We may earn a commission from links on our site, but this doesn’t affect our reviews. Advertiser Disclosure

Where Do Crypto Exchanges Get Their Coins From?

Last Updated on February 26, 2024

James Headshot
Written by
Table of Contents
Disclaimer: This is not a validation of cryptocurrency or any particular provider, service, or product. It should not be taken as advice to engage in trading or use any services. Please check our terms and conditions.

Quick Answer:

Crypto exchanges get coins when users sell their digital assets for fiat currency and maintain a coin reserve, or “float,” for liquidity. They reinvest profits from these transactions to increase their reserves, and some even have their own intermediary coins to facilitate internal trading without fiat currency.

Cryptocurrencies are created through mining, which secures the blockchain network and introduces new coins to the market. Establishing a secure and functional crypto exchange can cost upwards of $1 million, with ongoing expenses for maintenance, updates, and compliance.

Exchanges earn through transaction fees, listing fees, market making, and hosting Initial Exchange Offerings (IEOs). Centralized exchanges are user-friendly and provide liquidity, while decentralized exchanges offer privacy and align with the decentralized ethos of cryptocurrencies.

Exchange prices can vary due to liquidity, market interest, and activity. Success hinges on trading volume and stringent security measures. Understanding these factors helps traders navigate the crypto market confidently.

Crypto exchanges rely on various sources to acquire the coins they offer for trading. These exchanges primarily acquire coins from users who sell their coins in exchange for fiat currency.

By maintaining a “float” of coins, exchanges ensure liquidity and use profits from fiat-to-coin exchanges to buy additional coins. Some exchanges even have their own intermediary coins to facilitate trade processes and reduce reliance on fiat currency.

Additionally, cryptocurrencies are generated through a process called mining, which involves powerful computer hardware and software to confirm transactions and create new units.

golden bitcoins fall out of safe box

Acquiring Coins Through User Transactions

The main source of coins for crypto exchanges is through transactions with users who sell their coins for fiat currency. These exchanges act as intermediaries, allowing users to convert their crypto assets into traditional money. By providing a platform for buying and selling, exchanges ensure liquidity in the market, enabling smooth and efficient trading.

Exchanges acquire coins from users by facilitating the process of converting their digital assets into fiat currency.

When users sell their coins, the exchange purchases them using the available funds in its reserve. This reserve, often referred to as a “float,” ensures that the exchange has enough coins to meet the demand of users looking to buy.

Profits generated from fiat-to-coin exchanges play a significant role in acquiring additional coins. When users purchase coins with fiat currency, the exchange earns a commission on each transaction. These profits can be reinvested to buy more coins, thereby expanding the exchange’s reserves and enhancing liquidity.

In addition to acquiring coins through user transactions, some exchanges have introduced their own intermediary coins.

These coins are internal to the exchange and serve as an alternative to using fiat currency for trading. By utilizing these intermediary coins, users can facilitate transactions within the exchange ecosystem without the need for traditional currency.

Mining and Coin Generation

Cryptocurrencies are generated through a process called mining, which involves powerful computer hardware and software. Miners participate in a competitive race to solve complex mathematical problems that validate and confirm transactions on the blockchain. This process requires significant computational power and consumes a considerable amount of electricity.

Once a miner successfully solves a mathematical problem, they are rewarded with a certain amount of newly minted cryptocurrency.

This is how new units of cryptocurrency are created and introduced into the market. The process of mining not only creates new coins but also plays a crucial role in securing the blockchain network and maintaining the integrity of transactions.

Mining ProcessCoin Generation
Miners use specialized hardware, such as ASICs (Application-Specific Integrated Circuits), to perform mining computations.Newly minted coins are added to the total supply of the respective cryptocurrency.
Mining software is used to connect the mining hardware to the blockchain network.Miners receive a reward in the form of newly generated coins for their participation in the mining process.
The mining process involves solving complex mathematical problems to validate and confirm transactions.The newly minted coins are then made available for trading on cryptocurrency exchanges.

It’s important to note that not all cryptocurrencies can be mined. Some cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, have a limited supply, while others, like Ethereum, are still mineable. The process of mining plays a significant role in the overall ecosystem of cryptocurrencies, ensuring their security and decentralization.

Cryptocurrency mining tools concept

Exchange-issued Intermediary Coins

In addition to user transactions and mining, some crypto exchanges issue their own intermediary coins. These coins play a crucial role in facilitating trade processes within the exchange ecosystem and reducing reliance on traditional fiat currency. By creating their own coins, exchanges can provide users with an alternative means of transacting, promoting liquidity and enhancing the overall trading experience.

One example of an exchange-issued intermediary coin is Binance Coin (BNB), which was created by the popular cryptocurrency exchange Binance.

BNB can be used to pay for trading fees on the platform, participate in token sales, and access various other features. By using BNB, traders can enjoy discounted fees and additional perks, making it a valuable asset within the Binance ecosystem.

These intermediary coins are typically built on established blockchain platforms like Ethereum, using smart contracts to ensure transparency and security. They provide an additional layer of convenience and flexibility for traders, boosting the efficiency of transactions and reducing the time and costs associated with traditional banking systems.

