Each user has unique needs, so there is no one size fits all for exchanges.
Our Bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchange reviews detail each exchange’s supported countries, payment methods accepted, fees, privacy, limits, liquidity, reputation, speed (delivery of bitcoin), customer support, and any past issues.
Your bitcoins should not be stored on ANY exchange! If you want a secure Bitcoin wallet you will need to use a hardware wallet like the Ledger Nano X.
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Coinbase is the world’s largest Bitcoin (BTC) broker. They represent an easy and fast way for new users to purchase bitcoins, ethereum, litecoin and many other coins. Coinbase supports customers in over 30 countries, including the United States, Europe (besides Germany), UK, Singapore, Canada, and Australia.
Customers in the above-mentioned countries can purchase cryptocurrency by debit card, bank transfer, SEPA transfer, and more.
Get $10 or €10 worth of free cryptocurrency when you buy more than $100 or €100 worth through this link.
We may receive compensation when you use Coinbase. Please visit Coinbase for its exact pricing terms. PROS
- High liquidity and buying limits
- Easy way for newcomers to get bitcoins
- “Instant Buy” option available withdebit card
- Purchases made with bank transfercan take up to 5 days to complete
- Coinbase may track how and where you spend your bitcoins
Ease of Use Easy Privacy Low Speed Average Fees Average Reputation Trusted Limits High
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Coinmama allows customers in almost every country to buy bitcoins, litecoins, ethereum and many other coins with a credit or debit card. They charge an ~6% fee on each purchase.
Customers in Europe can also purchase cryptocurrency with SEPA transfer for a lower fee.
Want to buy using Coinmama? This step-by-step guide will show you how to use Coinmama.
We may receive compensation when you use Coinmama. Please visit Coinmama for its exact pricing terms. PROS
- Works in almost all countries
- Highest limits for buying bitcoins with a credit card
- Reliable and trusted broker
- Some of the highest fees among credit/debit card bitcoin brokers
Ease of Use Easy Privacy Low Speed Fast Fees High Reputation Trusted Limits High
Luno is a Bitcoin and ethereum exchange based in Singapore. It originally launched to support countries like South Africa and Indonesia, but recently expanded to Europe and supports the purchase of bitcoin and ether through credit, SEPA transfer, SOFORT and iDEAL.
We may receive compensation when you use Luno. Please visit Luno for its exact pricing terms. PROS
- Trusted exchange that has been around for a long time
- Free deposits and low withdrawal fees
- Users should not store bitcoins in Luno’s wallet service
Ease of Use Easy Privacy Low Speed Fast Fees Low Reputation Trusted Limits High
5 Best Pure Cryptocurrency & Altcoin Exchanges
These are exchanges that require you to deposit cryptocurrency to start trading. Usually, this means depositing bitcoin (BTC) or ether (ETH).
Here is a quick comparison before we go into more detail on each exchange:
Binance – World’s Largest Exchange
Binance is a cryptocurrency exchange based in Malta. It has very low fees at just 0.05% per trade.
It supports lots of coins and has its site available in multiple languages, such as Chinese, English, Korean, Spanish, Japanese, Russian and French.
Once you purchase Litecoin, Bitcoin or Ethereum you can use Binance to convert one of those three coins into nearly any altcoin.
Binance has become popular for a few reasons:
1. It has the most volume of all cryptocurrency exchanges.
This means it’s very easy to go in and out of coins at a good price. Most coins have deep markets, making Binance ideal for both big and small buyers and traders.
2. The Binance Mobile Apps
Binance has, by far, the best cryptocurrency exchange app. Binance’s app is available for both iOS and Android. It’s very easy to use and my be one of the most well designed applications I’ve ever seen.
Here is what the Binance mobile app looks like:
The Binance apps are available for free. You’ll want to create an account before you download the apps in either the Google Play Store and iOS app store.
Changelly – Swap Coins Securely
Changelly is a unique exchange in that you don’t actually need to deposit coins.
You simply tell Changelly which coin you want to buy, and how much of it you want to buy. Changelly will then tell you how much of the coin you are buying with to send.
The whole process is very fast and convenient. If the crypto markets are moving fast, Changelly is a super fast way to exchange since you do not need to wait for your deposit to clear. You can lock in your rate and simply wait for your exchange to go through.
Bittrex is one of the world’s largest 10 cryptocurrency exchanges. It supports a bunch of coins that other exchanges support. It generally has good volume across all its pairs, making it ideal for both large and small buyers and sellers.
