With the increase in acceptance of the crypto universe across the world and the increase in the value of cryptocurrency, the number of crypto trading exchanges or platforms has also been increasing. Over the decade, several crypto exchange platforms have emerged to offer users an easy and hassle-free experience of crypto trading.
Even though the concept of dealing with crypto and its trading might seem complicated and certain scams exist, these crypto trading platforms have been working and constantly evolving to offer easy and secure means of trade to users.
When you purchase or sell digital assets (NFTs, tokens, coins, etc.) through an exchange platform to earn profits from the underlying asset’s differing value, it is referred to as crypto trading. The process also includes the speculation of the price movements of the asset through a CFD (contract for difference) trading account. The process of crypto trading is generally more of a short-term phenomenon, where the transactions are rather short-term based, spanning over weeks, days, hours, or even minutes.
Cryptocurrency Exchange refers to an online platform for crypto trading. It acts as an intermediary that brings the buyers and sellers of the cryptocurrencies to one base where they can freely purchase or sell their assets in simple ways. With the help of these platforms, users can trade their assets in exchange for digital as well as fiat currencies.
Via these platforms, users can deposit money through several methods like direct bank transfers, net banking, P2P, etc., all for a minimal commission or fee for every transaction they make through the services offered by these platforms.
The different types of cryptocurrency exchange platforms include:
- Centralized Exchanges (CEX)
- Decentralized Exchanges (DEX)
- Hybrid Exchanges (HEX)
Types of Crypto Trading Charges or Fees
Before looking for the best free crypto trading platforms, let’s take a look at the different types of crypto trading fees levied by different exchanges. If you are acquainted with the crypto industry and have dealt with cryptocurrencies even once, you must be aware that the concept of ‘free’ or ‘no-fee’ crypto exchange is elusory.
Crypto transactions occur at monetary costs, even if the cost is minimal. It makes no sense from the business point of view for any crypto exchange platform to bear these costs on behalf of the traders. For instance, if you perform an Ethereum transaction, why would the crypto trading platform cover the gas fee levied on that transaction?
While the crypto trading platforms are quite popular and useful for users who are indulging in purchasing, selling, or staking their funds, these exchanges are not absolutely free. All of them levy some costs for your transactions on top of the price of the crypto you are trading. This free is, in fact, quite critical to the revenue model of these exchange platforms.
Given below is a list of some of the most common types of fees that you might have to come across while trading crypto assets on any crypto trading exchange:
Any cryptocurrency exchange platform you use to trade your crypto assets acts as an intermediary between traders indulging in purchasing or selling the crypto assets. In exchange for this service, these platforms charge fees from market makers and takers for every transaction they make using the platform. The fee levied from market makers is referred to as the makers’ fee, and that levied from the latter is known as the takers’ fee.
Market makers are the ones who place an order that goes on the order book either fully or partially. For instance, a limit order- any subsequent trades coming from that order will be maker trades. Such orders add volume to the order book and assist them in making the market.
On the other hand, Market takers are the traders that place orders immediately before going on the order book (that take liquidity from the order book), irrespective of whether they fulfill the order partially or fully.
If the exchange is not charging the maker or taker fees, it would generally charge spread fees. One can determine the spread fee by calculating the difference between the actual market cost of a token (like BTC or ETH) and the amount one paid to purchase or sell it. The average spread may differ depending on the exchange platform you use. However, in most cases, it is usually around 0.5%.
Certain crypto trading platforms charge both exchanges and spread fees from the users. For example, Coinbase and Swiftx. While this is not a common practice, you might pay a whopping amount of fees if you are unaware of the breakdown of the fees that the exchanges levy on you.
Deposit and withdrawal fees
If you own crypto, purchase it, or borrow it, you might want to withdraw it. And while you might think that withdrawing your funds from these platforms might be free, this is often not the case. Some of the most popular and major trading exchanges charge fees if you wish to withdraw funds. The fees might vary depending on your chosen platform or crypto asset you want to withdraw. Some of the less valuable and popular coins can even be withdrawn for free.
While the deposit fee is one of the least common fees compared to all the fee types discussed here, the concept is not rare. The exchanges would charge you for depositing your crypto funds and holding them in the platform’s wallets. The charge levied will differ based on the type of deposit.
Every single cryptocurrency or asset is based on the fundamental blockchain network. The miners or the validators of this blockchain constantly have to validate the authenticity of every transaction. In return for their contributors, the network pays these validators or miners. Every time a transaction occurs on any crypto trading platform, users must pay a certain amount.
This amount covers the cost incurred on that particular transaction on the blockchain. However, the exchange platforms do not set this fee as their choice. This network fee is the market rate for verifying each transaction on the blockchain. You will have to pay the network fee even if you choose a ‘no-fee’ crypto trading platform or a crypto exchange.
Over the past few years, staking has become one of the most popular features of several crypto exchange platforms. In simple terms, staking can be defined as the phenomenon where the users put up a part of their crypto funds as collateral in the Proof-of-stake or proof-of-delegated-stake process.
In turn, you can earn a recurring passive income. However, these trading platforms charge what is called staking fees. This fee is taken from the staking rewards you earn and is not levied as an extra charge. The staking fee charged might either be free across the board or vary per the token being staked. However, some platforms do not levy staking fees on the users.
While there is no foolproof method to get rid of the entire trading fees and avail absolutely free services, there are some ways by which you can reduce this fee to a minimum. A couple of such strategies that you can use to curtail maximum fees include:
Buy Crypto With Crypto
For obvious reasons, those new to the crypto industry will likely find fiat currency the easiest of all available alternatives. However, we often fail to pay attention to the fact that every time we convert fiat into crypto and vice-versa, we have to pay a certain fee for our withdrawals and deposits in the digital wallet of the platform. On the other hand, if we get comfortable with using crypto, we can avoid this extra charge levied on us.
Now that we know that we cannot get rid of the entire trading fee by any means, the next best alternative is to choose the crypto trading platform with the lowest fees. You can either go for the centralized platforms that charge lower fees or opt for the decentralized ones, which cut the intermediary system. The decentralized crypto exchanges offer peer-to-peer crypto swaps, offering lower fees. As of today, only a few crypto exchanges provide commission-free crypto trading. However, for those who are looking for a blend of minimal fees and quality service, there are some really good options available.
Top Free Crypto Trading Platforms
Introduced in 2018, Bitget has emerged as one of the most popular cryptocurrency trading and derivative exchanges worldwide. In terms of derivatives trading by volume, Bitget has secured a position among the top 5 exchanges. This trading platform offers services in more than 50 countries and aids more than 2 million users globally. The platform is known for its decent record concerning security, advanced social trading features, no-fee crypto trading, and approximately 400 trading pairs.
Since it launched the zero trading fee campaign, Budget has become a popular choice of crypto users worldwide for spot trading. Under this campaign, Bitget has enabled traders to save significant amounts of fees, making quite an impact on its popularity.
Some of the major features that Bitget offers include:
- Leveraged trading
- Derivatives trading
- Futures trading
- Social and copy trading
- Quanto Swap Contracts (an exclusive feature),
- Perpetual contracts
- Bitget launchpad
Serving over 10 million users across more than 200 countries globally, KuCoin is the world’s fifth-largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume. This popular crypto trading platform supports more than 600 coins and tokens, and 51 fiat currencies. Apart from spot and margin trading, you can also indulge in futures contracts trading via this exchange.
KuCoin charges just 0.1% maker or taker fees from its traders. This percentage is way lower compared to what several other exchange platforms charge from their users. Moreover, as you indulge in more and more trade transactions, the fee amount further reduces. The users also receive a discount of around 20% if they choose to pay using KCS, the native token of KuCoin. The exchange also introduces free crypto trading offers from time to time.
Founded in 2019, Phemex, a Singapore-based crypto exchange platform, specializes in spot and derivatives trading. Eight former Morgan Stanley executives lead this relatively new player in the leagues of crypto exchanges. In its short duration, the platform has showcased a pretty positive rate of growth.
As discussed above, it wouldn’t make any business sense for Phemex to be an absolutely free crypto trading platform. However, the fees it levies from its traders are considered one of the lowest in the market. The platform offers a fee-free crypto trading model, but it also has a premium membership system. Under this, Phemex offers added benefits like unlimited withdrawal and conditional spot orders to its subscribers.
The maker and taker fees the platform levies from its users are also negligible. While the takers are charged merely 0.075% per order, and the makers are charged (-)0.025% per order.
Lykke is a Switzerland-based digital exchange and trading platform that offers forex, crypto, and crypto index trading. It offers myriad financial products and services to both the business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) fronts.
Apart from coming up with a catchy tagline, “Why trade for a fee when you can trade for FREE,” the platform attracts users by offering hassle-free and easy means for experienced and non-experienced traders to enter the world of crypto trading.
Lykke is perhaps the closest we can get to a free crypto trading platform. Several platforms offer crypto-to-crypto swap services, but they charge a small reading fee. In the case of Lykke, traders can swap these cryptocurrencies instantly without paying any fees. Lykke doesn’t charge any trading fee or withdrawal fee. The revenue model of Lykke is based on offering liquidity, insurance, and consultancy services.
Crypto.com is yet another low-fee cryptocurrency exchange that offers several crypto products and services. Over the past few years, the trading platform has witnessed huge growth and is home to over 10 million users globally.
This exchange regularly innovates, develops, and launches new crypto products, services, and special schemes to lure more and more people into adopting blockchain tech and improving their experience via cryptocurrencies.
In 2021, Crypto.com rolled out a new service that enabled users to trade between stablecoins without fees. Users could swap supported stablecoins like USDC, BUSD, GUSD, and TUSD between each other on a one-to-one basis without paying any conversion or transaction fee.
Crypto.com is not a platform that would offer free crypto trading to users. However, the trading and exchange platform offers some of the lowest fee rates compared to other centralized exchanges. To add to it, those who are new users can avail of the benefit of 0% trading fees levied for the first 90 days.