If you want to buy cryptocurrencies, trade your ETH for bitcoin, or sell digital assets, you will need a crypto exchange. A crypto exchange is a platform that allows you to list your digital assets to sell or buy them. To use the platform, you must register an account. 

When you register your account, you provide a wealth of personal information so the exchange can verify your identity. If you use a decentralized exchange (DEX), you don’t have to provide such information. With no centralized authority behind them, decentralized exchanges allow you to trade cryptocurrencies anonymously. 

When you choose a crypto exchange, you should exercise caution. Crypto exchanges handle your money. If their security is lacking, you risk losing your funds to hackers. If the exchange is crooked, its insiders may steal your assets. 

An exchange also handles your personal information. Unsavory actors can sell your information to third parties. Lacking security may expose your information to cybercriminals. 

Once you know that your exchange is safe and reputable, check the fees it charges. If you plan on trading frequently, high fees can cut into your potential profits. Some exchanges may impose different fees on market makers and takers, rewarding the former for creating liquidity at the exchange. 

A market maker is a party that posts a buy or sell order. A market taker is a party that fills the buy or sell orders. 

Here’s a look at some of the top crypto exchanges. We looked at the fee structure, reputation, and user-friendliness to determine the best crypto exchanges. 

  • Coinbase

Coinbase is perhaps the best-known cryptocurrency exchange. Following its 2021 IPO, it now allows investors to gain exposure to the crypto markets without having to buy any digital assets or dubious financial derivatives. 

The exchange is beginner-friendly, but it also offers an option for professional traders. Coinbase Pro may well be the best available crypto trading platform. Traders who stick to Coinbase Pro get lower trading fees than those who use the beginner-facing version of the platform. Buying and selling digital assets is easier on the beginner version, but the convenience comes at a price. 

Coinbase charges commissions of 1.99 percent on market-making and market-taking activities. 

Coinbase’s tradable asset selection is good. It allows investors to trade more than 100 digital assets. It does not list dubious meme-coins, so those interested in such high-risk investments have to look elsewhere. The exchange has a reputation to maintain, and it subjects the assets it lists to a rigorous selection process. 

Coinbase is not a decentralized exchange. To conform with regulatory requirements, it observes a strict KYC policy. 

  • Crypto.com

Crypto.com is great for those looking to buy and sell their digital assets on the move. The exchange offers solid mobile trading platforms. Its tradable asset selection is also outstanding. Available in 90 countries, the exchange supports 250 crypto assets. 

The Crypto.com mobile platform is not a watered-down version of the PC-based platform. It lets traders buy, sell, and earn interest on their crypto holdings. 

Users appreciate the effort the exchange has put into its mobile platform versions. The only user complaint concerns the allegedly poor quality of the Crypto.com support.

The exchange has a proprietary stablecoin called Cronos (CRO). Users who hold large amounts of this currency get certain discounts and other perks. 

The security rating of the operation is outstanding. 

If you want to open an account at Crypto.com, you must provide potentially sensitive personal information, as the exchange is keen on being as compliant as possible. 

Crypto.com’s fees are 0.40 percent for market makers and takers. 

  • Kraken

If you’re looking for the lowest exchange fees in the crypto industry, Kraken may be your solution.  

Kraken supports more than 120 digital assets, and it lets traders use its Kraken Pro platform, charging some of the lowest fees in the industry. 

Do not confuse the Pro platform with the main one, however. The exchange fees are much steeper on the main platform. 

  • On the main platform, buyers and sellers may pay as much as 1.5 percent in fees. 
  • On Kraken Pro, market makers pay around 0.16 percent, but the fees can drop to 0 percent in some cases. Market takers pay around 0.26 percent, but their fees may drop to 0.10 percent. 

High-volume traders get better fees than recreational or low-volume traders.

Kraken’s liquidity is excellent. 

Having been founded in 2011, the exchange enjoys one of the best reputations in the crypto industry. 

The two downsides of Kraken are its limited funding options and the fact that it is not available in all US states. 

  • Gemini

US-based traders probably appreciate Gemini, given that it has made its services available in every US state. 

The wider accessibility comes at a cost in the number of supported digital assets. At Gemini, you can trade more than 75 cryptocurrencies. 

Gemini’s exchange fees are reasonable. For small purchases, you will drop $0.99-$2.99 per transaction. If you buy crypto for more than $200, you pay a fee of 1.49 percent. 

Gemini is SOC-2 certified, and it features some of the tightest security in the industry. It also insures its user’s funds. If you keep your digital assets in a hot wallet at Gemini, you can rest assured that you won’t lose them to foul play. 

Like Kraken and the other crypto exchanges on this list, Gemini offers excellent liquidity. 

Gemini’s reputation is excellent. The people behind the exchange are crypto celebrities Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss. 

In addition to its main platform, Gemini features an active trader platform as well, which charges more attractive fees. Those trading on this platform pay 0.4 percent on their transactions. The higher the volume, the lower the fee drops. 

  • Bitmart

Many traders like to keep the majority of their assets in bitcoin while buying various altcoins for high-risk, short-term profits. Many well-known, reputable exchanges are reluctant to list such high-risk assets, as they cannot guarantee the security of their clients’ funds. 

Bitmart has taken a different approach to altcoins, electing to list and support over 1,000 of these assets. 

In addition to offering simple buy and sell features, Bitmart also features many crypto earning opportunities. 

Given its altcoin-focused approach, it is not surprising that Bitmart is not as safe as some of the other crypto exchanges on this list. 

In 2021, it fell victim to a substantial hack. Its customers have provided mixed feedback on its services, including complaints about poor customer support, poor transparency, and problems concerning withdrawals. 

The best crypto exchanges are those that don’t lose your digital assets or fiat deposits, allow you to trade a wide range of cryptocurrencies, and charge reasonable fees for their services. 

Understand that meme coins and the like are high-risk assets. Many of the high-profile exchanges choose not to list them for that reason. The exchanges that do list them cannot give you as much security as those that don’t.