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If you’re looking to buy bitcoin or trade cryptocurrency, it can be a very intimidating experience at first. With so many bitcoin trading platforms to choose from, each with their own drawbacks and advantages, how do you know which one is best for you?
To help you decide, we’ve put together this guide to the best crypto exchanges for 2021. We evaluated each cryptocurrency exchange on a variety of factors including their available assets, fees, user interface, features, and customer reviews.
Whether you’re a long-term investor in bitcoin or an active crypto trader, here are the best cryptocurrency exchanges of 2021.
Top 5 Best Cryptocurrency Exchanges
- Etoro: Best for beginners
- BlockFi: Best for earning interest on deposits
- Binance: Best for trading altcoins
- Prime XBT: Best platform for margin trading
- CoinBase: Most well-known crypto exchange
#1 EToro: Best Overall
Etoro is our top choice for trading the most popular cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin. Etoro is one of the biggest crypto exchanges in the world with over 18 million users worldwide and over 20 million crypto transactions executed on the Etoro platform. Etoro is supported by over 140 different countries and is one of the most secure crypto trading platforms in existence.
Although Etoro doesn’t offer as many different assets to trade as some of their competitors, they do offer the 14 most popular cryptocurrencies. Here is a list of the crypto coins available on Etoro:
- Bitcoin (BTC)
- Ethereum (ETH)
- Ethereum Classic (ETC)
- Litecoin (LTC)
- Cardano (ADA)
- Neo (NEO)
- Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
- Stellar Lumens (XLM)
Etoro offers a web-based trading platform as well as a mobile app. The Etoro platform is really easy to use, even for beginners. Here are some of the features we like most with Etoro:
Demo Account – After opening an account, you’ll get $100,000 in virtual money to practice trading with. You can use this demo account to experiment with trading strategies or to get a feel for the platform itself.
Social Trading – When you open an account with Etoro, you’ll be joining one of the largest communities of traders. You can discuss ideas, share trading decisions, and talk strategy with other traders on the Etoro platform.
Copy Trading – This feature allows you to replicate other traders’ actions in real-time. This means that you can follow other successful traders on Etoro and copy their trades to piggyback off their success.
CopyPortfolios – These are done-for-you portfolios of the most popular digital currencies. This feature is great if you want to diversify with different crypto coins. These portfolios are rebalanced regularly and the investments are overseen by Etoro’s investment team.
Trading App – The Etoro trading app is intuitive and simple. It allows you to trade crypto anytime, and anywhere. Whether you’re on your mobile phone, laptop, or tablet, you’ll have a variety of cryptocurrencies at your fingertips.
Etoro offers competitive pricing on all trades. They charge zero commissions and have zero hidden fees. Etoro prices its trades with spreads instead, which start at 0.75% for Bitcoin. However, it’s important to note that most brokers charge a spread when you buy AND when you sell an asset, whereas Etoro only charges one spread (when you buy).
Overall, Etoro is a great cryptocurrency exchange for trading the most popular crypto coins such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. Its copy trading feature greatly increases your chance of making a profit, especially for beginners.
- Buy and sell 14 of the largest cryptocurrencies
- Best crypto exchange for social trading and copytrading
- Deposit funds via bank account or wire transfer
- No commissions and low spreads on bitcoin and crypto
This ad promotes virtual cryptocurrency investing within the EU (by eToro Europe Ltd. and eToro UK Ltd.) & USA (by eToro USA LLC); which is highly volatile, unregulated in most EU countries, no EU protections & not supervised by the EU regulatory framework. Investments are subject to market risk, including the loss of principal.
#2 BlockFi: Best for Cryptocurrency Investing
BlockFi is quickly becoming the go-to choice for cryptocurrency investors. With BlockFi, you can earn up to 8.6% interest on your holdings, borrow cash, and buy or sell crypto. BlockFi has no hidden fees and no minimum balances.
Why choose BlockFi as your crypto exchange? The reason is simple. Unlike other cryptocurrency exchanges, BlockFi offers interest-earning accounts that allow you to earn money on all crypto you hold on their platform. This means that once a trade is executed, your new crypto asset will start earning interest the very next day. No other crypto exchange allows you to earn money on your deposits in the same way that BlockFi does!
Interest on your crypto holdings is paid out at the beginning of each month and the interest is compounding. This allows you to make more money from the same investment than other cryptocurrency exchanges. The Annual Percentage Yield (APY) that you earn will vary from 3% to 8.6%, depending on the digital currency.
