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exchanges

where to buy and sell crypto

crypto exchanges

with so many out there, how do you pick the best one to use? we'll show you some of the best features to look out for. 

The aim here is to provide you with an overview of how crypto exchanges work and explain in detail what kind of perks you can get out there for choosing the right exchange to buy, sell, trade or hold your crypto on. There are a vast number of exchanges to choose from and the list of them just keeps growing. Some are more innovative and feature rich than others but most offer a point of difference which separates them from their competition giving new customers a reason to join and existing customers reasons to stay.

While some offer the most basic of features which simply allow you to swap or trade, others give you a vast array of features which make them a one stop shop and some even provide incentives to regularly check in and complete rewarded tasks. We'll take a deep dive into what you can expect from some of the biggest and best out there and also shed some light on some of those hidden gems that reward users as well. The lower volume exchanges might not produce the same numbers as the big boys, but that's not always the most important reason to join let alone stick around long-term. In fact, it may often mean that you're paying higher fees to use the "bigger ones".

If you're new to crypto, you'll probably rely on word of mouth from a friend, relative or work colleague to tell you which exchange they use. That's just a reality for how most of us would get into crypto for the first time. That's ok, because who better to trust than someone who already uses one they're happy with. You will be able to buy / sell and trade on most platforms...however that might mean you miss out on some amazing perks that complement your returns. We'll try take some of that research work away from you and show you a broad range of options and what they can do for you so you have the information necessary to pick the right kind of platform.

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what is a crypto exchange?

Let's go back to December 2017, the crypto bull run of all bull runs (so far) when cryptocurrency made its mark on the investment world. 2017 was the year that changed the way the world thought about money, and the soaring price of Bitcoin was what sparked all the hype and got the attention of many no-coiners (people who don't own any crypto). 

If you stumble across any words or phrases used throughout my website that you don't understand, you can probably find out what they mean by heading over to my Encryptopedia page. It's an always expanding A-Z glossary of common crypto jargon and technical terminology.

As a result, "How to buy Bitcoin" became one the highest searched questions on Google. The answer to that question of course, is through a cryptocurrency exchange and if you want to know a bit more about them and how they work, then you've come to the right place.

A crypto exchange is very similar to a stock exchange but instead of buying shares of Tesla, Amazon or Apple, you can instead purchase Bitcoin, Ethereum, XRP or one of many other digital assets. They are the current top three blockchain-based digital assets, known as cryptocurrencies.

The OG cryptocurrency was of course Bitcoin, created in 2009 by a still relatively unknown person named Satoshi Nakamoto. Since then, the blockchain world has grown in spades with developers literally changing the way the world views money and technology one amazing blockchain based project at a time. 

According to Coin Market Cap (CMC) there are now 7,500+ cryptocurrencies on the market (at the time of writing) and that list is only going to grow even more. Do all these projects have a real-world use case which will ensure the survival of their tokens? Probably not, but in saying that, the words; money and value, will never be defined the same way ever again!

So what is a crypto exchange? Put simply, it is an online marketplace where you can buy, sell and trade cryptocurrency tokens based on their market values, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Let's dig deeper!

what are the different types of exchanges out there?

There are three different types of crypto exchanges. All of them have their pros and cons and all of them serve a purpose as well.

 

The three types are categorized as:

 

  • Centralized exchanges (CEX)

  • Decentralized exchanges (DEX)

  • Hybrid exchanges

What is a centralized exchange?

Something you'd refer to as your more traditional exchange, a centralized exchange or CEX is one that is controlled by a central authority. Much like any company, all the final decisions that determine the day to day running of the exchange and its business model, are made by a CEO or head of the organization. These platforms generally have what are known as FIAT pairs, allowing customers to use their local tender such as USD or AUD to purchase their preferred crypto tokens. This feature is known as a FIAT on-ramp. Where there is an on-ramp, there is usually off-ramp capability as well, meaning you can sell your crypto back to your local currency and withdraw the cash. They will of course allow customers to complete crypto to crypto transactions as well. To use a centralized exchange, the company will want to know who you are, meaning you'll need to complete what is known as KYC which is the method of providing your personal information and some form of identification document. These exchanges are considered custodial, as they hold your assets on your behalf.

