The best cryptocurrency exchanges for trading bitcoin and other assets

Best crypto exchanges of May 2022

Understanding cryptocurrencies alone can be daunting, and if you’re new to crypto trading, finding the right platform to buy and sell popular assets like bitcoin, ethereum, and dogecoin can be another challenge. Plus, you’ll need to set up a crypto wallet to store your assets securely.

Most crypto exchanges also offer features like staking rewards (for holding a crypto asset for a set period of time), margin trading, crypto trading tools, and more. 

We’ve compiled some of the best cryptocurrency exchanges for buying and selling crypto assets. Keep reading to find the best option for you.

Best for Bitcoin-oriented traders: Coinbase


Fees


0.50% spread for buy/sell transactions; transaction fee from $0.99 to $2.99; up to 0.50% for Coinbase Pro


Investment Types


Cryptocurrencies


Fees


0.50% spread for buy/sell transactions; transaction fee from $0.99 to $2.99; up to 0.50% for Coinbase Pro


Investment Types


Cryptocurrencies

Pros

  • Buy, sell, or store more than 100 cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and dogecoin
  • Educational investment resources, mobile access, digital storage, and customer support
  • Low account minimums
  • Can earn rewards for certain cryptocurrencies
  • Coinbase card lets you spend crypto or USD anywhere and earn crypto rewards; can deposit your paycheck into your account and convert from USD to crypto with no fees

Cons

  • No crypto futures or margin accounts
  • Pay more for lower balances
  • Not for users who want external storage wallets crafted by personal wallet companies
  • High trading and transaction fees


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  • Promotion: Get $5 of bitcoin when you join Coinbase
  • Features: Coinbase Earn rewards, Coinbase Pro advanced account, user-controlled storage, stablecoins, staking, and institutional trading tools.
  • App store rating: 4.7 iOS/ 4.3 Android

Why it stands out: Coinbase offers more than 100 cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, ethereum, litecoin, dogecoin, and ripple. The exchange also offers multiple investment options for individual and institutional clients. Some of its account features include staking rewards, iOS and Android mobile apps, and a Coinbase Earn account option that pays you in crypto assets for watching educational videos.

Coinbase also offers two other options: Coinbase Pro for advanced traders and Coinbase Prime for institutions and high-


net-worth

clients (individuals with at least $1 million). Coinbase Pro users get access to more advanced features like secure trading bots, charting tools, and real-time order books. 

In addition to the Prime cryptocurrency trading platform, institutional clients can utilize commerce services, cold storage (offline storage for crypto assets), and an Asset Hub that allows issuers to list and grow their products on the platform.

Plus, Coinbase also recently launched the beta version of its NFT trading platform. For a limited time, it’s offering no transaction fees for creators and collectors who use the platform. Many NFT platforms charge 2.5% per transaction, so Coinbase’s offerings are highly competitive when it comes to pricing (see more about its NFT platform here).

What to look out for: If you regularly use margin accounts to trade, Coinbase isn’t the best choice. The exchange doesn’t let you temporarily borrow money to trade crypto assets, nor does it offer futures (legal contracts that give you the choice to exchange a security at a specific price on a forthcoming date).

Visit the Coinbase website »

Best for low fees: Abra


Fees


0% (Spread fee built into exchange rates)


Investment Types


Cryptocurrencies


Fees


0% (Spread fee built into exchange rates)


Investment Types


Cryptocurrencies

Pros

  • No fees to trade 100 cryptocurrencies (excluding spread fee)
  • Can borrow against crypto holdings, with payback interest rates of 0% to 9.95%
  • Can earn up to 8% interest on crypto or USD stablecoins
  • Support in 150 countries with access for 50 fiat currencies

Cons

  • High fees for Visa or Mastercard transactions
  • Limited transparency on the exact exchange spread rates


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  • Promotion: 50% off fees on first crypto purchase with a credit card.
  • Features: 100 cryptocurrencies, crypto-backed loans, staking, and support for traders in 150 countries.
  • App store rating: 4.6 Apple/4.3 Android

Why it stands out: Abra is a global crypto exchange serving individual and institutional traders in more than 150 countries. Along with the fact that Abra doesn’t charge any trading fees (though it earns income from the spread between different assets), the exchange also stands out due to its expansive selection of crypto products and features.