Another striking feature of BlockFi is that it lets you borrow against your coins. Rather than selling them when you need funds, you can take out loans in U.S. dollars, a feature that helps you avoid selling in a down market. BlockFi crypto loans can get funded the same day you apply and there are no prepayment penalties or fees. Interest rates on their crypto loans are as low as 4.6% APR.
To get started with BlockFi, you have to visit their site to open an account. You’ll then be required to upload a visible photo ID. Most applications receive an approval within minutes, and you can begin transferring funds immediately.
- Buy bitcoin and crypto and earn up to 8.6% interest, paid monthly
- Borrow cash using cryptocurrency as collateral
- Best cryptocurrency exchange for long-term investing
- Trading app allows you to manage your crypto portfolio from any device
#3 Binance: Top Crypto Exchange For Trading Altcoins
Binance is the world’s largest crypto exchange and is our top choice for buying and selling altcoins. Binance has a whopping 1,400,000 transactions per second and over 2 billion in average daily volume.
Changpeng Zhao and Yi He launched the Binance cryptocurrency exchange, one of the best exchanges today, in China in 2017. Since cryptocurrency laws are strict in China, it relocated to Japan and now has headquarters in Malta.
Binance sports a low transaction fee as well as some of the lowest prices in the industry. It only charges clients 0.1% on each trade and, while deposits are free, withdrawals cost money. However, if you use the Binance-owned digital currency, BNB, you get a 50% discount.
One of the primary reasons for Binance’s popularity is the wide range of cryptocurrencies it has to offer, which stands at more than one hundred. These include notable coins such as Ethereum, Litecoin, and the lesser-known Zcoin.
The Binance crypto exchange is most appropriate for individuals who want to trade or invest in the best crypto altcoins since it has the highest altcoin trading volumes. Presently, Binance makes up a considerable bit of trading volume regularly. Binance offers more than one hundred distinctive trading pairs between various Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies.
- Large variety of crypto assets to trade
- Buy crypto with bank account, credit card, or crypto transfer
- High liquidity
- Very low fees on crypto trades
#4 Prime XBT: Best Bitcoin Exchange for Margin Trading
The relatively young Seychelles-based Prime XBT cryptocurrency exchange has achieved exponential growth since its 2018 launch, with clients from 150 different nations making it an appealing target for any new investor. It features several trading pairs and lower transaction fees than most. The company’s vision is to provide its users with the fundamental tools they need for regular trading activities, including buying bitcoin and utilizing margin trading.
PrimeXBT charges a 0.01% fee for ForEx and commodities as well as 0.05% for crypto.
Prime XBT is mainly unregulated – a significant reason why it operates in only a select few regions.
Prime XBT offers a fantastic platform stacked with essential trade tools to help both novice traders and experts exchange the best crypto. It has a straightforward onboarding process with 100% anonymity and no significant personal details. You can register with your email, set up a password, and accept the terms. The ability to margin-trade cryptocurrencies and traditional assets sets it apart from the other platforms.
This company has a wide range of asset classes, including:
- commodities like gold and oil
- popular indices such as the FTSE 100 and the S&P 500
- major cryptocurrencies such as Litecoin and Ethereum
Therefore, if you are interested in diversifying your portfolio, Prime XBT might be the best exchange for you. However, a huge downside is that it doesn’t serve clients from the U. S. and Canada due to local laws.
- Trade the global markets with bitcoin
- Markets include crypto, forex, commodities, and stock indices
- One of the best crypto trading platforms for margin trading
- Low fees and fast order execution
#5 Coinbase: Most Popular Place To Buy Cryptocurrency and Bitcoin
Coinbase, which we consider to be the best cryptocurrency exchange, is the most well-known and well-utilized digital currency exchange in the United States. Coinbase is easy to use, which has helped it to become one of the world’s biggest crypto-broker exchanges, especially for Bitcoin. Brian Armstrong and Fred Ehrsam established Coinbase in 2012 in San Francisco, California, not long after the arrival of the code of Bitcoin in 2009.
Coinbase charges a base of 4% for all transactions. Its trading platform, GDAX, incurs a 0.50% taker fee, contingent upon trading volume over a 30-day time frame.
Coinbase is a wholly authorized crypto exchange with licenses to work in more than 40 U.S. states. People have traded more than $50 billion in crypto on the Coinbase exchange since its establishment.
