Best Crypto for Exchange Transfers?

When you first invest in crypto you might have a single account on a large exchange like Kraken or GDAX, but as you start buying lots of different coins you'll likely end up with accounts on several different exchanges, some of which only allow crypto deposits. This means you'll often have to send coins between exchanges.

This guide will explain how to work out which cryptocurrencies are the best for transferring money between exchanges.

What happens when moving coins between exchanges?

In general when you move coins between exchanges, all you're doing is moving it from one wallet controlled by the first exchange to another wallet controlled by the second exchange. Many coins use proof-of-work mechanisms for verifying transactions, and others don't (for example Ripple uses a distributed agreement). But in principle when sending any coin (e.g. when transferring between exchanges), that transaction will have to follow these rules:

  1. After a transaction has been added to a block in a blockchain, the number of blocks that have been accepted by the network after that block are described as the number of 'confirmations'. So immediately after a transaction is added it has 0 confirmations.
  2. Exchanges will normally require more than 1 confirmation to deter double-spending, where a user might try spending coins twice. Sometimes they may require more confirmations for very large transactions (to minimise the risk of double-spending further).
  3. Every blockchain has a different block time (the amount of time it takes to create one block). So when working out transfer time between exchanges, you need to multiply the block time by the number of confirmations needed (e.g. Bitcoin has a block time of 10 minutes, so if you had to wait for 3 confirmations for an exchange deposit, you'd be waiting around 3x10 = 30 minutes for it to be completed).
  4. If a blockchain is under high load, your transaction might not fit in the next block. This happened back in January 2018 with Bitcoin. If this happens it can take hours, or even days for a single confirmation.
  5. When a blockchain is under high load, you can try and get your transaction through faster by paying a higher fee. So if you plan to send a coin under high load, check that the exchange you're sending from is using a sufficiently high fee.
    Technologies such as Lightning Network and zero-confirmation transactions are being developed to remove the need for all these block confirmations, but these aren't widely available on exchanges/cryptos yet, so we'll assume you have to deal with block confirmations.

Given the above, when you want to transfer money between exchanges, here are some steps on what to do when moving coins between exchanges:

  • Decide if you want to prioritise low fees or high speed.
  • Go to the relevant section below & choose the cheapest/fastest coin accordingly.
  • Check if that coin is availble on both exchanges, if it isn't go to the next best.
  • Check what the fees are to withdraw your held coins vs converting to a different one; you might find it cheaper & fairly quick to send your current coins directly in some scenarios.
  • Once you have a coin available on both exchanges, you can transfer your coins!

Other factors effecting speed

As well as the fees & confirmation times below, you should also be aware of these factors that could slow down transfers between exchanges:

  • Exchanges might be using very low transaction fees for withdrawals, where if they're too low they might not be enough to get into the next block (leading to withdrawal delays, especially if a blockchain is under high load).
  • Exchanges might group withdrawals together to decrease fees; this can lead to slower withdrawals.
  • Exchanges might be under high load, where if lots of people are withdrawing coins at the same time your withdrawal might be delayed.
  • Exchanges may not be up-to-date on every blockchain, they may be a few blocks behind; this can lead to a deposit not showing up even after it's been confirmed several times.
  • Some exchanges may restrict withdrawals if you've recently changed things like your password or 2-factor details.

Cheapest coin for exchange deposits?

If you don't need to transfer your money as quickly as possible, it's worth considering fees first; where you both need to convert your coins into whatever coin you plan to send between exchanges, and you then need to pay a fee for the withdrawal itself. Below are fees for various popular exchanges & coins:

We made a tool to see up-to-date withdrawal fees for many popular exchanges, click here to try it.

Binance withdrawal fees (trading fee 0.1%, or 0.05% temporarily if you use BNB)

  • Bitcoin: 0.0005 BTC
  • Bitcoin Cash: 0.001 BCH
  • Ethereum: 0.01 ETH
  • IOTA: 0.5 IOTA
  • Litecoin: 0.01 LTC
  • Monero: 0.04 XMR
  • Nano: 0.01 NANO
  • Ripple: 0.25 XRP
  • Stellar: 0.01 XLM
  • TUSD: 4 TUSD
  • USDT: 4.3 USDT

Kucoin withdrawal fees (trading fee 0.1%)

  • Bitcoin: 0.001 BTC
  • Bitcoin Cash: 0.0005 BCH
  • Ethereum: 0.01 ETH
  • Litecoin: 0.001 LTC
  • USDT: 10 USDT

Kraken withdrawal fees (<0.26%)

See website (they're fairly cheap)

If you need to convert your held coins to a different one before transferring, make sure you take into account the trading fee when working out costs. It might be worth just sending the coins you hold directly if they have a cheap withdrawal fee & are available on the other exchange.

Best coin for exchange deposits?

Given we know the fees for sending various coins, below are how long each of these coins might take to be deposited on various popular exchanges:

Coin Block Times

  • Bitcoin block time ~10 mins
  • Bitcoin Cash block time ~10 mins
  • Ethereum: block time ~15 secs
  • IOTA: block time ~2 mins
  • Litecoin: block time ~2.5 mins
  • Monero: block time ~2 mins
  • Nano: block time ~3 secs
  • Ripple: block time ~10 secs
  • Stellar: block time ~5 secs
  • TUSD: block time ~15 secs
  • USDT: block time ~10 mins

We made a tool to see up-to-date deposit times for many popular exchanges, click here to try it.

Binance Exchange

  • Bitcoin: ~20 min deposit (2 confirmations)
  • Bitcoin Cash: ~10 min deposit (1 confirmation)
  • Ethereum: ~ 8 min deposit (30 confirmations)
  • IOTA: ~2 min deposit (1 confirmation)
  • Litecoin: ~10 min deposit (4 confirmations)
  • Monero: ~6 min deposit (3 confirmations)
  • Nano: ~ 3 secs deposit (1 confirmation)
  • Ripple: ~10 secs deposit (1 confirmation)
  • Stellar: ~5 secs deposit (1 confirmation)
  • TUSD: ~8 min deposit (30 confirmations)
  • USDT: ~20 min deposit (2 confirmations)

GDAX Exchange

  • Bitcoin: ~60 min deposit (6 confirmations)
  • Bitcoin Cash: ~60 min deposit (6 confirmations)
  • Ethereum: ~13 min deposit (50 confirmations)
  • Litecoin: ~15 min deposit (6 confirmations)

Kraken Exchange

  • See website (they're similar to GDAX)

You now know roughly how much you'll have to pay for withdrawals, and how long each coin would take to deposit, so you should have all the info you need to transfer your coins quickly and cheaply!

DISCLAIMER: This site cannot substitute for professional investment or financial advice, or independent factual verification. This guide is provided for general informational purposes only. Bitcoin Kit is UK-based and not regulated by the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority). The group of individuals writing these guides are cryptocurrency enthusiasts and investors, not financial advisors. The ideas presented are our analysis, learning & opinions on a range of cryptocurrency topics. Trading or mining any form of cryptocurrency is very high risk, so never invest money you can't afford to lose - you should be prepared to sustain a total loss of all invested money.

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