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5 Top Cryptocurrency Exchanges

  • Kanan Arora
  • Dec 02, 2021
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Introduction

 

Over the years cryptocurrencies have become the talk of the town all across the globe. Cryptocurrency, which was considered earlier as a speculative asset class has transitioned into an investment asset primarily because of the increased use-case and stability of the same. 

 

Organizations, both retail and institutions always try to look for feasible alternatives to diversify their portfolios. Cryptocurrency has become an accessible alternative for many such investors who wish to compound their money. Traders, on the other hand, are provided with a great alternative to profit due to the volatility associated with cryptocurrency. 

 

With the increasing acceptance of cryptocurrency in the financial world, comes a greater role of the cryptocurrency exchanges (for example, Centralized and Decentralized Cryptocurrency Exchanges) which provide a platform to all market participants to interact with each other using cryptocurrencies. They do that by often allowing the conversion of cryptocurrencies to fiat currencies and other cryptocurrencies.

 

This blog aims to analyze the 5-largest cryptocurrency exchanges accessible in India based on their average daily volume on the CoinMarketCap website

 

Please note that the volume is the total volume worldwide of the particular crypto-exchange, it does not provide country-wise bifurcated figures which, in any case, do not matter due to the online nature of the transactions.

 

(Note: All the values of fiat currencies and cryptocurrencies are taken from www.finder.com in the below section)

 

List of Cryptocurrency Exchanges

 

  1. Binance

 

Fiat Currencies: 34

Cryptocurrencies: 314

 

Binance started off as a cryptocurrency exchange in 2017. Today, it is the largest player in the industry with the average 24 hour volume close to 23 billion dollars. 

 

In its entirety, the Binance ecosystem consists of three cryptocurrency exchanges, multiple cryptocurrencies (Binance Coin (BNB), Binance USD (BUSD), Bitcoin BEP2 (BTCB)), the Trust Wallet and its TWT token, a Token Launchpad, and more.

 

The 3 crypto exchanges operated by Binance include Binance.com, the original and the largest crypto exchange by volume, Binance.us which was created after Binance was banned in the US in 2019 on regulatory grounds and Binance DEX, a decentralized exchange built on Binance Chain.

 

Binance operates two blockchains that run in parallel: the high transaction capacity Binance Chain (BC) and the Binance Smart Chain (BSC) which has smart contract functionality and implements the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM).

 

The Binance Coin (BNB), which is one of the Binance cryptocurrencies, is the third-largest cryptocurrency with a market capitalization of approximately 100 billion dollars.

 

The Trust Wallet, a mobile wallet acquired by Binance in 2018 is one of the popular mobile wallets that supports multiple blockchains and more than a million digital assets. 

 

Due to the myriad of products in Binance’s portfolio, Binance has established a dominant position in the industry. Its strong brand image and reputation in the industry can be attributed to its products and its survival in this volatile industry, making it one of the top choices for anyone wanting to buy or sell cryptocurrencies.

 

However, as with other cryptocurrency exchanges, the sustainability of Binance will be dependent on the legal troubles being faced by Binance in several countries and outages associated with the substantial volumes being traded on Binance. 

 

 

  1. OKEx:

 

Fiat Currencies: 36

Cryptocurrencies: 280

 

OKex, established in Belize, was founded in 2014 by Star XU as a cryptocurrency and digital asset exchange. The company, which is situated in Hong Kong, has substantial financial backing. 

 

Originally situated in China, the exchange, along with sister OKCoin, relocated to Hong Kong when the Chinese government banned the trading of initial coin offerings (ICOs), and is now focused on the international market.

 

The OKex exchange arose from the OKCoin brand as a platform for more skilled cryptocurrency traders. OKCoin is the more straightforward exchange, focusing solely on the buying and selling of cryptocurrencies and ICO tokens, whereas OKex is a more sophisticated platform that resembles typical financial stock exchanges.

 

OKEx provides an extensive range of pro trading options such as futures, fiat to currency support, high-level trading platform, leverage trading, multiple cryptocurrency support and low fees. It however, has faced mixed reviews on customer service and has most of its focus on the Chinese markets.

 

OKEs’s ambitions of international expansion and the possible introduction of other fiat currencies would play a significant role in OKEx’s future in the industry.
 

 

  1. Coinbase

 

Fiat Currencies: 23

Cryptocurrencies: 75

 

Coinbase was founded in 2012 as a place to send and receive Bitcoin. Since then it has grown to support multiple other cryptocurrencies as well. 

 

The biggest advantage of using Coinbase is that It is easy to use for cryptocurrency beginners who will go for simple buy and sell orders and it also provides an advanced alternative through Coinbase Pro available to any Coinbase user.

 

Another pro of using Coinbase is that it provides opportunities to earn interest on eligible balances in the form of a small amount of a new currency through the Coinbase Earn feature. 

 

However, Coinbase charges higher transaction fees on its primary platform, has experienced customer service issues and does not support many of the altcoins. 

 

All in all, Coinbase can be regarded as an unparalleled option for beginners. For seasoned participants, other options might be more beneficial. 
 

 

  1. Kraken

 

Fiat Currencies: 7

Cryptocurrencies: 60

 

Kraken is a crypto exchange founded in 2011 in San Francisco with offices around the world. It is a large cryptocurrency exchange that allows users to buy, sell, and swap a variety of cryptocurrencies. It offers users margin accounts and futures trading, providing the ability to profit more.

 

Similar to Coinbase, Kraken is one of the suitable options for beginners and it provides the lower-cost Kraken Pro version for experienced traders. It provides the option to earn interest on the crypto balance encouraging further participation.

 

The vast variety of altcoins (more than 50), simpler user interface (specially for people with no prior trading/ investing experience) and high liquidity in the exchange provide Kraken an edge in this competitive industry. 

 

It however comes with its own set of cons which include higher fees when not using Kraken Pro, relatively less number of altcoins as compared to competitors and a history of costly hacks with little to no support from Kraken.

 

 

  1. Bitfinex

 

Fiat Currencies: 4

Cryptocurrencies: 169

 

Bitfinex is an advanced cryptocurrency exchange founded in the British Virgin Islands in 2012 by iFinex inc. It is headquartered in Hong Kong, The company initially started out as a margin lending platform for Bitcoin only. Some of the founders and management of iFinex inc. are also related to Tether, the US pegged Stablecoin.

 

Bitfinex provides a myriad of services to its customers including an advanced trading platform with customizable trading platform interface, advanced charting functionality and API access, margin trading and funding, over the counter service, derivative trading and a staking and lending feature.

 

Moreover, Bitfinex offers the most liquid order book in the world. High volume is important for traders, as it ensures a low spread, which is the difference between the best bid and ask prices.

 

The biggest drawback of Bitfinex is its past of hacks and allegations making it lose its customers’ confidence particularly in the April 2016 theft of nearly 120,000 BTC from Bitfinex.

 

(Recommended blog: What is Cryptojacking and How to Prevent it?)

 

 

Conclusion

 

This blog discussed 5 great options available while choosing a cryptocurrency exchange to participate in the act of buying and selling cryptocurrencies. Each of these options come with their own set of pros and cons, such as; 

 

  • Binance is good for exchanging digital assets in highly liquid markets but not so great for beginners who can feel overwhelmed by the wide range of features. 

  • OKEx provides a variety of features but is more focussed on the chinese market. 

  • Coinbase and Kraken are great for first-time crypto buyers but not so great for their fees, and 

  • Bitfinex offers the most liquid order book in the world but comes with a haunted past of hacks and allegations.

 

This blog does not attempt to recommend any particular cryptocurrency exchange since the choice is a subjective one dependent on the relative weightage of the various factors taken into consideration while choosing an exchange. 

 

Some of the common factors include customer-confidence, various fees charged, alternatives available in fiat currencies and cryptocurrencies, history, volume being traded regularly, average liquidity, etc. 

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