There is a lot of uncertainty in the world today, and that’s no different when we look at the world of crypto. The cryptoverse has an endless list of security risks that must be navigated. We’ve seen this in the hacks and leaks of major companies and tech giants, which leaves us asking questions like “is crypto safe?” and “can crypto be hacked?” Unfortunately, the answer is yes. But there’s hope - and plenty of it.
Our top UK crypto exchange roundup offer healthy track records regarding security. For the most part, few have had major issues, and even less have endured an outright crypto hack.. Choosing the best crypto exchange is a personal choice, so you’ll need to do your research and make a decision that suits your needs. But, to help you protect your investment, we’ll get you off to a good start with a selection of some of the best crypto exchanges in the UK in 2022. In doing this, we have looked at safety, the minimum deposit size, diversity of coins, key selling points, whether they have a mobile app, the number of users, and what makes them stand out.
While we know that there are plenty of other criteria to take on board, we’re confident that this list will go a long way to helping you choose the safest crypto exchange for you.
Binance is a well-established player in the crypto market with an average daily trading volume of 2 billion, and processing 1 million transactions a second for 28.6 million users. They were launched in 2017 and now have users in over 180 countries. They also operate Binance Chain (BNB native coin) for DeFi investors, as well as Trust Wallet.
- Is Binance safe? And is it safe to keep your crypto on Binance? As with all the best crypto exchanges, Binance offers a 2-factor authentication feature, secure offline cold storage for most assets, real-time monitoring, and additional features like safe sign-in and advanced access control.
- Has Binance ever been hacked? Yes, in 2019 Binance was been hacked to the tune of more than £33 million.
- Will Binance refund me if I'm hacked? In the instance mentioned above and in others, Binance has refunded users where the hack was related to a security flaw at Binance, making it one of the best crypto exchanges in terms of accountability.
- Do you own your own keys on Binance? No - Binance holds private keys to your wallet. However, you will own your keys if you’re using Trust Wallet.
- Can Binance freeze accounts? They can if legally compelled to, but that is unlikely. Is it safe to invest in Binance? Yes! They have excellent liquidity and have bailed out many other companies affected by hacks in the past, like the Ronin Network after their £540 million hack.
- How many cryptocurrencies are on Binance? Binance offers 119 different cryptocurrencies to trade, including all major coins plus thousands on BNB plus their Trust Wallet for DeFi.
- Does Binance have a mobile app? Yes, Binance on mobile for iOS and Android. They also offer the Trust Wallet browser extension and mobile app.
- What fees will I pay on Binance? Binance has a maker/taker tiered fee structure is a tiered schedule based on your monthly trading volume. As you trade more, the percentages get lower, and some BTC trading pairs are as low as 0%.
- Are there any deposit and withdrawal limits on Binance? Yes, but the limits on Binance would depend on your payment method, and there is a standard £3 charge for bank transfers.
- Does Binance have KYC? Yes. They require a photo ID and personal information to verify your account.
Coinbase was founded in 2012, with 98 million verified users trading over 200 cryptocurrencies. Three individual apps are owned by Coinbase - Coinbase Wallet, Coinbase Pro and Coinbase Exchange - although the latter are in the process of amalgamating.
- Is Coinbase secure? Coinbase accounts must have multi-factor authentication, as well as support for hardware keys. Additional security tools like Coinbase Vault (a wallet with additional security steps) and an address book to ensure your crypto always end up where you want it to go.
- Has Coinbase ever been hacked? Thanks to an awesome cybersecurity team, Coinbase has never been hacked directly. There was an instance in 2021 where at least 6,000 Coinbase customers had their data breached and received phishing emails, resulting in losses. In this instance, as hackers exploited a flaw in Coinbase's 2FA system, users who were hacked were refunded by Coinbase.
- Will Coinbase refund me if I'm hacked? Coinbase has insured its digital assets and will generally refund users who are hacked if it's related to a flaw in Coinbase security. You should contact Coinbase customer support for more information.
- Do you own your keys on Coinbase? It very much depends on the Coinbase product you're using. As Coinbase (and Coinbase Pro) are centralised exchanges, in this instance, Coinbase would be the custodian of your keys. Meanwhile, Coinbase Wallet is a self-custody wallet, and you manage your private keys and funds. There are pros and cons to all products. With centralised exchanges, you get the benefit of the additional security provided by Coinbase and increase the chance of a refund in case of a hack. However, the phrase "not your keys, not your crypto" holds true. In the unlikely event Coinbase ever froze withdrawals for all accounts, you would not be able to access your crypto.
- Can Coinbase freeze accounts? Yes. Coinbase may block or freeze customer funds held on Coinbase or Coinbase Pro. This would only happen when required by law, or if Coinbase needed to freeze all accounts due to unprecedented events.
- How many cryptocurrencies are on Coinbase? More than 200 - with everything from popular cryptocurrencies like BTC, ETH and USDT to meme coins like SHIB, gaming currencies like MANA and utility tokens like UNI.
- Does Coinbase have a mobile app? Want to trade on the go? No problem - Coinbase has a mobile app for Coinbase exchange, Coinbase Pro and Coinbase Wallet.
- What fees will I pay on Coinbase? It's free to create your Coinbase account, but you'll pay transaction fees (taker and maker fees) when you trade on Coinbase, as potentially deposit and withdrawal fees if you're not using ACH.
- Are there any deposit and withdrawal limits on Coinbase? Crypto deposits are unlimited, while Coinbase may limit fiat deposits depending on your payment method. Withdrawals of crypto and fiat currency are limited to $100,000 (£83,000) daily.
- Does Coinbase have KYC? Yes. Coinbase has KYC - if you don't complete identity verification on Coinbase, your account will be restricted. You'll need to fill out various personal information and provide a photo ID document - like a driver's licence or passport.
Kraken has gained popularity since launching in 2011, thanks to its transparent team. The CEO has often echoed the popular phrase, “Not your keys, not your crypto,” and actively encourages self-custody. This has helped the platform grow to more than 6 million users that are trading over 200 different coins and making it one of the top crypto exchanges.
- Is Kraken safe? Yes. Kraken security labs are fully dedicated to protecting user assets. They actively test third-party products and services, work to fix security flaws, and have an extensive bug bounty program for white-hat hackers. They keep 95% of assets in an off-line, air-gapped, cold storage and include 2FA, master key, PGP encryption, and global setting lock as part of their security protocols.
- Has Kraken ever been hacked? While some accounts were breached due to user negligence, the platform has never been hacked. So if you are wondering, can Kraken be trusted? The answer is Yes!
- Will Kraken refund me if I'm hacked? Because they haven’t suffered a crypto hack, we can’t be sure how much accountability they would take. So, can Kraken be trusted? Yes! The fact that they have previously refunded traders hit with a dip in ETH price on Kraken, where the price disparity from other exchanges was considerable, bodes well for users.
- Do you own your own keys on Kraken? Kraken is a centralised exchange, and so you won’t own your keys. Only decentralised exchanges give users ownership of their keys. But Kraken's CEO encourages users to use a non-custodial wallet when holding that would allow them to own their keys.
- Can Kraken freeze accounts? They can, but unlikely unless pressured by a government or by law. The CEO spoke out about issues with the Canadian government freezing accounts and has encouraged users to keep their crypto in their custody.
- How many cryptocurrencies are on Kraken? Kraken currently offers 195 coins to be traded.
- Does Kraken have a mobile app? Yes, it is available on the Apple app store and Google Play. Kraken Futures app was discontinued in January 2022.
- What fees will I pay on Kraken? Kraken has a tiered fee structure between 0% and 0.16% for makers and 0.10% to 0.26% for takers, based on your monthly trading volume. There is also a 0.9% fee for purchasing any stablecoins, a 1.5% fee for any other crypto purchase, plus a transaction fee of up to 3.75% depending on payment method.