While the cryptocurrency industry has no shortage of fake coins and controversial exchanges, Coinbase has generally maintained a distance from controversies and provides convenient customer support. Coinbase offers a very simple-to-use interface, reducing any obstacles that may get in the way for digital money ventures that are already complicated enough. What makes Coinbase unique is that, in comparison to conventional exchanges, it lets you purchase crypto using traditional currency.
Coinbase also offers the option of insured custodial wallets for investors in order to ensure security. However, it is essential to consider that, if you have lost money due to your own mistakes, this protection doesn’t have any bearing.
Coinbase’s free Coinbase Pro version has an alternate and less expensive trading fee structure as well as more choices for trading graphs and indicators. Coinbase Pro is ideal for individuals who have achieved veteran status while trading with Coinbase, as it provides advanced features to the investor.
- $5 in free bitcoin when signing up
- Easily setup recurring buys for crypto investing
- Coinbase app for Android and iOS
- Over 100+ countries supported
Understanding the Types of Crypto Exchanges
Before you go on choosing a cryptocurrency exchange that best suits your needs, it’s better to wrap your head around the different kinds of exchanges and understand the fundamentals behind each one before picking the best cryptocurrency exchange for you. Finding the best crypto exchanges first requires understanding how to select the exchange that’s easy to use.
Centralized cryptocurrency exchanges are basically private companies that let different platforms engage in cryptocurrency trading. Such exchanges need to identify their users, and they do it through the “Know Your Client” system. These exchanges witness active trading, higher trading volumes, and better liquidities.
However, centralized cryptocurrency exchanges do not run like Bitcoin; they have their own private servers, making them vulnerable to attack. For instance, suppose that hackers compromised the servers of a centralized exchange that trades bitcoin and crypto altcoins. In that case, the entire exchange would experience significant downtime or even, in the worst-case scenario, leakage of users’ personal information.
Some notable examples of centralized exchanges are:
Decentralized cryptocurrency exchanges function just like Bitcoin does. They don’t have any centralization or main point of control. They operate through a network of computers under the control of individuals spread throughout the world. If a single computer malfunction or gets compromised, the network keeps running smoothly because of other computers in the network.
This system is in strong contrast to that in which a single company is running servers from a single location, so decentralized systems are safer because they are much more difficult to attack and breach.
Decentralization also means that no rules by a regulatory body or legal entity apply to them since no single person or entity runs these systems. Instead, a group of individuals is participating who come and go by their own choice. Therefore, the users of decentralized exchanges do not need to reveal their identities and can freely use the platforms in whichever way they want.
However, decentralized cryptocurrency exchanges have their drawbacks. For instance, favoring digital currencies, they don’t allow the trading of fiat currencies. This makes them a less attractive option for beginners who don’t hold any cryptocurrency at the moment.
Moreover, users of decentralized exchanges need to remember the keys and passwords to their wallets at all times, or else their money becomes unrecoverable – an issue unknown on centralized platforms. People have lost millions of dollars this way.
Some notable examples of decentralized exchanges:
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Bitcoin Trading Platform
Despite the presence of many Bitcoin crypto exchanges, choosing the right one is essential for every aspiring investor out there. Here are the five major factors you need to look for before you make the selection.
Security is an exchange best-practice and one you should consider before everything else. You should ensure that the platform you have chosen offers two-factor authentication, doesn’t have a history of being compromised, and has a track record for safeguarding its users’ data.
If you are only just beginning, you may want to save on fees and go with an exchange that offers lower prices and a user-friendly interface so that you can learn to the max in your beginning days without breaking the bank.
Ease of Use
The centralized exchanges provide beginner investors with a less complicated, more user-friendly trading method and user interface than the more advanced crypto wallets and P2P transactions. The users of centralized exchanges can easily log in to their accounts, check their updated account balances, and execute transactions on cryptocurrencies.
It would be best to choose a Bitcoin exchange based on the ease of use it offers, the cryptocurrency experience you have, and its customer support. Whether you are a newbie looking to get started in the digital currency world or a veteran, this ease of use and intuitive user interface will significantly impact your daily trading activities.
Selection of Assets
Deciding upon your portfolio’s assets is one of the most significant determining factors when choosing the best crypto exchanges. This selection impacts your profitability in the long run. Therefore, you should go for an exchange that offers the right mix of assets.
