If you want to take an active approach to investing in bitcoin and other digital currencies, it is important to you use the right crypto trading platforms. In this piece, our editors have picked the best bitcoin trading sites to consider using when trading digital currencies.
We evaluate our top recommendations by daily trading volume, the number of altcoins traded, transaction fees, average liquidity, review score, promotional offers, exchange score, and user-friendly interface. Here are our top picks:
|Company Name||Daily Trading Volume||Number of Altcoins||Transaction Fees||Average Liquidity||Review Score||Promotion||Exchange Score|
|Binance||$2.6B||184 crypto, 500+ trading pairs||0.015% to 0.10% purchase and trading fees, 3.5% or $10 for debit card purchases, or $15 per U.S. wire transfer||800||5||rewards for first time users, a $5000 Bonus Jackpot every Monday and Tuesday of the week||9.9|
|Coinbase Exchange||$5.2B||40||0.5% - 4.5%|
varies by type of transaction; other fees may apply
in bitcoin for getting started on Coinbase
|FTX||$2.5B||275||tiered||742||4.7||up to 101x leverage.||8.4|
|Kraken||$1.2B||50+||Tiered||719||4.1||margin account can borrow 5 times your account balance to exchange crypto assets||7.9|
|Gemini||$2M||40+||0.5% - 3.99%|
depending on payment method and platform
for new users after trading $100 or more within 30 days
|674||4.8||$20 of BTC|
for new users after trading $100 or more within 30 days. Also earn interest on stored crypto
|Bitfinex||$1.1B||35||Tiered||633||4||zero trading fee on the Tether/US Dollar (USDt/USD) pair||7.5|
|Crypto.com Exchange||$1B||90+||0.04% to 2.99%||798||4||8% back on debit card usage||7.4|
|Gate.io||$1B||600+||tiered||549||4||extra bonus for new users||7.3|
|Mandala Exchange||$21B||1000+Trading pairs||Lowest at low at 0.05%.||240||4.1||referral rewards trading rebates||4.1|
- Daily Trading Volume: $26 billion
- Number of Altcoins: 184 cryptocurrencies, 500+ trading pairs
- Transaction Fees: 0.015% to 0.10% purchase and trading fees, 3.5% or $10 for debit card purchases, or $15 per US wire transfer
- Average Liquidity: 800
- Promotions: rewards for first time users, a $5000 Bonus Jackpot every Monday and Tuesday of the week
Binance Exchange is a Hong Kong-based company founded in 2017. It offers a wide range of cryptocurrencies for trade. The exchange accepts transactions under $10,000. It allows an easy user interface to buy/sell and convert cryptocurrency options. Users can access essential data, 24/7 highs, lows, and more. Also, Binance offers low costs for a spot or general trading. The best part is that the user reviews are excellent. In addition, the exchange boasts the best in cybersecurity ranking. The icing on the cake is the low fees and volume with exchange-token discount. (Our rating: 5/5)
- Daily Trading Volume: $5 billion
- Number of Altcoins: 40
- Transaction Fees: 0.5% to 4.5%, varies by type of transaction (other fees may apply)
- Average Liquidity: 689
- Promotions: Earn $10 in bitcoin for getting started on Coinbase
Located in San Francisco, Coinbase is the largest crypto exchange in the US. Established in 2012, Coinbase makes it simple to buy, sell, or exchange cryptocurrencies. It claims a user-friendly interface and simple buying process. With powerful user reports and safety ratings, it is one of our top picks. Furthermore, its “Earn and Learn” educational platform gifts users with cryptocurrency if they study crypto. (Our rating: 5/5)
- Daily Trading Volume: $2.5 billion
- Number of Altcoins: 275
- Transaction Fees: tiered
- Average Liquidity: 742
- Promotions: up to 101x leverage
FTX Crypto Derivatives Exchange was initiated in 2019 by cryptocurrency trading experts. The mission of the company is much like a democracy: “by traders, for traders.” FTX was launched in Antigua and Barbuda and is currently headquartered in the Bahamas. It has an outstanding record on security. When it comes to derivative products, FTX is known for providing as much as 101X max leverage. FTX proudly calls itself a crypto derivatives exchange, which means it offers a plethora of products such as derivatives, leveraged tokens, and volatility products. (Our rating: 4.5/5)
- Daily Trading Volume: $1 billion
- Number of Altcoins: 50+
- Transaction Fees: Tiered
- Average Liquidity: 719
- Promotions: margin accounts can borrow 5 times account balance to exchange crypto assets
Headquartered in San Francisco, Kraken is a cryptocurrency exchange that supports investors in approximately 200 countries. The platform accommodates over 80 cryptocurrencies. Kraken extends to both margin trading and futures trading. Its margin account allows you to borrow as much as five times your account balance to exchange crypto assets. Kraken has been around since 2011, and is known for its long-standing reputation as a leading crypto platform. Kraken recently improved its Crypto Watch trading dashboard, which advises traders with deeper insights into the crypto market. (Our rating: 4/5)
- Daily Trading Volume: $210 million
- Number of Altcoins: 40+
- Transaction Fees: 0.5% – 3.99%, depending on payment method and platform
- Average Liquidity: 674
- Promotions: $20 of BTC for new users after trading $100 or more within 30 days. Also earn interest on stored crypto.
