February 19, 2021

Best Cryptocurrency Exchange

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Want to invest in crypto? The right platform can help you get started. Here are the best exchanges to safely buy bitcoin and other cryptos.

Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are super-hot right now. If you're considering getting in on this investment, the first question is where to trade crypto.

Whether you're looking to test the waters or trade more seriously, here are the best platforms and exchanges to start your cryptocurrency journey.

We have chosen websites that are safe and have unique features. Read on.

1. Coinbase

Most popular; learning program to earn cryptos

Coinbase is one of the largest crypto exchanges with over 35 million users. It's a trading platform and crypto wallet to store your digital coins. It has a simple interface that makes it beginner-friendly.

Screenshot of Coinbase

However, Coinbase's trading fees could get high. Every trade has a flat-rate or variable fee, whichever is greater. Fees are:[1]

  • Transactions $200 or less: flat fees of $0.99 - $2.99
  • Payment with U.S. bank account: 1.49%
  • Payment with Coinbase USD Wallet: 1.49%
  • Payment with debit cards: 3.99%

It also charges a spread of 0.50% for crypto buys and sells. For cryptocurrency conversions, Coinbase charges a spread margin of up to 2%.

Coinbase supports over 45 different types of cryptocurrencies. The minimum trading amount is $2.

Why Coinbase is good for beginners: The simple user interface won't overwhelm newbies. It also has a learning program that lets you earn pieces of cryptos as you complete mini-lessons. You can earn up to $167 worth of crypto.

For more experienced crypto traders, Coinbase Pro is the advanced trading platform. It lets you place advanced order types and has lower trading fees.

2. eToro

Social trading; copy other top investors

eToro is one of the most popular exchanges globally. The really cool thing about this platform is the social trading. You can view other users' portfolios and discuss and learn together.

Screenshot of Etoro

The unique CopyTrader feature allows you to copy the actions of top-performing traders. When they make a trade, you automatically trade too. This is great for new traders who aren't sure what to do.

You also get a free $100,000 virtual portfolio to practice your strategy before committing real money.

eToro charges no trading commissions - only a spread when you buy and adjusted when you sell.[2] Each coin has a different spread. Bitcoin's 0.75% spread is one of the cheapest in the industry.

eToro supports the most popular 14 cryptocurrencies.

For investors who are performing well, you can apply to be part of the Popular Investor program. Then you get paid every time a user copies you!

3. BlockFi

Earn interest on your digital coins

BlockFi is a cryptocurrency exchange, savings account, and loan service all in one. The trading platform lets you trade with no trading fees.

The BlockFi Interest Account lets you earn up to 8.6% APY on any cryptos you're holding, which is way more than the average bank savings account. You'll start earning interest as soon as your trade is placed.

Another cool feature is that you can borrow against your cryptocurrency value. If you need funds, you can just take out a loan instead of having to sell your coins.

BlockFi currently supports BTC, ETH, LTC, USDC, USDT, GUSD, PAX, and PAXG.

4. Gemini

All-in-one crypto exchange and wallet

Gemini is an all-in-one platform to buy and sell, manage your crypto portfolio, store, and pay with your digital coins.

Screenshot of Gemini

It offers a basic platform for beginners, as well as an ActiveTrader platform for advanced investors.

Besides buying and selling crypto on the exchange, you can also negotiate trades off the exchange with another Gemini account. Gemini helps broker the exchange to mitigate risk.

There's a convenience fee of 0.50% per trade. Trading fees are:[3]

  • $10 or less: $0.99
  • Over $10 but less than $25: $1.49
  • Over 25 but less than $50: $1.99
  • Over 50 but less than $200: $2.99
  • Over $200: $1.49%

A cool feature is that you can pay with your digital coins at more than 30,000 popular retailers across the U.S., straight from the mobile app.

You can trade 26 different cryptocurrencies on Gemini. The first 10 withdrawals are free each month.

5. Robinhood

Stock & crypto investing app; no trading fees

Robinhood, the popular micro-investment app, also allows you to trade crypto with no trading fees. This is a big pro since crypto exchanges usually charge a fee.

Screenshot of Robinhood

One thing to note: Currently, Robinhood does not support coin withdrawals. You can buy and sell your coins, but you don't actually get access to your wallet. This feature is in the works for the future.

But Robinhood's simple app still makes it a good choice if you just want to try out investing in crypto.

There are 7 cryptocurrencies available for trading on Robinhood: Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin SV, Dogecoin, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, and Litecoin.

6. Webull

No trading fees; buy and sell from $1

Webull is another brokerage with a crypto platform. There are no trading fees. You can buy and sell cryptocurrencies starting from $1.

Screenshot of Webull

So far, Webull offers Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Litecoin.

Your trades are instantly settled, and you can trade 24/7, seven days a week. Just like Robinhood, you're not able to withdraw coins.

7. Kraken

Strong security; leveraged crypto trading

The Kraken platform is very feature-rich. For beginners, it's intuitive enough for simple trading after setting up an account.

Screenshot of Kraken

But where it really shines is the leveraged trading options for advanced traders. It offers up to 5x margin trading and futures investing up to 50x leverage. You can even short cryptos. Just beware that these are riskier strategies, but have higher reward potential.

