How Do Crypto Exchanges Make Money

The surge in the digital assets market has led to a growing demand for numerous crypto exchanges.

Recent data indicates that the user base for crypto assets in 2022 has reached a staggering 1 billion, with 81 million Bitcoin wallets engaging in crypto transactions.

With the increasing influx of individuals into the crypto market, a multitude of exchanges has surfaced to facilitate their transactions.

These platforms serve as hubs where users can engage in the buying, selling, storing, and trading of various digital assets.

The question arises: How do crypto exchanges generate revenue? The financial sustainability of many exchanges hinges on a variety of income streams, including commissions, withdrawal and deposit fees, trading platform commissions, market making, lending, listing fees, transaction fees, and more.

This article delves into a comprehensive exploration of these revenue channels for crypto exchanges. Continue reading to gain a deeper understanding.

How do crypto exchanges make money
Cryptocurrency is a digital currency operating on a decentralized computer network, independent of any central authority like a government or bank: Photo source (Forbes)

Deposit Fees

Each cryptocurrency exchange provides users with a diverse range of assets. To illustrate, when seeking to acquire bitcoin on any platform, the initial step involves depositing funds into your wallet.

The available options for adding funds encompass both cryptocurrencies and fiat currencies.

While utilizing cryptocurrencies for deposits may incur no charges due to the nature of crypto transactions, using fiat currencies comes with a cost.

The fees associated with fiat currency deposits can be mitigated by opting for bank transfers, although payments made through debit or credit cards typically involve higher charges.

This discrepancy arises from the fact that exchanges need to compensate banks or credit card companies for processing these transactions.

Furthermore, deposit fees are not standardized and vary across exchanges. Some platforms impose high fees, reaching as much as 11%, while others adopt a more moderate approach.

Additionally, certain exchanges waive deposit fees for transactions conducted through Bank ACH or direct crypto deposits.

For example, the Margex trading platform enables users to directly deposit bitcoin into their wallet, accompanied by relatively low fees for bank card transactions.

Withdrawal Fee

Crypto exchanges generate revenue through withdrawal transactions, with users being charged fees for the processing of their withdrawals.

The specific fees imposed vary among platforms based on their fee structures.

For instance, Coinbase, among the well-known crypto exchanges, mandates a flat 1% fee on withdrawals in addition to standard network fees.

Meanwhile,, with its distinct fee system, levies a 0.0001 BTC charge for Bitcoin withdrawals conducted through the BEP20 network.

Presently, numerous leading crypto exchanges adopt diverse withdrawal fee structures that depend on the transaction amount.

Commissions Per Trade

Transactions with digital currencies take place on centralized or decentralized exchanges. Trading on centralized exchanges is always suitable for newbies. The platform acts as a broker between buyers and sellers. Also, centralized exchanges support margin trading by providing leverage to users.

That’s why a centralized cryptocurrency exchange will charge higher fees on its numerous services. These exchanges make money from the users through commission per trade.

For instance, if a trader makes a $2 000, 0000 trade with a commission charge of 0.01%, the exchange makes $2,000. So, higher trade amounts generate more commission and vice versa.

On the other hand, a decentralized exchange is usually for pro traders because transactions depend on smart contracts and not brokers. The platform doesn’t support third-party interference, allowing users to control their transactions. But these exchanges charge specific trading fees per trade.


Exchanges may charge commissions or apply spreads on trades.

Spreads, the difference between buying and selling prices, represent transaction costs and broker compensation.

Costs vary as centralized exchanges set different spreads to generate revenue.

Listing Fee

Younger cryptocurrency exchanges rely on listing fees as a crucial source of revenue during their early stages.

Given the challenge of low trading volumes and insufficient commission fees from users, these exchanges collect funds through listing services, charging a percentage of the revenue generated from initial coin offerings.

The specific listing fees vary based on the popularity and size of the crypto exchange.

For example, smaller exchanges might charge 0.5 to 1 BTC, while medium-sized exchanges, as reported by Business Insider, typically range between $50,000 and $1 million for ICO listings.

Hybrid exchanges, with substantial liquidity, may charge higher listing fees, ranging from $1 million to $2.5 million for a single token.

Despite the significant cost, token owners are attracted to these exchanges due to the assurance of raising substantial funds through their initial coin offerings, making the percentage charge acceptable.

Market making

Market making is a key revenue-generating strategy for crypto exchanges, addressing the question of how these platforms earn money. In this approach, liquidity is supplied to specific cryptocurrencies.

Whether it’s a centralized cryptocurrency exchange or an individual, acting as a market maker involves quoting both buy (bid) and sell (ask) prices for crypto coins, with the profit stemming from the spread between these prices.

Market makers capitalize on the bid-ask spread difference across numerous trades, constituting a significant portion of their earnings.

Additionally, market makers may engage in trades for their own accounts, commonly referred to as “principal trades.”

Also read: What is a crypto ledger?

Cryptocurrency Lending

Crypto lending in Decentralized Finance (DeFi) lets investors lend crypto to borrowers, earning regular interest akin to traditional currency savings accounts.

Exchanges make money by lending crypto to traders, gaining interest and liquidation fees for missed margin calls.

Earn accounts charge crypto holders high interest to lock in funds, which exchanges then lend out or invest in staking programs.

Additionally, crypto lending platforms earn through transaction fees and offer higher rates for longer fund lock-ins.

Cross Promotions

Cross promotion, employed by leading crypto exchanges, is a profit-making strategy that entails running ads on the platform for other companies to enhance awareness.

In the crypto realm, giveaways like airdrops serve as a prime example.

Airdrops involve coin owners partnering with exchanges to distribute free tokens or coins to users’ wallets, aiming to raise awareness for a new token or coin.

Participants may perform tasks like trades or transactions on the exchange, generating fees and profits for the platform during the airdrop.


There are many questions about crypto businesses, their operations, and how they make money.

Find some helpful answers below.

What are the services of crypto exchanges?

Crypto exchanges are platforms facilitating the trading of digital assets between buyers and sellers.

Two main types exist: Centralized Exchanges (CEX) and Decentralized Exchanges (DEX).

CEX, controlled by a central authority, act as intermediaries in transactions, implementing stringent security measures like KYC and Anti-money laundering rules.

In contrast, DEX enables peer-to-peer transactions without middlemen, relying on users’ security measures such as wallets and private keys.

Both exchange types charge users a specified transaction fee for trading bitcoin and other digital assets.

Which exchange is the biggest now?

Binance is currently the biggest cryptocurrency trading platform. It has the highest 24-hour trading volume and offers users low maker/taker fees. Their fee structure and discounts make them attractive to traders.

Users can trade with over 120 cryptocurrencies. They can also buy the assets with fiat currencies directly or other cryptocurrencies. They also offer exciting features like margin trading, limiting orders, and market orders.

Do exchanges buy crypto?

Crypto exchanges do not directly buy or sell cryptocurrencies. Rather, they create an enabling environment for traders to exchange tokens directly (decentralized) or act as middlemen (centralized) for transactions.

These crypto exchanges will make money through deposit fees, listing fees, commissions, spreads, or lending charges.

Why do crypto prices differ in exchanges?

Fluctuations in prices occur across exchanges throughout a trading session, stemming from varying transaction fees imposed by different platforms.

These price divergences present traders with the chance to capitalize on buying and selling across different exchanges, aiming for profit.

This trading strategy is commonly known as cryptocurrency arbitrage.

Leave a Comment