Top 5 Cryptocurrency Exchanges for Investing in, Swapping, and Trading Cryptocurrencies

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by Maria Konash · 6 min read
Top 5 Cryptocurrency Exchanges for Investing in, Swapping, and Trading Cryptocurrencies
Photo: Pavlos Giorkas / Flickr

As crypto market has grown and matured, people with experience in building fintech solutions are now building crypto products and services. Here’s the insight into top five exchanges where you can buy/trade/swap Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

In 2017, the crypto market exploded into a bull run that triggered an upsurge in the number of crypto projects and an increased interest in crypto trading and investment activities.

The upsurge in the demand for crypto products and services however birthed chaos of sorts; because many services were new and untested, they lacked the capacity to deal with the demand. In fact, it wasn’t surprising that many exchanges were forced to shut their doors to newcomers at the height of the 2017 bull run.


Binance is probably the most popular and fastest growing cryptocurrency exchange in the market. Binance’s popularity is a function of its dual-nature interface that provides a “basic” trading experience for beginners and an “advanced” experience for sophisticated traders. Binance supports the deposit and withdrawal of more than 100 coins and it is one of the top-10 exchanges in terms of 24-hour trading volumes.

Binance offers some of the most competitive trading rates with a flat fee of 0.1% and an additional 25% discount for trades conducted in its native BNB token. Binance appears to be available for users worldwide.

The downside to Binance is that it only functions as a crypto-to-crypto exchange and it won’t serve your needs if you want to make a fiat transaction. Binance offers an OK customer service, but you might spend some time on the queue before you get through to customer service – a totally understandable scenario because of the sheer size of its operations.


Bitmex is another popular cryptocurrency exchange that has made a name for itself because of its high trading volumes and attendant liquidity. It boasts a daily trading volume of more than 35,000 BTC, it records more than 540,000 accesses monthly, and it has reportedly traded $34B worth of BTC since it was founded. Traders love Bitmex because it is the only crypto exchange that provides up to 100X leverage for trades. It also provides an opportunity to trade futures and perpetual token swaps.

Bitmex has a fee structure that varies for different cryptocurrencies and on whether you are placing a futures or leveraged trade. You can typically expect to pay maker fees, taker fees, maintenance, settlement, and initial margin fees on your trades. Thankfully, you won’t need to pay deposit or withdrawal fees. Nonetheless, there’s a 0.001BTC minimum deposit limit.

One of the downsides to Bitmex is that doesn’t have fiat payment options; in fact, it only accepts BTC deposits, which you can then use to purchase other cryptocurrencies. In addition, you can only make withdrawals in BTC and the exchange manually processes the withdrawal once each day.


ChangeNOW is non-custodial cryptocurrency exchange service designed to serve the needs of a subset of cryptocurrency users who would like to make direct swaps of one cryptocurrency to another cryptocurrency of their choice. Many crypto exchanges only limit trading options and pairs to the top five cryptocurrencies – you can easily exchange any altcoin for BTC or ETH, but they don’t have trading pairs that allows you to exchange a random altcoin for another altcoin.

With ChangeNOW, users can make direct crypto swaps to any of its supported 170 tokens with access to more than 30,000 trading pairs without needing to use BTC or ETH as an intermediate store of value. One of the factors driving the popularity of ChangeNOW is that it doesn’t require users to sign up, create an account, or make any form of registration. In addition, it runs a non-custodial service; hence, it doesn’t charge deposit or withdrawal fees and interest is baked into the final rate for the crypto swap.

ChangeNOW also boasts impressive transaction speeds with most transactions being settled under two minutes. Rarely does a crypto swap take longer than 10 to 20 minutes. A downside that traders might complain about is that ChangeNOW doesn’t offer leveraged trading or other advanced trading features.


CEX is one of the oldest cryptocurrency exchanges in the market, its history dates to 2013 and it became a dedicated crypto exchange in 2015. CEX offers a simple and highly intuitive UI that makes it ideal for cryptocurrency traders and investors. It also has different layers of functionality that allows professional traders and institutional investors to access complex trading solutions.

CEX provides an opportunity to purchase crypto with VISA, MasterCard, Virtual credit cards, Debit cards, and wire transfers. One of the key selling points of CEX is the quality of its storage as it claims to put users’ funds in cold storage to protect itself against hacks. In addition, it offers two-factor authentication to ensure that user accounts are secure.

One of the downsides of using CEX is that its fees are relatively pricey in comparison to other exchanges. For instance, it charges 3.25% plus $0.25 for credit card deposits and it charges up to 7% as a service charge on trades. It also has several hidden fees which tend to add up fast.


Coinmama calls itself the fastest way to buy cryptocurrency, and 1.5 million people in 190 countries seem to agree that this is true. Coinmama is not a cryptocurrency exchange in the trading sense; rather, it is a place where you can easily buy cryptocurrency with fiat with ease and speed. It started out selling Bitcoin and Ethereum, but it has since added Litecoin, XRP, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum Classic, and Cardano to the coins you can buy on its platform.

Coinmama has different levels of verification and the levels determine the number of cryptocurrencies you can purchase on the platform. Level 1 users can buy $15,000 worth of cryptocurrencies, Level 2 users can buy up to $50,000 worth of crypto, and Level 3 users can buy as much as $1M worth of cryptocurrencies.

One major downside to using Coinmama is its relatively high fees. You can expect to pay as much as 5.5% in transaction fee for every trade you make on the exchange. Coinmama also seems to charge another 5% fee on credit card transactions. In addition, you may want to review its security because the exchange reported that about 450,000 email addresses and hashed passwords of its users were stolen from its database earlier this year.

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