What is a Centralized Crypto Exchange CEX?

You can trade only cryptocurrency pairs on decentralized exchanges, which means you have to obtain crypto elsewhere if you want to trade on a DEX. Credit card deposits are generally not an option, although some wallets like MetaMask have integrations with payment processors that allow purchases by credit card. Furthermore, trades can take several seconds to settle because they are processed on-chain. On the other hand, users retain custody of their assets when trading on a DEX.

However, users should keep in mind that KuCoin is not licensed to operate in the United States. On Binance, you can trade hundreds of different cryptocurrencies through spot trading, leveraged futures or simple swaps. The exchange also offers products like lending and staking, which allow users to earn yield on their idle crypto assets.

What Is a CEX? A Beginner’s Guide to Centralized Crypto Exchanges

Another part of the trade-off between DEXs and CEXs comes down to whether users would rather hold their own crypto directly or entrust it to the exchange. CEXs typically require that users place assets in their custody before trading. They are useful when a large number of people may be simultaneously trying to buy and sell the same type of asset.

For example, they have set up reimbursement funds to make users whole in case of a hack. Some of the most significant exchange hacks in history happened to centralized exchanges such as Mt. Gox in 2014 and Bitfinex what exactly is a centralized crypto exchange in 2019. Non-fungible token fees varied on the platform and location of the trade. For FTX US users, it cost $1 to list an NFT using its self-service tool and 2% charged to the seller from each sale or trade.

Some investors find this concept misleading since cryptocurrencies are considered decentralized with no need for a central authority. However, not all of them will be successful, and it’s not uncommon for these exchanges to fold. The success or failure of an exchange is dependent upon a large number of factors. The reason for this setup is that banks offer security and monitoring that an individual cannot accomplish on his or her own. In the case of a centralized cryptocurrency exchange, the same principle applies.

Personal Account Security

Instead of trading against other market participants, your trades are matched by an automated market maker, a system providing liquidity for trading pairs of cryptocurrencies. As a cryptocurrency trader or investor, you have the choice between centralized and decentralized exchanges. You can go to an exchange, sign up by providing some banking details and identifying information, and deposit some cash. A centralized crypto exchange is a platform where you can trade cryptocurrencies. The exchange acts as an intermediary between buyers and sellers, matching up trades in a centralized orderbook. Centralized crypto exchanges have played an important role in the development of the global crypto markets.

What is centralized crypto exchange

There’s many factors that need to be considered when evaluating a cryptocurrency exchange. Here’s what we paid attention to when choosing which platforms to feature as the best cryptocurrency exchanges. The Uniswap protocol provides a simple, yet powerful way of swapping between different tokens directly on the blockchain without the need for any intermediaries. There’s no need to open an account or provide personal information, as Uniswap functions entirely through smart contracts on the blockchain. Uniswap facilitates token swaps through liquidity pools, where users can deposit tokens and earn a portion of the fees collected by the pool. Binance has established itself as the biggest cryptocurrency exchange in the world, leading the market in terms of both trading volume and user count.

Why Did Centralized Crypto Exchanges Come About?

In 2004 three Australian-based digital currency exchange businesses voluntarily shut down following an investigation by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission . The ASIC viewed the services offered as legally requiring an Australian Financial Services License, which the companies lacked. Over time, however, innovations in the cryptocurrency and Decentralized Finance space will likely alleviate these issues.

  • It’s important to understand that trades happen only with other users of the same centralized exchange.
  • A transaction on the blockchain only happens when a user requests to withdraw their coins to their own wallet.
  • Subaccounts allow multiple people to access the same account; however, each user will have configurable and customizable permission levels.
  • For example, they have set up reimbursement funds to make users whole in case of a hack.
  • Transparency of reserve assets on centralized exchanges has emerged as a major worry for all exchange users as a result of FTX’s theft of customer funds.
  • CEX platforms use special software to analyze the trade orders submitted by the users, and then automatically match and execute them accordingly.
  • Some brokerages which also focus on other assets such as stocks, like Robinhood and eToro, let users purchase but not withdraw cryptocurrencies to cryptocurrency wallets.

Crypto exchanges are websites and apps where you can exchange one cryptocurrency you own for another. Similarly, the centralized exchange holds your personal safety, also known as your wallet. This means you may ask the exchange to reset your password if you forget it. When someone makes a swap in the pool, the balance of assets in the pool are automatically rebalanced to 50/50 value, and the price of the tokens change to reflect the new supply. Liquidity for an asset and its swap pair are pooled in a smart contract. Those who pool funds are eligible to receive the fees generated from the swaps using this pool.


