What lies behind the cryptocurrency exchange meaning? What types of crypto exchanges exist, and how do they work? How to find a reputable crypto exchange and what factors to consider when choosing?

Take a look at our comprehensive guide on digital currency exchange platforms to get your answers. We’ll talk about the main advantages and disadvantages of crypto exchanges, as well as the factors by which they differ from crypto wallets.

What Is a Crypto Exchange?

Crypto exchanges are online platforms where users can trade, buy, and sell cryptocurrencies. These exchanges can be centralized or decentralized. The former are not managed by entities, while the latter are under the control of certain companies, such as Coinbase or Robinhood, as well as Binance and Kraken.

In short, crypto exchanges are intermediaries that enable secure online transactions of crypto assets. Crypto exchange development also greatly affects the crypto ecosystem.

Types Of Crypto Exchanges

a bitcoin in a wallet

There are three types of crypto exchanges — centralized, decentralized, and hybrid crypto exchanges. Here’s how they differ and what are their main advantages and disadvantages.

Centralized Crypto Exchange

Centralized crypto exchanges are also known as CEX. CEX are online platforms that work similarly to stock exchanges. They serve as a middle-man between buyers and sellers. 

These platforms are managed by a company that holds the private keys of its clients. Centralized exchanges support a large number of cryptocurrencies. They offer fast transactions, and they have high liquidity.

What are the major downsides of centralized exchanges? They are more prone to security breaches.


  • User-friendly interface
  • Higher liquidity


  • Vulnerability to hacks
  • Service fees

Decentralized Crypto Exchange

Decentralized cryptocurrency exchanges are also known as DAX. On these platforms, users trade their assets without intermediaries. This means that trades are based on automated algorithms or smart contracts. 

On DAX platforms, users don’t have to share their private keys, which means that all trades are anonymous. DAX platforms also charge lower fees because they allow direct trading between buyers and sellers. The main disadvantage of decentralized exchanges is slow transactions.


  • Smaller fees
  • Anonymous trades


  • Lower liquidity
  • Slower transactions

Hybrid Crypto Exchange

The goal of hybrid cryptocurrency exchanges is to combine the features of the CEX and DAX platforms. This means that hybrid crypto platforms are user-friendly. They provide fast transactions and anonymity.

On these exchanges, users have control over their assets. They also offer higher liquidity and they follow cryptocurrency regulations, which makes them safe to use.


  • Asset diversity
  • Improved liquidity


  • Relatively new
  • Prone to market manipulation

How Do Crypto Exchanges Work?

A blockchain exchange allows people to use fiat to buy cryptocurrencies and vice versa, as well as to trade one crypto coin for another. They can also be used to withdraw cryptocurrencies in the form of money. How to exchange cryptocurrency? To buy or sell cryptocurrencies, users must place an order. Exchanges will then place these orders in their order book. 

There are two main types of orders — market and limit. The former refers to trading at the best market prices, while the latter refers to trading at a better price.

How do crypto exchanges make money? The largest crypto exchanges make money by charging trading fees, withdrawal fees, and listing fees. However, they can also make money through affiliate programs, crypto loans, and by issuing their native tokens. The best example of a crypto exchange token is Binance’s BNB token.

How Does Cryptocurrency Trading Work?

Crypto trading refers to buying and selling crypto assets for profit. To start trading crypto, users must open a CFD account. CFD accounts allow investors to buy and sell crypto coins that they believe will rise or drop in value. The prices of cryptocurrencies will be listed in traditional currencies, and investors won’t be able to take ownership of them.

Investors can also open a long position if they want to trade at the purchase price or a short position if they want to trade below the market value.

You can trade with different types of cryptocurrencies, from BTC to ETH. Each cryptocurrency will have its exchange rate. But what does the exchange rate mean in Bitcoin? The BTC value is usually quoted as an exchange of one bitcoin to the US dollar.

What Important Factors Should You Consider When Choosing a Cryptocurrency Exchange?

To find the best crypto exchange that will meet all your needs, pay attention to the following factors:

  • Security: Security is one of the main factors that you must pay attention to. This is especially important since unregulated crypto exchanges are more prone to hacks. On that note, choose an exchange that uses strict security measures, like 2FA and multi-signature wallets. Also, make sure that the platform stores your funds in top cold storage wallets.
  • Ease of use: Give preference to exchanges that have a user-friendly interface, offer a large number of cryptocurrencies, fast transactions, and high liquidity. Likewise, go with platforms that have dedicated mobile apps.
  • Fees: Create an account on crypto exchanges that impose fair exchange fees. To find this information, check the Fee Schedule page.
  • Reputation: Opt for platforms that have been in business for a long time and are known for their reliable services. Read reviews from other users and make sure that the company complies with the laws and regulations of your country.
  • Customer support: Find crypto exchanges that offer multiple communication channels, from 24/7 live chat to phone and email support. Good customer service must be quick to respond, competent, and professional.

Pros and Cons of Crypto Exchanges

Crypto exchanges come with the following advantages and disadvantages:



You can use them to buy, sell, store, and exchange cryptocurrencies

Vulnerable to hacks and price manipulation

Centralized crypto exchanges provide fast transactions

Regulatory concerns

Decentralized crypto exchanges offer anonymous trades

Fee-based models

Investors can use them to make a profit by trading their crypto assets

Decentralized exchanges don’t allow fiat payments

Crypto exchanges offer high liquidity

Hybrid platforms offer limited trading pairs

Difference Between Crypto Wallet and Exchange

Here are the main differences between crypto wallets and crypto exchanges:

Crypto Wallets

Crypto Exchanges

Used for sending and receiving crypto

Marketplaces that allow buying, selling, and trading crypto assets

They typically utilize private keys

Private keys are utilized only by centralized exchanges

Users can control their funds

The exchange is responsible for holding funds
Must be linked to the exchange

Users can utilize exchange-based wallets


Digital currency exchange platforms are suitable for people who want to buy, sell, store, or trade their crypto assets. What makes them lucrative are fast transactions, anonymous trades, and high liquidity. The best crypto exchanges will have a user-friendly interface, utilize strict security systems, and offer competitive fees.

That said, their main disadvantages are vulnerability to cyber attacks, price manipulations, and regulatory issues.


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