Trading cryptocurrencies is never easy, especially in the current market condition. That’s why it’s vital to conduct your trading on a reliable exchange platform that won’t turn out to be a scam like the ones we’ve reviewed in the previous article.
We have picked the top 3 cryptocurrency exchanges in 2021 that provide the broadest scope of financial instruments and suit all trading styles. Here, we will take a deep dive into their functionality and point out their pros and cons, including such factors as trading fees, regulatory compliance, the quality of customer support, and the range of available markets.
Many believe that in a little while, the decentralized cryptocurrency exchanges (DEXs) will eventually render all centralized exchanges obsolete. Nevertheless, before that time arrives, platforms like Binance will remain the main go-to place for most cryptocurrency traders and investors.
When composing the list of top cryptocurrency exchanges in 2021, we simply couldn’t ignore such a colossus as Binance. According to recent statistics, Binance generates the largest average trading volume among all cryptocurrency exchange platforms, which often exceeds $11 billion. As a proof of its popularity among cryptocurrency traders, Binance has reportedly 44,8 million weekly visits, which is almost ten-fold more than the number of weekly visits recorded on the runner-up, Coinbase, with 5,2 million weekly visits. The CoinMarketCap Exchange Score ranks Binance as number one with a score of 9.9, with the 2-placed Huobi Global being ranked 8.9. It must be noted that this popular data site was acquired by Binance in April 2020, so there is obviously some degree of glorification here, but we can’t deny the fact that Binance has created the most diverse and rapidly-growing ecosystem within the entire industry.
Right now, the cryptocurrency trading platform offers access to 1328 markets and serves as a marketplace for 374 coins, the number rivaled only by Huobi Global with 330 coins and 926 markets.
At the helm of Binance is a blockchain entrepreneur Changpeng Zhao, who established the company in 2017 in China, though it had to be relocated to Japan in the wake of the initial cryptocurrency ban imposed by the local government in September of the same year. Right now, the Binance headquarters are located in the Cayman Islands.
Before registering on Binance, you must take into account the fact that there are several versions of the original trading platforms that were launched for different regulatory-related reasons. For instance, Binance U.S. was created in 2019 as a separate business entity in response to the regulatory pressure from the U.S. authorities. After operating for some time across the entire country, Binance U.S. got banned by the authorities in seven states. Apart from the U.S. version, there are also Binance Singapore, Binance Uganda, Binance Jersey, and several more. If you are residing in any of those places and want to trade cryptocurrencies on the top centralized exchange, you would have to register an account on a corresponding version of the original platform.
Binance offers access to a multitude of trading instruments for customers from all countries, except those that fall under the sanctions of the U.N. Security Council and the U.S. Treasury Department. The list of banned countries includes Iran, Belarus, Serbia, Bosnia, Myanmar, and North Korea.
It doesn’t take long to register the free cryptocurrency trading account on Binance, though you must be aware of the requirements regarding the provision of personal data. In order to create the account, the new customer would have to provide a valid email address and phone number; both need to be verified. You would also be asked to enhance the account security by performing either a phone or a Google verification. To increase the withdrawal limit or to enable withdrawals to debit cards, the customer would be asked to provide a photocopy of a government-issued ID. So, if you want to trade cryptocurrencies on Binance, you would inevitably have to pass KYC, the requirement that could be unsuitable for some privacy-minded cryptocurrency traders and investors. Without KYC, the withdrawal limit of 2 BTC per day applies.
