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Best Bitcoin Exchanges

Khashayar Abbasi
Khashayar Abbasi
5th Jun 2023

Despite over 20,000 cryptocurrencies in circulation, Bitcoin remains among the most traded. Whether you are new to the fascinating world of Bitcoin or a seasoned investor, this article is meant for you. Read on to find out the best Bitcoin exchanges in the US, their pros and cons, and why we rate Coinbase as our top choice. The article also covers handy pointers on selecting the right Bitcoin exchange and other information essential before investing.

Find the Best Bitcoin Exchanges for Your Needs

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Partner Name LabelLabelCTA Disclaimer
eToro1eToro4.8Visit Websiteetoro.comThis 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, does not fall under EU protections & is not supervised by the EU regulatory framework. Investments are subject to market risks, including the loss of principal.
Pepperstone2Pepperstone4.5Visit Websitepepperstone.comSpread bets and CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 80.9% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading spread bets and CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how spread bets and CFDs work, and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
Eightcap3Eightcap4.4Visit Websiteeightcap.comCFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 79.04% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
Coinbase4Coinbase4.2Visit Websitecoinbase.com
Changelly5Changelly3.7Visit WebsiteChangelly.com
Trading 2126Trading 2124.0Visit Websitetrading212.comCFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 83% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

Best Bitcoin Exchanges at a Glance

  • Best Bitcoin exchange for beginners: Coinbase

  • Most BTC trading pairs: Coinbase

  • Best Bitcoin exchange with mobile app: Gemini

  • Cheapest Bitcoin exchange: Binance.US

  • Most payment methods to buy Bitcoin: Coinmama

  • Best Bitcoin exchange in the US: Coinbase

  • Most secure Bitcoin exchange: Gemini

  • Best exchange to trade Bitcoin: Coinbase

  • Best decentralized exchange to buy Bitcoin: Bisq

Additionally, we created the following guides based on Bitcoin exchange features like security and fees, etc:

Top 10 Bitcoin Exchanges Reviewed

In this section, we review the best Bitcoin exchanges in detail. The exchanges here include those above and others in our top ten based on a comprehensive set of criteria. If you want to know about Bitcoin in general, including various ways to invest in it, check out our primer on how to invest in Bitcoin.

#ProviderFee (USD 1000)Number of Bitcoin Trading Pairs*Get Started
1Coinbase$0 - $6. Varies based on pricing tier and maker/taker order type73Sign up now
2Gemini$9.9 - $14.9. Varies based on order amount and device-type11Sign up now
3Binance.US$0 - $4.5. Varies based on Trading Pair Tiers and VIP Level24Sign up now
4Coinmama$9 - $39. Varies based on Loyalty Level.0Sign up now
5BisqFor 1 BTC: 0.0012 BTC to 0.0088 BTCDepends on market availabilitySign up now
6Kraken$0 - $2.6. Varies based on 30-day trading volume and maker/taker type order.0Sign up now
7BitMart$0.6 - $2.5. Varies based on Trading level and maker/taker order type.39Sign up now
8eToro$100Sign up now
9Cash AppNot specified. Fee leviable is disclosed during the trade confirmation.0Sign up now
10Crypto.com$0 - $0.75. Varies based on 30-day trading volume and maker/taker order type.0Sign up now

* The exchanges marked 0 may have BTC pairs but don’t allow crypto-to-crypto trades in the US.

eToro Disclaimer : 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.

Coinbase - Best for Beginners

Founded in 2012, Coinbase is the largest US-based cryptocurrency exchange, offering 200+ currencies and more than 500 trading pairs. The centralized exchange has nearly 100 million users in over 100 countries and more than $250 billion in assets on its platform.

Coinbase provides a relatively simpler interface that is excellent for beginners. It’s easy to open an account and deposit USD or link your bank account or card. The system is accessible on the web and through iOS and Android apps. With a clean design, Coinbase ensures even first-timers can quickly start trading.

However, the basic platform’s fee structure is opaque and complex. There are charges based on the spread on sales and purchases, the selected payment method, order size, market conditions, and costs of executing transactions on external blockchain networks. The resultant expense often ends up being higher than other top exchanges.

More experienced traders can opt for Coinbase Pro, which has a more straightforward fee structure and allows crypto-to-crypto transactions and more trade types, such as limit and stop orders. Another service in the beta phase is Coinbase One, which gets you fee-less trades for a monthly fee. Plus, Coinbase also has a standalone crypto wallet service.

Coinbase boasts industry-leading security features, with more than 98% of customers’ assets stored in cold vaults. However, it’s important to mention that there have been cases of customers’ Coinbase accounts being compromised.

The exchange has had poor reviews for its lackluster customer service, but there have been recent improvements, including the addition of 24/7 live phone support. Coinbase does provide a vast collection of learning resources and tutorials.