Bittrex recently launched a new interface, after nearly three years using the same design.
Poloniex used to be the largest cryptocurrency exchange, but lost a lot of users when it had trouble scaling to support a surge of new signups.
Recently, Poloniex was acquired by Circle. Circle is partly backed by Goldman Sachs, one of the largest investment banks in the United States.
The likely path for Poloniex is that is becomes a cutting edge exchange as money from Goldman Sachs and Circle start going towards improving the exchange.
Cryptopia – Exchange for Small & Cheap Coins
Cryptopia is a cryptocurrency exchange based in New Zealand. It is much smaller than the exchanges listed above, but is targeted at a different type of user.
Cryptopia has a lot of small and obscure coins listed on its exchange. Most of the coins on Cryptopia are only listed on Cryptopia and aren’t listed on the largest exchanges like Binance or Bittrex.
Best Cryptocurrency Wallets for 2019
The main thing to know when you’re trading cryptocurrency is:
Do NOT get comfortable leaving your cryptocurrency on an exchange. Ideally you should deposit on an exchange, make your trade, and then withdrawal the coins.
If you can’t do that, at least assume that there is a good chance your account will get hacked.
A cryptocurrency exchanged called Coincheck was hacked for $500 million as recently as January 2018.
Your best option is to store your coins on a hardware wallet like the Ledger Nano X. The Nano X supports the most coins out of any of the other hardware wallets.
If you can’t buy a Nano S, Exodus wallet is a solid desktop wallet that supports a lot of coins. The main issue with Exodus is that it is not open source.
Best Cryptocurrency Exchange for Beginners
The best fiat cryptocurrency exchange for beginners is probably Coinbase. I say this for a few reasons:
- It has the best user interface and is very easy to use
- The verification process is fast you can buy almost instantly
- It has excellent mobile apps for iPhone and Android
- It’s a regulated exchange and FDIC insured
The best pure cryptocurrency exchange for beginners is probably Binance. The main reasons are:
- Binance’s mobile apps make it easy to use for beginners
- Binance’s web interface is quite simple to use as well
- You can start trading instantly on Binance with just an email address
- Binance is the world’s largest exchange according to CoinMarketCap
If you’re still unsure, this video goes deep into which exchange might be best for you:
What Kind of Exchange do You Need?
There are two types of cryptocurrency exchanges:
The first type is called a “fiat exchange”.
Fiat exchanges allow you to buy cryptocurrency with fiat money (dollars, euros, pounds, etc.).
With so many exchange options, it’s super confusing to start. We’re here to help!
A fiat exchange lets you use traditional payment methods to buy cryptocurrency, like:
- credit card
- bank account
Fiat exchanges are how most people make their entry into cryptocurrency exchanges. If you’re new you’ll definitely need to use a fiat exchange, so keep following along.
The second type of exchange is called a “pure cryptocurrency exchange” or “altcoin exchange”. These exchanges don’t deal with traditional payment methods like credit cards and banks.
Instead, altcoin exchanges require that you deposit cryptocurrency FIRST and then you can trade the cryptocurrency you deposited for other coins and altcoins (any coin other than bitcoin).
Fiat Exchanges vs Pure Cryptocurrency Exchanges
So, to explain the difference and why you need both, let’s look at a coin called Ripple (XRP).
Ripple is currently the third largest cryptocurrency by market cap.
Most Americans use a platform called Coinbase to buy cryptocurrency, but Coinbase doesn’t sell Ripple.
So how do you get Ripple then?
You must first use Coinbase–your fiat exchange–to buy bitcoin with your bank or credit card. Once you’ve purchased bitcoin, you need to send to a pure cryptocurrency exchange, like Binance.
We hope that clears things up, and now we can start digging in to some exchanges.
Best Cryptocurrency Exchange for Day Trading
I realize I’ve mentioned Binance a bunch already, but it’s also likely the best exchange for day trading for a few reasons.
1. Lowest Fees
Day traders make a lot of trades, and Binance has the lowest fees among all exchanges (like Bittrex, Poloniex, etc.).
Binance has the most liquidity of any exchange. You can get in and out of coins fast at good prices.
Which Cryptocurrency Exchange has the Lowest Fees?
Among pure crypto exchanges, Binance has the lowest fees.
For exchanges that deal with credit cards and bank transfers, Coinbase (broker), GDAX (exchange) and Bitpanda (broker) have the lowest fees.
