Best Centralized Crypto Exchanges 2022
Once you start exploring the cryptocurrency world, you’ll see that it’s not a one-way road. The crypto industry of today covers a diverse range of trading activities—from instant purchases to futures contracts, CFDs, and margin trading. Regardless of what you find most attractive, you must turn to a (Australian) cryptocurrency exchange that is close to your experience level and personal trading style. This isn’t a simple task as you’ll have to choose among hundreds of exchanges on the market.
Let’s begin by narrowing the choices down to two categories: centralized crypto exchanges (CEXs) and decentralized crypto exchanges (DEXs). Once you make a clear distinction between the way they execute a crypto transaction, it’ll be much easier for you to choose an exchange suitable for your trading style.
In this article, our team has opted for centralized crypto exchanges as a more standardized marketplace to trade crypto. We’ll point out the fundamental advantages of CEXs over DEXs, which tend to be less user-friendly in their basic navigation.
Best Centralized Cryptocurrency Exchanges for 2022
Users enter the crypto market with different expectations, so there is no straight answer to what the best cryptocurrency exchange is. However, there are certain traits that define a reputable crypto marketplace: high-security standards, ease of use, transparent pricing, and responsive customer support. No crypto exchange can have it all but some of them are able to achieve a really effective balance between these features.
Now, let’s see the highest-rated CEXs in this user-oriented crypto realm.
1. Binance Exchange
In 2017, the entrepreneur and developer Changpeng Zhao presented Binance as a step towards a “global form of money.” The exchange was established in China, but when the government banned cryptocurrencies, they relocated to more crypto-friendly environments like Japan and Malta. Today, Binance is an unparalleled leader in market cap, trading volume, website frequency, and liquidity.
This success may come as a surprise only because Binance is a relatively young exchange. In terms of available coins, trading services, and customer support, its champion position is well-deserved.
The exchange offers a wide selection of 400+ trading pairs, most of which consist of crypto assets only. This doesn’t mean that Binance doesn’t support fiat purchases—its fiat gates are open to 12 different currencies including USD, AUD, GBP, and EUR. Deposit options depend on your residence; Australian users, for example, can use Pay ID/ OSKO to fund their Binance accounts.
In the crypto ecosystem, the industry standard for trading fees ranges between 0.25% and 0.50%, while the MasterCard/VISA deposit fee is 5% on an average basis. Binance, on the other hand, will charge you only 0.1% per trade and 1.98% for credit card purchases. Furthermore, if you use the Binance native token, BNB, the system will automatically calculate an additional discount of 25%.
Last but not least, Binance has a well-structured design to suit the needs of all-type users. Thus, even before you start trading on Binance, you can choose between an advanced or a basic mode. While the latter is adapted for novices to make their first purchases, the advanced cryptocurrency trading platform features a broad array of opportunities such as margin trading, P2P services, OTC, and futures.
2. Coinbase and Coinbase PRO Exchange
Before the Binance-era, the unsurpassable global exchange was Coinbase. This crypto veteran has been present on the scene since the earliest Bitcoin stages and it’s claimed to have the most beginner-friendly interface among all relevant crypto marketplaces.
Coinbase is a US-based crypto exchange launched in 2012 by Brian Armstrong and Fred Ehrsam. The main reason for its long-lasting popularity lies in the separate platforms: Coinbase and Coinbase Pro. The first operates as a brokerage service for instant purchases and it’s the most frequently visited destination for absolute beginners. Coinbase Pro features a more professionally developed layout, cheaper fees, and advanced trading options.
The company is regulated with the New York State Department of Financial Services and it’s fully compliant with AML and KYC policies. It delivers robust protection including two-factor authentication and FDIC insurance.
The exchange supports around 40-50 cryptocurrencies, and when it comes to fiat, their prices are quoted in USD, but you can use your local currency wallet on Coinbase that enables you to store assets in your local currency. In this context, it’s noteworthy to mention that Coinbase’s full packages of services can be used only by residents of six countries including Australia.