Is Coinbase Available in the US?Yes (except Hawaii)
Deposit FeeACH: Free; Wire: $10; PayPal: 2.5%
Trading Fee0.00%–0.60%. Varies based on pricing tier and maker/taker order type.
Additional FeesCrypto conversion: up to 2% in spread margins
Withdrawal FeesACH: Free; Wire: $25
Minimum Order Value$2
Minimum Deposit$25
Number of Cryptocurrencies Pairs500+
Does Coinbase Have a Wallet?Yes
Does Coinbase Have an App?Yes
Additional ServicesCrypto derivatives, NFTs, Debit card, Merchant payment service
KYC RequiredYes
Maximum Leverage3x (Coinbase Pro)
PlatformsiOS, Android, Windows

Gemini - Best Mobile App

Gemini was founded in 2014 in New York by the Winklevoss brothers and is available in over 60 countries, including all US states. What sets the exchange apart is its emphasis on security and compliance—it is the world’s first crypto exchange to get a SOC-2 certification, an examination given by third-party auditors to assess a company’s security levels.

The interface is user-friendly, with a simple buy and sell option and a detailed support section. For experienced traders, there’s the ActiveTrader platform, which has better charting tools, support for multiple order types, and quicker trade execution.

The mobile app is equally well-designed, with high ratings on the app stores and most of the functionality of the desktop site. For customer support, there’s no live system, but you get email and chat support, a virtual chatbot, and a comprehensive help center.

Gemini’s wallet is a useful service if you don’t already use one. It is a hot wallet, but asset losses resulting from a security breach are covered by insurance. Other services include the Gemini Clearing portal, a peer-to-peer trading platform, and Gemini Basic, a much simpler desktop platform for absolute beginners.

The fee structure is transparent but more complex than most exchanges. There are even different schedules for mobile and desktop trades. The fee varies depending on the amount you’re trading, with higher value incurring a lower percentage fee.

In general, however, Gemini’s fees are on the higher side compared to most top-ranked exchanges. The other notable negative is that beyond Bitcoin, the range of crypto assets on the platform is comparatively less extensive.

Is Gemini Available in the US?Yes
Deposit FeeDebit card: 3.49%; ACH, wire transfer, cryptocurrency: Free
Trading Fee$0.99–$2.99 under $200 order value; 1.49% above $200. Varies based on order amount and device-type.
Additional FeesCustody fee: 0.4% or $30/month/asset; Transfer from Gemini Custody to Gemini Exchange: $125/withdrawal
Withdrawal Fees0.0001 BTC
Minimum Order Value0.00001 BTC
Minimum Deposit$0
Number of Cryptocurrencies Pairs130+
Does Gemini Have a Wallet?Yes
Does Gemini Have an App?Yes
Additional ServicesP2P trading, Credit card
KYC RequiredYes
Maximum LeverageNo leveraged trading
PlatformsiOS, Android, Windows

Binance.US - Best for Low-cost Trading

The Binance centralized platform in the US differs from the global crypto exchange available in over 180 countries. Binance.US, owned by Binance in partnership with a US firm, is independently managed. Residents of a few US states aren’t permitted to trade on Binance.US, which also offers far fewer cryptocurrencies (about 130, including Bitcoin) and trading pairs than the parent firm.

A key similarity between the two platforms is the low spot trading fee (0.1%). Users can opt for an instant buy/sell for a 0.5% fee. The minimum trade value is $10. Debit card and wire transfers incur charges of 4.5% and $15 per transaction, respectively; credit card purchases aren’t allowed.

Binance’s basic platform is good for simple buying and selling, while the advanced platform offers features like a candlestick chart and real-time pricing. There’s also a P2P platform, but its minimum trade value is very high at $10,000.

The interface, even on the basic platform, is not very intuitive. We also found the verification process too lengthy. The mobile apps have recently undergone an upgrade and mimic the website well. For storing your assets, you can whitelist a third-party wallet or use Trust Wallet, the platform’s official partner.

Other positives include Binance Academy, a collection of excellent educational resources, and trading fee discounts of up to 25% for holding Binance Coin. The security features are high-quality. While Binance.US has never experienced a breach, the parent company has witnessed several regulatory issues. A significant aspect needing improvement is customer service—there’s no immediate assistance, and all communication must be through a form or a chatbot.

Is Binance.US Available in the US?Yes (except Hawaii, New York, Texas, and Vermont)
Deposit FeeWire transfer, ACH: Free; Debit card, Apple Pay: 3.75%
Trading Fee0.00%–0.45%. Varies based on Trading Pair Tiers and VIP Level.
Additional FeesNone
Withdrawal Fees0.0002 BTC; ACH: Free; Wire transfer: $10–$15;
Minimum Order Value$10
Minimum Deposit$0
Number of Cryptocurrencies Pairs280+
Does Binance.US Have a Wallet?Yes (partnership with a third party)
Does Binance.US Have an App?Yes
Additional ServicesP2P trading
KYC RequiredNo (for daily withdrawals up to 0.06 BTC)
Maximum LeverageNo leveraged trading
PlatformsiOS, Android, Windows

Coinmama – Most Payment Methods

Among the older crypto centralized exchanges, Coinmama is known for its simplicity, making it ideal for beginners. However, because of high fees and very few assets on offer, it loses out to other platforms in most areas. The exchange is usable in all US states except New York and Hawaii.

