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Crypto Exchange Methodology

At CryptoVantage we believe crypto should be for everyone and that begins with safe, secure and highly functional products.

Almost everyone’s crypto journey begins with opening an account at a crypto exchange but the range of quality between exchanges is vast. All writers and editors at CryptoVantage use crypto every day and bring a wealth of first-hand experience to all our reviews.

Of course not everyone will have the same needs from their crypto exchange or wallet so we’ve developed a rigorous set of standards for our review. On this page we’ll take a look at the 30+ different points of criteria that go into our reviews.


Security & Transparency


Security should be the single most important factor for any crypto exchange. There’s no point opening an account on a crypto exchange if you can’t trust them with your crypto. Here are some of the qualities were are looking for:

Crypto exchanges should be transparent in their balance sheet. While not every exchange will list every asset on the balance, it helps if they have proof of reserves. Even better is if the exchange is publicly listed, which gives a profound insight into the business.

It’s been proven time and time again that crypto should be stored offline in so-called cold storage. The best crypto exchanges will store the majority of their crypto in cold storage.

It’s always a good sign if a crypto exchange has managed to get proper licensing in numerous countries. Independent certifications or audits are another good sign when it comes to security.

Some exchanges have stood the test of time with very few incidents. Others constantly struggle with hacks and misuse of funds. It’s easy to understand which one we prefer.

Two-factor authentication (especially the non-SMS) kind is one of the single best ways to get more security than a flimsy password. The best exchanges have advanced 2FA.

Every crypto exchange worth its salt will have advanced encryption technology to keep their assets safe.

Funding options

Funding Options

Funding options

Funding a crypto account for the first time can be one of the most difficult aspects of getting involved with crypto and we give high marks to the exchanges that make the process simple. The following are the most-preferred methods of depositing:

Bank transfers like ACH in the USA or SEPA in Europe are often considered the gold standard for funding a crypto exchange account to buy crypto. The transfers are slow (generally 1-3 days) but the fees are exceptionally low (or non-existent).

If you’re looking to get crypto fast than nothing beats a debit or credit card system. The fees are relatively high but you should receive your crypto nearly instantly.

Wire transfers usually take a day or two and banks charge a considerable amount for them but they are useful for buying large amounts of crypto.

Crypto is a unique funding method for exchange accounts because you’re not concerned with buying crypto for the first time. Instead you are looking to trade. Any good crypto exchange will offer both crypto deposits and withdrawals.

There are a large variety of different payment processors for crypto including the likes of PayPal, Neteller, Skrill, Apple Pay and more. The more options the better.

Crypto fees


Crypto fees

No one likes paying fees but they are even more important to certain types of crypto users. High-volume traders will need exceptionally low fees or it will cut into their bottom line. On the other hand a user who just plans to buy one lump-sum of crypto might not care about paying a one-time fee if it guarantees they get crypto in a fast and secure manner. Regardless, we rank exchange’s fees based on their fairness. Here’s a look at the factors we assess:

Buying crypto on an exchange will generally have some fee whether it’s a flat rate, percentage rate or built into the spread (the price of a particular crypto).

Similar to buying crypto, selling will generally have some fee whether it’s a flat rate, percentage rate or built into the spread. Generally flat rates are less common for selling.

Funding an exchange is a little different than buying crypto. Generally you first fund your account before making purchases. Generally funding an account is cheap or free depending on your method.

Crypto exchanges generally charge a small fee when you withdraw crypto in addition to the regular network fees attached to a particular coin.

If you’re a high-volume trader then you’ll want to pay close attention to Maker/Taker fees. These are the small fees that you’ll pay when making a trade but they add up over time.

Customer Support

Customer Support

Customer Support

Customer support is exceptionally important when dealing with an asset class as complex as cryptocurrency. Here are some of the factors that go into reviewing customer support.

No one wants to be left waiting when they have crypto held up in some capacity. Quality customer service should always reply within a day and ideally you should get a response within a few days.