Exchange-issued Intermediary CoinsFeatures
Binance Coin (BNB)– Used for trading fee payments
– Access to token sales
– Discounted fees for BNB holders
KuCoin Shares (KCS)– Reward system for holding KCS
– Discounted trading fees
– Access to exclusive promotions
Huobi Token (HT)– Used for trading fee discounts
– VIP benefits for HT holders
– Participation in token sales and events

These intermediary coins have garnered significant attention and adoption within the crypto community. They not only provide a unique value proposition for traders but also contribute to the overall growth and development of the exchange platforms.

Building a Functional Crypto Exchange

Building a functional and secure crypto exchange requires a significant investment, often exceeding $1 million. The cost primarily depends on factors such as the complexity of the platform, the desired features, and the level of security measures implemented. Here is a breakdown of the major expenses involved in building a crypto exchange:

  1. Technology Infrastructure: A robust and scalable technology infrastructure is crucial for a successful crypto exchange. This includes servers, hosting services, and network infrastructure, which can account for a significant portion of the overall cost.
  2. Software Development: Developing the exchange platform, order matching engine, wallet system, and other essential software components requires skilled developers and can be a major expense.
  3. Security Measures: Implementing robust security measures is essential to protect user data and funds. This includes measures like SSL encryption, two-factor authentication, and cold storage for storing cryptocurrencies offline.
  4. Legal and Compliance: Complying with regulations and obtaining the necessary licenses can be a complex and costly process. Legal fees, compliance audits, and regulatory reporting are some of the expenses to consider in this area.
  5. Customer Support and Operations: Operating a crypto exchange requires a dedicated customer support team to handle user inquiries and resolve issues promptly. This includes hiring support staff and implementing support systems.

In addition to the investment required to build the exchange, it’s important to consider ongoing expenses such as server maintenance, software updates, security audits, and compliance costs. Generating revenue for the exchange can come from various sources, including:

  • Commissions: Charging transaction fees or commissions on trades conducted on the exchange.
  • Listing Fees: Charging fees for listing cryptocurrencies on the exchange, especially for new and promising tokens.
  • Market Making: Offering market-making services to liquidity providers to enhance trading liquidity on the platform.
  • Initial Exchange Offerings: Conducting fundraising events known as Initial Exchange Offerings (IEOs), where projects sell tokens directly to users on the exchange.

By diversifying revenue streams and focusing on user experience and security, a well-built and well-managed crypto exchange has the potential to succeed in the dynamic cryptocurrency market.

ExpenseEstimated Cost
Technology Infrastructure$200,000 – $400,000
Software Development$300,000 – $500,000
Security Measures$100,000 – $200,000
Legal and Compliance$50,000 – $100,000
Customer Support and Operations$100,000 – $200,000
Total$750,000 – $1.4 million
concept of investing bitcoin

Centralized vs Decentralized Exchanges

Crypto exchanges can be categorized into two main types: centralized and decentralized. Centralized exchanges, also known as traditional exchanges, are the most common type of exchange in the cryptocurrency market. These exchanges act as intermediaries, connecting buyers and sellers and facilitating transactions. They provide a centralized platform where users can trade various cryptocurrencies against fiat currencies, such as Australian dollars.

Centralized exchanges offer several advantages. Firstly, they are easy to use, making them suitable for beginners entering the crypto market. These exchanges also provide liquidity, ensuring that users can buy or sell cryptocurrencies at any time. Additionally, centralized exchanges often have extensive security measures in place to protect user funds.

Decentralized exchanges, on the other hand, operate on a different principle. These exchanges utilize smart contracts, which are self-executing contracts with the terms of the agreement directly written into the code. By removing the need for intermediaries, decentralized exchanges enable peer-to-peer transactions without relying on a central authority. This decentralized nature aligns with the core philosophy of cryptocurrencies, which aims to eliminate the need for centralized control.

While decentralized exchanges offer increased privacy and security due to their distributed nature, they also have some drawbacks.

Decentralized exchanges are generally more complex to use compared to centralized exchanges, which may deter beginner traders. Additionally, decentralized exchanges may have lower liquidity and fewer available trading pairs, which can limit trading options for users.

Centralized ExchangesDecentralized Exchanges
Connect buyers and sellersFacilitate peer-to-peer transactions
Easy to useComplex user interface
Provide liquidityMay have lower liquidity
Extensive security measuresIncreased privacy and security
Trade various cryptocurrencies against fiat currenciesMay have limited trading options

So remember, centralized exchanges provide a user-friendly experience with high liquidity, making them suitable for beginners and active traders. Decentralized exchanges, on the other hand, offer increased privacy and security, appealing to users who prioritize control over their funds and value the decentralized nature of cryptocurrencies.

crypto chart for trading

Factors Affecting Exchange Prices and Success

The prices on different exchanges can vary due to factors such as liquidity, interest, and market activity. Understanding the reasons behind these price differences is crucial for anyone navigating the world of crypto trading. Let’s dive into the key factors that play a role in the success and pricing of crypto exchanges.