The scalable fee structure can appear a bit confusing especially to less experienced users. To get the big picture, you should know that trading fees are around 0.50%, while debit card deposits will cost you 3.99%.
3. Kraken Exchange
Favourable fees and an intuitive interface don’t mean anything if the exchange features low-security standards. Kraken’s creators have taken this to heart and the exchange has been recognized as the most trustworthy crypto exchange worldwide since its very beginning in 2013.
The creative mind behind Kraken is Jesse Powell, a well-known expert in the field of crypto security who took part in recovering the funds of Mt. Gox, the most popular crypto exchange at the time that suffered a massive multi-million cyber attack in 2011.
Powell knew that the key in building a crypto exchange is user trust and he devoted all his resources to establish it. Kraken keeps more than 90% of its funds in cold storage, cooperates with reputable institutional clients, and it’s the first Bloomberg-listed crypto exchange.
In terms of trading opportunities, Kraken supports around 50 cryptocurrencies for spot trading, OTC desk for high-net investments and margin trading. Canadian users can deposit their native currency through several different methods including SWIFT, wire transfer, and debit cards. Deposit/withdrawal fees, processing time, and the minimum deposit amount vary to a great extent depending on the chosen method. Trading fees, on the other hand, are standardized but differ based on your position either as a taker or maker starting from 0.26% and 0.15% respectively.
4. Gemini Exchange
Founded back in 2015, Gemini is another US-based crypto exchange behind which stand Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss — the notorious twins who got a $60 million settlement from an intellectual property lawsuit against Mark Zuckerberg and invested almost the entire sum into Bitcoin.
The exchange leans toward the Bitcoin community even though there is a decent selection of 20 different altcoins. It features an elegant and neat user interface but novices may find it a bit challenging for navigation due to the advanced set of trading tools. The exchange has launched a mobile app (for both Android and iOS users) with a simplified design that’s functional enough to use as a substitute to the original browser-based platform.
You can deposit AUD through ACH transfer free of charge. Credit and debit card payments are available only for US dollar deposits and cost 3.49%. When it comes to pricing, Gemini isn’t the most economical solution for trading cryptocurrency. However, fees are transparent — 1.49% for transactions below $200 and 0.50% for trades exceeding $200.
5. Bittrex Exchange
Bittrex was established in 2014 by a team of proven experts in the field of crypto-security — Rami Kawach, Bill Shihara, and Richie Lai. The exchange soon became a highly reliable marketplace in the USA by offering a full set of available cryptocurrencies, fixed fees, and top-notch security. Driven by long-term success, the company launched Bittrex Global in 2019 to target the non-US community. Both companies run as separate entities that share the brand name and liquidity.
On Bittrex, you can trade with over 250 different digital assets including top cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), Dogecoin (DOGE), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Cardano (ADA), Stellar (XLM), Ripple (XRP), and many more. Trading fees are slightly above the industry standard (starting from 0.35%) but in return, deposits are free of charge except for credit card payments of 3% per transaction. Concerning deposits, the exchange accepts EUR and USD exclusively.
Bittrex provides favourable conditions for institutional investors such as Bitcoin ATMs, external exchanges and hedge funds. The corporate account comes with additional benefits including free API, unlimited trading/deposit amounts, and short processing times.
6. CEX.io Exchange
This UK-based crypto service was launched back in 2013 as a mining pool but it soon transformed the scope of its services exclusively into a crypto exchange. As a globally-centred exchange, CEX.io evolved into a well-respected crypto marketplace available in over 40 countries worldwide.
The exchange supports around 40 cryptocurrencies and you can easily exchange them for other available cryptocurrencies or use fiat money to buy crypto using your credit/debit cards, Neteller, or your bank account (SEPA and SWIFT).
CEX.io features a clean and intuitive platform, equally suitable for both newcomers and seasoned traders. Trading fees are fair and transparent starting from 0.25% for takers and 0.16% for makers. They can be further reduced as your trading volume increases during a period of 30 days.