What is a decentralized exchange?

A decentralized exchange or DEX is your more contemporary style of exchange where rather than the exchange holding your assets, you have to connect a compatible external wallet, making the exchange non-custodial and keeping you in total control of your digital assets. These exchanges do not rely on any central authority to hold or control your money, which is what makes them decentralized. You do not have the ability to perform FIAT to crypto trades on these exchanges but the trade off (pun intended) is that you do not have to undergo KYC and can perform crypto-to-crypto transactions while remaining completely anonymous.

What is a hybrid exchange?

Hybrids are (as their name suggests) a mixture of both. They take the best parts of centralized exchanges, giving you high liquidity and fast transaction speeds and mix that with the very best of decentralized exchanges, utilizing smart contracts to perform transactions, with security protocols managed by the blockchain rather than it being in the control of a company. This gives users a significantly higher level of security.

let's review some of the best and give them a rating /10 compared to others within their category

What are some of the features we might want from an exchange when choosing one?

  • FIAT on / off ramps

  • Several crypto trading pairs

  • High liquidity

  • High trade volumes

  • Simple user interface

  • Fraud insurance and multiple security measures

These are all very important things to look for however you may not find all of these features available on every single exchange out there. As long as you have the features you want and need available to you, then you're doing ok.

There's a fair chance that you will use more than one exchange for various reasons and that's totally fine. Personally, I use multiple exchanges to lower my fees and get the most rewards. When it's free to sign up for them all, there's no cost in spreading your crypto out so long as you are good at keeping track of passwords and even more importantly, your private keys!

Please note; The Crypto Cosmos does not provide financial advice. Cryptocurrency can be highly volatile and buying, selling and trading digital assets may lead to financial losses. We recommend you do your own research before choosing to buy, sell or trade cryptocurrency or purchase any cryptocurrency goods or services. If you are ever in doubt about any investment decision, you should seek independent financial advice. You can view our disclosure statement here.

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The Best Exchanges by Volume

crypto cosmos rating - 9.7/10

Binance was established in 2018 and its SAFU to say that since its inception, it has never looked like taking a backward step. Binance is by far the biggest and the best when it comes to trading Alt Coins and has incredibly high liquidity and puts out impressive volumes. At the time of writing, Binance boasts the highest 24 hour trade volume, comprehensively trumping all other exchanges with over $10 billion. Data captured from CMC (CoinMarketCap).

               PROS

  • Lower trading fees compared to the competition

  • Largest variety of alt coin trading pairs

  • More comprehensive charting capability

  • Assets backed by Secure Asset Fund for Users (SAFU)

               CONS

  • Has a steep learning curve for beginners

  • Geared more toward advanced traders

  • Some areas including 13 US states are not supported

  • Poor reputation for customer support

FEES: 0.1% maker and 0.1% taker fees with the ability to scale down. Users who hold Binance's native token, BNB, can enjoy a 25% discount if they opt in to use the token to pay for fees.

KEY FEATURES:

  • 150+ listed cryptocurrencies making it very Alt-Coin friendly

  • Two Factor Authentication (2FA) for added security

  • High trading volume for a quick maker and taker executions

In addition to Binance's ability to dominate the global market, it also offers fiat-to-crypto trading pairs, and the ability to deposit several fiat currencies, including EURO and AUD to name a couple. It does not currently allow USD deposits however enables users to directly purchase a select number of cryptocurrencies with a credit or debit card (for a fee).

Binance is suitable for traders who like the ability to trade a mixture of higher cap and lower cap tokens and currently lists over 150 cryptocurrencies in total. Binance is available on both web and mobile and we recommended Binance for intermediate level traders who like the ability to customize their charts. 

crypto cosmos rating - 9.6/10

Founded in California, USA in 2012, Coinbase is now the leading CEX in the US for new investors. Coinbase has fiat on-ramp capability, an extremely simple user interface and a feature that teaches its customers about crypto through their Crypto Earn program. As far as trust in a centralized exchange goes, Coinbase is one of the only exchanges that has never really been confronted by some form of controversy and are probably about as legit as as exchange gets.

