Since the fall of FTX, centralised exchanges have been under scrutiny over the transparency of their operations. Now, users don’t just want a good exchange, they want the safest crypto exchange.
After years of using various exchanges, we have narrowed down the safest in the industry. This guide covers everything you need to know about the safest exchanges including how to spot them.
Looking for a quick answer? Here are our picks for the safest crypto exchanges to use.
1. eToro - Safest Overall Option
2. Binance - Safe Exchange with Global Reach
3. Skilling - Safest Core Trading Platform
4. Bitstamp - Military-Grade Security
5. OKX - Safest Exchange with Web3 Features
6. Coinbase - Best Regulated Exchange
7. Capital.com- Safest Crypto CFD Broker
8. Bitpanda - Safest European Exchange
No of Coins
FCA, CySEC, AFSL
FCA, CySEC, ASIC
0.025% - 2%
FMA, AMF, Czech Trade Authority
eToro is a global exchange available in over 200 countries with a user base of 25 million users. It leads the pack in various features like social investing, copy trading, and security measures.
We particularly like eToro because it has taken steps to ensure that it is compliant with several major regulatory bodies around the world. Because the exchange also offers more regulated securities like stocks and ETFs, it treads on the good side of law.
The exchange is licenced and certified by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK, the Cyprus Securities & Exchange Commission (CySEC) in Europe, the Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL) in Australia, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) in the US, as well as other lesser known agencies.
eToro has 11 years of strong service experience and are not embroiled in any investigations or legal quandaries like several crypto exchanges have been.
Deposits and withdrawals can be made through various means like credit cards, Skrill, Neteller, PayPal, and even crypto deposits. However, various geographical jurisdictions may restrict certain funding methods.
The minimum deposit is $10 while the maximum depends on the funding method, but can be unlimited for bank transfers. Withdrawals above $30 cost $5, while those below are free.
To learn more about this exchange, read our full eToro review.
Trade 63 of the most popular cryptocurrencies
$10 minimum deposit (UK and USA)
Social investing features
Regulated, with strong security
Easy to use
Unavailable in some countries
Not as many cryptocurrencies as some crypto-specific exchanges
Flexible payment methods
Large user base
Binance is the largest crypto exchange by volume. It has a collection of over 600 coins and supports more than 60 global currencies. It also runs the largest crypto peer-to-peer market in the world with over 200 supported payment methods.
As such, it is a great option for global users who may have issues with funding their crypto accounts, or residents of countries where cryptocurrencies are legally frowned upon.
Binance has taken steps to ensure that user funds remain safe, which include creating a Secure Asset Fund for Users (SAFU) to make users whole in cases of security breaches. The fund currently exceeds $1 billion.
The exchange also provides Binance Verify, a service that lets users check if queries or messages from actors claiming to be from Binance are genuine.
When it comes to regulations, the exchange holds licences in over 17 regions by various major regulatory bodies. The exchange also implements standard security measures like two-factor authentication (2FA).
To learn more, read our full Binance review here.
Low trading fees
Large coin selection
Advanced trading tools
24/7 chat support
Restricted in the US and Ontario
Has faced several regulatory hurdles
Large daily trade volume
Segregated accounts for Futures, Spot, and Margin trading
High Leverage options for Futures
Fast execution speeds
Large p2p marketplace
Skilling is a platform built for traders. It offers Contracts for Differences (CFDs) on various crypto pairs, stocks, and commodities at low spreads. It is a great option for users who wish to trade cryptos but are not keen on ownership.
We like Skilling because it is not a traditional crypto exchange, so its regulatory structure is more traditional and straightforward. The broker is split into two legal entities: Skilling (Seychelles) Limited and Skilling LTD.
Skilling Seychelles Limited is geared towards non EU users and is regulated by the Financial Authority (FSA) of Seychelle while Skilling LTD is licenced by the Cyprus Securities Exchange Commission (CySEC).
Once you create and verify your account, you get access to 50x leverage on all instruments with a low 2% margin requirement. You also enjoy flexible funding methods including bank cards, Skrill, Neteller, PayPal, and cryptocurrency.
Read our full Skillings review.
