Best Crypto Exchanges for January 2023

  • January 19, 2023
  • 6 Min Read

Top 11 Cryptocurrency Exchanges For DeFi & CeFi

With over 20,000 cryptocurrencies out there, investors have plenty of options. Crypto exchanges serve as on-ramps (and off-ramps), allowing traders to buy and sell crypto assets.

Similar to stock market brokerages, each crypto exchange brings advantages and disadvantages. Certain crypto exchanges may be better suited for one type of trader over another.

If you’re looking for the best crypto exchange for your needs, here’s what you should know about our top picks — and what each one can offer you.

Best DeFi Exchanges

Our top choices for decentralized exchanges (DEXs) that offer an easy way to swap from crypto to crypto.

  • Uniswap: Best for decentralized high-value swaps
  • 1inch: Best DeFi exchange aggregator for users outside US
  • PancakeSwap: Best for low fees

Best 8 Crypto Exchanges (CeFi)

Our favorite picks for crypto exchanges which offer an easy way to buy cryptocurrencies with fiat (USD) or swap between cryptocurrencies. A crypto exchange that offers a proof of reserves, is a great way to get extra info on their financial stability before investing your money.

  • eToro: Best for social investing
  • Uphold: Best for no-fee crypto trading
  • Binance.US: Best for low fees
  • Kraken: Best for newbies and experienced traders
  • Public.com: Best for a wide range of investment options
  • Crypto.com: Best for crypto selection
  • Coinbase: Best for beginners
  • Gemini: Best for nationwide availability

Compare Crypto Exchanges For January 2023

ExchangeFeesMinimum TradeCryptos
Crypto.comMaker: 0.04%–0.4%; Taker: 0.1%–0.4%$2240+
Binance.USMaker: 0%–0.1%; Taker: 0.02%–0.1%$10100+
Gemini$0.99 to $2.99 under $200 or 1.49% over $200, and a 0.50% convenience feeVaries75+
Cash App1.5% to 2.3%$11 (Bitcoin)
CoinbaseMaker: 0%–0.4%; Taker: 0.05%–0.6%$1100+
Robinhood0%$111
eToro1%$1020+
UniSwap0.05%–1.0% + ETH gas feesVaries50,000+ pairs
Kraken0.9% for buying stablecoins and 1.5% for any other coin. 3.75% + $0.25 for card and digital wallet payment processing. 0.5% for online banking/ACH processing. 0.01% to 0.02% for margin. 0.01% to 0.05% for futures.$1100+ BTC, ETH, AVAX, IDEX, MATIC, SOL, USDC, USDT, and many others.

Crypto Exchange Reviews

1. eToro: Best for social investing

Trading fees: 1%

Trade minimums: $10

Cryptos: 20+

Pros

  • eToro offers a Virtual Portfolio to practice trading — a huge help for beginners and the risk-adverse
  • Its social investing atmosphere lets you copy the movements of successful traders
  • Stocks and ETFs are also available for trading, which can create a diverse investment portfolio

Cons

  • There’s a limited selection of cryptocurrencies available compared to competing exchanges
  • It’s not available in all states, but that’s typical of many exchanges

Milk Road’s Take:

Discuss strategies or even copy strategies of successful traders automatically. eToro puts an innovative, social spin on crypto investing. Every eToro account gets a $100,000 sandbox account for virtual trades.

This feature makes learning to trade less painful, which is particularly helpful in a trading landscape as volatile as crypto.

eToro is not available in Hawaii, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, and Tennessee.

Read our full eToro crypto review

2. Crypto.com: Best for crypto selection

Trading fees: 0.1% to 0.4%

Trade minimums: $1

Cryptos: 250+

Pros

  • Offers over 250 cryptocurrencies, more than any of the other best crypto exchanges
  • It has average fees, making it competitive for all investors
  • Crypto.com’s Earn feature allows investors to earn up to 12.5% interest on their coins and tokens

Cons

  • Beginners may find the web app difficult to navigate and use compared to other novice-friendly exchanges
  • Crypto-to-crypto trading is not available, unlike competing exchanges

Milk Road’s Take:

With over 250 cryptos to trade, dozens of tokens that can earn interest, and a separate DeFi wallet, Crypto.com is like a Swiss Army knife for all things crypto. Crypto.com offers powerful trading tools, many of which aren’t geared toward beginning investors.

If you’re an experienced trader, however, you might appreciate the extra options offered by Crypto.com. The exchange also offers its own token, CRO, which brings lower trading fees and perks and access to Crypto.com’s reward credit cards.

Crypto.com is available in all states except New York.

Read our full Crypto.com review

3. Binance.US: Best for low fees

Trading fees: 0% to 0.1%

Trade minimum: $10

Cryptos: 100+

Pros

  • Binance.US supports trading for over 100 cryptocurrencies
  • Token staking is available, so customers can earn returns on their holdings with Binance.US
  • It has a track record of supporting billions worth of transactions globally, a trusted sign of a reputable exchange

Cons

  • Trade minimums are slightly higher than other exchange platforms

Milk Road’s Take:

While the Binance.US platform may offer more firepower than a new investor may need, it does offer many of the charting tools sought by more active investors, options for shorting crypto, auto-buying crypto, and OTC desk options for high-net-worth individuals. For frequent traders, Binance.US offers some of the lowest fees you’ll find for crypto-to-crypto trades and now offers no-fee trades for Bitcoin and Ethereum.

Quick Sip

Binance.com serves areas outside the US, whereas Binance.US is for US residents only. Blame it on the regulators. But Binance.US now offers many of the same features as Binance.com and still offers no-fee trades for BTC and ETH.

Binance.US is not available in Hawaii, New York, Texas, and Vermont.

Read our full Binance.us review

4. Coinbase: Best for beginners

Trading fees: $0.99 to $2.99 under $200; 1.49% over $200

Trade minimum: $2

Cryptos: 100+

Pros

  • Users can fund transactions with PayPal, making it easy to securely trade
  • The app has an integrated wallet to send and receive crypto
  • It has a branded debit card that earns crypto rewards

Cons

  • It has higher fees than competing apps and exchanges
  • There are limited trading types on the standard platform

Milk Road’s Take:

If you’re just getting started in crypto, Coinbase’s easy-to-use interface and learning center help guide the way. You can even earn free crypto for completing learning quizzes.

More active traders and those making larger trades can consider Coinbase Advanced Trade, a low-fee option that’s just a click away on your dashboard. Overall, Coinbase has a sleek and easy-to-use interface, making it perfect for beginners and experts alike.

Quick Sip

Take a moment to switch Coinbase Advanced Trade when you’re ready to buy or sell. With the click of a button, you’ll save big on fees (and have more money to buy crypto).

Coinbase is not available in Hawaii.

Read our full Coinbase review

5. Gemini: Best for nationwide availability

Trading fees: $0.99 to $2.99 under $200 or 1.49% over $200

Trade minimums: Varies

Cryptos: 75+

Pros

  • Gemini has nationwide availability, so everyone in the U.S. can trade crypto
  • Gemini ActiveTrader® offers an advanced-level trading platform for the expert investor
  • It offers token staking, so you can earn interest on your crypto investment

Cons

  • Gemini charges higher fees than comparable crypto exchanges

Milk Road’s Take:

While other exchanges are available in most states, Gemini removes the disclaimers, making  the exchange available throughout the U.S. As a full-featured exchange suited for beginners to advanced traders, Gemini lets you choose between a simple interface or its ActiveTrader interface, complete with charting and advanced order types.

Read our full Gemini review

6. Cash App: Best for Bitcoin stackers

Trading fees: 1.5% to 2.3%

Trade minimums: None

Cryptos: 1

Pros

  • Users can withdraw crypto currencies directly to a third-party wallet
  • The app makes it simple to send and receive Bitcoin within the app
  • The mobile app is intuitive and simple for beginners to use

Cons

  • Cash App only supports Bitcoin — no other cryptocurrency trading is available
  • The trading fees make high-volume trading more expensive

Milk Road’s Take:

The popular Cash App peer-to-peer (P2P) payment app also doubles as a Bitcoin trading platform. If you’re only interested in Bitcoin and want simple, automatic BTC investments, then Cash App can get the job done. After you buy, transfer your Bitcoin to your favorite Bitcoin wallet for safekeeping.

