Top Crypto Exchanges – Review and Comparison

by CrabCommander

One of the top questions that pops up in the daily is always ‘what exchange should I use (for ___ coin/country/etc.)’? We’ve had lots of great posts about various coins and tokens recently, but the area of exchange information remains rather sparse. As such, I’m going to do a quick light-speed breakdown of the top exchanges, their differences, and notable points.

Keep in mind, the numerical ratings are of course partially based on my subjective analysis, so take them with a grain of salt and consider them just a starting point.

Order here is loosely based on mixture of CoinMarketCap and CoinGekko’s ordering of exchange rankings.


[Binance (Main)][Centralized]
Fees8/10
Coin Variety10/10
Reputation & Security7/10
Passive Yield Options1/10
Margin/Options TradingYes
Fiat TradingNo*
Country AvailabilityMost Non-US

The industry leader in volume and golden standard for coin availability. They have some of the lowest per-trade fees in the industry, but some of the other fees on Binance, like withdrawal fees, can be a little sketchy and prone to silently being changed or raised for no reason. Additionally, while Binance has been largely stable for a long time, it has been hacked before, and sometimes finds themselves in questionable legal places.

Binance offers yield farming on only a very limited selection of coins via sending them out to De-Fi systems and leaving you on the hook for liability. Go elsewhere for this.

Additionally of note, Binance also offers some ridiculous margin trading caps if you’re looking for that ( up to 125x ).

* Fiat – Binance has a p2p market for trading in fiat, but it’s not very large and not a traditional order book type exchange.


[Coinbase (Pro)][Centralized]
Fees5/10
Coin Variety3/10
Reputation & Security10/10
Passive Yield Options5/10
Margin/Options TradingNo
Fiat TradingYes
Country AvailabilityMost Non-China

First of all: Don’t use Coinbase Basic. The fees on it are exorbitant, and it just goes through the same market under the covers as the (free) Coinbase Pro. You can also swap assets between the two instantly for free at any time, so for the sake of this post I’m considering the best of both options.

Coinbase is a bit of a unique beast. It’s the de-facto standard for reputability, having great legal and security history, even going so far as to actively block transfers out to known scam addresses, just to help prevent you from burning yourself. Coinbase is also the primary entry point for the majority of institutional investors for this reason. On the other hand, their coin variety listing is quite bad, they don’t offer margin/options trading, and their trading fees are high for the market at 0.5%. That said, they offer free ACH bank transfers, no withdrawal fees, and their trading fee drops quickly for high volume traders.

Passive yield wise, Coinbase offers in-house staking of a handful of coins, with no lockup times, though they do take a reasonably high cut of the rewards in the process (~25% of the staking rewards).


[Kraken][Centralized]
Fees7/10
Coin Variety5/10
Reputation & Security9/10
Passive Yield Options7/10
Margin/Options TradingYes
Fiat TradingYes
Country AvailabilityBasically Everywhere

Kraken is the next go-to for most US based customers, and with reason. The exchange has been around a long time with no security issues, and generally good professionalism. They have had a few instances of market liquidity issues causing some awkward situations with margin traders getting surprise-liquidated.

Their coin variety listing isn’t stunning, but you can generally get most top 100 coins on Kraken. Passive income wise Kraken offers a double handful of coins for in-house staking at competitive rates without forced lockup times.

Kraken’s base trading fees are middle of the road at 0.26% starting, and go down with volume similar to Coinbase’s.


[Bitfinex][Centralized]
Fees7/10
Coin Variety5/10
Reputation & Security6/10
Passive Yield Options5/10
Margin/Options TradingYes
Fiat TradingYes
Country AvailabilityMost Non-US

Bitfinex is one of the older exchanges in the scene. Unfortunately, that doesn’t come with a great record, with a major hack in 2016, some legal and banking issues, and close associations with Tether, which has come under great scrutiny at times. Still, the exchange offers most services you could want, with competitive trading fees and a reasonable coin listing.

Like most of the above options, Bitfinex offers in-house staking without lockups, although their cut of the staking gains seems to be quite high, going by their calculator. They also offer on-exchange lending for yield farming, however I was unable to find rate estimates.


[Crypto.com][Centralized*]
Fees8/10
Coin Variety4/10
Reputation & Security6/10
Passive Yield Options9/10
Margin/Options TradingYes
Fiat TradingNo
Country AvailabilityMost Non-China

Crypto.com is a relatively new player in the scene, but has been rapidly making waves with their aim to blend Centralized Exchanges with DeFi a bit by offering a companion wallet app with free withdrawals from the centralized exchange to the companion wallet. Their companion wallet also supports staking and DeFi liquidity pools, without lockups, directly from the wallet app, though I was unable to determine exactly what coins were supported for the staking options.

