We absolutely love crypto. We eat, sleep, and breathe crypto assets and innovations, which probably doesn’t surprise you at all. We loved crypto years ago, and our love has only grown as we’ve seen our friends, colleagues, and millions of internet strangers also get wrapped up in this passion. What started as a curious and geeky hobby for some was an investment opportunity for others. For a select few (including Bitcoin’s inventor, Satoshi Nakamoto, the OG enthusiast), this was the birth and awakening of an anti-establishment financial, monetary system.
Whatever it was that first piqued your interest in the world of crypto, we can all agree that it’s a little bit magical and exciting. For Altcoin Hunters, there are random exchanges with an abundance of nonsense tokens that provide no value or technological backing but certainly offer amusement and the potential for price pumps. For DeFi maximalists, there are yield farms, liquidity pools, and lots of other complicated things that the average crypto enthusiast might never dive into.
For the regular blockchain fan, who has more or less stayed along the lines of Bitcoin being the king and trying to accumulate it, whilst also paying a lot of attention to Ethereum, they might be wondering which are the best crypto exchanges for crypto enthusiasts in 2021. The main reason to ask this is that we’ve seen some pretty good exchanges come and go over the years, and we want the best ones to stick around.
Looking back, Mt.Gox was the biggest collapse after a mega-hacking of 850,000 BTC. After that, GDAX was purchased and rebranded as Coinbase Pro. Bitfinex was the best exchange at one point and didn’t keep the momentum. For those interested in crypto longer, you might remember these no-longer-existent exchanges: Cryptsy, Coin.mx, Bitcoin Market, CoinEX, CryptoRush, BitFloor, Virtex, TradeHill. There were many more that crumbled, too, of course.
So, we are here to separate the wheat from the chaff and give you the best exchanges for Crypto Enthusiasts. Here’s what it takes:
A Deep Dive Into Our Winners
We’ve chosen Gate.io as our winner for several reasons, two of which are in the header above. First, being US-friendly is really important to use as a quality here at Coin Clarity. While we serve an international audience, most of our traffic and community come from the US. So, good news for you guys, Gate.io is the place to be for the crypto obsessed in America (and abroad!), woohoo! The secondary reason is the ‘MEGA selection,’ which, of course, refers to the 700+ cryptocurrencies listed on the platform. The figure constantly changes, jumping up when new listings are made and going down when projects collapse and get delisted. At the time of writing, there are 714 cryptocurrencies listed, many of which are high-quality projects that offer good value for long positions and some which are brand new tokens that might be good for a pump and dump. Remember, DYOR! (Do your own research).
- One of our favorite exchanges. We’ve watched it grow from a small market entrant to a top 10 global exchange, finding its rightful place among the elite
- Over 700 digital assets and more than 1,300 market pairs to trade with
- Started life in China, but was one of the few exchanges which decided to relocate instead of being shut down by Chinese regulators, much to our gratitude
- The platform is fun, easy to use, and allows for KYC-free trading with a daily limit, meaning you don’t need to give up your identity to become a user
- Those who traded their way to some GateToken (GT) will have had a wild 2021, seeing the price rise of $0.50 to $13.09 and then crash back down to around $3.00
- It slipped under the radar of many traders and enthusiasts, but July 2021 saw Gate.io finally introduced a fiat money payment gateway thanks to partnerships with liquidity providers Banxa, Mercuryo, and Simplex (coming soon). This means you can buy Bitcoin and other digital currencies with your Visa or Mastercard, Apple Pay, Google Pay or more, and have the coins delivered straight to your wallet
- Gate.io Startup is their launchpad feature, offering users a handpicked selection of brand new crypto projects to invest in. Most of these projects end up completely oversubscribed, with not a single one failing to reach its fundraising target, showing just how competitive the enthusiasts are here!
- Gate StrategyBot, HODL & Earn, and the NFT BOX are other exciting services that enthusiasts are making use of
- Maker and taker fees start at 0.2% and can be reduced with the GT token
- Zero deposit fees and minimal withdrawal fees for crypto
We are cryptocurrency maximalists, so it’s easy to put an article like this together. Still, it’s even easier to pick Gate.io as our winner over Binance, and that’s because we’ve been early supporters. Starting at Bter.com in 2013, the project was later rebranded to Gate.io in 2017, around the same time Binance was born. Both were launched in China in the year preceding the China crypto-market clampdown (2018), at which point all cryptocurrency exchanges based in the communist Far East east nation had a choice – close down or relocate. These were tricky times. Binance managed to relocate to Europe and the Caribbean and become the world’s biggest exchange within a year. For Gate.io, their growth has been more labored and sustainable after relocating to the US. Sometimes it’s nice to root for the underdog.
