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Looking to get into investing in cryptocurrency? The 1st step is finding the best cryptocurrency exchange for you. Luckily, there are dozens of cryptocurrency exchanges and brokerages you can choose from. With all these offerings, however, it may be hard to find the right platform to get started with crypto. Each cryptocurrency exchange has its own unique benefits which we will get into later on in this article.
Depending on your needs as an investor, you may want to opt for an exchange with advanced trading features, low fees, sign up bonuses or industry leading security. Continue reading to find out where each cryptocurrency platform excels so you can make an account with an exchange that fits your needs.
9 Best Crypto Exchanges
Let's take a deeper dive into the best cryptocurrency exchanges currently available on the market. Remember, some big names won't be on this list because they're technically considered cryptocurrency brokers, which serve the same function as exchanges but operate differently. If you're looking for the best cryptocurrency brokers, we also have an article on that. Most exchanges have both desktop and mobile applications, so we've weighed both in our review.
- Best Overall: Coinbase
- Best for Variety: Uphold
- Best for Sign-up Bonuses: eToro
- Best for All-in-one Capabilities: Exodus
- Best for Decentralized Automated Trading Solutions: Carbon DeFi
- Best for a Broad Range of Crypto Assets: Paybis
- Best for Businesses Wanting Exposure to Cryptocurrency: ICONOMI
- Best for Low Fees: Crypto.com
- Best for Beginners: iTrustCapital
- Best for New Investors: Gemini
1. Best Overall: Coinbase
- securely through Coinbase's websiteBest For:Coinbase Learn
Sum of median estimated savings and rewards earned, per user in 2021 across multiple Coinbase programs (excluding sweepstakes). This amount includes fee waivers from Coinbase One (excluding the subscription cost), rewards from Coinbase Card, and staking rewards. ³Crypto rewards is an optional Coinbase offer. Upon purchase of USDC, you will be automatically opted in to rewards. If you’d like to opt out or learn more about rewards, you can click here. The rewards rate is subject to change and can vary by region. Customers will be able to see the latest applicable rates directly within their accounts.
Coinbase is the most popular cryptocurrency broker in the U.S., with over 100 million users, and enjoys a renowned reputation for its security measures and regulatory compliance. Its platform allows trading of more than 200 different cryptocurrencies via solid trading tools while ensuring safety standards are exceeded.
Furthermore, Coinbase provides free crypto to its customers through various means. When you sign up for an account you can spin a free reward wheel which can yield up to $200 worth of Bitcoin or USD. The Coinbase Learn program also gives users mall amounts of crypto just for reading about tokens and taking short quizzes. Coinbase has a great staking page too with solid APYs to get your money working for you.
- Large userbase
- More than 200 cryptocurrencies to choose from
- Free rewards are available
- The platform has been hacked in the past
2. Best for Variety: Uphold
Uphold is easily the best cryptocurrency exchange for traders looking to trade a variety of different assets, especially for U.S. users. It supports more than 200 different cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum, XRP, Solana, Dogecoin and more. Uphold also offers cryptocurrency staking where you can earn up to 16% on It even offers trading on stocks and precious metals too. Fees on Uphold aren't the lowest in the market but they are close to it.
- Access to hundreds of cryptocurrencies
- Invest in other types of assets, as well
- Relatively low fees
- The mobile app may not serve all investors very well
3. Best for Sign-up Bonuses: eToro
- securely through eToro's websiteBest For:Demo Accounts
Don’t invest unless you’re prepare to lose all the money you invest. This is a high-risk investment and you should not expect to be protected if something goes wrong. Take 2 mins and learn more. Cryptocurrency is offered by eToro USA LLC (“the MSB”) (NMLS: 1769299) and is not FDIC or SIPC insured. Investing involves risk.
Looking for a big sign-up bonus to add to your crypto investments? eToro is currently offering $10 to new investors who sign up on its platform. Note that you'll need to deposit $250 to receive the signup bonus, but if you have the funds it's well worth it. What's more, eToro has a unique feature called CopyTrader which allows you to copy popular crypto traders investments.
While you should always do your own research before investing in crypto, CopyTrader is a useful feature for new investors. Even for generating trade ideas, this feature may be able to lead you in the right direction when it comes to crypto trading. However, it is important to note that even professional traders face a run of bad luck, so keep that in mind when copy trading.
