Top 8 Best Cryptocurrency Exchanges and Trading Platforms (In the US and Other Countries) 2021
Finding a good crypto exchange can make or break your cryptocurrency trading career.
You want a platform with the lowest fees possible, a large selection of altcoins, fast trades and payouts, and good customer service that’s available 24/7.
Anything less can result in missed trading opportunities, signup headaches, or week long delays to receive your funds.
Based on these benchmarks, we’ve spent over many hours researching, testing, and scoring the 25 most visited crypto exchanges.
Below we’ve listed the highest scoring sites and what stood out about each.
- Best overall, low fees - Binance or BinanceUS for USA residents
- Best customer service - Kraken
- Best for beginners - Coinbase
- Crypto meets forex - eToro
- Simple brokerage service for popular coins - Coinmama
- No ID required - Bisq
- Attractive trading volumes - Bittrex
- Strong security features - Gemini
More Benchmarks for Cryptocurrency Exchange Platforms
Cryptocurrency Platforms are to have before all the three benchmarks below which are really important to consider before investing in a cryptocurrency platform
Customer service: Cryptocurrency exchange platforms can see a lot of trading, and other back-and-forth scenarios between clients and staff. For this reason, a customer service team that offers excellent communication and transparency is essential for success.
Regions covered: As a user, it is smart to choose a platform that is close to home so they can remain in compliance with the law. These laws change between countries and regions, while some platforms offer extensive services worldwide. Others are more limited.
Security: Security is one of the most crucial components of a cryptocurrency exchange platform. This includes the security of users’ funds, what personal data is necessary for signing up and the amount of servers worldwide. The more servers there are, the less likely it is the platform will fall prey to an attack.
Detail Look of the above listed Cryptocurrency Exchange Platforms
1. Binance – Best Cryptocurrency Exchange Overall
This platform is based in Malta, even though it has branches in different parts of the world. It is a perfect option for beginners and experts alike. Not only that, but the platform has around 200 coins in total, ranging from the usual ones like Bitcoin to their native coin known as Binance Coin. Let's look at Binance Pros and Cons that let us rank it first of all.
- Secure Asset Fund for Users (SAFU)
- Native Binance Coin (BNB)
- Approximately 200 cryptocurrencies to trade
- 0.1 percent flat trading fees
- US residents must use Binance.us which has only 80 cryptocurrencies available
- Potential issues with ID verification
- Slow-to-respond customer service
Binance offers a range of services such as margin trading, futures trading, and a lot more. Their fee remains at 0.1 percent on most transactions, but they also have a credit card brokerage service for more convenient purchases and sale of cryptocurrencies (at higher fees).
Security might not be something to worry about when using this platform, thanks to their system known as Secure Asset Fund for Users (SAFU), ensuring users from theft of funds. On the downside, however, this platform’s 2FA and ID verification processes can take quite a while to set up.
2. Kraken – Best Customer Service
This cryptocurrency platform takes pride in offering amazingly fast bank withdrawals, being available in most parts of the world, and charging low fees. The fees are between 0 and 0.36 percent, which is dependent on your type of trading as well as your trading volume for the last 30 days – you will enjoy lower fees if you trade more. Let's look at its Pros and Cons
- Wonderful customer support
- Available worldwide
- Strong reputation
- Fast bank withdrawals
- Considerably low transaction fees
- Some system bugs and issues
- Not the largest selection of altcoins
This platform also facilitates discreet trading through its dark pool feature, which is another reason it is quite popular. You will, however, note that the user experience is not the best in the market if compared to other platforms. To make the platform more user-friendly, the platform UI needs a little tweaking.
3. Coinbase – Best Platform for Bitcoin Buyers and Beginners
Coinbase is, hands-down, one of the best platforms for Bitcoin exchanges online. It is used by lots of beginners who are trying to get their hands on digital currency. For this reason, it is a common platform for those looking to make both deposits and withdrawals of the most popular coin in the market – Bitcoin.