Coinmama only allows buying and selling of cryptocurrency through the company, not directly with another user. Consequently, the transaction flow is simple. The platform supports buying of nine assets, with fractional shares of as low as $30. However, selling is only possible for Bitcoin. Moreover, there are no crypto-to-crypto transactions.

Part of the platform’s simplicity is the quick sign-up. Government-issued IDs and other details are needed, but the process takes just a few minutes. Moreover, you get more payment options than other exchanges, including debit and credit cards, wire transfer, Google Pay, Apple Pay, Skrill, Fedwire, and SWIFT.

Coinmama is not a custodial exchange, so you must use a third-party wallet to store your crypto assets. It does have a partnership with ZenGo, but you are free to choose another app. Since it doesn’t hold customers’ funds or payment information, the security risks are relatively lower. However, potential users should note that Coinmama reported a data breach in 2019, which led to 450,000 email IDs and passwords being hacked.

The greatest concern with Coinmama is its high fees. The trading fee is a percentage of each transaction, going as high as 3.9%. As you continue using the platform, the percentage comes down. There are also spread fees and charges on some payment methods.

Is Coinmama Available in the US?Yes (except Hawaii and New York)
Deposit FeeBank transfer, ACH, Fedwire, SWIFT: Free; Skrill, NETELLER: 2.5%; Credit/debit card, Apple Pay, Google Pay: 4.99%
Trading Fee0.99%–3.90%. Varies based on Loyalty Level.
Additional FeesSpread fees (XBX Index market rate + 2%)
Withdrawal Fees$0
Minimum Order Value$50 (for BTC; $30 for the first order)
Minimum Deposit$50 ($30 for the first order)
Number of Cryptocurrencies PairsNone
Does Coinmama Have a Wallet?No
Does Coinmama Have an App?Yes
Additional ServicesNone
KYC RequiredYes
Maximum LeverageNo leveraged trading
PlatformsAndroid, Windows

Bisq - Best Decentralized Exchange

Formerly known as Bitsquare, Bisq is an open-source, decentralized exchange usable from anywhere in the US through the Tor network. Bisq requires installation on your computer and self-management of assets. While these bring greater user control, privacy, and security, the system can prove complex for novice users.

The coins available on Bisq depend on what’s being offered by users. However, one of the coins in a trade must be Bitcoin. The system matches your quote with a counterparty, following which the trade takes place. Both parties have to make a refundable security deposit, and the platform has a three-tier dispute resolution process.

Bisq doesn’t ask for personal information or an ID. To minimize fraud, it does restrict your trading amount for the first two months. There are no centrally held funds; you link a third-party wallet and must manage your keys. The Bisq community has some other safeguards to minimize risks, but anonymity has the potential to encourage fraud.

Bisq charges a trading fee of 1% on the overall trade value, with a greater share paid by the buyer. Your fee can be lower if you pay using BSQ, the Bisq native token. While there is a wide range of options to make payments (no credit cards, though), the community has per-trade limits on some modes.

Unlike most exchanges, Bisq doesn’t have a mobile app for trading. Its app is meant for notifications, which is handy if you are away from your computer. Also, note that the system doesn’t match orders automatically. You need to search for offers of interest, adding to the complexity.

Is Bisq Available in the US?Yes
Deposit Fee0.001 BTC
Trading Fee1% (0.88% buyer, 0.12% seller)
Additional FeesNone
Withdrawal Fees0.0003 BTC – 0.0005 BTC
Minimum Order Value0.06 BTC
Minimum Deposit0.006 BTC
Number of Cryptocurrencies PairsNo fixed number
Does Bisq Have a Wallet?No
Does Bisq Have an App?Only for notifications
Additional ServicesNone
KYC RequiredNo
Maximum LeverageNo leveraged trading
PlatformsmacOS, Windows, Linux


Founded in 2011, Kraken is a San Francisco-based centralized exchange known for a wide selection of assets (200+ coins and about 600 trading pairs) and low fees for advanced trading. However, for beginners, the system can prove complex and expensive. Plus, its staking and futures trading services are unavailable in the US. For margin trading, Kraken requires US residents to meet certain specifications.

The main Kraken platform works well for the simple buying and selling of Bitcoin. The verification is relatively quick; once done, you can link your bank account and start fiat-to-crypto or crypto-to-crypto transactions. The interface is easy to figure out, and you can also earn up to 23% interest through staking.

