Best Bitcoin Exchanges in 2021

For many newcomers, Bitcoin is the go-to cryptocurrency for those who want to get involved in this new and exciting industry. Starting your journey can be a bit overwhelming at first, especially if you don’t know where to make your first purchase. Luckily, there are various ways you can go about purchasing Bitcoin in 2021, and today we’ll be going over some of the best platforms out there. 

Top Bitcoin Exchanges in 2021

When it comes to buying Bitcoin from exchanges, you need to look at the exchange rates, the fees involved, and payment methods that are accepted. Have a look below to see a hand-picked list of our recommended providers.

1
Minimum Deposit
$50
Exclusive Promotion
User Score
10
More than 3,000 assets, including currencies, stocks, cryptocurrencies, ETFs, indices and commodities
Buy crypto, or trade cryptocurrencies via CFDs
CopyPortfolios: Innovative, fully managed investment strategies
CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 67% 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.
2
Minimum Deposit
$250
Exclusive Promotion
User Score
8.1
Trade the global markets. Trade with real-time execution and professional tools
Follow and copy Naga's top traders who have mastered their trading strategies
Free personal account manager
CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 74.48% 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.
3
Minimum Deposit
$50
Exclusive Promotion
User Score
7.5
Over 4 million customers worldwide
Buy, sell and trade nearly 200 digital assets
Verified within 15 minutes

What Is a Bitcoin Exchange?

A Bitcoin exchange is a marketplace where you can buy or sell digital assets such as Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH). Exchanges tend to offer different fiat currency pairings that can be used to make the purchase, including USD, EUR, GBP and AUD. Notably, you can also use one digital asset to trade into another. For example, you can exchange Ethereum into Bitcoin and vice versa.

How Do Bitcoin Exchanges Work?

When it comes to using cryptocurrency exchanges, there are two main ways through which you can trade. The first method is known as a market order where you can buy or sell Bitcoin at the price it is trading at in that exact time. Alternatively, you can use limit orders where a purchase is only made if the price reaches a specified limit set by the user. For example, if Bitcoin is trading at $50,500, you can set a buy order at $50,000 and your bid will only be filled if the price goes to that level. Indeed, you could also set a sell order to sell at a certain price as well. 

How Do I Use a Bitcoin Exchange?

If you want to use a Bitcoin exchange and purchase a variety of different cryptocurrencies alongside Bitcoin, here is what you need to do.

Step 1: Register and Open an Account 

Once you have selected a cryptocurrency exchange that appeals to your needs, the next step is to open an account there. To do this, you will typically need to find the “Sign Up” or “Join” button located somewhere on the page.

Keep in mind that you may be required to provide ID to verify your account and for regulatory purposes. Once verified, you can add your desired payment method and deposit some money into your wallet.

Step 2: Secure Your Account

This next step is arguably the most important. After opening an account, go on the settings page and enable two-factor authentication immediately. This is to help prevent hackers getting access to your funds. When this setting is enabled, you will receive a text message with a code that needs to be entered when you login. Indeed, this will make it much harder for someone to access your account without your permission.

Step 3: Purchase Bitcoin

Once you have completed all of the aforementioned steps, the next thing would be to buy some Bitcoin (BTC). This may vary a little depending on your provider but you would have to look for a bitcoin trading pair with your national currency. For example, if you are in the US, you will look for BTCUSD in the markets section. Here, you will use the money that you deposited to make a market/limit order as explained above.

What Should I Look for in a Bitcoin Exchange?

You need to consider a few things when picking which exchanges to use to trade or buy Bitcoin from.

Payment Methods Which Are Accepted

Ensure that you find a cryptocurrency exchange that accepts the forms of payments you are comfortable using such as PayPal.

Exchange Rate

This is one of the most important factors, especially if you want to become an advanced trader down the line. Finding the best rates can help you get more Bitcoin for your money.

Geographical Restrictions

Some exchanges may not operate in your geographic location so you will have to do some research to find the ones that do.

Fees

The fees will vary from one cryptocurrency exchange to another and will be dependent on your payment method. It is worth researching the different platforms out there to see which one offers the best rates for you. 

Design and Ease of Use

Another important aspect that needs consideration when choosing a cryptocurrency exchange is how well designed it is. You essentially want to be able to focus on buying the coins, not figuring out how the website works, so a simplistic user interface plays an important role here.

Do I Have to Verify My Account on an Exchange?

On many cryptocurrency exchanges, you will need to verify your identity when you sign up. Cryptocurrency exchanges are required by law to know who is using their platform and so you will be asked to provide multiple forms of identification when you sign up. Generally speaking, you may be asked to upload a scan of your ID alongside a selfie of you holding said documents.

Are Bitcoin Exchanges Secure?

Bitcoin exchanges are typically well equipped when it comes to the security features they implement. At the same time, they are a big target for online attackers so it’s generally a good rule to not keep a significant amount of money in your exchange wallet. Perhaps it’s worth withdrawing your funds into a private wallet to which only you have access.

How Fast Are Bitcoin Transactions on Exchanges?

Bitcoin exchange transactions are near-instant, or in other words, as soon as you make a payment to the exchange platform in question, the Bitcoins will be added to your account immediately. However, keep in mind that this is not the case when you are transferring between exchanges, which will take slightly longer as it needs to be verified by the blockchain.

What payment methods can I use to buy Bitcoin on exchanges?

This is a question that is highly dependent on the cryptocurrency exchange in question.