When it comes to the range of available financial products and trading instruments, Binance is the most endowed cryptocurrency exchange in the industry. For starters, it offers the gateway for the seamless purchase of cryptocurrencies with fiat: the platform presently supports 46 fiat currencies and a multitude of deposit/withdrawal methods. Therefore, if you have a verified account, rest assured that the hard-earned profits will arrive in your bank account in a matter of seconds. At the moment, the withdrawals to Visa/Mastercard cards can be made with 0% fee, while a 1.5% - 2%, or $1 to $15, fee may apply for other withdrawal channels. If you want to withdraw crypto, you would have to cover the network fee and the said $1 to $15 fee that varies from cryptocurrency to cryptocurrency and depends on customers’ location, VIP status, which could go from 0 to 9 and offer different perks, including considerably lower maker/taker fees. For instance, the taker/maker fee on the VIP 0 level is 0.1%, which is considerably lower than that on Coinbase, the next on our list of top cryptocurrency exchanges in 2021, with its 0.5%. However, if you opt to pay the fees in the platform’s native cryptocurrency, Binance Coin (BNB), you would be guaranteed a 25% off - add to that a referral kickback, and you would have to pay only 0.06% in fees. Those are the fees for the minnows, whereas the whales that are capable of producing the trading volume of over 10,000 BTC per month would get a considerable cutback on maker/taker fees: 0.06%/0.08% for traders on VIP level 5 to 0.02%/0.04% on VIP level 9. Frankly speaking, these are some of the lowest trading fees across the entire industry, so no wonder why cryptocurrency traders are flocking to Binance.
But they do so not only to take advantage of better trading fees but also to access probably the broadest scope of trading instruments. On Binance, there is anything one needs for comfortable cryptocurrency speculations - a spot trading panel with classic and advanced interfaces; the Over-the-Counter (OTC) trading portal, designed specifically for institutional investors who want to covertly execute large buy/sell orders without creating a big slippage.
Those who feel comfortable trading with leverage could open a margin account and trade with up to 10x leverage on the spot account and 125x leverage on Binance Futures, which is yet another popular trading instrument that is present on this platform. Binance also features the Peer-to-Peer marketplace where customers can trade crypto-for-crypto or crypto-for-fiat between each other using over 150 payment methods while saving on transaction fees.
Binance also had a brief experiment with the so-called stock tokens, the fractionalized and tokenized equity shares of Apple, Coinbase, Microsoft, MicroStrategy, and Tesla, but this initiative seems to have failed since the platform announced that it disallowed this type of trading and will no longer support stock tokens after October 14. If you have any open positions in these tokens, make sure to close them before the said date; otherwise, they would be liquidated automatically.
Those who want to diversify their trading game can trade perpetual and quarterly contracts on Binance Futures market. The contracts are settled either in crypto or stablecoins: USDT and BUSD.
If the recent cryptocurrency market crash left you holding the bags of drastically devalued BTC or altcoins, but you aren’t willing to close those positions and would rather go into the holding mode until the crisis blows over, you can put these coins to good use on Binance. In the Binance Earn section, you will find five staking programs through which you can earn interest paid either in staked coins or in new tokens that are about to be listed on the platform in the Innovation section. In our experience, these tokens are increasingly volatile, with the potential to make 10x at the launch and then crash on the same day. Theoretically, the trader who decided to hold could cover a significant portion of losses by playing around with those tokens, but beware that they are categorized as high-risk assets.
There are also fixed and flexible savings on BTC, ETH, BNB, USDT, and a number of hot altcoins, using which you can earn from 0.24% to 7% APY, while Ethereum 2.0 Staking program offers a super high APY of 4.9% - 21.6%. Binance Earn is great for those who might have a bad trading streak and would want to let those bags rest while still making some money, and if the size of your stake is large, you might even create a stream of passive income.
Lastly, if you are a creator or a seller of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), Binance has a place on its platform for you too. A few weeks ago, a new section called Binance NFT was added to the platform; it’s a marketplace for non-fungible tokens accessible to both established digital artists and amateurs. Here one can easily mint, put up for sale, or bid on a variety of NFTs, participate in exclusive online events, or buy Mystery Boxes that might contain rare and very expensive tokens.
As for the quality of support service, Binance actually lives up to the standard of top-tier cryptocurrency exchange. The query tickets are created in the online chat, though the support usually responds via email within 24 hours or even faster, depending on your account status.
It’s clear that Binance created the most diverse ecosystem that keeps abreast of all trends in the cryptocurrency industry. The platform provides the full spectrum of services, from spot trading to staking and NFT minting, which makes Binance the one-stop shop for nearly all crypto-related activities.