What should you look for in an exchange?
How much personal information does the exchange require? Do you need to upload a picture of your ID?
How much can you buy? If you plan on buying a large amount, does the exchange support this much in exchange?
There are also sometimes withdrawal limits on exchanges that limit how much you can withdraw at once. This can be annoying since if you deal with large amounts you will have to withdraw small amounts over a few days.
OTC markets are available for buying large amounts of Bitcoin, but these markets are yet to appear for other coins for now.
How much does the exchange charge for converting your money? And how does this fee compare to other similar exchanges?
The average fee for credit card buys are about 4%. Bank transfer buying fees are usually 1-1.5%. Compare the rates of any exchange to other similar exchanges.
Cash fees are usually 1%, although there is often a 5-10% premium. This is especially true at ATMs, where there is always a premium.
How fast will your coins be delivered? Note that most problems with speed are due to the legacy banking system and not with cryptocurrency.
Credit card buys are often instant. Bank transfer buys can take days to clear. Cash buys are instant but you have to physically move and can’t do it online.
How long has the exchange been around? Is it regulated? Many exchanges have been scams in the past, so research any exchange before you deposit money with them.
How to Buy Cryptocurrency on Robinhood
Robinhood was a popular stock trading app that recently launched cryptocurrency trading. However, the app only supports four states as of now:
Users can buy bitcoin, ripple and ether, with more coins to be added soon. The app is available on Android and iOS.
How to Buy Cryptocurrency with USD
Coinbase – Good for Beginners
Coinbase is probably the easiest way to buy cryptocurrency with USD. Americans can easily buy crypto with a credit card, debit card or bank transfer (ACH).
Americans can also wire Coinbase USD if they want to buy larger amounts.
How to Buy the Cryptocurrency Ripple
We have a detailed guide on how to buy Ripple cryptocurrency. There are many different ways to buy, but in most cases you need to buy bitcoins or ether and then convert it into XRP.
Best App to Buy Cryptocurrency
There are some excellent apps in the iOS and Android stores that allow you to easily buy crypto.
Coinbase is very popular and at one point was the top free app in the Apple app store.
The Cash App is an easy way to buy bitcoin which can then be converted into other coins using an app like the Binance trading app.
Buy Cryptocurrency with PayPal
There is no easy way to buy cryptocurrency with PayPal. You will first have to buy bitcoin with PayPal and then you can use the bitcoins to trade for other coins on a crypto-to-crypto exchange.
How to Check Cryptocurrency Exchange Rates
CoinMarketCap is the most popular way to check cryptocurrency exchange rates.
If you want to see charts, CryptoWatch has an excellent and easy to use interface for checking prices and charting.
What are the different types of exchanges?
The main difference in the crypto exchanges is that some require you to deposit money, while some “instant exchange” your money.
If you have to make a deposit, then you are at much bigger risk of losing money than if you use something like Changelly where there is only a small window of time before your exchange goes through.
The main benefit to using an exchange like Changelly is that if the exchange scammed someone, it would be announced soon and all deposits would stop going into Changelly.
With deposit exchanges, they have lots of customer funds stored and can exit scam at almost any time. We are not saying that all deposit exchanges are scams, but simply that there is more risk when you use this type of exchange.
What is important to look for in a cryptocurrency exchange?
Check if the exchange is regulated. If it has a history of hacks, be careful!
Check if the exchange has good customer support and is responsive to support requests. Most exchanges that have good support will respond to you in less than 24 hours. Especially with prices down, support times should be FAST!
Check if the exchange has been around for a good amount of time and has built a solid reputation. BTC-e is one of the oldest exchanges. Its owner are anonymous, but it is one of the most trusted exchanges because it has good support, has never been hacked, and has never run away with customer money. That could change at anytime, obviously.
What are the risks to be careful of with these exchanges?
As mentioned earlier, NEVER STORE YOUR COINS ON AN EXCHANGE! If you do not have the private keys to your coins, they are not yours. Simple as that.
Make sure you get a secure crypto wallet and use that to store your coins. Hardware wallets cost money but if you are serious about secure storage of your coins they are simply a must have. We hate to see people lose money in crypto! Take responsibility.
More Exchange Reviews
While we don’t have a dedicated page for every exchange, the section below will give you more details on other popular exchanges
Gemini is a Bitcoin exchange run by the Winklevoss twins.
It’s a licensed Bitcoin exchange and operates in 42 US states and many other countries (check here for full list of supported districts):
Once you create an account on the exchange you will need to setup 2-factor authentication, verify your bank account, and verify your identity. Once you do all of that you can get started with the exchange.
Gemini’s interface can be confusing for first time buyers, which is why we usually recommend Coinbase to new buyers. Have a look at the trading interface below:
If you can get past understanding how to use Gemini it is a unique exchange. Some of its great features include:
Instant Deposit for ACH Transfers
At most exchanges, when you deposit via bank transfer you have to wait 1-7 days for the bank transfer to complete. Gemini understands this is frustrating and time consuming.
Luckily for US users, you can make instant ACH deposits to Gemini. This means you can buy bitcoins super fast. You will have the bitcoins you bought locked into your account until your ACH deposit clears, but at least this way you were able to buy bitcoin fast and lock in the price you wanted!
If you live in Europe, don’t worry!
Kraken is a global Bitcoin exchange and supports European residents along with residents of the United States, Canada, and Japan.
Kraken offers excellent liquidity as its average daily volume is around 10-12 million euros. So if you want to buy large amounts of bitcoins, Kraken is a good option.
Like all regulated exchanges, you will have to verify your identity and personal details before buying.
Here are Kraken’s limits based on your verification level:
So in order to deposit money and buy bitcoins, you will need to verify your:
- Full name
- Date of birth
- Country of residence
- Phone number
- Address verification
There are further verification levels, but most people will only need Tier 2 to buy bitcoins.
User and Trading Interface
Like other exchanges geared towards traders, its interface can be quite confusing. Kraken, however, has aimed to make things easier for first-time buyers and its “Simple” order form is pretty easy to use:
Kraken’s fees are quite confusing. So to keep it simple we will summarize:
If you are buying less than $50,000 of bitcoins per month expect to pay between 0.16-0.26% in fees per buy.
If you use the “Simple” order form is displayed above you will pay 0.26%. If you want to learn how to use Kraken’s advanced order types you can pay just 0.16% if you become a “market maker”.
Bitstamp is one of the longer running Bitcoin exchanges. It has been around since 2011 and is a licensed exchange with the Luxembourg’s Ministry of Finance
It is a good option for traders and those buying large amounts of bitcoins.
Bitstamp requires extensive verification including the following information:
- Full name
- Date of birth
- Country of residence
- Phone number
- Address verification
- ID number and scan of photo ID document
Because Bitstamp is geared towards traders, it also has confusing fees if you use the exchange. The fees you pay depend on your total volume. Unless you trade high volumes, you will likely pay 0.25% per buy.
If you buy bitcoins on Bitstamp with your credit card then the fees will be 8% for purchases up to $500 or €500. There are other exchanges that offer lower fees for buying bitcoins with a credit card or debit card.
Bitfinex is a popular exchange because in terms of USD trading volume it has the most liquidity. It currently owns about a 10% share of the USD trading market.
Because of its confusing interface, it’s probably only a good choice for traders who really know what they are doing. Here is what the main trading interface looks like:
Despite getting hacked and losing $70 million or more in customer funds, Bitfinex remains a popular option for serious traders. Still, the hack is scaring some people away.
In the chart below, the orange portion of the bars represent Bitfinex’s share of USD volume:
One thing that has made Bitfinex popular is that if you only make a deposit with cryptocurrency no verification is required. If you want to deposit dollars or euro then you WILL have to verify your ID.
Bitfinex offers very low fees even for low volume buyers, at 0.1% per buy for market makers and 0.2% per buy for market takers.
Wall of Coins Review
Wall of Coins is a peer-to-peer Bitcoin exchange that makes it easy to buy and sell bitcoins.
How Does Wall of Coins Work?
Wall of Coins helps its customers buy and sell bitcoins for cash.
Its unique SMS system walks you through the entire process of buying, making it a good choice for first time buyers who want to purchase bitcoins with cash.
Payment Methods Accepted
Sellers are free to accept any payment method through Wall of Coins. Buyers will have to check the orderbook to see what payment methods are available. The most common payment method is cash deposit.
A cash deposit is when the buyer of bitcoins goes to a physical bank branch and deposits cash into the account of the Bitcoin seller
Wall of Coins vs Other Cash Exchanges
Cash is the most popular payment method on Wall of Coins. This table compares it so some other cash exchanges.