               PROS

  • Very selective with listings

  • Very high liquidity

  • Fiat currencies accepted

  • Extremely simple user interface

  • Highly secure exchange

               CONS

  • Very high fees and convoluted fee structure

  • Limited variety of alt coins for alt traders

FEES: Coinbase have the highest fees compared with other top exchanges at a whopping 0.5% for purchases and sales. They also charge a Coinbase fee which is on top of the transaction fee and it varies depending on the transaction amount and which region you are from. This however doesn't stop millions of people using the exchange every day which probably speaks to the overall level of quality.

KEY FEATURES:

  • Coinbase Earn - This is as good a reason as any to complete KYC on an exchange (more shortly)

  • Very high liquidity protects investors from price slippage which is important in a volatile crypto market

  • Only lists the best alt coin options which is one of the reasons they are so highly trusted by most

Coinbase Earn is a program where Coinbase invites verified users learn how certain cryptocurrencies work through short video tutorials. At the end of each 2-3 minute video, there is a simple quiz style question and correct answers earn you small amounts of the token you've just learned about. This is deposited immediately into your wallet and you can do with it what you choose. This alone is an amazing incentive to use Coinbase.

As far as security goes, they store 98% of customer assets in offline cold storage and have insurance in place in the event of a security breach. This insurance, as it is with all other exchanges will not cover customers who lose funds as a result of their own lack of security measures. Luckily, Coinbase has 2FA and biometric fingerprint login options available for users to self-secure.

Coinbase is suitable for any trader at any level of experience. It's a great exchange for beginners getting into crypto due to the ease of use and when ready, they can upgrade to Coinbase Pro. The major downside to some people is the lack of alt coins and If users prefer to trade a large variety of them, then Coinbase isn't for them.

Top Multi-Asset Exchanges

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crypto cosmos rating - 9.7/10

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Prime XBT entered the trading world in 2018 and provides its services to investors in over 150 countries. This exchange is a little different to most of your more common cryptocurrency exchanges where customers do not only have the ability to trade the top ranked cryptocurrencies, but can also trade Commodities, Stock Indices and Forex Currencies as well...all on one comprehensive and simple to use, award winning trading platform!

Powered by Amazon AWS, Prime XBT puts out an average daily trading volume of 545M across their 50+ trading assets. The very second I logged in for the first time, I could immediately tell how straight forward it was going to be to use. When you navigate your way around the interface, you can tell that someone has taken the time to ensure that the UX alone would have clients coming back to trade again.

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               PROS

  • Asset ready with 12 liquidity providers

  • Start trading in seconds with no KYC

  • Covesting feature for beginner traders

  • Top traders can earn rewards for trading

  • Go long or go short, your trade, your call

               CONS

  • BTC and credit card deposits only

  • Only has 5 listed cryptocurrencies

FEES: Maker and taker trading fees are 0.05%. The minimum deposit is 0.001 BTC and the withdrawal fee is 0.0005 BTC.

KEY FEATURES:

  • Instantly deposit Bitcoin or purchase BTC with a credit card and start trading without having to complete KYC.

  • Customizable interface and professional charts with a dedicated page for technical analysis (TA)

  • Security focus that offers 2FA, cold storage of digital assets and mandatory Bitcoin address whitelisting

  • Covesting feature allows users to follow and automatically copy the trading activity of the best traders

  • Investors have the option to trade on leverage, with floating up to 1000x (not recommended for beginners)

  • Satisfyingly feature rich and enables users to trade at market value, set limit orders or stop/loss orders

Prime XBT is suitable for traders from all levels of experience and is conveniently accessible across all devices. If you love trading Bitcoin, but want to also tap into other global financial markets and do it all on the one platform, then Prime XBT is the perfect match for you.

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Simply choose your preferred Prime XBT offer below, deposit the relevant amount of Bitcoin and the bonus Bitcoin is all yours! Did we mention that you can start trading straight away...Yep, NO KYC!

crypto cosmos rating - 9.4/10

At Uphold, their goal is to change the way people access money! Like Prime XBT and a few others out there, Uphold offers the ability to trade more than just cryptocurrencies. On Uphold you also have the option to purchase 27 fiat currencies, 50 US equities and 4 precious metals. They also have great fiat-to-crypto capability with bank connectivity to their exchange in 36 countries. Uphold is available on web, iOS and Android.

