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Definition: crypto exchange

(CRYPTOcurrency exchange) An online provider that converts a country's currency (dollars, Euros, pounds, etc.) to cryptocurrency (Bitcoin, Ethereum, etc.). Like any money exchange, a fee is taken. Coinbase, Kraken, Gemini and Binance are examples of cryptocurrency exchanges. See Coinbase, Kraken, Gemini Trust, Binance and Mt. Gox.

Exchanges Are Convenient
Centralized exchanges make it easy to invest in crypto, because they maintain the digital wallets and keys to the assets. Otherwise, users are required to find, open and maintain their own wallets with a decentralized exchange (DEX) and must keep their keys secure or risk losing access to their coins. As of 2021, the crypto world is little more than a decade old, and all digital enterprises are subject to attacks. See crypto wallet and decentralized exchange.

Exchanges Differ
For people using cryptocurrencies as an investment rather than to obtain merchandise, any exchange can be used. However, some crypto exchanges offer trading alternatives like brokerage firms do, such as limit orders. Other platforms allow sellers to set their own exchange rate. See Bitcoin ATM and cryptocurrency.