So, we’ve watched Gate.io grow from a small exchange (by comparison), seeing it enter the top 100, then top 50, and then finally in 2021, become a top 10 global exchange when you look at a combination of factors including liquidity, web traffic (3.5m+ per week), coin selection, and more. In fact, one recent introduction may have been enough to push Gate.io into the world’s top 10…
Gate.io finally introduced on-ramps!
For the last few years, if there’s been one major downside to Gate’s service, it’s been the lack of an on-ramp. This means that you couldn’t actually get hold of any crypto using your bank cards or a credit card on the service until now. It was a crypto-only platform designed for crypto enthusiasts to send their coins to and come and trade on. This alienated a good portion of prospective users and has now been resolved. Thanks to Mercuryo and Banxa, users have two amazing on-ramps to choose from, with Simplex introduced soon. If you have Apple Pay or Google Pay, they will now allow you to buy crypto directly to your digital wallets!
The benefit of using these third-party liquidity providers is that it allows their users to go off-site to fulfill their KYC checks, allowing the platform to remain true to its pro-privacy origins. To that effect, Gate.io remains one of the few platforms that allows users to trade without exchanging their personal information for access.
What else makes the platform epic for crypto enthusiasts?
- Trading fee discounts when paying fees with GateToken (GT)
- Gate.io Startup (launchpad)
- Gate StrategyBot (Copy / social trading feature)
- HODL & Earn (Staking)
- NFT BOX
- Lending and borrowing
- Yield farming
- Derivative trading (Perpetual, Delivery, CBBC, Warrant)
It’s hard to know exactly how many traders and investors are making use of Binance as a place to enjoy their digital currencies. Still, if we had to estimate, we predict something around the 30-35 million mark. This leaves them still quite far off the recent estimates for Coinbase (55m+) but solidly establishes them as the world’s biggest and most powerful crypto exchange (CB are cryptocurrency brokers). With this level of might, and being at least 5 times bigger than their nearer competitors (Huobi, Coinbase, FTX), Binance can do many incredible things.
- Anyone who has seen Binance’s exciting rise in power since 2017 will be nothing short of impressed by the way it navigated successfully out of China and went on to become the world’s biggest and most powerful crypto investing platform
- Advanced traders love Binance not just for the 360+ cryptocurrencies and 1,320+ market pairs, but for the Options, Futures, Margin, and Fiat Currency trading pairs too
- Crypto trading has never witnessed the liquidity levels offered by Binance, making it arguably the best cryptocurrency exchange ever
- Through lending, launchpads, and Binance Earn, enthusiasts can find alternative ways to profit on their digital currency holdings, exploring new and exciting ways to leverage their digital currency assets
- Those who want alternative payment methods for crypto assets are quite impressed by Binance’s P2P crypto exchange platform, which is devoid of trading fees and is the best P2P product among all the top crypto exchanges globally
- The number of crypto lovers signed up on the platform is not known exactly, though Changpeng Zhao, the Founder, was recorded as saying there were 13m in 2019. It’s safe to say that this has at least doubled and a conservative estimate would put the figure at around 30-35m
- Maker and taker fees start at 0.1% and can be reduced with the BNB token
Some of the best cryptocurrency exchanges in the past have gone wrong. They are either resting on their laurels and failing to innovate or letting their security go sloppy and getting exposed. For Binance, innovation is not a problem. In fact, how their platform has diversified and created smaller exchanges in several regions with more complicated financial regulations is just one example. Another innovation has been how Binance quickly embraced the DeFi landscape, not only offering high percentage DeFi savings accounts (Binance Earn) but by quickly building the impressive Binance Smart Chain, a blockchain that rivals Ethereum, which symbolizes the future of DeFi.