Kraken fees range from 0% to 0.26%.[4] It supports over 50 different cryptocurrencies.

8. Binance

Most number of coins; low trade fees

Binance.US supports over 50 different cryptos. It's especially good if you want to trade altcoins and cryptocurrency pairs.

Screenshot of Binance

It offers basic and advanced platforms based on your experience. But newbies may find that even the basic platform is not as beginner-friendly.

Binance fees are much lower than some other crypto exchanges. It charges a standard 0.1% trading fee, and 0.5% instant buy and sell fee.[5]

Binance is the largest exchange in the world in terms of daily trading volume, but the global platform is no longer available to American users. Binance.US does not currently support users in CT, HI, ID, LA, NY, TX, VT, and WA.

9. iTrustCapital

Invest in cryptos in an IRA

iTrustCapital lets you trade and invest in cryptos for your retirement in an IRA account. This lets your gains grow tax-deferred or tax-free (depending on which type of IRA you choose).

Compared to other crypto IRAs, iTrustCapital's fees are transparent and a lot lower. There's a 1% trading fee for cryptos and $29.95 monthly account fee. The minimum opening deposit is $2,500.[6]

iTrustCapital supports Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, XRP, EOS, Chainlink, and Stellar.

You can transfer an existing IRA or rollover an employer retirement plan. If you already have a crypto IRA, you can even do an in-kind transfer without liquidating your cryptos.

10. Coinmama

Many payment options

Coinmama is aimed toward beginner crypto investors. The buying process is made simple. And there's a support team to help at any time.

The biggest pro about Coinmama is the many payment options. You can buy coins with bank transfer, credit card, debit card, or Apple pay.

However, the fees are expensive. The commission fee can be as high as 3.9%. And purchasing with a credit or debit card can even incur another 5% fee.[7]

Coinmama only supports 8 cryptos: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, Cardano, Ethereum Classic, Tezos, and Eos.

Types of Cryptocurrency Exchanges

A cryptocurrency exchange is a platform where users can buy, sell, and trade cryptocurrencies. These platforms don't all work the same way. Here are the different types of exchanges.

  • Centralized exchanges
    Centralized exchanges are regulated by a middleman that conducts the transactions. The exchange holds your coins and keep them safe (just like how a bank holds your money). These sites will require identity verification.

    This is the most common way to trade cryptos. These exchanges have high activity and liquidity.

    Examples of centralized exchanges include Coinbase, Gemini, and Kraken.

  • Decentralized exchange
    These exchanges are not regulated by any official authority, thus often called a "trustless environment." Users get full control of their coins. Users can directly trade coins with each other without a middleman. They focus more on anonymity.

    We don't have any of these exchanges on our list, as they're better suited for more experienced traders.

  • Brokerages
    You can now even trade crypto coins with some online stock brokerages (like Robinhood and Webull). This is a great option if you want to have your stock trading and crypto trading under one broker.

    But the downside is that they're not digital wallets and you usually cannot withdraw coins to use.

What to Look for in a Cryptocurrency Exchange

  • Security
    Make sure the site has strong security features to keep your money and information safe. See how your coins are stored. Cold storage means your coins are stored offline, which prevents hackers from being able to get to them.

  • Types of coins
    Do you already know what coins you want to trade/invest in? Make sure the platform you choose supports that currency. Popular crypto like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin are available on just about all sites. But the smaller coins won't be available everywhere.

  • Fees
    Most crypto exchanges charge a fee per trade. If you plan to actively trade, you may want to pick a site with lower fees. If you're just buying and holding, it won't matter as much.

  • Ability to withdraw
    This is important if you want to be able to withdraw your coins and actually use them. If so, look for an exchange combined with crypto wallet. If you're investing through a broker (like Robinhood or Webull), you won't be able to withdraw into a coin wallet.

  • Ease of use
    Beginners will want to look for a platform with a simple user interface. More experienced investors will want a more advanced platform and extra features.

Bottom Line

Investing in cryptocurrency may be all the rage right now, but make sure it's the right investment for you. Cryptos tend to be extremely volatile, so understand the risks.

To have a happy investment experience, pick the right platform for your needs. Don't only consider the fee. Pick a platform with features you want and an interface you're comfortable with.

References

  1. ^ Coinbase pricing and fees disclosures, Retrieved 2/1/2021
  2. ^ eToro Trading Fees, Retrieved 2/1/2021
  3. ^ Gemini Mobile Fee Schedule, Retrieved 2/1/2021
  4. ^ How trading fees work on Kraken, Retrieved 2/1/2021
  5. ^ Binance Fee Structure, Retrieved 2/1/2021
  6. ^ iTrustCapital Fees, Retrieved 2/1/2021
  7. ^ Coinmama Fees & Charges, Retrieved 2/1/2021

Anna G is a content manager at CreditDonkey, a personal finance comparison and reviews website. Write to Anna G at anna@creditdonkey.com. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for our latest posts. And remember that you can listen to CreditDonkey Radio any time.

Note: This website is made possible through financial relationships with some of the products and services mentioned on this site. We may receive compensation if you shop through links in our content. You do not have to use our links, but you help support CreditDonkey if you do.

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