- Robust signup bonuses
- Quality investing information
- Low minimums
- Copy trading is not a fool-proof investment plan
4. Best for All-in-one Capabilities: Exodus Wallet
Not only is Exodus Wallet one of the top software wallets in the world it is also one of the best cryptocurrency exchanges. With Exodus you can manage and exchange 230+ different cryptocurrencies all in your web browser. Exodus makes it extremely easy to on-ramp fiat currency into cryptos. You can even use Apple Pay or a credit/debit card as well as your bank account to the Exodus Mobile application. Unlike many other crypto wallets and exchanges, Exodus supports multiple blockchains so there is no need to swap between wallets just to buy popular coins like BNB or SOL. Exodus really seems to have everything you need to start trading crypto.
- Easy way to protect your crypto holdings
- Easy to attach payment options to the account
- Access to well over 200 tokens
- As a crypto wallet first, functionality could seem limited
5. Best for Decentralized Automated Trading Solutions: Carbon DeFi
Carbon DeFi is a decentralized exchange (DEX) that offers custom trading bots on the Ethereum blockchain. What does this mean for you? You can create fully transparent, automated trading strategies that take advantage of the movement of the market, current pricing and quick execution to increase profits and reduce losses.
Orders move in one direction on this platform so that active crypto traders can take advantage of market movements to buy a token low and sell high. There are no counterparty risks, zero fees charged on trades and it supports ERC-20 tokens like ETH, MATIC, LINK and USDC.
Your bots are fully customizable, and you can adjust in or out of trends as you need. Yes, Carbon DeFi may be built for those who have a clear understanding of the DeFi space, but it can work well for those in the know.
- You can adjust orders at any time and not pay high fees, meaning that you can get more out of each move you make on the market
- You can create trading bots and adjust them as much as you like, meaning that you can change strategies as you go
- This platform is quite powerful, but it will require some knowledge of how the DeFi space works
- This platform will not work well with rebasing tokens, meaning that some strategies may need to move elsewhere
6. Best for Broad Range of Crypto Assets: Paybis
Paybis is a powerful crypto exchange that keeps costs down, offers service in 9 different languages and allows for the use of 60 global currencies when you’re investing. You can buy with your existing crypto or the fiat funds you deposit into the account, invest in over 80 tokens and slowly build a nice crypto portfolio. Regulated by FinTRAC and available to investors in 180 countries, you can sure the platform will be fast and easy to manage. Sure, you can only sell 10 tokens through this platform, but you can exchange or simply transfer your tokens to spend elsewhere.
- Because you can invest in global currencies, you can instantly diversify your portfolio
- The level of regulation and expanse of offerings makes this platform right for global travelers and businesspeople
- Because you can only sell so many tokens on this site, you need to coordinate the crypto you will spend, the crypto you will save and the crypto you will trade
7. Best for Businesses Wanting Exposure to Cryptocurrency: ICONOMI
ICONOMI is a unique crypto site that allows you to enter the crypto market at your own pace. For example, when you visit the site, you’re posed with a simple question: do you want to trade crypto and automate your portfolio, or do you want to copy the Strategy of a professional?
You can either look through all the features on the site or check out Strategies that could benefit you. From there, all you need to do is fund your account and get to work on your portfolio.
You can also earn money by sharing your Strategy with other users. Referral bonuses are available, and there are even business accounts available if your company is trading or if you are a financial planner, advisor, etc.
There is a robust platform where you can share information and learn from other traders, there’s a learning section for those who want to read up on the subject, and pricing is clearly noted on the site. You can open an account for free, start trading and enter the crypto market right away
- ICONOMI is helpful for those who wish to gain quick access to the crypto market through a free account
- You can learn about crypto on the platform long before investing your funds
- Remember that this platform will likely work better for those working as planners or managers
8. Best for Low Fees: Crypto.com
If you are looking for an affordable, all-in-one cryptocurrency platform, Crypto.com may be the best crypto brokerage for you. Not only does Crypto.com reward its users in several ways, but the platform offers over 100 different cryptocurrencies to invest in. The exchange has its own VISA card, allowing you to use crypto for every day purchases. What's more, Crypto.com offers up to 8% cash back on purchases with their debit card. If you like to spend money, then using a crypto.com debit card could be a great way to increase your crypto positions through their rewards program.
Like Uphold, Crypto.com also offers interest bearing accounts. You can earn up to 14% annual interest on your holdings - interest rates that banks can only dream of offering. With huge cash (or crypto) rewards available alongside high interest-bearing accounts, Crypto.com is a no-brainer for many cryptocurrency investors.
Also, Crypto.com withdrawal fees are free. Remember that if you're using a blockchain like Bitcoin or Ethereum to withdraw your funds, you'll still need to pay a transaction fee to miners.
- Interest-bearing account options
- You can sign up for a Visa card
- Rewards are available
- You may be surprised by fees paid to miners
9. Best for Beginners: iTrustCapital
iTrustCapital may be the most unique trading platform on this list, as it allows you to trade cryptocurrencies from an Investment Retirement Account (IRA). IRAs have significant tax benefits, so if you plan on being invested in crypto for the long-run, it may be a good idea to use iTrustCapital to manage your digital assets. What's more, the platform supports over 25 cryptocurrencies, including major assets like Bitcoin, Ethereum and Polygon.
iTrustCapital is also extremely secure –– it uses Coinbase Custody to store digital assets, which holds crypto offline in hardware wallets. This is also backed by a $320 million insurance policy, so you can rest easy knowing your funds are safe.
- Crypto IRA options
- High level of security
- Backed by quality insurance coverage
- Fewer cryptocurrencies available compared to most other platforms
10. Best for New Investors: Gemini
Gemini is a quality cryptocurrency exchange with industry-leading security features and a robust support center; it is a great choice for beginners and experienced traders alike. Founded in New York by the famous twin billionaires, Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, it is regulated by the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYSDFS).
The four key operational pillars of Gemini include licensing, product, security and compliance. Unlike some of its competitors, Gemini is available in all 50 U.S. states and offers digital asset insurance in the event of a hack or security breach.
- Large range of investment products
- Available in all 50 states
- Digital asset insurance is available
- The scale of the platform might overwhelm newer investors
What are Cryptocurrency Exchanges?
Cryptocurrency exchanges connect buyers and sellers of cryptocurrency to create a market for digital assets. Most exchanges use order books where investors place buy and sell orders for crypto at any given price. Cryptocurrency exchanges hold custody of your digital assets, as you aren't able to control your private keys from these centralized platforms.
You could also use a crypto brokerage, which only slightly differs from a cryptocurrency exchange. Crypto brokerages set the price of crypto assets based on the market price of the asset, but the price of crypto on exchanges is directly determined by investors’ buy and sell orders. Technically, Robinhood is a cryptocurrency broker, while exchanges like Coinbase Pro are crypto exchanges.
How do Cryptocurrency Exchanges Work?
Tip for Crypto Traders:
Ask yourself, are you a cryptocurrency trader or investor? If you’re a trader, you’ll want to choose a cryptocurrency exchange that has low fees, but if you’re an investor fees won’t matter as much. Fees typically are incurred when you buy or sell crypto, so if you’re actively trading fees will matter more.
Cryptocurrency exchanges work in a similar way to stock exchanges. Investors can either place a limit order or a sell order on an exchange, providing liquidity for other investors on the platform.
Buy and sell orders can be placed as either market or limit orders. Market orders will buy or sell crypto at market price, while limit orders buy or sell crypto at the price you specify. If the market price never reaches the price of your limit order, then your order won’t get executed.
Types of Crypto Exchanges
There are 2 main types of cryptocurrency exchanges: centralized exchanges and decentralized exchanges (DEXs). Most cryptocurrency exchanges investors use are centralized exchanges, meaning they are run by a central company. Some popular centralized exchanges are Coinbase, Gemini, Binance and eToro.
Centralized exchanges are typically more efficient and easy-to-use than DEXs. Centralized exchanges manage your assets off the blockchain, so transactions are faster and less expensive. When transacting on the blockchain, you need to pay miners transaction fees and wait for the blockchain to verify your transaction –– increasing the cost and time it takes to transact crypto.
Even though DEXs are less efficient and more expensive than centralized exchanges, many investors use them for their unique benefits. DEX let you trade cryptocurrencies directly from your crypto wallet in a permissionless and trustless way through smart contracts. Since smart contracts live on the blockchain, the code is also immutable and uncontrollable by a single entity. Due to this, you don’t need to trust a 3rd party with your assets, and you don’t need to sign up or provide any verification to use a DEX.
Plus, investors can use a decentralized exchange directly from their cryptocurrency wallet. This way, investors truly hold custody over their digital assets, and they don't need to trust an exchange to keep their crypto safe.
In contrast to centralized exchanges, Crypto investors who own governance tokens vote to upgrade decentralized exchanges. Since DEXs aren’t controlled by a central entity, trading can’t be halted on the platform. You don’t have to worry about crypto assets being delisted from the exchange either, because no single person or company could make that decision.