- Are there any deposit and withdrawal limits on Kraken? Kraken has a tiered structure, and your tier and payment method will also play a role in your withdrawal and deposit limits, with daily limits of around £7,500 on deposits and withdrawals for an express account.
- Does Kraken have KYC? Yes - however various levels of KYC are available, including starter, express, intermediate, and pro. Only the intermediate and pro levels require supporting documents.
Crypto.com has 50 million users and supports 221 cryptocurrencies. There also many different product offerings like the NFT platform, Crypto.org chain, crypto visa cards and more. Security is robust; all deposits are screened for compliance, and a dedicated team monitors transactions.
- Is Crypto.com safe? Yes. Crypto.com boasts very strong security protocols with MFA for accounts with passwords, biometrics, email, SMS, and OTP authentication and whitelisting external addresses through email is mandatory. They boast industry creds such as ISO 22301:2019, ISO/IEC 27701:2019, and ISO/IEC 27001:2013- which deal with how they prepare for and react to any disruptions that may arise. Crypto.com also has PCI-DSS v3.2.1 Level 1 compliance - which is credited to businesses that process over 6 million card transactions a year and have suffered a breach, and the exchange is independently assessed at Tier 4, the highest level for both NIST Cybersecurity and Privacy Frameworks, as well as Service Organization Control (SOC) 2 compliance which addresses how they manage personal data. In other words, Crypto.com is very secure!
- Has Crypto.com been hacked? Yes. Despite their extensive security protocols, Crypto.com was hacked in January 2022 due to a flaw in their 2FA. This saw 483 users impacted and £29 million stolen.
- Will Crypto.com refund me if I'm hacked? Yes. When they were hacked in 2022, Crypto.com immediately acknowledged its fault and refunded all the affected users, so it's likely they would do the same in the future if there was another breach due to their security protocols.
- Do you own your own keys on Crypto.com? Crypto.com DeFi Wallet users own their private keys, but the exchange does not.
- Can Crypto.com freeze accounts? Yes - Compliance is a high priority for Crypto.com, so they will reserve the right to freeze accounts if compelled by law, but this is unlikely.
- How many cryptocurrencies are on Crypto.com? There are currently 221 different coins available to trade on Crypto.com.
- Does Crypto.com have a mobile app? Yes., it is available for both iOS and Android.
- What fees will I pay on Crypto.com? Fees will vary, and they have adopted a tiered structure based on your 30-day trading volumes. There is a maximum maker fee of 0.4%, and they also offer discounts for users holding CRO.
- Are there any deposit and withdrawal limits on Crypto.com? There are no minimum deposits in place at Crypto.com, while withdrawal limits depend on the specific crypto you're withdrawing.
- Does Crypto.com have KYC? Yes, Crypto.com, you'll need your personal information and a valid photo ID to open an account.
Founded in 2014, Gemini is one of the 10 top crypto exchanges in the UK with a security-first mentality and more than 13 million active users . They are the world's first SOC 1 Type 2 and SOC Type 2 certified exchange and custodian.
- Is Gemini safe? Yes. Gemini's security-first focus has made them incredibly popular with users, and they follow compliance to protect their user’s assets. Security measures include; 2FA, support for hardware security keys, and address listing, which all play a role in keeping the platform safe. Despite this, Gemini has unfortunately succumbed to a crypto hack.
- Has Gemini been hacked? Yes - as recently as 2022, Gemini has been hacked, although the extent of the breach was limited to a select few accounts. They suffered over £30 million in losses, and the IRA Financial Trust filed a lawsuit alleging negligence. Gemini has rejected these allegations and has stated that it was an isolated security incident.
- Will Gemini refund me if I'm hacked? Due to ongoing litigation, Gemini hasn't refunded the impacted IRA Financial Trust accounts. However, all USD assets are FDIC insured, and Gemini has insurance for digital assets in storage.
- Do you own your own keys on Gemini? No - Gemini is a centralised exchange, and only a decentralised crypto exchange gives you ownership of your keys.