However, unlike our second pick, Coinbase, which is a tip-top cryptocurrency exchange in terms of regulatory compliance, Binance has had its share of problems with financial authorities. In May, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) initiated the investigation against Binance, which was later joined by the U.S. Department of Justice, accusing the executives of engaging in money laundering and tax evasion practices. The German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) also threatens Binance with fines. A couple of weeks ago, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) ordered Binance to cease its operations in the United Kingdom since it failed to comply with AML requirements. This is certainly a considerable shortcoming of the otherwise ideal centralized cryptocurrency exchange platform. Therefore, if you plan on trading on Binance, make sure to keep an eye on its relationship with financial authorities that might apply more regulatory pressure in the near future.
The second decentralized exchange on our list is Coinbase, a top cryptocurrency exchange, the average trading volume on which is rivaled only by the likes of Binance and Huobi Global. But it’s, without question, the largest provider of cryptocurrency exchange services in North America where the adoption of cryptocurrencies has been happening in leaps and bounds, particularly in the professional sports industry, which provided cryptocurrency companies with a broad turf for marketing campaigns while the sports organizations themselves, especially the National Basketball Association (NBA) welcomed crypto with open arms. And while Crypto.com and FTX are the most active players in the field of marketing since they have secured the most partnership deals with the heavyweights like UFC and NBA, sports fans prefer to buy their crypto on Coinbase, as the recent poll shows.
According to the latest estimates provided by Coinbase at the end of March, the platform has over 56 million verified users from more than 100 countries, though the majority of them, of course, comes from the United States and Canada. In Q1 of 2021, Coinbase boasted an overall trading volume of $335 billion, while the platform also provides custody for $223 billion worth of cryptocurrency assets.
The history of Coinbase dates back to 2012 when the co-founders Brian Armstrong and Fred Ehrsam started to build the platform on the relatively small foundation of $150K, obtained by Armstrong via the startup accelerator called Y Combinator. From that point onward, Coinbase has been ceaselessly growing its user base and the scope of services and financial products. There are two peculiar things that make Coinbase stand out from the crowd of other centralized cryptocurrency exchanges. The first one is that the company currently doesn’t have the headquarters and positions itself as “remote-first.” The reason for that being the COVID-19 pandemic that forced many employees to work from home, and when Brian Armstrong saw that the remote scheme didn’t disrupt the platform’s operations, he and the executives decided to retain that format. The second thing is that Coinbase has officially become the first cryptocurrency platform to go public in the United States and get listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange. At the time of listing, one Coinbase share was worth $250, which placed its diluted capitalization at $65.3 billion. At the moment, Coinbase is traded at $225 after seeing the correction from the all-time high at $342.
The process of creating an account on Coinbase is no different than that on most other centralized platforms. The newcomer would have to provide his or her legal full name and verify the email address along with the phone number. We should say straight away that if you aren’t prepared to disclose a lot of personal information in order to be allowed to trade crypto, you should probably avoid Coinbase and centralized exchanges altogether because these platforms are legally obliged to collect as much user data as possible in order to be compliant with the AML and other regulatory requirements. But if that doesn’t pose a problem, then you would be asked to provide a valid government-issued photo ID, the last four digits of your social security number, the information about your current occupation and sources of income, and, lastly, link a payment method (bank account, debit card, PayPal, 3D Secure Card, or SEPA transfer).
Once you kick start the account, you opt for trading cryptocurrencies either on the base Coinbase exchange that features 241 markets and 78 coins, while supporting only 3 fiat currencies (USD, EUR, and GBP), or you could go straight to the advanced version of that platform called Coinbase Pro, which features more sophisticated trading instruments and is a rebranded version of the GDAX trading platform. The difference between the two is that Coinbase is designed for nascent and mid-level cryptocurrency traders, while Coinbase Pro is tailored for pro traders and institutional investors. In addition, Coinbase has the digital wallet feature, which stores up to 98% of user funds offline in a multitude of safe deposit boxes and vaults, with all data being encrypted in accordance with the AES-256 standard and then transferred to FIPS-140 drives and dispersed throughout the world. And while these measures offer sufficient protection against hacking and other forms of theft, you must remember that the platform doesn’t let you have the private keys to your coins, providing only a password to your account instead. And you know what they say, “If it’s not your keys, it’s not your crypto.” The appealing thing about Coinbase is that it insures the funds of U.S. customers through custodial bank accounts and liquid U.S. Treasuries.
