The top five cryptocurrency exchanges in 2019

Which exchange is currently the best choice? Should users only look into DEXs? What about new players like IDEX or ChangeNOW?

At the time of writing, the reality is that most DEXs, or decentralised exchanges, are still quite difficult to use – mostly due to bad user interfaces and user experience.

There are a few exceptions (which I will cover later), but the fact of the matter is that to have a great crypto-trading experience, you should probably look into centralised exchanges, mainly because of the additional support and functionality.

Even though some crypto-enthusiasts like Vitalik Buterin are quite against the centralisation of exchanges and services – due to the non-custodial aspect of centralisation – it’s an easy way to get started or to trade professionally.

In this short piece, you’ll learn what exchanges I personally like to use and why. I will discuss both DEXs and centralised exchanges, as both have numerous advantages over the other.


Binance is probably the most popular and fastest-growing cryptocurrency exchange in the world. 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 is one of the top 10 exchanges in the world 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.

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 decent customer service, but you might spend some time in a queue before you get through to someone on the phone – but this is a totally understandable scenario considering the sheer size of its operations.

At the time of writing, BNB is one of the top performing coins of 2019 due to its increased utility as the go-to token to access hot IEOs (Initial Exchange Offerings).


BitMEX is another popular cryptocurrency exchange that has made a name for itself because of its high trading volumes and attendant liquidity, as well as its leverage trading option. 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 $34 billion 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 the option to trade futures and perpetual token swaps.

BitMEX has a fee structure that varies for different cryptocurrencies and whether you are placing a futures or leveraged trade. You can typically expect to pay maker fees, taker fees, maintenance fees, settlement fees, and initial margin fees on your trades. There’s a 0.001 BTC minimum deposit limit as well.

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.


ChangeNOW is a non-custodial cryptocurrency exchange service designed to serve the needs of a subset of cryptocurrency users who wish to make direct crypto-to-crypto trades. Many crypto exchanges 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 allow you to exchange random altcoins with each other directly.

With ChangeNOW, users can make direct crypto swaps with any of its 170 supported tokens, with access to more than 30,000 trading pairs and 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 proceed with any form of registration. In addition, it runs a non-custodial service, meaning it doesn’t charge deposit or withdrawal fees and interest is added to the final rate for the crypto swap.

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


Coinbase is one of the oldest cryptocurrency exchanges and offers a simple and highly intuitive UI that makes it ideal for non-expert cryptocurrency users and investors. It also possesses different layers of functionality and allows professional traders and institutional investors to access complex trading solutions through the use of its professional exchange, Coinbase Pro.

Coinbase provides the option to purchase crypto with credit cards, debit cards, and wire transfers. One of the key selling points of Coinbase 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 Coinbase is that its fees are relatively pricey in comparison to other exchanges. For instance, it charges 3% to 5% for credit card deposits. Coinbase also offers OTC options and portfolio management to institutions or large private investors.


The IDEX exchange is part of the Aurora project, which is a collection of Ethereum applications and protocols that make up a decentralised banking and finance platform. IDEX, as the name indicates, is a decentralised exchange where users own their private-public key pairs. To trade, users sign transactions using interfaces such as MetaMask.

IDEX offers trading pairs in ETH or DAI (not on BTC due to it being built on Ethereum). As an Ethereum-based exchange, IDEX deals exclusively in Ethereum and ERC-20 tokens. IDEX also incorporates the AURA token – the exchange’s native currency – which encourages users to stake the coin and help support the network. The AURA token enables stakers to earn a share of fees generated by IDEX and other Aurora products. By staking AURA, node operators will be rewarded proportionately to their percentage stake, and 50% of fees have been allocated to be paid to AURA stakers. Traders will also be able to utilise the Boreal coin as a payment option for trading fees or as a stable base currency.

Market makers or users who create a new order for the order book and improve liquidity are charged a maker fee of 0.1%. Takers, or anyone who fills an order on the book and takes away liquidity, are charged a fee of 0.2%.

Bonus: XCOEX

To conclude this piece on the exchanges I personally like to use, I would like to briefly mention XCOEX, a brand new exchange that was launched just last month.

XCOEX’s main strategy focuses on providing unparalleled support, quality trading tools, and easily-accessible services for both cryptocurrency enthusiasts and digital beginners from around the world. The exchange features fast KYC and a user-friendly interface available in multiple languages.

In addition, XCOEX is currently running a promotion for new users who register to the platform during June 2019. A daily competition is currently ongoing on XCOEX’s YouTube channel and $1,000 worth of BCH is being awarded to one new user every day. To enjoy the promotion, newly registered users need to complete the following simple tasks:

  1. Sign up to XCOEX
  2. Transfer a minimum amount of $20 to your account
  3. Join the XCOEX Telegram chatroom and follow XCOEX on Twitter

That’s it! If you’re one of the lucky winners, you’ll notice the extra coins in your BCH balance.

Safe trades!

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the author should not be considered as financial advice. We do not give advice on financial products.

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