Before you register on CEX.io, you should be aware that there are different account types based on the degree of verification process you’ve undergone. Your account status will determine the number of payment opportunities as well as deposit and withdrawal limits.
Thereby, if you start with the Basic account, you can trade up to $400 worth of Bitcoin daily and use only a debit or credit card for instant purchase. The account upgrades that follow are Verified, Verified Plus, and Corporate. In order to reach a higher tier, you should complete a more extensive verification process that includes uploading a growing number of government-issued documents for each threshold.
7. Bitstamp Exchange
Operating on the crypto scene since 2011, Bitstamp is considered one of the few veteran exchanges that survived the Bitcoin “dark ages” between 2014 and 2016. Bitstamp itself was a victim of a series of cyberattacks in 2015 but it managed to overcome the losses and started gaining considerable respect among the avid crypto community due to the long-lasting experience.
Bitstamp targets intermediate to advanced traders under the motto “quality over quantity”. Here you’ll find around 30 different cryptocurrencies and a fiat gate for only 3 fiat currencies (USD, GBP, and EUR). The exchange incurs a fixed fee of 0.25% for all transactions below $20,000, which is transparent but not very advantageous for relatively large investments under the given threshold of $20,000.
The Bitstamp trading interface is claimed to be exceptionally insightful but some users find it considerably over-cluttered due to the multiple dashboards, which make navigation a bit challenging.
Country: Hong Kong
8. Bitfinex Exchange
Bitfinex is another pioneer on the crypto scene present since 2012. It’s a sophisticated solution for advanced crypto traders and institutional investors claimed to be the most professional platform on the overall market. It provides a wide spectrum of complex trading tools and market indicators.
Similar to its direct competitor, Bitstamp, Bitfinex suffered a hacker attack during the notorious Bitcoin era that lasted until 2016. The exchange nowadays puts hard efforts to deliver the highest security features such as DDoS protection, whitelists of IP addresses, and 2FA.
On Bitfinex, you can find around 70 available pairs you can trade with and the initial fiat funding can be done only through a bank transfer. The state-of-the-art design doesn’t mean that Bitfinex charges huge trading fees. On the contrary, fees start from 0.20% or 0.10% depending on your position as a maker or a taker.
9. Coinmama Exchange
Coinmama is a crypto-brokerage service from Israel, established back in 2013. It’s a very attractive marketplace worldwide due to convenient crypto purchases, a variety of payment options, and highly responsive customer support.
Unlike the exchange we’ve already listed, Coinmama doesn’t offer the standard buy-and-sell package supported by advanced order types and professional trading features. Instead, here you can directly buy cryptocurrency on a retailer-level. This includes a narrow list of 10 popular cryptocurrencies: BTC, ETH, LTC, BCH, ADA, Tezos (XTZ), and Ethereum Classic (ETC).
Such brokerage services always incur higher fees for purchasing cryptocurrencies. However, it all depends on your personal expectations and goals. If you are at the beginning stage of your crypto journey or want to make a single investment, higher trading fees definitely pay off —crypto brokers ensure guaranteed execution of your trade or sell the coins themselves. For this convenience, on Coinmama you’ll have to pay a trading fee of 5.5% and if you’re using your credit card, there is an additional fee of 5% incurred by the external payment processor, Simplex.
Apart from credit cards, you can also make a fiat-to-crypto purchase through SEPA, SWIFT, Apple Pay, PayPal, Faster Payments, Fedwire, etc.
Country: Hong Kong
10. Kucoin Exchange
KuCoin is a Singapore-based trading platform, established in 2017 by a team with combined expertise in finance and digital security, led by Eric Don and Michael Gan.
It belongs to the “new wave” of cryptocurrency exchanges that don’t target a certain category of audience. Instead, the KuCoin is claimed to be a “people’s exchange”— as it delivers a broad spectrum of trading services to users from different experience levels. For instance, it has provided both solid grounds for spot trading and a suitable environment for margin trading, futures contracts and a separate P2P market.