Cheap Bitcoin spreads
2% margin requirement
Highly secure and well regulated
1:50 leverage facility
Supports crypto deposits
Minimum deposit higher than others
Flexible funding methods
Secure and regulated by multiple agencies
Intuitive user interface
Bitstamp is an exchange known for its security features. The age-old exchange is one of the longest standing in the industry and implements military grade technology to safeguard user funds.
It also stores 95% of user funds in cold wallets away from the internet while encrypting user data. Depositors within the EU also get insurance for funds stored on the exchange’s cold wallet.
The exchange also maintains a crimes insurance policy that protects users’ funds from third-party crime related activities. The policy protects funds online and in transit on Bitstamp’s platforms.
Bitstamp is made up of three legal entities i.e., Bitstamp Europe S.A, Bitstamp Ltd, and Bitstamp USA Inc. The European entity is licenced by the Luxembourg Financial Regulator (CSSF), the UK entity is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), while the US entity has a Bit Licence by the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS).
Once users create and verify their accounts, they can deposit using secure legacy methods like credit cards, and Google and Apple Pay.
To learn more, read our full Bitstamp review.
Regulated by the CSSF
Implements military-grade security
Low minimum deposit requirement
Transparent fee schedule
High trade fees for smaller amounts
Top notch security
Dedicated trading terminal
Fast execution speed
OKX is an exchange that doubles as a Web3 gateway to users in various countries. It offers a holistic crypto experience as traders can use its suite of tools to trade various cryptos and derivatives while Web3 natives can use the wallet and portal to explore NFTs, games, and more.
The exchange’s services are delivered by two different legal entities, namely OKX Bahamas, a Bahamian company, and Aux Cayes, a Seychelle company. OKX Bahamas renders services to residents of Mexico while Aux Cayes renders services to the rest of the world.
OKX Bahamas is registered as a Digitals Assets Business with the Bahamian authorities while Aux Cayes is registered as a digital trading platform in Seychelle and offers various crypto derivatives.
The exchange adheres to KYC and AML guidelines and also implements two-factor authentication as an added extra security layer.
To further enhance security, the exchange does not offer traditional deposit methods. To deposit funds, you either buy crypto with a credit card or deposit crypto to your account. Withdrawals work in a similar fashion.
Deposit support for up to 30 fiat currencies
Access to a range of crypto services like DeFi, NFTs, and games
Dedicated customer support
Robust derivatives market
Limited deposit and withdrawal options
Supports over 300 cryptocurrencies
Third-party payment integration
Web3 game and NFT integrations
Coinbase is a US based exchange that is known for being easy to use, making it a great starting point for crypto newbies. However, it is also one of the safest exchanges to use because of its relationship with regulators.
Coinbase is the only exchange that is also a publicly traded company. As such, it is compliant with several financial regulations. It is also the only exchange that consulted with regulators before launch, giving them a full view of their business processes.
The US exchange got an “ok” from the SEC and has stood in their good graces since. Their account creation processes, KYC and AML guidelines, and their deposit methods are limited to regulated providers.
The exchange is also registered in various states in the US and holds a Money Transmitter licence in most of these jurisdictions.
Furthermore, the exchange uses cold wallets to store the bulk of user deposits and provides FDIC insurance of up to $250,000 per account for US users.
To open an account, you must pass KYC by submitting valid ID and proof of address documents.
To learn more about Coinbbase’s processes, read our full Coinbase review.
Largest crypto selection in the United States at 170+
Intuitive platform perfect for beginners
Small trade sizes to test before using capital
Low transaction fees
Has a mobile app
Fees not as low as some competitors in the US
Not suitable for users in remote regions without access to popular payment methods
Crypto-backed debit card
Capital.com is a global broker that offers Contracts for Differences (CFDs) for various asset classes like stocks, currency pairs, commodities, and metals, across various markets, including cryptocurrency.
Capital.com is not like traditional cryptocurrency exchanges as it does not offer crypto assets. its CFDs track the prices of crypto assets but are otherwise traditional regulated instruments.
The broker is regulated in the UK, Australia, and Europe by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the Australian Investment Commission (ASIC), and the Cyprus Securities Exchange Commission (CySEC), respectively.
KYC and AML guidelines are pretty standard in its operating procedure as new account holders must submit valid IDs and proof of address documents before being granted access to a full account.