Most of the time, debit cards and credit cards, alongside bank transfers, are the most commonly used payment methods. Some exchanges will accept credit cards or PayPal as well. However, this is a lot rarer to find. 

Do Exchanges Charge Fees for Buying and Selling Bitcoin?

Generally, exchanges charge fees whenever you buy or sell Bitcoin and the fee amount varies by platform.

Do Exchanges Charge Fees for Transferring in and Out of My Account?

When you as a user end up transferring coins to another wallet or exchange, you will be charged the transaction fee associated with the blockchain. These are referred to as the miner fees and can vary depending on the number of transactions that are occurring at any given time. Indeed, when the blockchain is less congested, the fees will generally be lower as well.

Do I Need a Wallet to Use a Bitcoin Exchange?

Most of the time, cryptocurrency exchanges will provide you with an on-exchange wallet that will enable you to hold the cryptocurrency tokens you buy from the exchange. That being said, it is recommended that you transfer your coins from your exchange’s wallet to a private wallet if you are going to hold onto them for a prolonged period of time due to the security benefits you get this way.

What Are the Other Platforms That I Can Use To Buy and Sell Bitcoin?

Apart from cryptocurrency exchanges, you can also use cryptocurrency brokerages or CFD trading platforms. Brokerages manage the buying and selling process for you, while CFD platforms have their attention primarily on making quick trades to take advantage of the market fluctuations that occur.

Should I Use a Bitcoin Exchange?

This is ultimately your choice due to the fact that exchanges are the most common and easiest way to buy Bitcoin; they are recommended for beginner traders.

1
Minimum Deposit
$50
Exclusive Promotion
User Score
10
More than 3,000 assets, including currencies, stocks, cryptocurrencies, ETFs, indices and commodities
Buy crypto, or trade cryptocurrencies via CFDs
CopyPortfolios: Innovative, fully managed investment strategies
CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 67% 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.
2
Minimum Deposit
$250
Exclusive Promotion
User Score
8.1
Trade the global markets. Trade with real-time execution and professional tools
Follow and copy Naga's top traders who have mastered their trading strategies
Free personal account manager
CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 74.48% 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.
3
Minimum Deposit
$50
Exclusive Promotion
User Score
7.5
Over 4 million customers worldwide
Buy, sell and trade nearly 200 digital assets
Verified within 15 minutes

FAQs

Can I use a bitcoin exchange on my mobile phone?

Many exchanges will typically have iOS and Android applications, that are developed for them, so you are more than capable of using them on your mobile device.

What are the differences between exchanges and broker platforms?

A Bitcoin exchange gives you the opportunity to buy and trade a range of different cryptocurrencies. A CFD platform gives you the opportunity to trade against the value of Bitcoin without owning the cryptocurrency token itself.

Are cryptocurrency exchanges legal?

The legality of cryptocurrency exchanges depends on the country you are in. You would have to contact the relevant authorities in your country to find this out.

Are exchanges regulated?

This is a factor that is dependent on the exchange in question. Typically, as the cryptocurrency exchange’s popularity grows, its regulation will become a higher question. Coinbase attained an e-commerce license, for example, by the FCA in March of 2018. The best way for you to check this is to find it on the exchange’s page.

What is the difference between a wallet and an exchange?

A wallet is your digital bank account, which helps you store your cryptocurrency token, while an exchange is a platform that gives you the opportunity to buy coins.

Do crypto debit cards have built-in exchanges?

There are Bitcoin debit cards that have emerged with the goal of providing you the ability to exchange multiple cryptocurrencies and FIAT currencies within their accounts.

Are there any exchanges I can use anonymously to buy bitcoin?

There are specific cryptocurrency exchanges that will allow you to purchase Bitcoin anonymously. Most of the exchanges out there require you to verify your identity, while others work through a peer-to-peer transaction process which gives you a higher level of anonymity.

How do exchanges determine the price of Bitcoin?

Exchanges are the marketplace where people agree to buy or sell Bitcoin at a specific price. Such as any other asset, its price fluctuates based on how much people are willing to pay to buy it.

What if I accidentally send Bitcoins to the wrong address?

If you end up sending your Bitcoins to the wrong address, there is no way to recover them, so ensure that you double-check before making any transaction.

What happens if an exchange gets hacked or closes down?

This is a risk with every cryptocurrency exchange out there. This is due to the fact that they are an appealing point of impact for hackers, and one of the most famous incidents was the fall of the Mt.Gox exchange back in 2014. If this happens, you will likely lose your cryptocurrency coins which were on the exchange’s wallet permanently. This is why you should always keep them in your personal wallet.

Can I access my transaction history on an exchange?

Many cryptocurrency exchanges will allow you to view a full history of all of the transactions you have made.

Is there a maximum or minimum deposit or withdrawal limit?

This depends on many factors including the platform you are using, the age of your account, method of payment used, and more.

Is there a maximum or minimum buying limit?

This is also dependent on a variety of different factors. For example, the platform in question might have a minimum limit that is very low, and you can expect the top limit to be lower if you are buying directly from a card. This limit will increase if you use a bank account instead, for example.

Can I buy all cryptocurrencies on an exchange as well as bitcoin?

Many exchanges out there will support a variety of different cryptocurrencies. However, there is no one out there that supports every single cryptocurrency that exists. If you want to trade a specific coin, ensure to check out our reviews for the websites which will allow you to trade those specific coins.

Do I have to pay tax on the coins I buy through an exchange?

Regulation in the cryptocurrency space is often a grey area. As such you would have to ask the relevant authorities in your country to find out more.