- Intuitive UI for beginners and experts alike
- Best place for Bitcoin purchase
- 30 million users worldwide
- Accepts debit cards, credit cards, and wire transfer
- Sluggish customer support
- Rather extensive monitoring of trades
- Fees are a little bit on the higher side
In addition to facilitating fast deposits and lots of payment methods, this platform has a UI that is almost perfect and easy to understand. Here, you can trade the most popular cryptos, including Litecoin, Bitcoin, Ethereum, and others.
Having been founded in 2012 and accruing a total of over 30 million active users currently, this platform is truly popular for a good reason.
One of the slight downsides of the platform is transaction fees that are somewhat higher compared to the best platforms for crypto exchange. The fees here are in the form of a 0.5 percent premium, after which you have to pay a slight fee depending on the amount that you trade.
Well, you may say that such are the fees that you pay to enjoy a well-designed UI as well as get your services from a popular crypto trading platform.
Is There a Difference Between Coinbase and Coinbase Pro?
There, indeed, is a slight difference between Coinbase Pro and Coinbase. Formerly known as GDAX, Coinbase Pro is a separate app that is meant for expert crypto investors. It is also more geo-restricted compared to the normal Coinbase app.
4. eToro – Crypto and Forex in One Place
If you are a fan of both the worlds of forex and crypto, then eToro should be your go-to platform. This might be the best platform yet for traders interested in having their fingers in many pies. The platform can be used from both its web or mobile platform.
- Choose between web and mobile platforms
- Has been in operation since 2007
- Can be used for both crypto and forex
- Supports up to 94 cryptocurrency pairs
- Not a crypto-specific site
- Supports only 14 crypto coins
It is also good to keep in mind that eToro has a dedicated crypto wallet app that utilizes multisig authorization for added security when investing with other parties. Having been established in 2007, eToro has done a great job in building a recognizable reputation for itself.
The only downside is the fact that they support a mere 14 crypto coins, even though it is a catalog of the most popular coins.
5. Bisq – Best Decentralized Platform
This is a decentralized crypto exchange platform. As such, its servers spread out all over the world, which makes it almost resistant to attacks. In that light, this is one of the best platforms for the purchase of different types of cryptocurrency in terms of security.
- Brilliant security
- Open-source code
- Usable in the United States
- No ID required
- Use of credit cards for deposits isn't available
What is more? The platform’s source code is discussed openly on GitHub and Slack, which makes it all transparent. One thing to keep in mind about the platform is that you will be charged 0.001 BTC and some extra mining fees for transactions, regardless of whether you are selling or buying.
The main downside is that the service only allows wire transfers for deposits. Also, after Litecoin and Bitcoin, the rest of the cryptocurrency is negligible.
6. Coinmama – Good Brokerage Service for Bitcoin
This is simply not a cryptocurrency exchange platform; rather, it is a brokerage service. What this means is that you can use the service to purchase your preferred Crypto coins from them rather than from other users.
- Live pricing in EUR and USD
- Buy up to 10 different cryptocurrencies
- Amazing customer service
- Buy Bitcoin without a hassle
- No mobile app
- 2.9-3.9 percent trading fees
- You will need a European bank to sell BTC
The main benefit of transacting that way is that you are sure of faster and safer transactions. You, however, might want to be aware of the 2.9–3.9 percent fees. On the positive side, you can purchase up to 10 different crypto coins from this platform and still get to enjoy a considerably competitive rate.
Their customer service is an outstanding one, too. Overall, however, the platform’s system seems to be more favorable to European users and might as such not be the best platform for US users.
7. Bittrex – Best For Security
This platform came into existence in 2013 in Seattle, courtesy of computer security experts who were former employees of Blackberry and Microsoft. This is one of the best, if not the best, cryptocurrency exchange platform in terms of security. It is worth noting that they have never experienced a security breach, which is not typical in the world of cryptocurrency.