- Can Gemini freeze accounts? Yes - though most often, accounts are only frozen related to security concerns. The Gemini support team can help guide you through unfreezing your account.
- What crypto is on Gemini? Gemini has over 120 different coins available to trade on their platform.
- Does Gemini have a mobile app? Yes. The Gemini app is available for download on the Apple App Store, Google Play, and the Galaxy Store.
- What fees will I pay on Gemini? Gemini has a maximum fee of 1.49% - although this is often lower for most users.
- Are there any deposit and withdrawal limits on Gemini? Deposit limits will be determined by your payment method, with debit cards usually restricted to $1,000 (£850) per day. ACH withdrawals are capped at $100,000 (£85,000) per day, but wire transfers are unlimited.
- Does Gemini have KYC? Yes. Gemini requires proof of ID like a valid passport or driver's licence to open an account.
CoinJar launched in 2013, making it one of the longest-running crypto exchanges. They currently have over 600,000 users and offer over 50 different cryptocurrencies to be traded. Is CoinJar in the UK? Yes! They focus on the UK and Australian markets. However, they have a presence in other regions and are FCA registered.
- Is CoinJar safe to use? CoinJar’s security protocols include multi-level data encryption, BitGo custodian for cold storage and multi-sig for hot wallets. In addition to those measures, they also have full currency reserves at all times, and FDA registered.
- Has CoinJar been hacked? CoinJar hasn’t suffered any hacks or breaches to date.
- Will CoinJar refund me if I'm hacked? Because CoinJar hasn’t had any hacks to date, we can’t be sure of how they will respond. But they are insured and hold full currency reserves at all times to cover more than 100% of customer balances. This means that a refund would be likely if their security protocols are breached.
- Do you own your keys on CoinJar? Unfortunately not, CoinJar is a centralised exchange, so you won’t own your keys. Only decentralised exchanges give users ownership of their keys.
- Can CoinJar freeze accounts? Yes, almost all exchanges would reserve the right to freeze an account for fraud prevention while identity checks are completed or if compelled to by law enforcement.
- How many cryptocurrencies on CoinJar? CoinJar offer over 50 different crypto options to be traded on their platform. All major coins are available, plus the most popular ERC-20 tokens. ERC-20 is a standard used for the issuing and creation of smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain.
- Does CoinJar have a mobile app? Yes, the CoinJar app is available for both iOS and for Android
- What fees will I pay on CoinJar? There is a 1% fee for conversions on CoinJar and instant buys attract a small fee too. So are CoinJar fees high? Compared to other exchanges in the market, CoinJar fees are relatively low.
- Are there any deposit and withdrawal limits on CoinJar? CoinJar has a minimum deposit of £5, while the maximum withdrawal is capped monthly but would depend on the account level each user holds.
- Does CoinJar have KYC? Yes, CoinJar are FCA registered and require a photo ID and some personal information to verify your account.
OKX (formerly OKEx) is a popular crypto exchange that was launched in 2017. They offer a wide range of advanced products to more than 20 million users in over 100 countries. They’ve grown in popularity that to low fees, as well as staking, saving and mining.
- Is OKX exchange safe? OKX stores 95% of funds offline with backups and sensitive data stored in secure bank vaults. They use security protocols such as 2FA, mobile verification, anti-phishing code, and an authenticator app. On top of that, they also limit each cold wallet to no more than 1000 BTC, and private keys never interact with USBs or the internet.
- Has OKX been hacked? OKX has not been directly hacked, but there have been reports of some user accounts being compromised to the tune of £2.5 million.
- Will OKX refund me if I'm hacked? As they haven’t been directly hacked, we can’t be sure of how they will respond, but OKEX states user funds are covered by 100% reserves.
- Do you own your keys on OKX? No, OKX is a centralised exchange, so you won’t own your keys. Only decentralised exchanges give users ownership of their keys.
- Can OKX freeze accounts? Yes. In October 2020, OKX froze accounts as one of the holders of private keys was cooperating with a public security bureau investigation, but they quickly resumed withdrawals after the investigation.