Some crypto exchanges only accept PayPal as a payment method, while others are more flexible and have many other options, such as using a credit card, debit card from your bank account, bank transfer, or wire transfer. It’s always best to go with a platform that takes multiple payment methods.
Are Bitcoin Exchanges Safe and Reliable for Crypto Investing?
Just as in the case of trading commodities or government-issued securities or stocks, crypto investing carries with it some degree of risk at all times. Cryptocurrency price action is highly volatile, which sometimes makes this form of investment even riskier than other trading options, although often more profitable. Furthermore, the “emerging technology” status of cryptocurrency and the higher levels of financial knowledge it requires to buy and store digital currency safely add to the risks involved.
However, with cryptocurrency gaining mainstream status and becoming consistently more regulated and recognized globally, it has never been safer to invest in digital currency than now. More and more people are adopting cryptocurrency for payment and choosing it as a viable investment. As this technology continues to gain further acceptance, evolving methods of buying and selling different trading pairs are making it a more secure investment method than it was, say, five years ago.
Here are the primary financial risks linked with cryptocurrency:
- Your coins might become compromised if someone accesses your private key
- You may end up losing the private keys that give you access to your coins
- The value of the currency in which you invested might rapidly decrease soon after you purchase it
Careful planning, strategy, and research can go a long way towards minimizing these risks and ensuring that your investments turn into the best possible returns. Other than these primary risks, if your selection of cryptocurrency exchange is a good one, you may soon begin to count yourself among one of the millions who are earning profits worldwide.
Things to Avoid When Using a Cryptocurrency Trading Platform
Actually trading crypto may carry a lot of gain potential for aspiring investors, but at the same time, it has significant risk. However, traders can significantly mitigate these risks by steering clear of a few behaviors or habits and taking the time to select the best cryptocurrency exchange for their trading routine.
Here are a few things new traders should avoid as they navigate the terrain of cryptocurrency trading:
Don’t be influenced by trends
Traders should avoid any hypes or trends like the plague since it may not be a bright idea to follow the lead once they witness everyone jumping on the bandwagon. Digital currencies often reach new highs when they get into the spotlight and begin drawing significant media or social media attention.
However, these upward trends seldom continue, and digital currencies tend to fall sharply in a short period afterward. Those who buy late when the currencies have already peaked almost always end up suffering losses.
A rule of thumb should be to base the decisions on facts and research rather than herding or giving in to sentiments.
Avoid risky Bitcoin exchanges
Relying on Bitcoin exchanges with histories of getting hacked or being particularly vulnerable to attacks can be one of the easiest ways of losing money quickly. As a case-in-point: Bitfinex and Mt. Gox both underwent major hacks, resulting in losses worth millions in digital currency. One way to reduce this risk is to choose an exchange with a good track record and no history of being hacked.
As you conduct detailed research, focus on finding exchanges that have managed to acquire a solid reputation, have been around for quite some time, and have managed to service large user bases without getting hacked. Relying on such exchange may end up being the difference between a major loss and a major gain.
Don’t rely on emotions
The digital currency markets are quite volatile, and it’s often relatively easy for the big players to trigger price fluctuations. Once you enter a position, you must only exit it through a careful strategy rather than emotions. Evaluate the situation before selling because a fall in value doesn’t indicate that the currency dynamics have changed. It may be better to hold on for the time being instead of selling; if you sell prematurely in an attempt to exit a losing position, the cost of the trading fees alone may cost you more than you think.
You might also feel pressured or experience the “fear of missing out,” or FOMO, when a particular currency has risen unexpectedly and people begin investing in it thinking that it will keep growing. However, it might not be a good idea to do so. A large majority of those investors incur huge losses and encounter significant portfolio declines because of the desire to become a part of the trend and avoid missing out.
Final Thoughts: Which Crypto Exchange Is Best For Bitcoin Trading?
Each crypto exchange platform has its unique features and its own distinctive way of helping its users trade the best crypto. While some leading platforms offer a feature-rich interface, some lesser-known ones make up for the lack of features with zero or low fees. Believe it or not, it’s easier to find a cryptocurrency exchange with zero or low fees than you think.
We have outlined the best crypto exchanges here for your convenience. However, to fully harness cryptocurrency’s potential, you need to select an exchange platform that best suits your needs. Additionally, be sure to thoroughly research the intricacies of cryptocurrency on your own, as well as the customer support capabilities of each exchange before investing. As a beginner, you should be looking for exchanges with high liquidity, low withdrawal fees, and many trading pairs.