Cryptocurrency trading platforms allow you to swap your fiat money or other cryptocurrencies for other cryptocurrencies. Since their creation, many have turned into extremely profitable businesses, with Kraken and Binance becoming well-known names in the wider industry.
Each platform has its own quirks and benefits – some offer a wide variety of altcoins while some act as a fiat bridge to buy your cryptocurrencies. Here are five of the top cryptocurrency trading platforms in no particular order.
Kraken was founded by Jesse Powell in 2011 during the early days of cryptocurrencies. Since then, it has gone on to become one of the biggest exchanges in the world, with 4 million clients and over $140 billion being traded on the platform.
Kraken has a fiat deposit and withdrawal service and offers a few altcoins. These include EOS, XRP, and Monero. Should you wish to trade on an easy-to-use and respected platform, then Kraken is a good bet.
Binance is the new kid on the block that has made waves in the industry. Arriving in 2017, Binance was able to ride the wave of the bull run and establish itself as a major player. One of the key features of Binance is its own native token BNB, which when used as a trading pair allows for lower fees.
The exchange is run by Changpeng ‘CZ’ Zhao, who has assimilated with the cryptocurrency community through his open and forthright Twitter feed.
Since Binance arrived on the scene, it has added a variety of new features. These include the new Launchpad platform for new tokens which was used for the BitTorrent token sale. The exchange has also opened up a fiat gateway in both Jersey and Australia.
Binance also has a huge variety of altcoins, although some questions linger regarding the listing fees that Binance charges.
Created in 2014, Poloniex was an extremely popular exchange, but has since suffered from a loss of users. It was purchased in 2018 by Circle for $400 million. The exchange is now one of the first fully regulated exchanges in the US, and it has also introduced its own stablecoin – the USDC.
One of the more infamous aspects in the early days of Poloniex was the trollbox, where people could discuss their trades and ideas. This was then shut down, resulting in an outcry from many Poloniex users.
Although extremely popular in the early days, Poloniex has struggled as new competition has emerged. The exchange provides a variety of pairings, including many altcoins, but not as many as Binance.
In 2014, Poloniex suffered from a hack due to a bug in its system. The hacker was able to obtain 12.4% of Poloniex’s total Bitcoins. In fairness to the Poloniex team though, they were able to refund all of the customers’ lost funds.
Unlike Binance or Kraken, Poloniex does not offer any fiat deposits or withdrawals.
Like Poloniex, Bittrex is based in the US. However, Bittrex is not regulated by the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission). The exchange lists a variety of altcoins and is one of the more popular exchanges available today, offering a simple user interface.
Like Binance in late 2017, Bittrex at one point had to stop new users registering to its site so that its systems would not overload. This was a sign that cryptocurrency trading platforms were not prepared for the amount of interest in trading cryptocurrencies. Since then, the interest has waned slightly, allowing these platforms to work on building more secure and scalable structures.
Like Poloniex, Bittrex doesn’t offer any fiat gateways.
Gemini is run by the Winklevoss twins and is in a similar market to that of Kraken. It offers a stablecoin known as the Gemini Dollar, but like Kraken, it provides only a few select altcoins. The exchange also provides a fiat gateway though to make up for the lack of available altcoins.
Gemini is regulated by the New York State Department of Financial Services. The platform caused some controversy recently with its “revolution needs rules” advertising campaign that featured in the New York Times. The Winklevoss’s argument was that regulation is needed to avoid situations such as the MT Gox fiasco.
Why use these cryptocurrency trading platforms?
The five platforms mentioned above are some of the most popular and respected exchanges in the industry. There is always a risk in trading cryptocurrencies, but there is also a risk in leaving your coins on exchanges as well.
It is always advisable that once you have traded your cryptocurrencies to keep them safely within your own wallet. Exchanges are not popular with everyone due to their centralised nature, and indeed cryptographers and developers are working on atomic swaps which could theoretically make exchanges obsolete.
There are many more exchanges available to use, but many are unregulated and can behave suspiciously. Which exchange you choose to use is obviously your choice, but do make sure to keep your coins in a safe and secure wallet.