- Attractive trading volumes
- Top-notch security
- Lots of currency pairs
- US laws-compliant
- Does not offer the best customer service
- No leveraged margin trading
This platform works with a flat 0.25 percent trading fee, which is somehow okay in terms of the pricing. Bittrex is available on a worldwide basis, even though some of the advanced features that it offers, such as margin trading, are not.
Also, all withdrawals and deposits are performed via wire transfer, which is not something that everyone will find pleasurable.
Nonetheless, that does not take away the fact that this platform is one of the most secure. The owners believe in it so much that they offer full insurance on 80-90 percent of the user funds should there be an unlikely event of a breach.
8. Gemini – Best For Traders From the United States
This platform was founded in the year 2015 by the twins who sued Zuckerberg for allegedly stealing the Facebook idea. Gemini is, without a doubt, a platform that is highly respected in the United States. It is renowned for having considerably low fees and strict trading security.
- USD accounts insured
- Easy-to-use platform
- Strong security
- 0-1 percent fee, which is quite affordable to most
- Personal data required
- ID required when signing up
- Has had a software crash in the past
In addition to the fact that Gemini specializes in Ethereum and Bitcoin, it is also quite easy to use, making it a good choice for the new, inexperienced user. However, users have to keep in mind that their ID and personal data are necessary when signing up. For this reason, it may not be the best option for those looking to protect their identity.
5 Factors to Consider When Choosing an Ideal Cryptocurrency Exchange Platform
It is not a good idea to go in for just any crypto exchange platform without trying to figure out whether it is the best for a certain person. Weighing that fact, below are 5 factors that should guide potential clients when choosing the right cryptocurrency exchange platform.
It is important to highlight that, the best cryptocurrency exchange platform is the one that offers the tightest security. Users should not be tempted to register with a platform just because it has a fancy app or cute graphics. It would be much better if they can consider the big names that have proved to have secure systems.
Take, for example, a platform such as Bittrex that has never had a security breach or lost anyone’s money. The vital features to look out for include 2-Factor Authentication, ID verification, data encryption, and user reviews.
Also, if a platform utilizes a decentralized system, it is a little bit safer compared to the one that uses a centralized system.
2. Geolocation (Regions Covered by Platform)
The laws and regulations that govern the trade and use of cryptocurrency vary depending on the jurisdiction. Customers should research well to find a platform that is compliant with the law in their country of residence.
This is equally a very important factor to note because we always want to know how we can reach a local branch of the platform in case we face any severe issue such as theft.
In the majority of situations, it is best to choose a platform that is based in their country, if possible. For example, US traders should consider platforms such as Gemini since it is based in the United States.
3. Availability of Cryptocurrencies
Most trading platforms offer Bitcoin and Ethereum as the basic crypto coins. However, if users would like to use the coins that are not readily available such as SushiSwap, Dogecoin, BakeryToken, and others, they have to be careful with the platform they choose.
If clients want a larger selection to pick from, they would be at a better place if they choose a platform like Binance, which has approximately 200 coins to choose from.
Some of the coins that are available on Binance according to Coin Market Cap include:
- Binance coin
- Bitcoin cash
…and many others. If, for example, people are after the rare altcoin, they are quite likely to find it on the Binance platform.
4. Liquidity and Buying Limits
Some platforms place a maximum limit on the currency that investors can buy. However, such limits are usually on the higher end of around $100,000 and are, as such, targeted toward high-stake traders and investors.
Liquidity is also an important factor for traders who would like to convert their cryptos into cash as needed. In this case, a cryptocurrency exchange platform that offers high liquidity is an excellent choice for quick cash conversions. Who doesn't want to easily cashout their crypto?
On the other hand, a platform with low liquidity means that it can take longer to cash out since one’s digital assets are not readily available.
5. Payment Methods
There are various ways to make deposits after opening an account, and these methods change from one platform to the next. The most common methods of payment are:
- Debit cards
- Credit cards
- Wire transfers
Before settling for a specific currency exchange platform, it is a good idea to ensure that you make sure it supports a payment method which you easily use.
