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5 Safest Crypto Exchanges - What’s the Best Platform to Buy Crypto?

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One of the most important decisions for any cryptocurrency investor is choosing which crypto exchange to use. When you’re using a cryptocurrency exchange, you need to deposit funds to their platform, after which the exchange is effectively in control of the funds.

Therefore, it’s of the utmost importance that you choose a safe crypto exchange. In this article, we’ll be highlighting the 6 safest crypto exchanges on the market today and show you what you need to know to determine whether an exchange is safe to use or not. 

What to look for in a safe cryptocurrency exchange?

If you’re a relatively new entrant into the cryptocurrency space, it can be difficult to distinguish between exchanges that could be unsafe and exchanges that are likely worthy of your trust. Here are the most important factors to consider when trying to determine whether an exchange is safe or not.

Longevity

This is a very simple way of evaluating a cryptocurrency exchange, but it allows you to easily filter out exchanges that haven’t yet proved their trustworthiness over the long term. 

If you’re looking for a primary exchange to buy, sell and potentially even store your crypto, it’s best to avoid exchanges that haven’t been around for a long time. This is not to say that new exchanges are unsafe by default, but when it comes to your money, it’s better to stay on the safe side and pick platforms with an established track record.

Ideally, you would want to choose between exchanges that have been in operation for a period of 5 years or longer. 

However, longevity is by itself not a guarantee that an exchange is safe to use. There’s unfortunately quite a few cryptocurrency exchanges that have been operating for a long time despite having a poor reputation in the cryptocurrency community.

Transparency

Safe crypto exchanges don’t hide information about their operations, team and ownership. If you can’t easily find who founded an exchange and who its most important executives and team members are, you should probably stay away. Also, the exchange should disclose the licenses it has that allow it to operate in each market it’s serving.

Another important factor to keep in mind is proof of reserves. After the collapse of the FTX cryptocurrency exchange, many exchanges have made their wallet addresses public so that users can easily check their holdings. On CoinCodex, you can identify exchanges who have published proof of reserves by this icon:

proof of reserves

User feedback

Before choosing an exchange, make sure to check how the exchange’s users are feeling about the platform. The best way to do so is to use social media platforms like Reddit and Twitter. Of course, you will be able to find plenty of complaints and questions about every exchange — crypto exchanges are complex and platforms that are serving hundreds of thousands or even millions of users are bound to have some issues. 

However, you should be able to distinguish between different types of issues. Most importantly, if you see a large number of users complaining about issues with withdrawing their funds, that’s a major red flag and a sign that the exchange is not trustworthy.

History of security breaches

Cryptocurrency exchanges are extremely attractive targets for hackers. Cryptocurrencies are entirely digital, and transactions are irreversible. Combined with the fact that exchanges store hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars worth of cryptocurrency, it’s easy to see why hackers are working around the clock in an attempt to breach their security systems and gain access to their wallets.

Crypto exchange hacks are unfortunately quite a common occurrence, and even exchanges that are otherwise considered legitimate and safe have had some funds stolen in the past. However, if an exchange has suffered multiple hacking incidents, it’s probably best to stay away.

For exchanges that did suffer a security breach, it’s important to research how the matter was resolved. For example, Binance had about $40 million stolen from their wallets in 2019, but quickly reimbursed all affected users in full. 

Some exchanges such as Kraken and Coinbase have never suffered a security breach of their wallets. Exchanges that have been operating for an extended period of time without ever getting hacked are in the top tier when it comes to security.

The 5 safest crypto exchanges

Here’s our picks for the safest crypto exchanges you can access today. Please note that not every exchange is available to customers in all jurisdictions. For example, Binance and Bybit do not serve customers in the United States. Before you try to create an account with any exchange, make sure to check that they accept customers from your country.

  • Binance - The world’s most popular crypto exchange platform
  • Kraken - A US-based exchange with a spotless record on security
  • Coinbase - A reputable crypto exchange that’s publicly traded in the US
  • Bitstamp - One of the most established crypto exchanges on the market
  • Bybit - A solid crypto trading platform and a worthy alternative to Binance

1. Binance - The world’s most popular crypto exchange platform

Binance

Binance is the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange in terms of trading volume, and it also has the largest number of users among all exchanges. 

The reason why Binance is viewed by many as the best cryptocurrency exchange is that it offers a wide selection of trading products and lists hundreds of different cryptocurrencies.The exchange has earned its top spot in the cryptocurrency industry by successfully serving its users for almost six years now.