Fees is also the factor that could force you to expedite the switch from Coinbase to Coinbase Pro since the latter offers smaller fees compared to the basic version. For instance, you could be charged a 3.99% deposit/withdrawal fee on your credit card, while the crypto conversion fee on Coinbase amounts to 2%. In comparison, Coinbase Pro charges 0.5% taker/maker fees for the accounts with a monthly trading volume of less than $10K. Those who put up a trading volume of up to $50K will have to pay a 0.35% taker/maker fee. Coinbase Pro obviously favors the whales and large institutional investors who operate with millions on a regular basis. For instance, those participants who generate the volume of $50 million to $100 million enjoy the taker fee of only 0.1% and a 0% maker fee.
On Coinbase, you will also get access to the platform’s proprietary stablecoin called USD Coin (USDC) that was developed in collaboration with Circle. The main advantage of USDC over its main competitor, USD Tether (USDT), is that every single coin, which is, by the way, minted by the Centre consortium, is genuinely backed by USD, the fact that has been proven by numerous audits. Besides, Coinbase made it a priority to comply with the U.S. financial legislation, which includes the process of issuance and distribution of USDC. Therefore, if USDT could theoretically go bust because of its shady structure and coins’ backing mechanism, USDC is unlikely to face any legal scrutiny.
It’s also important to note that Coinbase has disabled the margin trading feature on both the base and the Pro platforms after receiving guidance from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Before that, Coinbase offered a 1:3 leverage on Bitcoin and major altcoins.
Lastly, we must point out that the support service on Coinbase leaves much to be desired. The customers can create inquiry tickets only through emails, while the call operators work limited hours and aren’t allowed to consult or resolve the issues related to the trading account. Traders report waiting for days for the response from the support, which is a shortcoming on the part of a major crypto exchange like Coinbase.
We have given their share of credit to centralized exchanges, but now it’s time to review the most rapidly growing decentralized exchange that is currently on par with Binance and Coinbase in terms of the average daily trading volume. The name of the exchange is Uniswap, which stands for “Unicorn Swap” since the platform’s logo depicts the pink-colored fairy tale creature. The platform was established in 2018 by the computer engineer Hayden Adams, who used a $65K grant to kick-start the development of a decentralized finance protocol that is now worth $5.06 billion, according to the data from DeFi Pulse.
What’s interesting about Uniswap is that the team didn’t conduct an ICO to raise funds. Instead, it received backing from well-known venture capital firms like ParaFi, Paradigm Venture Capital, and Andreessen Horowitz.
Until the start of the DeFi boom in 2020, Uniswap remained largely unnoticed, with its average trading volume rarely exceeding $40 million. But when DeFi got into the mainstream, that volume had skyrocketed to above $200 million and eventually surpassed that on most centralized platforms. Right now, the all-time trading volume on Uniswap amounts to $297 billion, with over 56 million trades executed throughout its existence.
In essence, this protocol facilitates the seamless exchange of ERC-20 tokens via automated transactions that are executed by smart contracts. The major difference between centralized exchanges featured on our list and Uniswap is that on this and other DEXs, users retain control over their private keys throughout the entire time they use the platform, which is a great security benefit. Moreover, Uniswap should be the first choice for all those concerned about the privacy of their personal data since the protocol doesn’t gather even the tiniest bit of personal information. All one has to do to start trading on Uniswap is launch the proprietary decentralized application and connect it to the Ethereum wallet like Metamask, Portis, Fortmatic, or Coinbase Wallet.
The app has a very simplistic and intuitive interface with only four categories: swap, pool, vote, and charts. Once the wallet is connected, it begins to interact with the Ethereum network and its smart contracts to carry out and confirm the transactions. The swap feature is very simple: here, you will have to choose two ERC-20 tokens that you’d like to exchange, for instance, ETH and 1INCH. Keep in mind that before the actual swap, you will see the estimated amount of tokens you’d like to receive. In fact, you could receive less than the estimated amount due to such factors as liquidity provider fees, slippage, and price impact. The trading fee that goes to the pool from which you take the liquidity usually amounts to 0.3% of the transacted amount. The platform itself doesn’t charge any additional fees. The slippage refers to the fluctuation of price between the placement and the execution of swap order - the slippage limit is adjustable. The price impact takes into account the rate of change in the price of the underlying assets after the order has been executed, or how far the price would move when the swap is finalized. For instance, the price impact in the ETH - DAI pool is around 0.01%, whereas the tokens from small liquidity pools could create a 10+% slippage even during medium-sized swaps. You can also set a deadline for the swap to complete - if it’s not carried out in the designated period, the trade would be reverted. The maximum pending period is 20 minutes, after which the protocol automatically renders the transaction as failed.
