevalent on Coinbase, leading to deep and liquid markets for all types of cryptocurrency-related products. As a major US exchange, Coinbase is the option you want: a slightly smaller but more conservatively run platform than Binance.

While admittedly not on the same scale as the two exchanges above, Bybit is the third most popular crypto exchange in the world in many respects, listing hundreds of coins in 160 countries with over 20 million users worldwide. world. It is also becoming increasingly ambitious in gaining widespread name recognition, including sponsorship of Formula One racing, esports and professional football teams that continue to bring its brand to new customers. With over $1 billion in Bitcoin transactions on the exchange on any given day, Bybit has come a long way since its launch just over five years ago.

Note, however, that Bybit is currently banned in the US, even if it is popular internationally. This is partly due to lax “Know Your Customer” safeguards, or KYC requirements, which are largely the obstacle that ultimately led to fines against Binance. Still, volume trends show that the lack of transparency has not stopped international users from flocking to the exchange.

Although smaller than the exchanges mentioned above, Kraken still trades hundreds of millions of dollars in cryptocurrency each session. It is also a US-based company and, like Coinbase, aims to comply with many local jurisdictions as a way to gain legitimacy and win business in the lucrative US market (and elsewhere). This means that in addition to a wide variety of cryptocurrencies, it also allows access in major currencies such as the dollar, euro, pound and yen, among others. Launched over a decade ago and with a loyal user base, Kraken introduced a new unit called Kraken Institutional in 2024. The division aims to better serve its largest clients and build its existing liquidity pool for cryptocurrency trading.

All of the above exchanges are centralized exchanges, meaning they provide a single meeting point for transactions to take place between buyers and sellers. Uniswap is a leader in decentralized models, operating the first and largest decentralized exchange to trade ERC-20 tokens on the Ethereum (ETH) platform. In fact, it might better be called an exchange "protocol" rather than simply an exchange, since there is fundamentally no central ledger for transactions to enter and exit.

Average daily volume is consistently above $1 billion, with a decentralized liquidity pool managed by an algorithm. The advantage of a model like this is that users have almost complete control, which is attractive to investors who like the alternative financial model provided by cryptocurrencies and Web 3.0 technology.

However, the downside is that users are also largely alone. Uniswap can be used worldwide by anyone with internet access, except for a small list of banned countries, including Iran and North Korea. Because it operates on a peer-to-peer protocol, anyone can list a token on Uniswap, which can be both a blessing and a curse, and is something you should be very clear about before transacting on the platform.

OKX is one of the largest exchanges in the world and is looking for a hybrid model with several features. This includes a centralized exchange as the largest members of this list, with products that cross spot markets and futures markets, as well as its OKX "DEX" arm, short for decentralized exchange.

There are other products under OKX's belt as well, including trading algorithms and block trading services for large chunks of cryptocurrencies; stablecoins and staking services for proof of stake cryptography, like ether and its Jumpstart “launch platform” for new tokens.

Although it's not the biggest player in any of those categories, OKX is important nonetheless. More importantly, it is ambitious and remains one of the top crypto exchanges to watch beyond the current ones.

The above exchanges may be well known to investors who follow crypto markets, but Upbit is a sleeper candidate for a list of best exchanges because it does not have a strong Western footprint. However, as the largest cryptocurrency exchange in South Korea (a nation that, like others in the Asia-Pacific region, has a strong investment culture among individual traders), it is a name to watch. With over 180 cryptocurrencies and tokens listed and over 300 trading pairs available to users, it has a huge product suite that regularly demands volumes exceeding $1 billion. And unlike some of the other exchanges, it doesn't rely heavily on Bitcoin and Ether, with only a few other tokens; Pyth Network (PYTH) and Solana (SOL) account for a significant portion of the daily volume.

Although Upbit is not accessible to US users, it is worth noting that in July 2023 it surpassed its aforementioned peers Coinbase and OKX in spot trading volume for the first time. That makes Upbit one of the main platforms to consider for the future of cryptocurrency trading.

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