FAQ on Best Cryptocurrency Exchange Platform
What is a Currency Exchange?
A cryptocurrency exchange is a platform available online where one can exchange fiat (real) money such as dollars and euros with cryptocurrency such as Bitcoins. Cryptocurrencies are a virtual kind of money that changes a lot in value.
Just like there are different currencies in the world, such as euros, pounds, and others, there are also different types of cryptocurrencies. Each one of these cryptocurrencies is bound to fluctuate in value, just like the normal currencies that most people are used to doing.
Fiat to Crypto Exchanges
When talking of cryptocurrency exchange, it is possible to change fiat currency into cryptocurrency and back. A lot of traders change cryptocurrency into fiat money based on the changes in cryptocurrency value. In this process, one is bound to either make a profit or a loss.
Fiat to cryptocurrency exchanges are more common than crypto to crypto exchanges.
Crypto to Crypto Exchanges
Some platforms only allow cryptocurrency to cryptocurrency exchanges. A good example is a platform that allows you to exchange Bitcoin with Ethereum, but you can trade the same Bitcoin for dollars. To use such a platform, you first have to purchase crypto using real cash and then transfer it to the cryptocurrency platform.
Centralized vs Decentralized Exchanges
Cryptocurrency exchanges can also be categorized into decentralized or centralized exchanges:
Centralized exchanges are considerably more popular compared to decentralized cryptocurrency exchanges. Platforms that run such types of exchanges are owned and run by private companies. Such platforms operate from local or “central” servers that are in the private company’s possession.
Centralized platforms are more vulnerable to various types of external security attacks such as hacks.
In a decentralized setup, there are various servers spread out in different parts of the world and being operated by different users. Such setups are more immune to security attacks since an attack on one server leaves the others up and running.
Decentralized platforms, unlike centralized ones, are not regulated, and their ownership is bound to change from time to time. Since they also do not require an ID for registration, they are often targeted as black markets for illegal products.
What is the Best Cryptocurrency Exchange Plaform for Beginners?
Among the platforms discussed above, Coinbase should be the best for beginners, mainly because it has a user-friendly UI. In addition, the platform explains a lot of the things that news users need to know in plain English rather than using crypto jargon.
Besides, Coinbase is considerably popular with around 30 million users and is available in approximately 102 countries worldwide.
What are the Best Cryptocurrency Exchange Platform According to Registered Users?
Even though the platforms discussed in this article are, without a doubt, some of the best available on the market, it is still a good idea to know what cryptocurrency exchange platform users feel is best. So, it is a good idea to visit different user Q&As (Questions and Answers) as well as user review websites such as Quora, Reddit, and others to know what registered users think.
The opinions do vary from one user to another, but according to the majority of opinions on Reddit, for example, Binance and Coinbase are great platforms to check out.
Coinbase is especially praised by several users as the right platform for beginners.
Finally: What is the Best Cryptocurrency Exchange Platform overall?
To be realistic, it is almost impossible to crown one platform as the best for cryptocurrency exchange. That is in consideration that the best platform will depend on someone’s region of residence, the features that matter most to them, the coins they want to buy, and more.
As mentioned above, Coinbase is definitely an amazing platform for beginners. For users interested in trading almost any type of cryptocurrency, altcoins included, Binance would serve them best. As such, you should first identify your needs, preferences, and expectations of the perfect platform, in their opinion.
Once you have determined what they need, it will be easier to get a platform that suits your needs, and that will be the best cryptocurrency exchange platform for you.
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Disclaimer: The above mentioned points though are to be considered, it is good you know that investing into crypto is risky as gambling. Always keep a positive winning mind and know that there are days which aren't good and that you may loss your money. If you are a beginner, it will be a better option to contact a professional trader that will help you for a certain time to know the basics in trading and when you know how this works, then you take off and do the trade yourself.