Spot trading exchanges allow crypto traders to buy and sell digital assets with other users in real-time.
You decide what you wish to buy or sell and then complete the transaction, often trading crypto pairs.
This type of trade differs from investing because you’d usually hold the asset for the medium or long term. In contrast, spot traders will buy and sell multiple currencies over the short term – often a few hours – to return a profit.
Most traders use a crypto exchange to engage in spot trading – the below list introduces ten of the largest such exchanges currently available.
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Binance is among the five largest exchanges in trading volumes, supporting 387 cryptocurrencies and tokens, including Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum, alongside the BNB native token.
Regulatory restrictions mean that Bitcoin is not available in all countries but operates in Australia, Europe and Africa.
The two-factor authentication processes support high-security levels, and users can access technical indicators and charts to structure their trades.
Binance allows users to make payments in crypto or using conventional banking and credit cards and charges different rates depending on the user’s account status.
- Twenty-four-hour trading volume: £11.385 billion
- Average liquidity: 889
- Weekly visits: 17.86 million
- Coins traded: 387
- Fiat currencies supported: 46
Coinbase was founded in 2012 and is authorised to operate in the US as the largest exchange in the States. Traders can use the exchange in over 40 jurisdictions. The liquidity and daily trading volumes are high, so users can make quick exchanges and find the appropriate trades.
One of the advantages of Coinbase is that the entry barriers are low. The exchange is easy to use and provides insurance services, supporting many cryptocurrencies.
Pro Coinbase members can use charting and indicators to reduce the costs of their crypto trades. Users control ownership of their crypto wallet keys and pay fees of between £0.84 and £2.55.
- Twenty-four-hour trading volume: £1.694 billion
- Average liquidity: 748
- Weekly visits: 1.65 million
- Coins traded: 214
- Fiat currencies supported: 3
Kraken is a US-based exchange that launched in 2011 and is now available in 176 countries and 48 US states. The exchange lists all of the popular crypto tokens and is one of the ten biggest platforms by transactional volumes.
The Kraken exchange is considered safe and charges lower fees than Coinbase, with the option to pay trade costs via bank transfer, MasterCard or bank card.
Users can download a mobile app and access analytical tools, with a maximum daily trade capped at £85,000.
Charges vary from 0.16 per cent to 0.2 per cent, with the highest costs linked to taker fees for 30-day transactions up to the value of £427,000.
- Twenty-four-hour trading volume: £430 million
- Average liquidity: 742
- Weekly visits: 1,2 million
- Coins traded: 205
- Fiat currencies supported: 7
KuCoin launched in China but moved to Hong Kong, where the regulations are less stringent for crypto-based businesses. The exchange is user-friendly and accessible to new traders, with reliable speeds and good security.
This platform is known for being an early adopter of crypto coins and offers hundreds of cryptocurrencies and tokens.
Users can withdraw tokens from their KuCoin account directly to a bank account. The exchange appears alive and well despite rumours in July 2022 that the trading platform was facing insolvency.
- Twenty-four-hour trading volume: £658 million
- Average liquidity: 584
- Weekly visits: 2.3 million
- Coins traded: 731
- Fiat currencies supported: 48
Binance.US was created as an alternative platform for Binance users who found their accounts limited when the American government cracked down on crypto trading activities.
This version of the larger Binance platform is solely designed for US traders. It supports Bitcoin and all other major currencies, including crypto trading pairs, over-the-counter trading, staking rewards and secure storage.
To register with Binance.US, you need to have a US ID and can only sign up within the US states where the platform is permitted – many American traders use a VPN to access their Binance account from elsewhere.
- Twenty-four-hour trading volume: £268 million
- Average liquidity: 677
- Weekly visits: 459,341
- Coins traded: 131
- Fiat currencies supported: 1
Bitfinex was created in 2012 as one of the original trading platforms and has a ticket-based customer support service. Although the exchange has run into hacking issues, it continues to provide margin trading and lending options, albeit not to US users.
The exchange has a headquarters in Hong Kong and was originally a P2P margin lending service solely for Bitcoin. It has evolved into a long-standing spot trading exchange with the largest liquid order book globally.
Users on Bitfinex can customise their trading account interface and use advanced charting services, making it popular with seasoned and institutional spot traders.
- Twenty-four-hour trading volume: £298 million
- Average liquidity: 649
- Weekly visits: 638,900
- Coins traded: 171
- Fiat currencies supported: 4
Gate.io is regarded as the first Chinese crypto exchange platform and supports countless currencies and tokens as one of the best exchanges for security protection.
As a reliable option for new and experienced traders, Gate.io offers one of the largest crypto asset selections and additional services such as research and analytics, wallet services, decentralised finance and venture capital investment.
Locations with restricted access include Canada, the USA and Iran, but with over 10 million account holders, Gate.io is ranked as one of the best exchanges against trading volume and liquidity.
- Twenty-four-hour trading volume: £592 million
- Average liquidity: 542
- Weekly visits: 1.883 million
- Coins traded: 1,477
- Fiat currencies supported: 2
Huobi is the ninth largest crypto spot exchange with over 10 million users, originally launched in the Seychelles in 2013.
Users can buy and sell, borrow, stake and store crypto assets and trade the HT native token, with high safeguarding levels, without any security failures since the exchange first began.
Maker/taker fees vary up to 0.2 per cent, and the platform has a strong presence in Asia, given that the exchange was initially based in China. Huobi has offices in Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea, and Singapore but closed its US branch due to regulatory issues.
Each jurisdiction has a different platform version, such as Huobi Japan and Huobi Korea, with access to multiple tradable markets.
- Twenty-four-hour trading volume: £516 million
- Average liquidity: 531
- Weekly visits: 784,470
- Coins traded: 593
- Fiat currencies supported: 50
Gemini offers different fee structures across the main and active trader platforms, with the primary exchange levying a high 1.49 per cent fee against trades valued at over £170.
Active trading platform users pay maker-taker costs up to 0.4 per cent, with lower fees payable as trading volumes increase, although the charges tend to be higher than on some exchanges.
The elevated costs are justified by the augmented security, with robust protocols, insurance against user funds, and SOC-2 certification.
Users can create a Gemini account in most countries, including all US states, insure hot wallet funds and trade a broad range of cryptocurrencies.
- Twenty-four-hour trading volume: £47.8 million
- Average liquidity: 660
- Weekly visits: 337,028
- Coins traded: 109
- Fiat currencies supported: 7
10 Biggest Crypto Spot Exchanges FAQ
Which is the largest spot crypto exchange worldwide?
Binance is the biggest crypto exchange by volume, with Binance.US, an American partner firm. The advantage of Binance is that the maker/taker fees are low, with higher charges limited to around 0.1 per cent.
What are the most popular crypto spot exchanges for traders?
Traders have preferences depending on the types of transactions they look for and their location, but Coinbase is the most popular US exchange. The platform was founded in 2014 in San Francisco and provides account services for professional investors and new traders.
How do crypto exchanges make profits?
Exchanges make profits from the fees you pay for each crypto transaction. Users pay a percentage charge each time they sell, buy or withdraw crypto tokens.
Why are the fee structures so different between crypto exchanges?
The crypto markets are fairly new, and digital asset values and transaction prices vary depending on the service offered, the trade value, the user’s status, and the liquidity and trade volume of the selected exchange.
How do centralised crypto exchanges work?
Centralised exchanges are run by a business rather than a decentralised organisation structure governed by the stakeholders. Coinbase and FTX are examples of for-profit crypto exchanges that set exchange fees and trading rules.
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