Deals are made easier by centralized exchanges since they serve as a reliable middleman. They rely on their well-established reputation to generate investor trust. Additionally, they offer a user-friendly interface for regular investors. With off-chain order books, all of this happens elsewhere, with only the final transaction settled on the blockchain. Since orders aren’t stored on-chain, this method can run into some of the security issues of centralized exchanges but isn’t as slow or costly as on-chain order books. Over the last few years, however, crypto exchanges have taken measures to better protect users against hacks.

She has performed editing and fact-checking work for several leading finance publications, including The Motley Fool and Passport to Wall Street. Erika Rasure is globally-recognized as a leading consumer economics subject matter expert, researcher, and educator. She is a financial therapist and transformational coach, with a special interest in helping women learn how to invest.

What is centralized crypto exchange

An interesting feature of Coinbase is that users can earn small amounts of crypto through watching and reading educational materials about different cryptocurrencies. Coinbase has a very good track record on security, as the exchange’s wallets have never been hacked. Coinbase is a publicly-traded company in the United States, so there’s more transparency about its operations compared to privately held exchanges.


This feature will delve into the specific characteristics of specifically the more unheard of the two, the Centralized Cryptocurrency Exchange. By understanding what you’re trying to achieve with cryptocurrency investing and trading, you can find an exchange with the combination of features you care about most. There is no perfect cryptocurrency exchange for everyone, but with so many new options cropping up, there is likely a suitable one for your goals. At this time, they cannot yet compete with the largest CEXs in size so they cannot offer as much liquidity. Since each individual’s situation is unique, a qualified professional should always be consulted before making any financial decisions.

Phemex is perfect for both new and advanced investors alike and has a wealth of helpful features and in-demand products. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission now permits the trading of cryptocurrency https://xcritical.com/ derivatives publicly. By 2016, several cryptocurrency exchanges operating in the European Union obtained licenses under the EU Payment Services Directive and the EU Electronic Money Directive.

What are Phemex’s Features?

Historically, many large banks have resisted working with crypto companies, given the legal uncertainty surrounding much of the business. Silicon Valley Bank was in “sound financial condition prior to March 9,” according to an order from California’s Department of Financial Protection and Innovation. It became insolvent after investors and depositors caused a run on its holdings, the order said. Their vision of an alternate financial system, unmoored from big banks and other gatekeepers, was better.

What are the benefits of a cryptocurrency exchange?

One characteristic of crypto exchanges that can be overlooked is whether they have liquidity. You want to make sure you’re able to sell your cryptocurrency whenever you want and at the best price. This requires the exchange to have enough trade volume, and often the more popular crypto exchanges will have higher liquidity. FTX was a centralized cryptocurrency exchange specializing in derivatives and leveraged products that filed for bankruptcy protection in the U.S. in November 2022. FTX Exchange was a leading centralized cryptocurrency exchange, the world’s third-largest in July 2021, specializing in derivatives and leveraged products.

Like the title suggests, a smart contract is a digital, blockchain-based contract that automatically verifies and executes an agreement. In the context of a decentralized exchange, a smart contract is typically used to hold traders’ funds in a temporary escrow to ensure that they both uphold the terms of the trade. If you plan to make a lot of trades, consider choosing exchanges that offer low trading fees. If you plan to just buy and hold cryptocurrency, you should probably give more weight to other factors such as dependability and security. Security – Security is a key factor when evaluating any cryptocurrency exchange. For exchanges who did suffer hacks in the past, we evaluated whether they compensated affected users in a timely manner.

Although, when compared to other financial services, the cost of transacting in cryptocurrencies is quite low, but you should be aware that demand on the blockchain may drive up transaction prices. Decentralized exchanges only work with cryptocurrency assets and not fiat , as enabling crypto-to-fiat would require involvement with banks. (Dollar transactions can’t settle instantly like blockchain-based ones.) Therefore, you have to already have cryptocurrency assets in order to use a decentralized exchange.

New aggregator protocols like 1inch have emerged specifically to help larger investors avoid liquidity problems when using DEXs. 1inch raised $12 million in 2020 in a funding round led by Pantera Capital. Learn more about Consensus 2023, CoinDesk’s longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Ariel Courage is an experienced editor, researcher, and former fact-checker.

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