One of the primary factors influencing exchange prices is liquidity. In simple terms, liquidity refers to the availability of coins for buying and selling on a particular exchange.

Exchanges with high liquidity tend to have tighter bid-ask spreads, which means the price difference between buyers and sellers is smaller. This makes it easier to execute trades at desired prices and reduces the impact of market orders on prices. Higher liquidity can also contribute to smoother market functioning and reduced volatility.

Interest and Market Activity

Interest and market activity can significantly impact exchange prices. Increased interest in a particular cryptocurrency can drive up demand and consequently affect its price.

Additionally, market activity, such as large buy or sell orders, can create temporary imbalances in supply and demand, leading to price fluctuations. Moreover, news and events, such as regulatory developments or the introduction of new features, can spark market activity and influence exchange prices.

Security and Trading Volume

The success of a crypto exchange hinges on two vital factors: trading volume and security measures. Higher trading volume indicates a more active and engaged user base, which can attract more traders and liquidity to the exchange.

Robust security measures, including two-factor authentication and cold storage for funds, are essential to gain trust from users and safeguard their assets. Exchanges with a strong emphasis on security and high trading volume are more likely to be successful in the long run.

FactorsImpact on Exchange Prices
LiquidityHigher liquidity leads to tighter bid-ask spreads and smoother market functioning.
Interest and Market ActivityIncreased interest and market activity can influence prices due to changes in supply and demand.
Security and Trading VolumeStrong security measures and higher trading volume contribute to the success of an exchange.

Understanding the factors that affect exchange prices and success is crucial for both seasoned and novice traders. By considering factors such as liquidity, interest, market activity, security measures, and trading volume, traders can make more informed decisions and navigate the dynamic world of cryptocurrencies with confidence.

crypto exchange trading analysis concept


Understanding where crypto exchanges get their coins from is essential for those looking to engage in Australian cryptocurrency trading. Crypto exchanges primarily acquire coins from users who sell their coins in exchange for fiat currency. By maintaining a “float” of coins, exchanges ensure liquidity and uphold smooth trading operations. Additionally, exchanges use profits from fiat-to-coin exchanges to further expand their coin reserves, allowing for greater flexibility in meeting market demands.

Some exchanges even have their own intermediary coins, which serve as a facilitator for trade processes within the exchange ecosystem. These intermediary coins provide an alternative to traditional fiat currency, reducing reliance on it and promoting swift and efficient transactions.

Cryptocurrencies themselves are generated through a process known as mining. This process involves the use of powerful computer hardware and software to validate transactions and create new units of digital currency. Mining is an integral part of the cryptocurrency ecosystem and plays a significant role in the availability and distribution of coins on exchanges.

Building a functional and secure crypto exchange can be a substantial investment, costing around $1 million or more. However, the potential revenue streams for exchanges, such as commissions, listing fees, market making, and fund collection during Initial Exchange Offerings (IEOs), make it a lucrative business opportunity.

When it comes to choosing an exchange, investors have the option of centralized or decentralized platforms. Centralized exchanges act as trusted intermediaries, connecting buyers and sellers, and facilitating both fiat-to-crypto and crypto-to-crypto transactions. On the other hand, decentralized exchanges operate on smart contracts and enable peer-to-peer transactions without the need for a central authority.

Price differences among exchanges are influenced by various factors, including liquidity, interest, and market activity. The success of an exchange depends on factors such as trading volume and the implementation of robust security measures to protect user funds and data.

gold bitcoins on black background

Frequently Asked Questions

How are cryptocurrencies generated?

Cryptocurrencies are generated through a process called mining. This involves powerful computer hardware and software that confirm transactions and create new units of cryptocurrency.

Do crypto exchanges have their own coins?

Some crypto exchanges have their own intermediary coins. These coins facilitate trade processes and reduce reliance on fiat currency within the exchange ecosystem.

How much does it cost to build a crypto exchange?

Building a functional and secure crypto exchange can cost around $1 million or more. This cost includes developing the necessary infrastructure, ensuring security measures, and establishing liquidity.

How do exchanges make money?

Exchanges make money through various revenue streams, including commissions, listing fees, market-making, and fund collection during Initial Exchange Offerings (IEOs).

What is the difference between centralized and decentralized exchanges?

Centralized exchanges connect buyers and sellers and act as trusted intermediaries. Decentralized exchanges operate on smart contracts and facilitate peer-to-peer transactions without a central authority.

What factors affect exchange prices and success?

Price differences among exchanges are influenced by factors such as liquidity, interest, and market activity. The success of an exchange depends on trading volume and the implementation of robust security measures.

About The Author

James Headshot
Written by

Crypto Technical Writer

James Page, previously the lead writer at Crypto Head and a registered psychologist, brings a unique perspective to the world of blockchain and cryptocurrency.

His extensive experience in the industry and ability to present complex concepts in an understandable manner make his articles a valuable resource for readers seeking to navigate the ever-evolving crypto landscape.

Check James out on: