Want to jump straight to the answer? OnJuno is the best cryptocurrency exchange for most investors looking to get started with cryptocurrency!
Looking to get into investing in cryptocurrency? The 1st step is finding a trading platform that is right 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.
Quick Look at the Best Crypto Exchanges:
- Best Overall: OnJuno
- Best for Sign-up Bonuses: eToro
- Best for Automated Trading: Pionex
- Best for All-in-one Capabilities: Exodus
- Best for Low Fees: Crypto.com
- Best for Earning Interest: Gemini
- Best for Mobile Traders: Voyager
- Best for Beginners: iTrustCapital
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.
OnJuno is powerful platform where users are able to earn, invest and spend both their cash and crypto from one account. OnJuno is a younger exchange backed by the top venture capitalists in the industry, including one of the co-founders of Ethereum. OnJuno offers a suite of products on its platform including cost-effective international payments. Additionally, users can deposit crypto directly into the Polygon network, saving potentially hundreds of dollars each bridge.
OnJuno has partnered with Argent Wallet and the Ethereum Name Service to facilitate crypto paychecks direct to your ENS domain. From beginners to power users, this simple-to-use and intuitive platform has you covered.
- Best ForCopy Trading
This ad promotes virtual cryptocurrency investing within the EU (by eToro Europe Ltd. and eToro UK Ltd.) and USA (by eToro USA LLC); which is highly volatile, unregulated in most EU countries, no EU protections and not supervised by the EU regulatory framework. Investments are subject to market risk, including the loss of principal.
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.
Pionex is an exchange with 18 unique trading bots that use differing strategies. You can select any one of those 18, and registering an account is free. Additionally, you pay “maker and taker” fees when completing transactions. At press time, both fees were set at 0.05%.
Available trading bots include:
- Grid Trading Bot allows users to buy low and sell high in a specific price range.
- Leveraged Grid Bot provides up to 5x leverage.
- Spot-Futures Arbitrage bot helps retail investors to make passive income with low risk. The estimated return for this strategy is 15~50% APR.
- Martingale bot performs DCA buy, one-time sell to capture fluctuation profit.
- Rebalancing bot helps you to hodl the coins.
- Dollar-Cost Averaging (DCA) Bot Sets repeated purchasing at regular intervals to offset the effects of volatility.
Plus, the Smart Trade terminal allows traders to set up stop-loss, take profit, trailing in one trade.
The platform also has a beautiful mobile app that allows you to trade on the go. Reach out to the customer service team via live chat or email, and you can get into the crypto market while Pionex’s technology does most of the work for you.
If you are looking for an affordable, all-in-one cryptocurrency platform, Crypto.com may be the platform 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 Gemini, 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.
Gemini is another U.S based exchange that's gained significant credibility among crypto investors. The exchange supports a variety of altcoins, so you won't be limited to major cryptocurrencies like on other exchanges. Also, the platform lets you earn interest on your crypto, making it a great option for investors looking to grow their cryptocurrency positions. Depending on the asset you provide, you can earn up to 8% annual interest on your holdings.
Similarly to Gemini and Crypto.com, Voyager offers interest-bearing accounts to grow your crypto investments. You can earn up to 10% APR on stablecoins (cryptocurrencies pegged to the U.S dollar) or up to 7.4% APR on Bitcoin. Many platforms offer high rates for stablecoins, but Voyager has one of the most competitive rates if you're looking to earn interest on Bitcoin.
The mobile app and trading features on Voyager make the exchange a great choice for crypto day traders. Not only does the platform support over 60 different cryptocurrencies, but the platform aggregates prices from different exchanges to get you the best rate on your trade. While this may not matter so much for buy-and-hold investors, getting the best conversion rate is critical for cryptocurrency day traders.
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.
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 Gemini. 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 Voyager 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
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.
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.
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