Anyone with a Kraken account can access Kraken Pro, a more complex platform with advanced features such as charts and info on open orders. The greater advantage of Pro is the lower fee, beginning at 0.26% for takers and 0.16% for makers. The fees come down if you have high trading volumes over the previous 30 days.

Spot trading prices on the main platform begin at 1.5% for most currencies. Depending on the funding mode, there are additional charges from 0.5% to over 3.75%.

Kraken reports standard security measures, including 95% of deposits stored offline. It does not have a linked wallet, and assets held with it are ineligible for deposit insurance. Importantly, some user reviews mention the loss of assets due to hacking, with no recourse for recovery.

The mobile apps for both Kraken platforms are highly rated. The exchange also scores on customer service, with options for phone support (6 am to 6 pm ET), 24/7 web chat, and email. Frequent traders get a personal account representative.

Is Kraken Available in the US?Yes (except New York and Washington state)
Deposit FeeCredit card: 3.75% + €0.25; ACH: 1.5%
Trading Fee0.00%–0.26%. Varies based on 30-day trading volume and maker/taker type order.
Additional FeesMargin fees: 0.01%–0.02% (opening) + 0.01%–0.02% (rollover every 4 hours)
Withdrawal Fees0.00001 BTC (depends on cryptocurrency)
Minimum Order Value0.0001 BTC (depends on cryptocurrency)
Minimum Deposit0.0001 BTC (depends on cryptocurrency)
Number of Cryptocurrencies Pairs600+
Does Kraken Have a Wallet?No
Does Kraken Have an App?Yes
Additional ServicesOTC trading
KYC RequiredYes
Maximum Leverage5x
PlatformsiOS, Android, Windows


BitMart is a centralized exchange with over 650 cryptocurrencies and assets. Over 9 million crypto investors across 180 countries use its web-based and mobile platform. The exchange offers several services beyond buying and selling, including staking, derivatives trading, lending, and savings products. However, its earning and lending services are not available in the US.

For beginners, there’s a simple buy-and-sell option, with many ways to deposit fiat currency to buy Bitcoin. Advanced users can benefit from detailed charts, limit orders, live order books, and more. The interface can be a tad intimidating at first, but it isn’t difficult to figure out. You have 24/7 live chat and email support backed by a substantial library of resources and a chatbot for basic queries.

Opening an account involves a two-tier verification process. For small amounts of cryptocurrency, you need to provide basic personal information. The Level 2 tier is for access to all features and larger trading amounts, requiring a government-issued ID and facial verification.

BitMart’s fees are on the lower side, starting at 0.25% and coming down as trade value increases. Fee discounts are offered if you hold the native BMX tokens. The platform doesn’t charge deposit fees, but some partner debit and credit cards and other payment modes can incur high charges.

The security features appear industry-standard, including 99% of assets in cold storage, 2FA, withdrawal confirmation, and end-to-end encryption. However, BitMart experienced a data hack in December 2021, resulting in customers’ assets worth almost $200 million being lost. The firm pledged to compensate its users, but the FTC has recently opened an investigation into the firm’s security measures.

Is BitMart Available in the US?Yes
Deposit FeeNone
Trading Fee0.06%–0.25%. Varies based on Trading level and maker/taker order type.
Additional FeesNone
Withdrawal Fees0.0005 BTC (depends on currency)
Minimum Order Value0.005 BTC
Minimum Deposit$50
Number of Cryptocurrencies PairsAbout 750
Does BitMart Have a Wallet?Yes
Does BitMart Have an App?Yes
Additional ServicesCrypto derivatives, NFTs
KYC RequiredYes
Maximum LeverageDoes not offer leveraged trading in the US
PlatformsiOS, Android, Windows


With over 20 million users across 140 countries, eToro is an Israel-based global platform for trading in stocks, forex, commodities, and crypto assets. In the US, investors could only trade in crypto on eToro until 2022 but have access to stocks and ETFs now. The platform is still unavailable in a few states.

eToro’s greatest claim to fame is social trading, which allows users to match trades made by certain popular traders. Plus, every user gets a $100,000 virtual trading account to practice trading without spending actual money.

To open an account, you must provide basic personal details, answer some questions meant to gauge risk appetite and trading experience, and undergo KYC verification. The process takes a few days.

Once verified, you can deposit funds from a bank account or debit card to begin trading. The primary platform has a simple interface for buying and selling. Margin and leverage trading are not offered in the US. Crypto-to-crypto trading isn’t allowed either, but some coins can be converted to others. eToroX, meant for experienced and institutional traders, is accessible through the same account.

eToro charges a 1% fee for crypto purchases or sales. There are no withdrawal or currency conversion fees for US customers. There are, however, charges for transferring crypto to the eToro Money wallet and leaving your account inactive for a year. eToroX has a 5bps transaction fee.

The security features are top-notch, with most user funds stored offline. The exchange has a long and strong record of keeping investor funds safe. Customer service is only through support tickets, but the most active traders get personal account managers.