Capital.com offers over 456 cryptocurrency contracts for most major fiat currencies and crypto crosses and charges variable spreads on its crypto CFDs.
Funding is through traditional, regulated means like credit cards, bank transfers, or PayPal and is free for a minimum of $20 deposit.
To learn more, read our full Capital.com review.
Highly regulated broker
Low minimum deposit of $20
Multiple payment channels available
No deposit or withdrawal fees on the broker side
Not available to US clients
Does not provide account insurance
Crypto CFDs are not available for UK residents
Cross-platform trading terminal
Flexible funding options
Bitpanda is a European fintech firm that runs an investment platform with cryptocurrency options. It is not a regular crypto exchange, instead it is a traditional investment platform that allows users to invest in cryptocurrency.
As such, its regulatory framework is more straightforward as the rules guiding fintechs and investment platforms are clearcut. Bitpanda is licensed and regulated by the Financial Market Authority (FMA) Austria, the French Autorité Des Marchés Financiers (AMF), and the Czech Trade Authority.
Its suite of crypto investment offerings include spot cryptocurrencies and crypto indices that cover various sectors and are composed of top tokens in specific sectors. An example of these indices include the BCI DeFi Leaders which tracks the top 5 DeFi tokens.
To open an account, you must also pass KYC requirements by submitting a valid ID and a proof of address document showing that you live within the EU.
To learn more about Bitpanda, read our full Bitpanda review.
Highly secure and regulated
Simple, easy-to-use platform
Conventional interface, familiar to traditional investors
Low €25 minimum deposit and withdrawal requirement
Low limit order fees
Conversion fee applied to non-EUR deposits
Withdrawal is via bank account only
Innovative crypto indices
Portfolio management features
There are various factors that contribute or remove from an exchange’s overall safety, and regulatory bodies usually have their own frameworks for determining which exchanges are safe.
Nonetheless, some factors are universal, and their presence (or absence) are a proverbial thumbs up to exchanges that have them. Some of these factors are.
A bug bounty is a deal to pay programmers or hackers a reward for any flaws they find in a software system. It is usually offered by software companies in a bid to get an extra pair of eyes to scrutinise their systems.
These companies leverage the expertise of the general public to find flaws that their programmers or security experts may have missed.
Note that the presence of a bug bounty program does not, in itself, prevent hacks. Instead, it de-incentivises any would-be hackers from breaching systems for malicious purposes by promising to reward them if they just point out the flaw.
Publicly traded companies have a higher degree of safety than private ones, legally speaking. This is because any company looking to go public must undergo thorough regulatory checks beforehand.
That a company is being traded on a stock exchange, especially in the US, means that it is fully compliant with industry regulations and is less likely to be hit with lawsuits from regulators.
Two-factor authentication is an added layer of security on top of a strong password. It involves using an authenticator software to generate access codes to your account. Usually, the authenticator application is on your mobile device.
Without the access codes, which change every 30 seconds or so, your account cannot be accessed even if your password is known. Exchanges that implement 2FA are safer than those that do not.
FDIC insurance is an insurance cover from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation that insures up to $250,000 in deposits per account holder per bank in the US. It is usually extended to banks and savings accounts as a countermeasure to protect depositors on the off chance that banks become insolvent.
Some exchanges, like Coinbase, offer deposit insurance. However, most crypto exchanges do not. Some exchanges have their own insurance policies, like Binance’s SAFU funds to help replenish consumers in case of a hack.
The way exchanges store user assets has a significant bearing on how safe these assets are. Most exchanges on this list that handle real crypto assets use a combination of hot and cold wallets to store users' crypto.
The industry practice is to store a larger percentage of user funds in cold wallets. Bitstamp, for example, stores 95% of user deposits in cold wallets.
Safe exchanges usually have active customer care agents. For example, Binance has phone, email, and live chat support for account holders, so do several exchanges.
Poor customer service could hint at other internal processes being poor, which could lead to widespread organisational issues, especially for international exchanges.
An exchange should be licenced in all the jurisdictions it operates in. Usually, you’ll find that exchanges operate two or more legal entities in various regions that give them the authority to offer services to people within that region.
Skilling, for example, operates two legal entities that allow it to offer services to users in various regions. Also, exchanges expressly state the regions that are restricted while some block IP addresses from said regions.