Some exchanges attempt to go cheap by outsourcing their customer support and making it difficult to get a clear answer. The best customer support teams are friendly AND knowledgeable.

Most crypto exchange customers prefer a wide range of options for reaching customer support. These are the options we rank highest:

  • Phone
  • Live chat
  • Email
  • Social media
  • FAQ
Customer support

Software & UX

Customer support

Good software is an underrated aspect of cryptocurrency exchanges. A crypto exchange with bad software can make the customer experience lousy or even lose money in certain cases. Here are the most important factors:

  • Intuitive interface
  • A solid interface will make everything easier for users including buying, selling and trading cryptocurrency.
  • Useful dashboard
  • Good exchanges have useful dashboards that will show market conditions, the state of your portfolio and more.
  • Live trading display
  • Crypto exchanges that are positioned for high-volume traders will have advanced trading dashboards that provide a diverse set of metrics.
  • Responsive software
Mobile support

Mobile Support

Mobile support

These days there are just as many mobile users as desktop users. It’s important for exchanges to have viable mobile apps for people who prefer to do their trading on a smaller device.

Good crypto exchanges must have mobile apps for both Android and iOS. No one should be left out because of their OS of choice.

A glitchy mobile app doesn’t provide much value to users. Software should still be responsive and usable when making mobile trades.

A good mobile app will incorporate most of the features of the desktop software.

There are some features that will only work on desktop software and its important that apps are designed with a mobile-first approach.

Cryptocurrency selections

Selection of Digital Assets

Cryptocurrency selections

There are thousands of different crypto tokens and many users like to build a diverse digital asset portfolio. A crypto exchange with just or or two coins will be a non-starter for many users. Here’s a look at how we rate a selection of digital assets:

You can’t be a legitimate crypto exchange without offering the biggest crypto of them all.

While Ethereum’s Ether token is second to Bitcoin in market cap, it offers support for DeFi, NFTs, stablecoins and more. There’s no Web3 without Ethereum.

Stablecoins offer stability in the exceptionally volatile world of cryptocurrency. They are absolutely essential for trading.

Then there’s everything else from Cardano to Solana. These are growing ecosystems that may play big roles in the future. Many up-and-coming coins concentrate on different use cases with lightning-fast speed and low fees.

Other Features

Other Features

Other Features

Not everything on a crypto exchanges fits into one of the broad categories and there are certain features that some exchanges can boast as all their own. Here’s a look at some of the extra features we may review on exchanges:

An exchange-branded credit card can help bridge the gap between the real and digital world with an easy way to make purchases with crypto or even earn crypto rewards.

Some crypto exchanges offer comprehensive education resources that will help users get a handle on everything related to blockchain.

Non-Functionable Tokens (or NFTs) are a somewhat controversial subject in crypto but some users can’t get enough of them. Some crypto exchanges offer complete NFTs marketplaces.

Certain crypto exchanges will offer advanced trading features like margin trading that lets users potentially take advantage of leverage to increase profits. These features are only for advanced users.

Some exchanges will offer standalone decentralized wallets. That means you can withdraw to these wallets (usually the process is streamlined) and the exchange no longer has any access to your crypto.

What Happens if a Crypto Exchange Fails Our Review Process?

On occasion there will be exchanges that don’t make it through CryptoVantage’s rigorous review process and will be de-listed from our toplists.

Here are a number of different factors that might contribute to an exchange being de-listed by CryptoVantage:

  • Technical issues or hacks
  • Improper usage of customer funds
  • Unethical fee model
  • Switching business model to exclude digital assets
  • Insider trading
  • Bad customer service
Arthur Crowson

About the Author

Arthur Crowson

Arthur Crowson is an award-winning writer and editor who hails from the Pacific Northwest. His career began in traditional news media but he transitioned to online media in the mid-2000s and has written extensively about the online poker boom and the rise of cryptocurrency.

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