Is eToro Available in the US?Yes (except Hawaii, Minnesota, Nevada, and New York)
Deposit Fee$0
Trading Fee1%
Additional FeesInactivity fee (after 1 year): $10/month
Withdrawal Fees$0
Minimum Order Value$10
Minimum Deposit$10
Number of Cryptocurrencies PairsNone
Does eToro Have a Wallet?Yes
Does eToro Have an App?Yes
Additional ServicesStocks, ETFs
KYC RequiredYes
Maximum LeverageDoes not offer leveraged trading in the US
PlatformsiOS, Android, Windows

Cash App

Cash App, the popular personal finance mobile app, is offering Bitcoin trading in the US since 2018. However, the platform is strictly for beginners interested in Bitcoin exclusively. It also works if you want to diversify your investments across stocks, ETFs, and Bitcoin on the same platform.

Cash App’s centralized exchange is also suitable for new traders because of its simplicity. If you already have a Cash App account for other services, you don’t need a separate sign-up process to buy and sell Bitcoin. Link your bank account, input the USD value of the Bitcoin amount you want to buy, enter a PIN, and the trade is executed in no time. The app doesn’t have tools for technical analysis or charting, making it less viable for active traders.

For storage, you can either opt for Cash App’s secure system or take custody of your coins by easily moving them to a decentralized wallet. Moreover, you are offered with a fee-less option to send Bitcoin to friends and family, not seen on most other exchanges.

The trading fee on Cash App is of concern. It’s a bit high, usually ranging from 1.5% to 2.3% of the transaction value, depending on the demand at the time.

Stock trading is free of charge on the platform, but some government charges for such transactions may be passed on to you. Since Cash App is also a banking system, you get a Cash Card to withdraw cash at ATMs. For this, the app charges a $2 surcharge above the fee charged by the ATM provider.

Is Cash App Available in the US?Yes
Deposit FeeCredit card: 3%; Bank transfer, Debit card: Free (Instant deposit: 1.5% extra)
Trading FeeNot specified. Fee leviable is disclosed during the trade confirmation.
Additional FeesNone
Withdrawal FeesNone for standard withdrawals; expedited withdrawals incur network fees depending on blockchain congestion
Minimum Order Value$1
Minimum Deposit$1
Number of Cryptocurrencies PairsNone
Does Cash App Have a Wallet?Yes
Does Cash App Have an App?Yes
Additional ServicesStocks, ETFs, Banking services, Debit card
KYC RequiredYes
Maximum LeverageNo leveraged trading
PlatformsiOS, Android


Singapore-based Crypto.com offers US customers approximately 200 cryptocurrencies, a standalone crypto wallet, NFT purchases, staking, crypto credit cards, and a separate decentralized exchange. Holding the exchange coin CRO gets you lower fees, better staking rates, and credit card rewards.

On the other hand, it doesn’t allow crypto-to-crypto trading in the US. It’s also a mobile-first platform, so you can’t use it on your computer.

The mobile app (both iOS and Android) is highly rated and straightforward. Despite many services offered through it, you can easily view your portfolio and a list of popular assets and make trades. The charting and analysis tools are somewhere between the basic and advanced platforms seen in many other exchanges.

The entire sign-up process, including verification and bank account linking, takes just a few minutes. The trading fees are relatively low, beginning at 0.4% for users with monthly volumes under $25,000 and no CRO holding. For higher-volume traders, it can be as low as 0.04%. Credit and debit card funding incurs a 2.99% fee, while ACH transfer is free. There’s also a small fee for withdrawing crypto to an external wallet.

Crypto.com offers a few options to hold coins on the platform, including a DeFi Wallet. With this separate app, you can earn rewards for tokens used in decentralized finance applications.

Assets with the platform are protected through substantial measures. The company also reports a $750 million insurance to cover customers’ assets lost to cyberattacks. A major area of concern is customer service. You get support via a help page, live chat, and email, but customer reviews often mention slow response times.

Is Crypto.com Available in the US?Yes (except New York)
Deposit FeeCredit/Debit card: up to 4%; other methods: free
Trading Fee0.04%–0.4%. Varies based on 30-day trading volume and maker/taker order type.
Additional FeesNone
Withdrawal Fees0.0005 BTC (depends on cryptocurrency)
Minimum Order Value$1 for BTC (depends on cryptocurrency)
Minimum Deposit$1
Number of Cryptocurrencies PairsNone in the US
Does Crypto.com Have a Wallet?Yes
Does Crypto.com Have an App?Yes
Additional ServicesNFTs, Crypto credit card, Decentralized trading
KYC RequiredYes
Maximum LeverageDoes not offer leveraged trading in the US
PlatformsiOS, Android

How to Buy Bitcoin on an Exchange

If you are a new crypto investor, buying Bitcoin on an exchange might sound complicated. It’s not. Here’s a step-by-step description of the process for purchasing Bitcoin on Coinbase. These steps are meant for the browser version, but there will only be minor variations in Coinbase’s mobile app.

