Ever since the crypto price boom at the end of 2017, the market for cryptocurrency trading platforms has become extremely crowded. There are over 200 exchanges listed on CoinMarketCap alone, however one 2018 report stated that there are over 500, including all local and regional offerings. Bearing in mind that these trading platforms are all competing for their share of crypto users, it’s clear they have their work cut out to differentiate from the competition.
The most successful exchanges are the ones that find a way of standing out from the crowd. Here, we review five of the top cryptocurrency trading platforms with various standout features designed to attract and retain loyal traders and investors.
Binance is one of the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchanges, a status which it managed to achieve less than 150 days after launching in mid-2017. One of the main secrets to its success is the launch of the Binance (BNB) token. The BNB ICO in 2017 provided the company with a solid funding base on which to expand its international operations.
Crucially, the BNB token is what enhances one of Binance’s major selling points – low trading fees. All users benefit from a very reasonable 0.1% fee. However, if the user holds BNB tokens on the exchange, then their fees are paid in BNB but with a 25% discount on the usual 0.1%. This makes Binance one of the lowest-fee trading platforms out there.
Another feature that keeps Binance users coming back is the opportunity to trade a wide variety of obscure alt coins, with over 450 trading pairs listed on CoinMarketCap.
Monfex is also a relatively new entrant, having launched its crypto derivatives trading platform at the end of 2018. It aims to provide the tightest spreads and lowest commissions in the industry.
Monfex offers various features which make it a strong competitor for other trading platforms on the market. It has an extremely user-friendly platform and takes only a few seconds for a new user to get their trading account up and running. Once set up, users can trade perpetual contracts on 12 different coins versus USD.
Because Monfex offers margin trading, users also benefit from up to 50x leverage, meaning they can go short on any of the listed assets. Furthermore, users are assured that Monfex positions won’t be auto-deleveraged, as recently happened with some Bitmex users when the price of Bitcoin shot up suddenly.
Kraken is one of the oldest crypto exchanges on the market, having been launched in 2011. Part of the reason for its longevity is Kraken’s reputation for being one of the most secure trading platforms.
It holds full reserves against all funds held on the exchange, which can be verified cryptographically by users with Kraken’s auditing feature. Security measures include keeping 95% of all exchange funds in cold storage, and all the exchange’s servers are held in cages which are monitored by armed guards and video surveillance.
Kraken’s security and transparency allow it to target institutional users including investment banks, hedge funds, and insurance firms.
Alongside spot trading, Kraken users have access to futures markets and margin trading. While the fees aren’t as low as Binance and some other exchanges, the 0.25% fees can be reduced with higher trading volumes.
Hong Kong-based KuCoin launched in 2017 after more than four years in development. The CEO of the exchange is Michael Gan, whose previous career was at Ant Financial, the highest value fintech firm in the world. KuCoin has gained popularity with users due to its offering of nearly 400 trading pairs combined with low fees.
However, the KuCoin Shares (KCS) token is the standout feature of this trading platform. The most significant benefit is that 50% of the daily profits from the exchange are redistributed to those holding KCS tokens in their KuCoin accounts.
Furthermore, similarly to the BNB token, KCS holders are also eligible for discounts on trading fees. Those holding the most KCS tokens stand to benefit from features such as one-on-one consultation services for investment strategies and expedited customer service.
KuCoin is also in the process of developing a decentralized exchange and soon plans to launch futures trading too.
Bitpanda is one of Europe’s leading exchanges, established in Vienna, Austria in 2014. The company’s website states it has 900k users and 95 team members supporting the exchange.
Bitpanda is committed to be an easy-to-use trading platform. The exchange is fully automated, so as soon as an order match is found, the funds are sent automatically to the traders’ accounts. It offers all users an integrated wallet.
Perhaps the most unique feature of Bitpanda is that it’s one of the only exchanges out there offering user support on a 24/7 basis. Given that one of the most common complaints about trading platforms is a lack of decent customer support, this is a rarity.
Different users prioritize different features and benefits from their trading platforms so, there is no “one size fits all.” While there are plenty of choices, it’s important that users decide which exchange features are most important to them.
Day traders are likely to prioritize low fees, while longer-term investors probably care more about security. Those trading obscure alt coins may be left with little choice but to use those exchanges which offer their desired trading pairs. As with all financial decisions, make sure you do thorough research before making your choice.