The World’s Leading Cryptocurrency Exchanges

Cryptocurrency exchanges represent the most common gateways for investors and crypto users to access the digital asset ecosystem.  These exchanges come in different forms and sizes, depending on their configurations and modes of operation.

On a general note, cryptocurrency exchanges are platforms created for the purpose of buying and selling of cryptocurrencies. They are also avenues for newly created tokens to find their way into the global marketplace and become accessible to the crypto community.

Types of Cryptocurrency Exchanges

The two major classes of exchanges that exist in the cryptocurrency ecosystem are Centralized and Decentralized exchanges. While decentralization remains a cardinal idea in the blockchain industry, centralized exchanges still remain the most popular gateways available to users.

Centralized crypto exchanges host users wallets and are directly involved in the transactions that occur within the platform. They serve as a third party that monitors transactions, and provide custodial services.  While on the other hand, decentralized crypto exchanges are peer to peer in nature. They are networks that are mostly governed by smart contracts and basically provide an environment for buyers and sellers to meet and transact. These exchanges are designed to cut out the middleman concept, thereby creating a trustless platform.

There are a number of cryptocurrency exchanges in existence today, serving the crypto population in different ways under different circumstances. Even though most of them a similar in terms of their methods of operation and services rendered, there are still certain variation in size, regulatory conditions, fees, jurisdiction of operation and other related areas. Some of these exchanges include:

Coinbase

In 2012, Brian Armstrong and Fred Ehrsam launched “Coinbase” which has become one of the most influential exchanges in the world. The San Francisco-based platform has a user-friendly interface that is suitable for new entrants to the crypto market. As a result, it has become one of the largest and most popular crypto exchanges in the world. Coinbase falls under the category of crypto exchanges that allows its users to buy cryptocurrencies with fiat. In addition, the exchange also offers custodial services to its users. Therefore, users can store their assets in a Coinbase wallet that can be accessed via the web. The platform’s transaction fees on purchases made with credit cards and banks transfers are 3.99% and 1.49% respectively. As at the time of writing, Coinbase is present in 190 countries and it is licensed to trade in 32 of them.

Bitpanda

Like coinbase, Bitpanda also allows the exchange of fiat currencies with cryptocurrencies. However, Bitpanda’s platform has been designed to be fully automated. Therefore, as soon as a user’s payment is validated, the digital currency is immediately sent to the user. The platform which was founded in 2013 by Eric Demuth, Paul Klanschek, and Christian Trumme has over 850,000 active users. However, its services are only available in EU countries.

Bitfinex

Bitfinex was launched in 2012 by Ifinex INC. Though Bitfinex is primarily a crypto exchange, it also functions as an over-the-counter platform as well as margin trading platform. The Hong Kong-based crypto exchange has inbuilt professional trading tools that can improve the trading performance of its users. The platform charges as low as 0.1% as transaction fees.

Binance

The Hong Kong-based Binance was founded by Changpeng Zhao and Yi He in 2017. One year after it was launched, Binance had become one of the largest crypto exchanges in the world. According to Coinmarketcap, it has a daily trade volume of $1 billion. The platform was able to achieve this in a year because of its commitment to provide innovative solutions for its customers. Binanace has one of the lowest transaction fees in the market, and it can process as much as 14 million transactions in one second. In addition, the platform has a mechanism called SAFU (Secure Asset Fund for Users) that automatically compensate users with 10% of its revenue In the event of a hack.

Gemini

Gemini Trust is a new York-based crypto exchange founded in 2014 by the Winklevoss brothers. Gemini is one of the few crypto exchanges that has been licensed to operate in New York. The platform is regulated by New York’s Department of Financial Services. Therefore, Gemini complies with stringent rules that are set up to protect investors. An added security measure to the platform is the users’ multi-factor authentication system. The exchange recently launched a US dollar-backed cryptocurrency dubbed “Gemini dollar”.

Kucoin

Hong Kong-based Kucoin was founded in 2017 by a team of experts led by Michael Gan. The exchange platform is one of the most updated crypto exchange in the world. Another fantastic thing about the platform is its reward framework. Payments made with the platforms token “Kucoin” get a discount on transaction fees. In addition, Kucoin token holders are rewarded with 90% of the exchange’s total transaction fees revenue.

Poloniex

Poloniex is a Delaware-based crypto exchange that was founded by Tristan D’Agosta in 2014. The platform supports over 100 cryptocurrencies. Poloniex functions as a crypto exchange as well as margin trading and lending platform. In addition, the platform has some of the most advanced trading tools which can be personalized by its users. Some of the security measure put in place by the platform is the two-factor authentication. Also, all the digital assets the exchange holds for its users are stored in a cold wallet.

The above mentioned crypto exchanges serve as gateways for individuals who intend to participate in the cryptocurrency market place. Their modes of operation however are largely influenced by the existing regulatory frameworks prevalent in their individual jurisdictions. For decentralized exchanges like LocalBitcoins and Remitano, they simply provide a platform for buyers and sellers to meet and transact by the implementation of smart contracts or by using escrows.

Several other smaller exchanges exist and play significant roles in the industry as well. However, user preference still depends on awareness and the suitability that each may present to the individual or group in question.

 

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