Gemini Trust Company, LLC is a New-York based exchange company that gained popularity from its launch in 2015. Like Coinbase, Gemini is great for novices looking to test their crypto wings. It is famed for its simple-to-use interface and comfort levels. Gemini has a more high-priced fee structure with low spot-cost trading choices, providing for over 40 cryptocurrencies. Gemini keeps most of the cryptocurrencies in an offline cold storage system. It also has some tools and features available for seasoned investors. Gemini is a regulated digital currency exchange in the US. (Our rating: 4.5/5)
- Daily Trading Volume: $1 billion
- Number of Altcoins: 35
- Transaction Fees: Tiered
- Average Liquidity: 633
- Promotions: zero trading fee on the Tether/US Dollar (USDt/USD) pair
Bitfinex was launched in 2012 and was one of the earliest companies to allow cryptocurrency exchange between bitcoin and several other digital currencies. This Hong Kong-based platform is an excellent option and is known for high trading volumes. It has led the rest because of its broad scope of digital trade assets and exceptional trading functionalities like margin trading. (Our rating: 4/5)
- Daily Trading Volume: $1 billion
- Number of Altcoins: 90+
- Transaction Fees: 0.04% to 2.99%
- Average Liquidity: 798
- Promotions: 8% back on debit card usage
Crypto.com is a Singapore-based exchange that was launched in 2016. Investors who own high balances in Crypto.com’s established stablecoin (CRO) can obtain perks such as discounts on trading fees and privileges such as an 8% back on debit card usage (see our guide to Crypto Debit Cards). It also has limited margin trading. Crypto.com is known for its high cybersecurity ratings, as well as its splashy marketing campaigns. (Our rating: 4/5)
- Daily Trading Volume – $1 billion
- Number of Altcoins – 600+
- Transaction Fees – tiered
- Average Liquidity – 549
- Promotions – extra bonus for new users
Gate.io provides traders access to nearly 600 different tokens, far more than its competitors. This makes it the best option for veterans of crypto trading who are looking to trade lesser-known digital assets (which are generally riskier investments). It also has a relatable low-fee structure. (Our rating: 4/5)
- Daily Trading Volume: $21.5 billion
- Number of Altcoins: 1000+ trading pairs
- Transaction Fees: As low at 0.05%
- Average Liquidity: 240
- Promotions: Referral rewards, trading rebates
Mandala Exchange is the new kid on the block. Launched in December 2020, it is a privately owned exchange of Binance Cloud. Based in Malta, Mandala offers a plethora of exciting trading products, including access to unusual order types, trading competitions, margin fee discounts, fiat on-ramps, and more. The company is just a year old, so time will tell; their trajectory seems excellent as of now. (Our rating: 4/5)
Types of Trading Sites
While our list focuses on centralized exchanges, there are other options to consider. Here are the major types of crypto exchanges for traders:
Centralized/Custodial Exchange (CEX)
Centralized/Custodial Exchanges (CEX) function as the third-party mediator bringing buyer and seller together. Approximately 99% of global crypto trades occur through a centralized exchange (like the examples above).
Advantages: Fast, reliable, user friendly, verifies users through KYC
Disadvantages: Vulnerable security, risk of hacking, expensive fees
Decentralized Exchange (DEX)
These are direct peer-to-peer services, without any interference from a third party. Generally they can support many more digital assets, but there may be a lack of liquidity if you get stuck with a small or little-used token.
Advantages: Autonomy, safety from hacking/theft, anonymity, protection from market manipulation
Disadvantages: Complex for new users, accept only cryptocurrency, do not allow fiat currencies (government-issued currency), lack of liquidity
Non-Custodial Wallets Trading
Also known as atomic swaps, these services allow users to perform exchanges from within a private wallet.
Advantages: User control of keys and funds, store large amounts, transparent trading, instant withdrawal, very safe if password protected.
Disadvantages: Delays, complex user interface, if you lose the key, you lose lose money.
Hybrid Cryptocurrency Exchange
Designed to bring together the best of other platforms, these services unite the principles of centralized and decentralized exchanges. Users enjoy the usability and liquidity of CEX platforms, and the anonymity and protection of DEX platforms. They offer fast, easy liquidity of centralized platforms, accept fiat currency, authentication, transparency, competitive prices, anonymity, and security of the decentralized exchanges.
Advantages: Fiat currency, robust authentication, and transparency.
Disadvantages: New type of exchange, so untested.
What To Look For In A Bitcoin Trading Site
- A simple and easy interface. Whether you are a beginner or veteran trader, the process should be easy to use.
- A low fee structure, preferably with flat fees. Also be careful to watch the deposit fees on credit/debit card transactions.
- A varied range of cryptocurrencies for trading. More trading pairs means more options.
- Excellent security. Look for a clean history involving no major data breaches.
- Good user reviews. No service will have perfect reviews, but scan through reviews on different sites to see if there are common issues.
- Trading volume. Generally, the greater the number of crypto transactions, the more liquidity they can provide (and the more reliable they are).
- Exchange token bonuses. Some sites (like Binance and Crypto.com) have their own token, which may give you additional discounts of fees, allow you to vote on important proposals, or other benefits.
- OTC trading support. You may want to find a service that allows buying and selling stocks outside of the established stock market. Advanced traders only.
- Automation. You may wish to buy and sell using algorithms programmed to your specifications (“buy when the price hits X”). Advanced traders only.
- Margin Trading. These services let you buy and sell cryptocurrencies using amounts that may exceed your account balance. Advanced traders only.
Our Investing Strategy
Our basic strategy for making money in crypto markets is to buy and hold a small number of high-quality digital assets for the long term (5+ years). This is the strategy that’s easiest for most investors.
However, if you have a passion for crypto and the ability to devote yourself to it full time, trading can be another way to build wealth — as long as you never trade more than you’re willing to lose 100%.
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- Bitcoin Regulations by Country
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