Cash App is available in all 50 U.S. states.

7. Robinhood: Best for no-fee crypto trades

Trading fees: None

Trade minimums: $1

Cryptos: 11

Pros

  • The mobile app platform is beginner-friendly, making it easy to get started trading crypto
  • Robinhood charges no fees on its crypto trades, a rarity in exchange platforms
  • Automatic investments are available so investors can automate their trades

Cons

  • There’s an extremely limited selection of cryptocurrencies
  • Robinhood has a reputation of blackouts and trade restrictions
  • Its crypto wallet is not yet available to everyone, limiting its reach and scope

Milk Road’s Take:

Best known for fractional stock investing in which Robinhood members can buy as little as $1 worth of their favorite stocks, Robinhood brings beginner-friendly trading to crypto purchases using a similar structure.

The online brokerage uses a no-fee structure, collecting revenue from market makers and other parties that make trades possible. The net effect is that a $100 purchase results in $100 of assets. Trade several popular cryptos, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin, and Solana.

Robinhood is not available in Hawaii and Nevada.

8. UniSwap: Best decentralized exchange platform

Trading fees: 0.05% to 1.0% + ETH gas fees

Trade minimums: Varies

Cryptos: 50K+ crypto pairs

Pros

  • UniSwap is a 100% open-source platform and truly democratizes cryptocurrency investing and trading
  • There are tens of thousands of crypto-to-crypto coin and token pairs, offering plenty of opportunities to trade
  • The extensive help center includes multiple UniSwap guides for beginning investors

Cons

  • There’s no identity verification requirement, so trading risk is higher on UniSwap
  • The ETH gas fee may outweigh the benefit of smaller trades and swaps

Quick Sip

Rug pulls on exchanges refer to when developers launch a new token, hype it up, and then pull the sale proceeds from the exchange, abandoning the project. Be careful out there.

Milk Road's Take:

Uniswap runs on the Ethereum blockchain, which means there is no central authority; the code runs the show, with Uniswap’s open-source app automating swaps. Uniswap’s fees are low, but you’ll need to spend some ETH to move funds around on the platform. But whether you’re looking for established cryptos or the latest moonshot token, you’ll probably find it on Uniswap.

UniSwap is available everywhere and does not require user identification verification.

Read our full Uniswap review.

9. Kraken: Best for newbies and experienced traders

Trading fees: 0.9% for buying stablecoins and 1.5% for any other coin.3.75% + $0.25 for card and digital wallet payment processing. 0.5% for online banking/ACH processing. 0.01% to 0.02% for margin. 0.01% to 0.05% for futures.

Trade minimums: $1.

Cryptos: 100+

Pros

  • User-friendly interface.
  • Supports many cryptocurrencies.
  • High-liquidity, sophisticated trading platform.

Cons

  • High trading fees.
  • High withdrawal fees.
  • Poor customer support.

Combining an easy-to-use interface with powerful trading tools, Kraken invites crypto beginners while also offering advanced features, such as margin and futures trading (qualified investors only).

Although Kraken’s fees can be higher, solid security features like two-factor authentication, session monitoring, and withdrawal confirmations set the platform apart from other exchanges. Kraken also provides regular proof-of-reserves audits so you know your crypto portfolio isn’t just imaginary numbers.

Read our full Kraken review.

  • What is a Crypto Exchange?

    Expand to learn more

    A cryptocurrency exchange lets you buy or sell cryptocurrencies or exchange one type of crypto for another. Many exchanges will also offer additional features, such as debit cards, crypto wallets, and ways to earn extra money from your crypto holdings.

    A centralized crypto exchange acts as an entry or exit to and from the crypto world. If you have government-issued fiat money and want to buy crypto, a centralized exchange facilitates the transaction.