The safest exchange in the US in terms of security measures and regulatory compliance is Coinbase because of its status as a publicly traded company.
The US has some of the most stringent financial regulations and thorough vetting processes, especially for companies in the financial industry. That Coinbase is a publicly traded company means that it already passed several checks from regulatory bodies.
It also means that their filings are all up to standard and that they continue to fulfil legal and security conditions that bind publicly traded companies like financial filings. Considering that Coinbase is the only publicly traded crypto exchange, it is in a better position, legally, than others.
Crypto wallets used to store coins are either hot or cold, and this applies to exchanges as well. The major difference between these two wallets is how they store cryptocurrencies, and we will dive into the differences, however we must first clarify an important aspect of how a wallet works.
A crypto wallet does not store cryptocurrencies the way a regular wallet stores cash. In practice, cryptocurrencies never leave the blockchain, they are always stored on the blockchain.
Your crypto wallet is a set of keys that point to a certain location on the blockchain where people can send funds to and grants control over the funds in that specific location. These keys are called the public and private keys.
A public key is a crypto address, i.e, the “location” that people can send coins to, while the private key is what grants control or access to the funds at that location.
The major difference between hot and cold wallets is where those keys are stored. A hot wallet stores keys on a device that is connected to the internet, like a laptop or mobile phone.
While this allows you to easily access your crypto, it also creates an attack vector because your device can be infected with malware as long as it is connected to the internet.
A cold wallet, on the other hand, stores your private keys on a secure chip away from the internet. At no point is this chip connected to the internet, hence, it is almost impossible for attackers to send malware to infect the chip and steal your keys.
However, a drawback to cold wallets is that they do not allow easy access to your crypto as you’ll have to connect your hardware chip to your computer or phone anytime you wish to move funds.
Most exchanges use a combination of cold and hot wallets to store user funds. Cold wallets store the bulk of the fund aways from hackers, while hot wallets store a fraction to be used on a daily basis to trade and carry out other types of transactions.
We’ll cover how to buy crypto on the safest exchange on our list, eToro.
Go to the eToro website and create an account by clicking on the Start investing icon. You can also create an account on the mobile app from the Play Store/App Store. Fill out the form with your full name, email address, and password.
Complete verification by setting up your profile and submitting KYC documents like a valid government ID and proof of residence.
Once your account has been verified, deposit some funds using any of the available payment methods. Set the amount you’d like to deposit.
Once your account is funded, you can search for various cryptos in the Discover tab. An interface like the one below should load. You can then set your parameters and buy.
Robinhood to allow customers buy crypto directly from within dApps and wallets.
We explored the safest crypto exchanges in the industry and chose eToro as our overall safest option because of the strides it has made to stay compliant with regulations, its many years of strong service delivery, and its vibrant investor community.
Nonetheless, the exchanges on our list are all safe options. The best option for you may not be the same as our best option, and that’s fine. For example, if you live within the US, the safest option may be Coinbase instead of eToro.
Alternatively, if your primary goal is to trade crypto, then brokers like Skilling or Capital.com may be the safest choice for you.
The exchanges covered in this guide were chosen through rigorous testing, research, and reviews. We paid attention to security, transparency, reputation, regulatory compliance, and licences.
The platforms listed are the best we found in the various categories we listed them. For example, we found that Bitpanda was the safest choice for local European users so we named it the safest option for Europeans.
Check out our why trust us and how we test pages for more information on our testing process.
No cryptocurrency exchange is 100% safe because nothing that is connected to the internet is completely secure. However, the ones on our list continue to make strides to ensure that they are one step ahead of would-be attackers.
The highest form of safety you can get from personal wallets is from a cold wallet, like the Ledger Nano. Unfortunately, even that isn’t 100% because it is not fool proof. Mistakes on the part of the user can still lead to losses.
According to our list, Binance is safer for global users as they are at the forefront of crypto exchanges. They also have insurance funds and a robust bug bounty program.
Coinbase runs a custody service aimed at just that. While keeping crypto on exchanges is not generally advised, if you must, it's safer to engage the custody services of the exchange, if it has one.
This way, all your funds are kept in secure vaults or cold wallets.