- How many cryptocurrencies on OKX? OKX offers an extensive range of coins to be traded. They currently list 362 cryptocurrencies to be traded.
- Does OKX have a mobile app? Yes, the OKX app is available for iOS and Android
- What are the fees for OKX? OKX operate a tiered fee maker/taker structure based on your trading volume over 30 days; average fees range from 0.060% and 0.1%.
- Are there any deposit and withdrawal limits on OKX? The minimum deposit for OKX is 10 USDT, so around £9.
- Does OKX have KYC? Yes. They have different requirements for each tier of account. If you are wondering, can I use OKEx without KYC, the answer is yes. No photo ID is required until Tier 2.
Gate.io is a top 10 crypto exchange with 10 million users, established in 2013. It's hugely popular thanks to the huge number of coins on offer. It has been hacked before, but they do offer outstanding account security features for accounts.
- Is Gate.io safe? Yes. The platform offers WAF protection system, encrypted transport layer and DNS security. For individual accounts, security protocols include IP address monitoring and fund password for transactions, Google OTP for withdrawals, and 2FA for logins.
- Has Gate.io ever been hacked? Yes. Gate.io was hacked in 2019 with $200,000 stolen, although half was later recovered.
- Will Gate.io refund me if I'm hacked? Yes, it is very likely. Gate.io has refunded those affected by hacks unrelated to its platform, like the PAID network hack. Gate.io also refunded its own users before PAID network promised funds.
- Do you own your own keys on Gate.io? No, Gate.io is a centralised exchange and so you won’t own your keys. Only decentralised exchanges give users ownership of their keys.
- Can Gate.io freeze accounts? In theory, yes, but have only been known to do this for users in restricted states or countries.
- How many cryptocurrencies does Gate.io support? Gate.io have a massive portfolio of tradeable coins, currently offering 1433 different options.
- Does Gate.io have a mobile app? Yes. The Gate.io app is available for iOS and Android
- What fees will I pay on Gate.io? Gate.io has a tiered maker/taker fee structure with a different fee per market. Spot market is 0.20% maker and taker 0.20% - with a discount for those with Gate.io points.
- Are there any deposit and withdrawal limits on Gate.io? Gate.io doesn't support GBP deposits or withdrawals. For crypto, unverified accounts have a $100,000 (£85,000) withdrawal limit for crypto and supported fiat currencies.
- Does Gate.io have KYC? Yes, Gate.io has KYC level 1 and 2 with different withdrawal limits associated with each level.
Founded in 2013, Huobi is a top 10 global crypto exchange. They currently support well over 500 cryptocurrencies as well as 47 different fiat currencies! The exchange offers peace of mind to investors by holding a 20,000 BTC security reserve fund.
- Is Huobi exchange safe? Yes. Huobi holds user funds in multi-sig cold wallets and has a 20,000 BTC security reserve fund, while account security features include 2FA on email, phone, google authenticator, trading password, anti-phishing code and more.
- Has Huobi been hacked? No. To date, Huobi hasn’t suffered any hacks.
- Will Huobi refund me if I'm hacked? Because Huobi hasn’t suffered a crypto hack, we can’t be sure how much accountability they would take. But they have BTC reserves, and the exchange has previously bailed out other hacked exchanges like Bitmart and helped users impacted by Axie hack.
- Do you own your keys on Huobi? No, Huobi is a centralised exchange, so you won’t own your keys. Only decentralised exchanges give users ownership of their keys.
- Can Huobi freeze accounts? Yes, but they're unlikely to do so unless you're using Huobi from a restricted country.
- How many cryptocurrencies on Huobi? Huobi has an impressive number of cryptocurrencies available to trade. They currently list 589 different options.
- Does Huobi have a mobile app? Yes, the Huobi app is available for iOS and for Android
- What is the fee for Huobi? Huobi charges a 0.2% base fee with discounts for HT token holders.