That said, KuCoin combines all traits that make a trustworthy exchange: low fees, robust security, and clear navigation. Furthermore, the exchange supports over 400 trading pairs, incurs a trading fee of only 0.1%, and gives you quite a choice of payment methods for fiat purchases — besides the regular wire or card payments— such as PayPal and Skrill. This added a great deal to KuCoin’s global reputation as until recently, the exchange was open exclusively for crypto-to-crypto traders.
What’s a Centralized Cryptocurrency Exchange?
A centralized cryptocurrency exchange is an online trading platform where, primarily, you can buy and sell cryptocurrencies in exchange for fiat currencies or trade them against other cryptocurrencies. Some CEXs also offer full asset custody, access to deeper market insights, and more advanced trading opportunities, while others are exclusively geared towards instant brokerage services.
Centralized crypto exchanges are the largest marketplaces in the industry, as they deliver a pleasant user experience and safe environment for trading crypto. Despite their diversity, they all follow a unified centralized pattern in executing transactions – CEXs are legally registered entities that act as an intermediary between the buyer and the seller, apply regulative AML/CFT practices to enhance security standards, and charge for their services.
In addition, they bring the complex concept of blockchain nodes closer to the general public by providing a user-friendly interface and easy navigation. The operational model of CEXs resembles central banks and all types of outsourced money providers. You’ll have to register with the exchange, verify your identity (KYC verification), and preferably, activate 2FA (two-factor authentication) to become eligible to use their services and customer support. As simple as that; their user-friendly approach that makes for a rewarding crypto experience is the very reason why users feel comfortable relying on a centralized exchange platform.
How Do Centralized Exchanges Differ from Decentralized Ones?
On the other hand, we have a different category of crypto exchanges—DEXs—which are admittedly closer to the original idea for decentralized financing. More particularly, DEXs run on so-called P2P (peer-to-peer) protocols where users “pair” themselves with their trading peers based on the cryptocurrency type, amount, and internal payment preferences.
What’s more, users have full control over their funds and hence, full responsibility for their storage and protection. The exchange doesn’t serve as a regulatory entity to monitor the purchase-sale flow. Instead, DEXs employ self-executing smart contracts to carry out the transaction without any human interference.
As the general public is growing more technically literate, they start noticing the perks of decentralized exchanges in terms of anonymity and liberation from expensive corporate regulators. However, according to the basic rules of consumer psychology, newcomers usually feel intimidated to begin their crypto journey on a trustless and automated service, especially when handling huge amounts of money.
Frequently Asked Questions
As a leading digital currency on the market, you can find Bitcoin on all legit crypto exchanges out there. However, there are a few generally accepted factors that determine a reliable Bitcoin exchange including ease-of-use, high-security standards, low fees, protected crypto wallet, and great customer support. So, apart from the crypto exchanges discussed on our list, you can give proper attention to eToro and Huobi as well.
Due to incompliance with the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Binance was forbidden for US citizens in 2020. The very next year, BAM services offered its replacement under the name of Binance US. You should know that both exchanges operate as separate entities that share the brand name. Binance US, for example, is quite limited in terms of trading opportunities and incurs high fees in comparison to the regular Binance. Despite all this, Binance US managed to secure its position as one of the most successful exchanges under the US territory.
High liquidity is perhaps the most relevant indicator for high performance and high traffic of a particular exchange. From a trader’s personal perspective, high liquidity ensures the execution of all placed trades especially, when dealing with high-net investments. Hence, we shouldn’t underestimate these figures when choosing the best exchange, especially if we plan to make a big entrance into the crypto business. On the overall market, Binance and Coinbase have been holding the champion positions for quite some time.
If you’re curious enough to endeavour new undiscovered markets, we definitely recommend Binance. The exchange allows trading with over 400 different pairs and multiple markets (spot trading, margin trading, P2P, and derivatives) where you can make use of the volatile market by speculating on the prices of popular cryptocurrencies. KuCoin is another reliable exchange that aims at expanding its list of supported altcoins but it’s more limited in the choice of fiat currencies.
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This page was last updated on March 23, 2022