Aug 13, 2020
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Understanding the Different Types of Cryptocurrency Exchanges

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By AsianMarketCap Official on The Capital

If you plan on investing in Bitcoin or in an altcoin, then finding the right place to buy and sell the coins is the first crucial step. As Bitcoin goes mainstream, lots of companies are cropping up offering a new exchange. To date, there are hundreds of cryptocurrency exchanges available to users nowadays.

These exchanges are basically classified into four types:

1. Fiat-to-crypto exchanges

2. Crypto-to-crypto exchanges

3. Peer-to-peer exchanges

4. Broker exchanges

This article aims to give you a basic understanding of each of these 4 types of exchanges.

Fiat-to-Crypto Exchanges

These are the exchanges that allow you to buy a cryptocurrency using your fiat money (i.e. USD, GBP, Euro, etc). These are most popular with those who aren’t familiar with the cryptocurrency market because it allows for easy access to the cryptocurrency of their choice without much hassle and stress.

Here are the best and most popular exchanges for turning your fiat money into virtual currencies hassle-free.


This is regarded as a social trading network and offers copy trading, with the option of switching fiat to cryptocurrencies to come shortly. eToro is a slick, reputable cryptocurrency broker exchange that is trusted by many users around the planet due to it being regarded and never having suffered a security breach to date.


This is considered to be the world’s biggest Bitcoin exchange and one of the best fiat-to-crypto exchange options. It is also ideal for newbies in cryptocurrencies because it is easy to use and it’s secure.

Crypto-to-Crypto Exchanges

These exchanges will only allow you to buy one cryptocurrency using another. They offer cryptocurrency trading pairs. This means that you will need to buy a cryptocurrency on a fiat — crypto exchange and then send it to the wallet of the crypto — crypto exchange before exchanging for the coin you want to buy in the first place.

This is normally recommended for more experienced traders who are actively trading between coins to profit quickly or alternatively want to buy less popular altcoins. Unlike fiat-to-crypto exchanges which allow you to buy cryptocurrency directly with fiat currencies, crypto-to-crypto exchanges let you purchase cryptocurrency using another cryptocurrency that’s already in your crypto wallet.

Here are the popular crypto-to-crypto exchanges.


Binance has rapidly become one of the biggest crypto-to-crypto exchanges in the world, with a decentralized exchange designed to process more crypto-crypto transactions at volume than any other platform. It is relatively new in the market having been established in mid-2017. However, due to the considerable backing of some of the biggest names in cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, it is now a platform worth up to $2 billion.


Established in 2014 by a group of online security specialists with a keen passion for crypto assets, Bittrex rapidly became one of the leading crypto-to-crypto exchanges for American customers due to its position as a fully US-regulated and compliant portal. All new sign-ups to Bittrex benefit from having their funds stored in cold storage, further enhancing the security and integrity of this brand. It has no limit on deposit sizes and it has industry-leading security features.

Peer-to-Peer Exchanges

Peer-to-peer exchanges are those that simply match a buyer with a seller and will not take the other side of a trade. They aren’t any different from fiat-to-crypto exchanges or crypto-to-crypto exchanges. In both settings, you’re buying or selling cryptocurrencies with other people. However, inside peer-to-peer exchanges, you know the person you’re trading with.

They will normally offer an escrow service so that there is reduced counterparty risk for both buyer and seller. Peer-to-peer exchanges are a great way to trade because they link back to the fundamentals of blockchain technology which is to remove the central authority so that people could exchange funds with each other. Peer-to-peer crypto exchanges are no less safe than their counterparts. The only thing you need to take care of is the person you’re dealing with. Fortunately, the best peer-to-peer crypto exchanges rate users and allow you to assess their credentials before you agree to a trade.

Broker Exchanges

Brokerages are not technically an exchange like fiat-to-crypto exchange or peer-to-peer exchange, because they do not allow you to own the underlying cryptocurrency.

With a cryptocurrency broker site, you can buy and sell Bitcoin as well as other popular virtual coins. In addition to being it somewhat safer, investing at a broker is easier because you don’t need to set up a wallet for each cryptocurrency you’re interested in. On the contrary, you can start right away. You don’t need to be an expert on cryptos, on investing or on using trading platforms to get going.

What they offer is a CFD product, which allows you to speculate on the price of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies without being exposed to the same risks that exchanges offer. The main risk being that they are unregulated, whilst brokers must follow a strict set of rules laid out by the regulatory body they have a license with.

Here are the best brokers.

24 Option

24 Option started out by offering FOREX and binary trading to its users. It is now fully regulated and offers a range of cryptocurrencies on investments like CFDs. The mobile app lets you carry out mobile trading wherever you are. It has a secure site; it has never been hacked and offers 24/7 trading.


The XTrade site is a CFD and forex broker that includes the likes of Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, and Ripple coin in a fairly lengthy list of currencies that they offer trading possibilities on. It is regulated by CySEC. It is easy to use and it has an intuitive platform.


Asian Market Cap is not personally recommending any specific exchange. We are only giving you an overview of the types of cryptocurrency exchanges and citing some popular exchanges for each type. Players in the cryptocurrency field are always encouraged to do their due diligence before betting on their money.

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Understanding the Different Types of Cryptocurrency Exchanges was originally published in The Capital on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


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