Step 1: Sign up for a Coinbase account
Step 2: Create your account
Step 3: Verify your identity and link a bank account
Step 4: Start trading
Step 5: Confirm your purchase
Step 6: Check your Coinbase wallet
Step 7: Transfer to an external wallet

What Are Bitcoin Exchanges?

A Bitcoin exchange is an online platform for buying and selling Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Due to benefits like liquidity, convenience, and reliability, a large section of people trading in Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies prefers such exchanges.

The general process is similar across most exchanges: you open an account, go through the KYC process, and begin trading using fiat currency or other cryptocurrencies. However, it’s vital to identify the exchange with features suited to your needs. For example, the accepted currencies can vary, and so can the jurisdictions where the exchange legally offers services.

Thankfully, you can use multiple exchanges to buy and sell Bitcoin. Transferring Bitcoin from one exchange to another is also easy, just requiring your deposit address in the target exchange.

The Bitcoin exchanges covered in this guide are most commonly used and are centralized (i.e., they have a third party as an intermediary for facilitating the trading activities).

You can also buy and sell Bitcoin on decentralized exchanges, which run directly on the blockchain network, do not involve an intermediary, and are relatively unregulated. The third option is P2P exchanges, which involve an escrow and combine certain advantages of centralized and decentralized exchanges.

For more info on all these aspects, we have a detailed article on cryptocurrency exchanges.

What to Consider When Choosing a Bitcoin Exchange?

From the many options available, how do you select the best Bitcoin exchange for your needs? While the choice might differ based on your specific expectations, here are the key general aspects to consider in your selection process.

Your Cryptocurrency Trading Knowledge

Your current familiarity with crypto trading can significantly impact what you get out of different exchanges. Some exchanges offer enough features to ease beginners into Bitcoin trading. Others are more complex and better suited for experienced traders.

Best Bitcoin Exchanges for Beginners

While ease of use and prompt support are desired by everyone, these are particularly critical for novice traders. Exchanges designed for beginners offer other features like training resources, practice accounts (to try trading without investing real money), and copy trading (to learn from experienced users).

#BrandMinimum DepositGet Started
1Coinbase$25Sign up now
2Gemini$0Sign up now
3Coinmama$50 ($30 for the first order)Sign up now

Best Bitcoin Exchanges for Advanced Traders

Traders with reasonable experience in crypto trading look for more complexity, including advanced order types, charting tools, and support for margin and futures trading. Such exchanges also offer a wider range of crypto assets, including new coins that traders can buy early.

#BrandTop Advanced FeaturesGet Started
1KrakenCharting tools, margin trading, crypto futures, high deposit and withdrawal limits, stop and limit ordersSign up now
2Coinbase ProCharting tools, technical indicators, margin trading, stop and limit ordersSign up now
3Binance.USCharting tools, real-time pricing, low fees, stop and limit ordersSign up now

Consider Your Needs: Owning, Trading, or Staking?

Some individuals invest in crypto for the long term, hoping for value appreciation. Others buy and sell more frequently, depending on changing market conditions. The rewards and risks differ between these two strategies, as do the analysis tools and other features you would expect from the exchange.

Before we get into trading types, remember that you can buy Bitcoin on any supported exchange and transfer it easily to a wallet to earn interest. This gives you greater freedom to select different service providers for different purposes.

Best Bitcoin Exchanges for Trading

Trading can be of different types, with differences in the corresponding tools you need to execute those trades smoothly. Thus, the exchange you select depends on your specific needs.

  • Best exchange to trade Bitcoin ETFs: ETFs or exchange-traded funds hold certain assets and offer fractionalized shares of these holdings on exchanges. Bitcoin ETFs are ideal for investors who want exposure to Bitcoin but are wary of complexities like storing cryptocurrencies safely. In the US, Bitcoin ETFs are still not allowed to hold Bitcoin; instead, they are linked to Bitcoin futures.

  • Best Bitcoin margin trading exchanges: Meant for experienced traders, margin trading involves borrowing money to make trades, making it a high-risk and high-gain strategy. The best exchange for Bitcoin margin trading is Kraken.

  • Best Bitcoin exchanges for day trading: Day trading refers to buying and selling an asset multiple times in a day to take advantage of short-term price changes. This is also advisable for experienced investors. Coinbase is our pick for Bitcoin day trading.

  • Best Bitcoin exchanges for arbitrage: Crypto arbitrage trading is a profit-generating strategy by simultaneously buying and selling the currency to exploit price differences between exchanges. The best exchange for Bitcoin arbitrage is Pionex, which offers a built-in trading bot to quickly identify arbitrage opportunities.