Binance might be all-powerful now, but it comes from humble origins. After founding in 2017, Changpeng Zhao carefully navigated the company out of China when the country decided to go hard on crypto businesses in 2018. Since then, he has become one of the world’s youngest billionaires and built an incredible global business. With over 360 digital currencies and 1,320+ trading pairs, it’s easily among the best crypto exchanges for selection, but also some other excellent reasons, including:
- Margin trading
- Options trading
- Future trading
- Hundreds of cryptocurrencies paired with fiat currencies
- Low trading fees (0.1% for makers and takers)
- A 25% discount on trading fees when paying in BNB
- A further 20% discount is possible by referring new users
- The best liquidity ever seen
All of the above make Binance the best crypto exchange in many eyes, but we see further impressive features when we look beyond the trading platform and assess the other services. For example, we see crypto lending and borrowing, giving an alternative cryptocurrency investing option for those who don’t want to trade. In addition, we see staking options within your crypto wallet, and we also see users being given exposure to launchpads, essentially Binance-backed ICOs for new projects.
The best P2P crypto exchange ever seen
Some cryptocurrency enthusiasts might remember when LocalBitcoins was popular, maybe even BitQuick or Bisq, but for some, it wasn’t until Binance introduced its epic C2C section that they really saw the capabilities of peer-to-peer trading. Specially designed for those who don’t have a suitable on-ramp for Binance, perhaps because of their country or how they bank, P2P gives them an amazing alternative with dozens of payment options. It’s also a competitive marketplace that creates countless arbitrage opportunities.
Coming in third place, we have the mighty KuCoin, which despite claiming that 1 in 4 traders globally is on their platform, has an estimated 5-10m users. If we can overlook this clearly bogus claim as simply outdated or the product of a broken calculator and instead look at what KuCoin has got right, we will see why it made our top 3 over other exchanges.
- KuCoin claims that 1 in 4 cryptocurrency traders in the world are using their platform, which is neither substantiated nor likely, as they probably don’t even have ¼ as many traders as Binance, however, this claim forms their key piece of marketing
- What can be quantified is the number of cryptocurrencies (380+) and market pairs (800+)
- KuCoin has a great reputation in the crypto community for two things – KYC-free access to encourage privacy and experimental trading, and a wide range of low market cap altcoins that present a lot of potential
- Every week, in both their Spotlight and Blog sections, KuCoin puts together a lot of articles and guides that help traders improve both their technical trading knowledge and their understanding of different cryptocurrencies and blockchains. Taking the time to educate your audience is vital in this industry
- KuCoin trading fees start at 0.1% and can be reduced with the KCS token
Firstly, KuCoin has a great user interface; its design is really cool, from navigating the crypto wallets to how you explore the different financial services. Secondly, it’s a really low-fee platform, with minimal crypto withdrawal fees, zero deposit fees, and transaction fees starting at just 0.1% for buying and selling crypto coins. Of course, not all exchanges are willing to offer fees this low, but KuCoin goes even further by offering fee rebates for their super-mega-massively high volume traders and discounts when paying transaction fees in KCS.
KYC-free trading features mean no identity exchange is needed to make trades with their epic selection of 380+ cryptocurrencies and 800+ market pairs. When you promote privacy and coin diversity, you win over many enthusiasts. To add to that, KuCoin regularly reports on the coins they have listed, giving their users as much actionable information as possible.
Coin Clarity’s Sleeper Pick
If you’re a crypto supporter who has been involved in this space for at least 5 years, have seen different exchanges blow up and collapse, other centralized exchanges get hacked, and even watched more experienced traders been duped by false promises, perhaps you want an exchange platform that lets you trade crypto with insured funds and vault-like security. That’s Gemini. Let’s keep it short and sweet here. We’ve picked Gemini as our sleeper pick for three pretty bold reasons, so here they are:
- The cryptocurrency world has seen too many hacks. Gemini was built to be the most secure and bulletproof vault of an exchange, giving enthusiasts, who have surely built up a pretty sizable amount of crypto, a very reliable place to trade. If you are concerned about anything wrong with your cryptocurrency wallet, you can easily get in touch with their customer support
- The following fiat currencies, USD, EUR, and GBP, as well as your crypto holdings, are all insured, giving you more assurances than any other platform can offer, and allowing you to exchange cryptocurrencies without fear of error. There are also a number of payment method options for users
- There are pretty decent fees for those who want to trade cryptocurrencies, with the same fees applied to beginners, advanced users, institutions, and whether you’re a financial advisor or an astronaut. It is a fair platform
- Crypto maximalists come in all shapes and sizes, making Gemini perfect for beginner traders all the way up to institutional and retail investor accounts
- Maker fees start at 0.1%, taker fees start at 0.35% (the highest on this list)
There we have it — our top-rated exchanges for our fellow crypto enthusiasts. Get started with our top pick below!