Their per-trade fees are quite good, though they do charge withdrawal fees unlike some other exchanges in this list, and because they are relatively new it’s impossible to give them a truly solid score on reputation and security, as they haven’t been around long enough yet to really be battle tested.


Huobi Global[Centralized]
Fees7/10
Coin Variety10/10
Reputation & Security6/10
Passive Yield Options3/10
Margin/Options TradingYes
Fiat TradingYes
Country AvailabilityMost Non-US (Primarily Asia)

Primarily active in the Chinese and other Asian markets, Huobi is one of the largest exchanges by volume. However, there is significant question around if those volume numbers are legitimate, or inflated by wash trading or false reporting, but such things aside, they offer a massive coin selection at competitive rates, fiat trading, and margin/options trading.

Like Binance, Huobi offers yield farming services by essentially contracting them out in various offerings with lockups. Liability is again placed squarely on your shoulders, and you have to take a more active role in picking which contracts to commit to.


OKEX[Centralized]
Fees9/10
Coin Variety6/10
Reputation & Security5/10
Passive Yield Options1/10
Margin/Options TradingYes
Fiat TradingYes
Country AvailabilityMost Non-US (Primarily Asia)

OKEX is another primarily Asia-market exchange. They’re basically the little brother of Huobi in most respects. Fewer coins, fewer trading pairs, and more drama issues. The owner was recently arrested, which caused the exchange to lock all deposits/withdrawals for around a month. This is definitely one to pull your coins off of quickly if you do trade through it. They do however offer better rates than Huobi per-trade.

Like the previous two options, OKEX’s passive income offering is via sending things out to mining/staking pools. I unfortunately couldn’t even find a listing of what pools they have available, leading me to believe the option may not even get any significant use. They supposedly offer staking services in-house for some coins as well, but I could find no detail on which ones or what the rates were.


KuCoin[Centralized]
Fees9/10
Coin Variety8/10
Reputation & Security5/10
Passive Yield Options8/10
Margin/Options TradingYes
Fiat TradingNo
Country AvailabilityMost Non-US*

Like Bitfinex, Kucoin has been around a long time, but hasn’t exactly had a stellar record, having been subject of at least one major hack/theft. On the other hand, KuCoin offers good fees, a wide variety of coin listings, and a large pile of passive income options.

While KuCoin technically does not serve US customers on paper, they do not implement any KYC policies and generally have a somewhat openly stated ‘wink wink nudge nudge’ kind of philosophy about servicing places they technically shouldn’t.


Honorable Mentions

Gemini – A US based exchange with a high professionalism score, and fees on par with Coinbase Pro, but much less market volume. Like Coinbase, their coin variety listing is quite weak.

Binance.US – Binance’s one-off US cousin. In most respects it operates like a lower volume version of Kraken, offering similar coin offerings, and better per-trade fees than other US based options.

Bitstamp – Another legacy US available exchange, that sometimes makes the top 10 bracket depending on the listing you’re looking at. Only subject to a single small (phishing based) hack, the exchange has a generally good track record, but does not offer margin/options trading, or on-exchange staking or other yield farming options, with per-trade fees on par with Coinbase Pro.

Upbit – Upbit is basically -the- exchange in South Korea, and largely unused elsewhere. It’s mostly notable in that its markets tends to move a bit unpredictably compared to the rest of the world at times.DeFi Exchanges

I was originally going to include these in the list, but the volume on even Uniswap was surprisingly low enough to not make the cut. The general structure for these is all the same, however. Connect your wallet to the app, and trade from there. You’ll have to pay network fees ontop of exchange fees though, which messes with the cost valuation a bit, and generally makes all of them significantly worse fees than the centralized exchanges.

Even the ‘Low Fee’ DeFi exchanges like Cake take 0.2% in fees ontop of the network fees, which would only put them in the middle of the pack for the centralized exchanges, with no fee-cuts for things like high volume trading.

Additionally, you’ll be taking any passive income, security, and other considerations into your own hands with DeFi exchanges, so the only things to consider for DeFi is the trading fee, network transaction fee, and coin availability. But since there’s no lockup, fiat onramps, or anything else to consider, you can just choose whichever DeFi exchange happens to offer the coin you want at the time, and change easily between transactions.

If you’re into extremely moon-shot-y alt tokens, chances are initially they may only be listed on some random DeFi exchange, as they’re much easier to get listed on compared to centralized exchanges.

Regardless, the biggest names in the sector if you want to check them out yourself are going to be Uniswap, Sushiswap, PancakeSwap, Burgerswap, and 1Inch.

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