In May, Uniswap launched the third version of its mainnet (V3), which brought about the improved blockchain infrastructure, improved swap execution mechanism, and the Concentrated Liquidity feature. V3 is promised to be the most advanced version of the protocol that will boost the overall efficiency of that decentralized exchange platform. All swaps are now conducted through V3, though the system alerts traders when the better rate becomes available on the older version that remains functional. The Concentrated Liquidity feature offers the providers an opportunity to set up the optimal price range at which they would like to supply the liquidity, which could translate to higher returns.
Suppose you intend to use Uniswap for the purpose of getting your hands on some exotic altcoins, or to remain completely anonymous while retaining full control of your funds. In that case, you should also be aware of the risks associated with this type of cryptocurrency trading. First of all, there is a risk of encountering a bug in a smart contract that could lead to the funds allocated in it being frozen or lost permanently. There is also the possibility of falling victim to a rug pull, a situation where a provider of considerable liquidity suddenly takes it out of the pool, thus imposing losses on other pool members and causing price slippage.
Cryptocurrency traders on Uniswap should also be aware of the fact that the platform doesn’t hold any responsibility in case the funds are lost for whatever reason. Here, your coins (and problems) are your own, unlike Coinbase, which at least offers some insurance options, or Binance that covered nearly 7,000 BTC lost during the last hack from its Safu fund. As you can see, there are a lot of intricacies related to the use of Uniswap and similar DeFi platforms, but if you cherish the anonymity and don’t trust the third party to carry out the exchange operations, this platform is the top pick from the entire DeFi space.
|#||Crypto||Prediction||Accuracy||CVIX||Price||24h||7d||Market Cap||7d price change|
|1||BTC||Bitcoin predictions||73.2%||46||$36 135.88||-3.18%||-14.06%||$684 451 522 701|
|2||ETH||Ethereum predictions||69.6%||57||$2 400.38||-2.16%||-23.69%||$286 435 196 908|
|3||USDT||Tether predictions||90.8%||1||$1.000631||0.03%||0.04%||$78 241 481 557|
|4||BNB||Binance Coin predictions||70%||65||$366.39||-3.50%||-23.34%||$60 497 344 871|
|5||USDC||USD Coin predictions||96%||1||$1.000275||0.10%||0.04%||$49 098 532 248|
|6||ADA||Cardano predictions||70.4%||63||$1.038463||-0.18%||-23.84%||$34 843 649 759|
|7||XRP||XRP predictions||75.2%||49||$0.602237||-2.97%||-19.51%||$28 748 941 627|
|8||SOL||Solana predictions||67.2%||63||$88.80||-5.61%||-35.45%||$27 969 324 271|
|9||LUNA||Terra predictions||66.8%||68||$57.44||-7.97%||-30.24%||$23 070 373 039|
|10||DOGE||Dogecoin predictions||70%||64||$0.140947||-1.81%||-14.46%||$18 699 577 603|
|11||DOT||Polkadot predictions||65.2%||69||$17.55||-5.51%||-28.73%||$17 334 714 531|
|12||AVAX||Avalanche predictions||67.6%||68||$62.58||-7.06%||-25.89%||$15 321 901 552|
|13||BUSD||Binance USD predictions||94.8%||1||$0.999044||-0.16%||-0.18%||$14 527 440 835|
|14||MATIC||Polygon predictions||66.4%||72||$1.54||-2.15%||-25.83%||$11 478 980 661|
|15||SHIB||SHIBA INU predictions||66.4%||70||$0.000021||-3.55%||-25.96%||$11 283 082 704|
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