- Are there any deposit and withdrawal limits on Huobi? Huobi limits withdrawals to between £1,000 and £30,000 a day, depending on the verification level. They also have an annual limit of £6,000 to £150,000 (depending on verification level) and a minimum deposit of £8.
- Does Huobi have KYC? Yes, but they have different requirements for the various levels; with higher deposit and withdrawal limits, the more identification you would need to provide.
KuCoin boasts more than 18 million users and supports one of the largest ranges of currencies available to trade, with over 700 options available, making them one of the best crypto exchanges. They also have low KYC requirements and low fees. They suffered a security breach in 2020, leaving many investors wondering, “Is KuCoin safe to store coins?”. But with robust security measures and digital asset insurance, your crypto is still safe on the platform.
- Is KuCoin safe? KuCoin has industry-standard security measures, such as multi-factor authentication and password verification for trades and withdrawals. But in 2020, they were hacked.
- Has KuCoin ever been hacked? Yes, in September 2020, hackers stole more than £230 million in crypto from KuCoin, making it one of the largest ever hacks when hackers obtained users' private keys. They later offered a $100,000 reward for any information, recovered £169 million of the stolen crypto, and launched the safeguard program.
- Will KuCoin refund me if I'm hacked? And is KuCoin insured against hacks? After the crypto hack in 2020, KuCoin refunded stolen funds that they couldn’t recover via their insurance fund. Though the breach was significant, their response to it has helped maintain their popularity with traders.
- Do you own your own keys on KuCoin? No. KuCoin is a centralised exchange, and you do not hold your private keys.
- Can KuCoin freeze accounts? Yes, KuCoin reserves the right to freeze your account. This will only be done in extreme circumstances - as was the case after the hack in 2020, but they unfroze accounts soon after the stolen funds were retrieved.
- How many cryptocurrencies are on KuCoin? KuCoin offers an extensive range of coins to be traded. They currently list 719 different options.
- Does KuCoin have a mobile app? Yes, the KuCoin mobile app is available on both Android and iOS.
- What fees will I pay on KuCoin? Fees on KuCoin are comparatively low and are based on your trading volume over 30 days, average fees range from 0.0125% to 0.1%, and discounts are offered to KCS token holders.
- Are there any deposit and withdrawal limits on KuCoin? KuCoin has no deposit minimum. Withdrawals are limited to 1 BTC per day for unverified accounts and are capped at 200 BTC for verified accounts.
- Does KuCoin have KYC? Yes, but the KYC requirements at KuCoin vary depending on the level of access you desire, and this flexibility has helped grow the popularity of the exchange.
Bonus: Best Decentralised Crypto Exchanges
In the current market conditions - many UK crypto investors are worried about leaving their assets with a centralised crypto service - lest they run out of liquidity like Celsius or Voyager.
But what's the alternative?
If you're not actively trading and you're hodling for the moon - we always recommend keeping your crypto in an offline, hardware wallet for starters. But if you want to trade without the third party... decentralised crypto exchanges (dexes) are a viable alternative.
Decentralised crypto exchanges work by utilizing liquidity pools. These are a 'pool' of investor funds that facilitate trades with no need for a third party as smart contracts (bits of code) automate all trades. Anyone, anywhere can trade using a decentralised exchange (or dex) with no KYC necessary - all you need is a non-custodial wallet. Popular and trusted options for non-custodial wallets include:
- Atomic Wallet
- Trust Wallet
- Exodus Wallet
Once you've got your wallet, transfer the crypto you want to trade to your wallet and find a dex to trade on. Some of the most trusted and best decentralised exchanges include:
Beware though before you dive in - decentralised exchanges come with risks just like centralised exchanges. Your crypto is only as safe as you are. This means you should be following best security practices for your crypto - because if you get hacked, no one is refunding you. Dexes, too, come with their own risks - liquidity rug pulls, bank runs and hacks are rife, even on the most popular decentralised exchanges.
You should carefully assess the risks of using both centralised and decentralised exchanges and pick the option that suits you best. Most importantly, always follow best security practices for keeping your crypto safe whichever exchange you're using.