    Once you have some crypto, however, you have additional options. You can still trade through the centralized exchange, of course. But with a few extra steps, you can also trade through decentralized exchanges such as UniSwap. Decentralized cryptocurrency exchanges are marketplaces that allow anonymous peer-to-peer transactions.

  • Centralized vs. Decentralized Exchanges

    Expand to learn more

    When doing your research for the best cryptocurrency exchanges, you'll probably come across centralized exchanges, also known as CeFi or CEX, and decentralized exchanges, or DeFi and DEX. Before diving in, it's important to understand how these two types of exchanges differ and what it means for you.

    Centralized exchanges work similarly to traditional stock exchanges — users put in an order to buy or sell a certain token and the exchange takes your funds, processes the transaction, then deposits the corresponding funds or tokens into your wallet. Furthermore, CEXs are required to verify the identity of any user on their platform and are run by a known team, much like a company.

    Decentralized exchanges are more autonomous, instead running on smart contracts, which are complex code-created programs that execute specific actions when conditions are met, like when users submit a transaction. Furthermore, decentralized exchanges do not verify users' identities, so anonymity is possible with DEXs.

    Additionally, when you use centralized exchanges, the exchange holds the keys to your crypto and temporarily takes control of your funds, known as custodial trading. With this, your tokens are at risk of counter-party risk or loss if the exchange fails. On the other hand, DeFi exchanges let you retain control of your tokens, called non-custodial trading, and you trade directly with your wallet of choice connected to the platform.

Quick Sip

Centralized exchanges (CEXs) are required to verify the identity of any user on their platform and are run by a known team, much like a company.

Decentralized exchanges do not verify users' identities, so anonymity is possible with DEXs.

How do Crypto Exchanges Work?

As a middleman between buyers and sellers, crypto exchanges work very similarly to stock brokerages and stock-trading platforms. In many cases, you’ll pay a commission to the exchange for each trade and are often percentage-based rather than a fixed amount per trade.

In some other cases, the exchange charges a fee to market makers. In turn, market makers can profit from the difference between the buying (bid) price and selling (ask) price of an asset. In other words, there’s no visible fee — but there may still be a cost.

Regardless of fee structure, exchanges offer a way to buy and sell your crypto assets, making crypto investing more accessible to everyone and ensuring a market so you can enter or exit a trade when the time comes.

  • What Are Maker Fees And Taker Fees?

    Expand to learn more

    Many exchanges use a maker/taker model to determine trading fees. In effect, the exchange charges a percentage of the order amount — but this amount can vary based on how your order affects the market for future trades.

    • Maker fees: Makers “make” a market and often pay lower fees. For example, if you place a limit order to sell crypto or token that doesn't fill completely, you are creating a market for upcoming trades by making your holdings available to buy.
    • Taker fees: By contrast, if you place an order to buy crypto that fills immediately, you are a “taker” because you are taking available trades off the market. Taker fees typically cost more than maker fees.
  • Why Aren’t Crypto Exchanges Available in Every State?

    Expand to learn more

    Some exchanges may not be available where you live.

    Typically, the federal government is the final arbiter of financial issues and regulations in the U.S. That’s true in some regulation areas, such as stocks overseen by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). But in other areas, the individual states have the final say. This means that exchanges must comply with state rules to offer services in each state. It also means that some exchanges may not be available in every state.

    For example, Gemini is available in all 50 states, whereas several other exchanges aren’t available in all states. In addition, some assets can’t be traded everywhere. Tether, a widely used stablecoin, is prohibited from trading in New York.

Crypto Exchange vs. Crypto Wallets

Crypto exchanges let you buy or sell crypto currency while crypto wallets are separate services that store your held cryptocurrencies in a separate app or platform, usually externally. It’s generally recommended to use an external wallet separate from your preferred trading service for extra security.

Exchanges in the U.S. must also comply with U.S. regulations, which could make assets kept on the exchange subject to government actions, including seizure or freezing. For example, Coinbase details a few situations in which they may be forced to freeze an account to comply with laws.

By moving your crypto to a wallet rather than keeping it on an exchange, you’re adding a layer of protection to your investment.