  • Best exchanges to short Bitcoin: If you believe that Bitcoin’s price will fall sometime in the future, you can short it by borrowing coins and selling at a high price and buying back low. Several exchanges allow different investing options to short Bitcoin, but the best of the lot is Coinbase.

  • Best exchanges for Bitcoin futures trading: Like futures for other assets, crypto futures allow you to gain exposure to certain cryptocurrencies without purchasing them. BitMart is the best exchange in the US for Bitcoin futures.

If you are interested in Bitcoin trading, exchanges are not the only option available to you. You can opt for the more conventional but equally popular method of using a broker. We have a detailed article for you on the best Bitcoin brokers if you are interested in learning more.

Can You Stake Bitcoin?

If active trading seems complex or time-consuming, staking is a great way to generate passive income using your cryptocurrency. However, it works only for currencies based on the proof-of-stake model. Bitcoin uses a proof-of-work model, so it can’t be used directly for staking.

Compare Exchange Fees When Buying Bitcoin

Since the end goal of investing in cryptocurrencies is to earn returns, it’s understandable why the lowest net fee is a critical factor in your choice of platform. The fee structures of exchanges can vary a lot, with components such as deposit and withdrawal charges, network fees, trading fees, and interest fees (where margin trading is available). Plus, the trading fees can differ based on volume and whether you are a market maker or taker.

Let’s look at the fees charged by four of the best Bitcoin exchanges to better understand how the costs can vary. As an example, suppose we are buying Bitcoin worth USD 1000 on each platform after depositing fiat currency through a bank transfer.

Deposit Fee$10$0$0$15
Withdrawal Fees$25$1.98*$10$0.2
Trading Fee$0 - $6$9.9 - $14.9$0 - $4.5$0 - $2.6
Holding Fee$0$30$0$0
Total Fee$35 - $41$41.88 - $46.88$10 - $14.5$15.2 - $17.8

Consider Bitcoin Exchange Reputation and Security

With the fast growth in the popularity of crypto trading, the risk of scams or cyber theft involving exchanges has also risen. There are a few pointers to minimize the risk of losing your investments.

The first step is to confirm the exchange has a strong reputation. Reputable exchanges will have a proper website along with a strong presence in social media, the crypto community, research and news reports, and so on. Be wary of exchanges that promise very high returns, pressure you to make large upfront investments, or send many unsolicited messages. Always rely on exchanges that have been around for a while and offer a proven track record.

Checking for security features is more objective. Look for cybersecurity features such as two-factor authentication (2FA), registry locks, cold wallets, biometric authentication, multi-signature vaults, end-to-end encryption, and anti-DDoS modules. You can usually find a description of an exchange’s security features on its site and also verify them through research reports. We also recommend exchanges covered by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) or any other cybercrime insurance.

As an example, here’s a summary of the key security features employed by some of the best Bitcoin exchanges:

#BrandTop Security FeaturesYear FoundedGet Started
1Coinbase2FA, password encryption, threat monitoring, automatic account locking, multi-signature vaults, end-to-end encryption2012
2Binance2FA, cold storage, real-time monitoring, multi-signature vaults, end-to-end encryption, advanced access control2017
3Gemini2FA, address allowlisting, cold storage, multi-signature vaults, WebAuthn hardware security keys, end-to-end encryption, anti-DDoS modules2014

Where Do You Plan to Store Bitcoin?

Unlike money in your bank account or conventional assets bought through a broker, safe storage of cryptocurrency is your responsibility. This requires considering factors like security, convenience, and monetary costs. Some exchanges allow transferring currency to third-party wallets, while others don’t. Some exchanges offer cold wallets (offline storage), while some have only hot wallets (online storage).

Storing on an exchange means ready availability of currency for trading. Since exchanges typically charge a fee for every transfer out of the system, storing on the exchange is also more cost-effective if you are a high-frequency trader or have a small amount of Bitcoin to transfer.

At the same time, exchanges are more vulnerable to hacking. On rare occasions, you may get locked out and lose access to your coins with an exchange wallet. These issues are minimized with a cold storage wallet that gives you greater control and flexibility.

We recommend keeping a small amount of currency on the exchange you trade on while storing the bulk investment in a third-party crypto wallet where you have the custody of your assets. However, your decision depends on your specific needs. Some exchanges that offer strong built-in wallet facilities include Coinbase, Binance.US, Gemini, and Crypto.com.

Which Deposit and Withdrawal Methods Are Available?

All exchanges do not support the same methods for depositing and withdrawing fiat currency, so check if your preferred modes can be used. Wire transfer is the most common, but many top-rated exchanges also support payments through digital wallets (e.g., PayPal, Skrill) and debit and credit cards.

Note that many businesses now accept cryptocurrencies directly through crypto payment gateways (such as Coingate and Bitpay). So, you don’t always need to deal in fiat currency; it depends on how you want to spend Bitcoin.