               PROS

  • Great track record for reliable security

  • Over 1000 trading pairs across all available assets

  • No fees for deposits and withdrawals

               CONS

  • Difficult user experience for beginners

  • Fees are quite high compared to the competition

  • No referral program for content creators

FEES: Uphold do not charge commissions for trades but rather charge a spread every time someone changes one asset for another. The spread varies from 0.2% to 3% depending on which asset class you're trading to/from which can be quite high depending on your preferred trading pairs. Uphold however, are 100% transparent when displaying your purchase price. Unlike some exchanges, the prices you see displayed before trading is the price you pay when you trade. Very few exchanges offer "locked-in pre-trade" prices.

KEY FEATURES:

  • Debit Mastercard that gives you 1% cash back for Fiat and 2% back for Crypto purchases every time you spend

  • Two Factor Authentication (2FA) for an additional layer of security

  • Ability to create sub wallet accounts within their wallets

Uphold have also partnered up with a number of third parties which provide users different ways to use their money from lending against their gold and metal assets with Ausecure to earning rewards for completing basic tasks through Blockreward. Uphold even provides Brave web-browser users a way to access their BAT rewards / payments.

Uphold is suitable for users of all levels of experience, however it will take some getting used to when you first join. If you are a blogger or content creator, Uphold has recently enabled the Interledger Protocol into its system meaning that bloggers who receive XRP micro-payments from their readers on Coil.com and viewers on Cinnamon Video, can receive their micro-payments directly to an Uphold XRP wallet.

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The Best Australian Exchange

CoinSpot has been operating in Australia since 2013 and in 2020 is easily the greatest exchange for Aussie crypto investors. CoinSpot enables instant Fiat deposits with Osko and PayID functionality and also allows users to instantly buy, sell and swap over 170 cryptocurrencies and utility tokens. Their user interface is one of the simplest I've come across and navigation throughout their entire website is seamless and flows very well from one page to the next.

               PROS

  • Instant Fiat deposits and ability to withdraw AUD 

  • Instantly swap between any listed token

  • 2FA and email verification required for withdrawals

  • Excellent customer support

               CONS

  • High fees

FEES: Market and OTC purchases incur a 0.1% fee which is very fair however instant buy / sell / swap, stop loss / take profit and recurring purchases are charged at a rate of 1%. CoinSpot are very transparent and display all fees at the time of purchase.

KEY FEATURES:

  • Set up periodic recurring purchases

  • Great security features and excellent historical track record for security

  • Highly liquid exchange with solid daily volume (however you will incur a spread with low-cap tokens)

A feature that CoinSpot have which gives them another edge is that they don't list any shiny new tokens. They aren't quite as strict with this as say Coinbase, but they are quite selective with their listings which sets them apart from their competition. If you're into being rewarded, CoinSpot also offer an affiliate program to introduce new users to their platform. Successful registration of referrals will earn both parties $10 in Bitcoin, instantly paid to your wallets when your referral makes their first AUD deposit.

CoinSpot is the exhange to use if you're from Australia regardless of your level of experience. Even if you prefer to conduct your trades on another platform to reduce your overall fees, you may find it's the simplest way to buy. If you want a straight forward and aesthetically pleasing user experience, then CoinSpot is the Aussie exchange for you.

crypto cosmos rating - 9.6/10

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Two of the Most Rewarding

Crypto.com has to be one of the most innovative and rewarding cryptocurrency platforms available in the crypto multiverse. No matter which exchange is your "go to" for buying, selling or trading, I guarantee that at some point you will decide you want to be a CDC client as well, just like I did! Whether it be the true cost buying of your crypto, their stake and earn interest program or their Metal MCO Visa Debit Cards, CDC literally has something for everyone.

               PROS

  • Instant Fiat deposits available in several countries

  • Separate App and Exchange platforms (more below)

  • Passcode, Biometrics and 2FA security enabled

  • Withdrawal address whitelisting

  • Native cryptocurrency token CRO which is used to stake to unlock awesome CDC perks and rewards 

               CONS

  • Often out of stock on most popular Visa cards

  • Customer support sometimes slow to respond

  • Notorious for last minute changes without warning (however increasingly becoming better at this)

FEES: Maker and taker fees can be paid in CRO if users opt in. You receive fee discounts on a tiered basis depending on your level of CRO staking. Trading fees are 0.08% and are paid at the time of execution and not the time of order. There are no fees to deposit either Fiat or Crypto however there are standard "on the chain" fees to withdraw crypto to an external wallet or exchange.