Notably, Binance maintains the Secure Asset Fund for Users (SAFU), which is an emergency fund designed to protect users in “extreme situations” such as hacks. Binance also publishes its proof of reserves to demonstrate that it holds enough crypto to cover all customer deposits.

While Binance is generally regarded as a very safe exchange to use, we have to highlight the fact that it did suffer a security breach. In 2019, hackers stole more than $40 million worth of Bitcoin from one of Binance’s wallets.

Thankfully, the exchange was able to cover the losses and all affected users were reimbursed in full. Since the incident in 2019, Binance has been keeping its wallets safe from unauthorized access.

Create Binance Account

2. Kraken - A US-based exchange with a spotless record on security

Kraken

Kraken is a cryptocurrency exchange that went live in 2013, which means that it’s one of the oldest crypto exchanges still in operation. 

While Kraken doesn’t list as many cryptocurrencies and trading products as rivals like Binance, its track record on security is pretty much spotless. In its decade of operation, Kraken has never suffered a security breach to its wallets. Kraken’s internal security procedures have earned the exchange a ISO/IEC 27001:2013 certification.

In terms of security features, Kraken also offers multiple 2-factor authentication options, provides email confirmations for key account actions, and keeps sensitive information encrypted at all times. If you do encounter any issues, the exchange has a highly regarded customer support team which will likely be able to help you.

If security is your highest priority when choosing a cryptocurrency exchange, it’s hard to go wrong with Kraken. However, you should keep in mind that the exchange might not list all the altcoins you might be interested in trading.

Create Kraken Account

3. Coinbase - A reputable crypto exchange that’s publicly traded in the US

Coinbase is a very popular cryptocurrency exchange that provides a very user friendly platform for buying and selling cryptocurrency. However, Coinbase doesn’t just cater to the mainstream, as it also provides a suite of tools for advanced cryptocurrency traders. 

Coinbase is another cryptocurrency exchange that has a stellar track record on security. Just like what we saw with Kraken, Coinbase’s wallets have never been hacked. This is especially impressive because Coinbase has been operating since 2012.

In addition, Coinbase is a publicly-traded company in the United States, which means that it has to be much more transparent about its business practices and financials than privately held companies (almost all other crypto exchanges are owned privately). 

Coinbase is arguably the best US crypto exchange, but Kraken is also an excellent choice for US customers and the choice between the two comes down to details.   

Create Coinbase Account

4. Bitstamp - One of the most established crypto exchanges on the market

Bitstamp

Bitstamp is a cryptocurrency exchange headquartered in Luxembourg. It was founded in 2011, which means that it’s one of the most established businesses in the crypto and blockchain industry. 

Over the years, Bitstamp has earned a strong reputation as a rock-solid and secure cryptocurrency exchange, although it has kept its product offering fairly conservative and doesn’t list as many coins as some of its competitors. 

95% of the cryptocurrency held by Bitstamp is in cold storage. Bitstamp uses bank-grade cryptocurrency custody solutions, and the custodians it uses have insurance on the assets they are safekeeping.

However, we need to mention that while Bitstamp’s track record on security is solid, it is not flawless. In 2015, hackers stole around $5 million worth of Bitcoin from the exchange. However, Bitstamp has kept its wallets safe ever since this security breach in 2015. 

Create Bitstamp Account

5. Bybit - A solid crypto trading platform and a worthy alternative to Binance 

Bybit

Bybit is a cryptocurrency exchange that launched in 2018 with a focus on crypto derivatives trading. In the years following its launch, Bybit has expanded its offering and now functions as a “standard” cryptocurrency exchange platform with spot trading and other services available as well. 

Bybit is similar to Binance in many ways, and can be considered a good Binance alternative, especially if you’re looking to trade crypto futures. In addition, it offers unique features such as copy trading and trading bots which are difficult to find on most other cryptocurrency exchanges. 

So far, Bybit has never suffered a security breach, which reflects very well on the company’s security controls. Bybit also publishes proof of reserves to demonstrate that it holds enough funds to cover all customer deposits.

Create Bybit Account

The bottom line 

Our list of the safest cryptocurrency exchanges is a good starting point if you’re deciding which crypto exchange is worth using. However, your choice of the best platform to buy cryptocurrency will ultimately depend on your specific needs. 

It’s worth keeping in mind that many crypto investors prefer not to keep their cryptocurrencies on exchanges, but instead store their coins themselves. If you want to self-custody your crypto, we recommend buying a hardware cryptocurrency wallet and a seed phrase backup device for maximum security.

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