Payment MethodBrandLearn More
PayPalCoinbaseBuy Bitcoin with PayPal
SkrillCoinmamaBuy Bitcoin with Skrill
NetellerCoinmamaBuy Bitcoin with Neteller
Bank TransferCoinbaseBuy Bitcoin with Bank Transfer
Debit CardCoinbaseBuy Bitcoin with Debit Card
Credit CardCoinmamaBuy Bitcoin with Credit Card
Prepaid CardBisqBuy Bitcoin with Prepaid Card
Cash DepositBisqBuy Bitcoin with Cash

Can You Buy Bitcoin on an Exchange Anonymously?

Due to concerns related to privacy or security, some crypto traders prefer to transact anonymously. In some cases, potential crypto investors just may not have the government-issued IDs required by most exchanges.

Best Bitcoin Exchanges Without Verification and Registration

You can choose to buy Bitcoin without KYC or registration on certain platforms, but doing so has some obvious negatives, such as:

  • The pool of trustworthy exchanges available to you will get much smaller.

  • Even on exchanges that allow anonymous buying, you will often encounter limits on transaction value.

  • Transaction risks go up with anonymity, as it becomes difficult to locate the party if there’s a breach of contract.

  • Anonymous transactions encourage money laundering and ease of funding of other crimes, including terrorism.

You may still have valid reasons for purchasing Bitcoin anonymously, and here are some platforms where you can do it. Note that due to stringent crypto-trading regulations in the US, nearly all centralized exchanges require users to complete the KYC process. For this reason, it is best to use a decentralized exchange (DEX) like Uniswap, PancakeSwap, or any other DEX if you want to trade anonymously.

BrandRegistrationKYCGet Started
Binance.USYesNo (for small size trade)Sign up now
BisqNoNoSign up now
EvonaxNoNoSign up now
dYdXNoNoSign up now

Other Things to Consider When Choosing a Bitcoin Exchange

Apart from the factors above, you must also take into account the following points in your selection process:

  • Does the exchange have trading pairs available for the cryptocurrencies of your interest? The coins with a high market cap would be available on most exchanges, but fewer platforms support more exotic or lesser-traded coins. You might also want to see if the exchange allows investing in other crypto-related assets, such as derivatives and ETFs.

  • How is the customer service provided by the exchange? Given the quick movements in the crypto market, you don’t want a support service that takes days to respond. Reviews from past and current customers are a great way to gather info in this regard.

  • How substantial is the exchange’s order book volume? A high order book volume means more traders are active on the exchange. In turn, this offers you greater liquidity when you want to exit a cryptocurrency.

  • How convenient is the exchange’s system for tax calculation? In the US, all gains realized on crypto assets are taxable. Thus, legally, you cannot avoid taxes, but you can simplify the tax filing process by using an exchange that offers free exports of all your trading data.

  • Are there reward programs on the exchange? While this isn’t as critical a criterion as others, free money doesn’t hurt. Several exchanges offer referral bonuses or let you earn rewards for quizzes and other activities.

Bitcoin exchanges in other countries

How to Withdraw Bitcoin from an Exchange

We have detailed the simple process for withdrawing Bitcoin from Coinbase above. This general simplicity is one of the reasons it’s our pick as the best Bitcoin exchange. The final vital factor to look for in an exchange is the ease of withdrawing your purchases and earnings.

Should You Use a Broker or an Exchange to Buy Bitcoin?

It would be clear by now that brokers and exchanges are the two main ways to trade Bitcoin. Before you can decide on the option more suited to you, it’s important to understand their key differences and the respective pros and cons.

An exchange is an intermediary between traders, while a broker is an intermediary between traders and the market. The former uses an order book to match the trader’s desired trading price and facilitate a transaction. The price is set by the market. Trading through a broker is indirect, with the broker setting the price and acting on the client’s instructions.

The positives of using an exchange include the likelihood of gaining from market fluctuations (since the market sets the price) and privacy (as all exchanges do not require KYC). On the other hand, exchanges require a greater understanding of crypto assets, are more vulnerable to cyberattacks, and offer less flexibility in terms of fiat currency deposits and withdrawals.

Brokers typically offer greater security and deeper liquidity. Funds are relatively easier to withdraw, and you get additional market analysis services in most cases. On the negative side, your ability to capitalize on large market upturns is limited, and you have access to fewer cryptocurrencies.


What Bitcoin exchange is the best?
What Bitcoin exchange is the cheapest?
Which Bitcoin exchange has the lowest fees?
What is the best exchange to buy large amounts of Bitcoin?

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Author Bio
Khashayar Abbasi
Khashayar Abbasi
Khashayar discovered Bitcoin back in 2014 and has since spent countless hours researching the different use cases of cryptocurrencies. He has a bachelor's degree in International Relations and has been a writer in the financial services industry for nearly half a decade. In his spare time, Khashayar enjoys photography, cycling, and ice skating.