KEY FEATURES:

  • Purchase 80+ tokens at true cost without fees or markup

  • Metal Visa debit cards with up to 5% cashback on purchases

  • In app live chat customer support with a real person

  • Up to 12% per annum interest on crypto deposits (paid weekly)

  • CDC DeFi Swap protocol to swap and farm crypto tokens

  • BG25 referral program where both parties receive $25 each

  • Syndicate feature that rewards the top traders

  • Supercharger feature which farms DeFi tokens (No GAS Fees)

The benefit of keeping the App and Exchange on separate platforms is a real winner in my opinion​. The simple reason is that not all users of the Web Exchange want to participate in the Visa program or other App specific features and vice versa. Not all App users want a feature rich Web Exchange to trade on. I think this separate system works well and if you want both, you can use the same 2FA key to secure both platforms and users can easily move their crypto from one platform to another instantly and at no cost from either end.

CDC really does have a feature for everyone. The only downside is that they seem to be growing at a rate that they did not expect and are often reacting to issues rather than pre-empting them ahead of time. From their POV, growing at rapid speeds can't be a bad thing. Not to mention, their native CRO has spent a fair bit of time in the top 10 cryptocurrencies. Extremely user friendly experience and next to no fees to use most CDC features. Give this app a go while the rewards are flowing heavily, you'll love it!

crypto cosmos rating - 9.7/10

XRP fans, this one's for you! Bitrue is the worlds first crypto platform to make XRP it's most prominent base pair for trading. Bitrue has over 50+ XRP trading pairs and can boast over 10% of all XRP trading block-wide. They are a community focused exchange and are most prominent on Twitter and Telegram and involve users in decisions about which pairs they should list for trading and which to list in their Power Piggy interest yielding program by way of voting.

               PROS

  • Rewards users for regular daily check-ins

  • Fast deposits and withdrawals

  • 2FA and address whitelisting security options

  • Low fees and customer funds held in cold storage

  • Native crypto token BTR can be used for trading fees

               CONS

  • No Fiat on-boarding capability

  • Slow customer support

  • Many "close calls" for security breaches

  • Reactive toward community feedback

FEES: No deposit fees. Withdrawal fees are standard as per "on the chain" block requirements with the exception of XRP which costs 0 to withdraw. Trading fees are very straight forward with BTC, ETH and USDT pairs set at 0.098% and XRP pairs set at 0.16%. You can get a 30% fee discount if you opt to use BTR.

KEY FEATURES:

  • Power Piggy is what draws most customers in with up to 12% per annum paid daily

  • Newly released BFT token for their brand new DeFi farming program

  • 5 XRP first deposit bonus, 2 XRP for additional weekly deposits and 0.01 to 0.1 XRP for checking in daily

  • Trade with limit orders, market orders or triggered orders

Bitrue are definitely an up and coming exchange and are doing a lot of things right. They do however have a few recurring issues that have caused angst with clients and due to their delayed response to some major issues that have arisen they haven't yet earned the right to gain my trust 100%.

Bitrue is a great platform for new users because it is very user friendly and has barely any learning curve to get used to how it works. Do your own research but personally, I would only recommend it for use with smaller amounts of crypto to utilize their great features and gain the free rewards while they're still available but I wouldn't be going all in just yet until they've gained a higher level of trust within the community.

crypto cosmos rating - 9.3/10

Coming Soon...

The very best of DeFi protocols:

1.) CDC DeFi Swap

2.) Pancake Swap

3.) Uniswap

If there are any exchanges or other crypto platforms that you would like reviewed and seen displayed on this page, simply get in touch and submit your request for consideration.

We hope you enjoyed this page and learnt something new. If you have any questions about any content on this page or want further information about crypto in general, contact us anytime or join our Facebook Group and post your questions. Thank you for reading and if you know someone else who could benefit from reading it, we'd appreciate a share on the socials.

Happy Investing!

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