Cryptocurrency Exchanges vs Crypto Wallets
Cryptocurrency exchanges let you easily trade crypto. The security of your cryptocurrency exchange should be among your top concerns as an investor, as these exchanges hold custody of your digital assets. Unfortunately, many cryptocurrency exchanges have been hacked in the past, so don't overlook this risk.
Although many exchanges have great security features, there have been several crypto exchange hacks in the last few years. To keep your cryptocurrency assets secure, you should store your funds in a cryptocurrency wallet.
Cryptocurrency wallets come as either software or hardware wallets. Software wallets are computer programs that securely store your crypto, and hardware wallets are physical devices that store your crypto offline. Since hardware wallets are inaccessible to online hackers, they are the most secure type of cryptocurrency wallet.
If you're looking to get a cryptocurrency wallet, you should consider the price, security and capabilities of the hardware wallet you desire. Our choice for the best all around crypto wallet is the Ledger Nano S. The hardware wallet supports thousands of different cryptocurrencies, so it's the only hardware wallet you'll ever need. This way, you'll be able to securely store all your crypto assets in one place, and you won't need to purchase several different crypto wallets.
What Exchange Features Matter?
Before you choose a cryptocurrency exchange, ask yourself what your goals are as an investor. If you want to frequently trade crypto, then trading fees should be among your top priorities. If you don’t plan on using a crypto wallet, be sure that the exchange you choose is extremely secure.
You should also consider what financial services the crypto exchange you want to use provides. Some exchanges strictly use crypto, so you can’t use them unless you purchase cryptocurrency through another exchange like eToro. Also, not all exchanges support the same altcoins, so make sure the exchange you use has the cryptocurrencies you want to invest in.
Platforms like Crypto.com and Uphold allow you to earn interest on your cryptocurrency holdings, making them great options for long-term investors. Some exchanges even let you trade with leverage, but if you're located in the U.S this feature won't be available to you due to SEC regulations. In short, the best Bitcoin exchange is different for everyone.
Unique Features of Crypto Exchanges
- Coinbase: Coinbase is a great exchange for beginners. Its interface is simple, and you can easily fund your account from your bank. A unique feature of Coinbase is its crypto conversion feature, allowing you to exchange your crypto assets for any other cryptocurrency on its platform for free. Coinbase also offers one of the best mobile apps for crypto.
- Argent: Argent is unique because it operates as a crypto exchange and wallet. This software wallet is available on the app store, and allows you to directly interact with decentralized exchanges. Argent is an Ethereum wallet, so it supports Ethereum-based tokens like Ether, Uniswap, Wrapped Bitcoin and Compound.
- Uniswap: Uniswap is a DEX that offers many benefits over centralized exchanges. Uniswap is far more secure than centralized exchanges, as you exchange your crypto directly from your software wallet. You can earn interest on your crypto assets using Uniswap by providing liquidity on the platform.
- eToro: eToro is a great option if you want to learn more about the cryptocurrency markets. It has a unique social trading feature that allows users to enter trades together and share investment ideas.
Alternatives to Crypto Exchanges
Cryptocurrency exchanges aren’t the only way to buy cryptocurrency. For most investors, using a dedicated crypto exchange is better than any other alternative for crypto investing. However, cryptocurrency brokerages are another popular option, and these are very similar to crypto exchanges. Some good brokerages you may want to consider are Webull, Coinbase and IBKR Crypto. IBKR is a great option if you're looking for a brokerage account with low fees.
An alternative way to purchase cryptocurrency is to buy it directly from someone who owns crypto. All you need to do is pay a cryptocurrency seller for their crypto, and they can send the funds directly to your cryptocurrency wallet. Another alternative is to use a Bitcoin ATM, but these ATMs charge a 5 to 10% premium on Bitcoin’s price.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between a crypto exchange and a brokerage?
Crypto exchanges and brokerages are similar. Crypto brokerages act as an intermediary to set the price of crypto assets based on the market price, while crypto exchanges determine the price of cryptocurrencies directly through investors’ market orders.
Are all the top cryptocurrency exchanges based in the United States?
Many top crypto exchanges are based in the United States. For example, Coinbase and Gemini are based in the United States but also offer services in a variety of other countries. There are also exchanges outside the U.S. Binance is headquartered in Malta because it has less strict cryptocurrency regulations than most other countries.
How do crypto exchanges work?
Crypto exchanges are pretty similar to stock brokerages, but they work with cryptocurrencies. They usually custody user funds and allow trading of all kinds of different cryptocurrencies.
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