Wallets bring some additional requirements, however. You need to keep the key to your wallet safe (or memorized). You may also lose the ability to sell quickly because your assets aren’t on the exchange. On the other hand, the extra step can help prevent impulsive trading decisions.

  • What is Know Your Customer (KYC)?

    Expand to learn more

    When you create an account to use a crypto exchange, expect a verification process that includes a copy of a photo ID as well as your name, address, and social security number. Some crypto exchanges even use facial recognition as an additional step of verification. Collectively, these identification requirements are known as KYC, short for Know Your Customer or Know Your Client.

    KYC requirements stem from two areas of government in the U.S. — the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) and the Anti-Money Laundering (AML) rules of the Bank Secrecy Act. These rules require verification of identity for every user on a centralized crypto exchange to prevent fraud, financial terrorism, and money laundering, among other crimes.

How to Choose The Best Crypto Exchange For You

There’s no single exchange that’s a perfect fit for everyone, so the best crypto exchange for you will depend on your own research. Here are some considerations before choosing an exchange:

  • Is the exchange available where you live? This item alone may be a show-stopper, since your crypto exchange of choice may not be available in your state. Research beforehand which exchanges are available in your area to narrow down your options.
  • Are the trading fees a good fit for how you trade? Higher fees may not be an issue if you don’t trade frequently or in large amounts. But if you trade a lot or trade big numbers, fees can take a sizable bite out of earnings.
  • How many cryptos does the exchange offer? You might enter the crypto space only interested in Bitcoin, but as you learn more about crypto or as new projects launch, you may want to branch out. Well, the best crypto exchanges offer hundreds or thousands of options.
  • What security measures does the exchange offer? Investigate options like two-factor authentication, but also look at whether the exchange has insurance for security breaches. You may also want to look into whether your crypto is held in (offline) cold storage. Some exchanges take this extra step to protect investors.

DeFi Exchanges

Looking For Crypto Exchanges Outside The U.S.? Check Out Options Below:

Final Thoughts on Crypto Exchanges

When it's time for you to dive into the world of blockchains and cyrptocurrency, your main method of interacting with digital currency is to trade on an exchange. Whether you choose a traditional-finance-turned-crypto exchange or a platform that solely focuses on crypto, it's important to choose the one that meets your needs and will help you achieve your investing goals. Just remember to do your research and invest at your own risk.

Methodology

MilkRoad.com reviews cryptocurrency and Web3 products, services, and operators based on five quantifiable metrics to help crypto users understand how they compare based on similar metrics. For the best centralized and decentralized exchanges, our editorial team compared customer support, 30-day trading volume, fees, cryptocurrencies available to trade, and more from each operator to rate the top competitors in the space.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Which crypto exchange has the lowest fees?

    Expand to learn more

    Fees can vary based on the funding method for the trade or even your monthly trade volume. However, for US investors, Binance.US, FTX.US, and Crypto.com all offer low fees for crypto-to-crypto trades.

  • Do crypto exchanges support margin trades?

    Expand to learn more

    Some crypto exchanges support margin trades, but not all. Coinbase Pro and FTX.US offer margin trading. However, Binance.US does not. Margin trades can lead to large profits — or large losses. Research the potential risks before opening a margin trade.

  • What is the largest crypto exchange?

    Expand to learn more

    While Coinbase is the largest crypto exchange in the U.S., other exchanges are larger on the world stage. Internationally, Binance is the largest crypto exchange with over $42 billion in 24-hour trading volume compared to $6.8 billion at Coinbase. In the US, you can trade on Binance through their U.S.-only exchange, Binance.US.

Contributors

  • Avatar of Eric Huffman

    Eric Huffman is a staff writer for MilkRoad.com. In addition to crypto and blockchain topics, Eric also writes extensively on insurance and personal finance matters that affect everyday households.

  • Avatar of Courtney Mikulski

    Courtney Mikulski specializes in cryptocurrency, personal finance, and credit cards. Her work has appeared in publications like Bankrate, The Simple Dollar, and CreditCards.com.