This includes trading for more than 100 cryptocurrencies, interest accounts that let you earn up to 12.5% on eligible assets, crypto-backed loans, over-the-counter (OTC) trading, and multiple educational guides for beginners. Its OTC services also give institutional clients access to interest-earning accounts, loans, and one-on-one account support.

In addition, Abra pays you 0.5% cash back on every trade, and the exchange pays you up to 2% to hold loans.

Abra is available on iOS and Android phones.

What to look out for: Visa and Mastercard transactions have high fees.

Visit the Abra website »

Best for futures and margin traders: Kraken


Account Minimum


Depends on cryptocurrency


Investment Types


Cryptocurrencies


Account Minimum


Depends on cryptocurrency


Investment Types


Cryptocurrencies

Pros

  • Can exchange more than 90 crypto assets
  • Low account minimums and fees
  • Variety of educational resources and tutorials on cryptocurrencies
  • Over-the-counter (OTC) trading and account management support available

Cons

  • No 24/7 phone customer support
  • Kraken’s futures mobile platform isn’t currently available in the US
  • Not a personal wallet service


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  • Features: More than 90 cryptocurrencies, margin and futures trading, OTC trading, account management for HNW individuals and institutional clients, multiple trading platforms, educational resources, and staking rewards.
  • App store rating: 4.7 iOS/ 4.2 Android

Why it stands out:  Kraken has 90 cryptocurrencies with an array of options both for retail investors and institutional investors. But when it comes to global support, Kraken has a bit more reach than Binance.US. The exchange currently supports traders in nearly 200 countries.

Kraken also offers margin trading and futures trading. With its margin accounts, you can borrow up to five times your account balance to trade crypto assets. Futures trading — contracts which allow you to buy or sell an asset at a set price on an upcoming date — is available for bitcoin, ethereum, litecoin, bitcoin cash, and ripple.

The exchange also offers its own futures trading platforms. But institutional clients can take advantage of expert insights, one-on-one consultations, account management support, and more.

All clients can utilize Kraken’s staking rewards, iOS and Android mobile app access, and educational resources.

What to look out for: Kraken’s futures mobile platform isn’t currently available to US traders. In addition, only institutional and high-net-worth clients can utilize the exchange’s consultation and account management services. 

Visit the Kraken website »

Best cryptocurrency selection: CEX.IO


Fees


0.00-0.15% maker fees; 0.01-0.25% taker transaction fee (2.99% deposit)


Investment Types


Cryptocurrencies and tokens (support is also available for multiple fiat currencies)


Fees


0.00-0.15% maker fees; 0.01-0.25% taker transaction fee (2.99% deposit)


Investment Types


Cryptocurrencies and tokens (support is also available for multiple fiat currencies)

Pros

  • 100 assets, including bitcoin, ethereum, and more (US users can currently trade more than 40 cryptocurrencies)
  • Low fees
  • Margin trading, staking rewards, crypto-backed loans for individuals
  • Institutional services for businesses and advanced traders
  • 24/7 customer support and mobile access

Cons

  • Limited coin options (CEX.IO offers more tokens)
  • Staking rewards, crypto-backed loans, and savings features not available for US traders
  • Services not available to residents of New York (see a complete list of CEX.IO’s geographic restrictions here).


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  • Promotion: None available at this time.
  • Features: More than 100 cryptocurrencies, margin trading, staking rewards, crypto-backed loans, and institutional services.
  • App store rating: 4.6 iOS/3.7 Android

Why it stands out: Based in London, CEX.IO is a global crypto exchange supporting traders in more than 99% of countries worldwide, including 48 US states, according to its website. The exchange also gives you access to bitcoin and more than 100 other crypto assets.

All users can access CEX.IO’s instant buy feature (this is only for credit and debit card purchases), mobile app, staking rewards, and crypto-backed loans. But more advanced traders might prefer CEX.IO’s spot trading feature (this option lets you place different types of crypto market orders) and margin trading accounts. Institutions and businesses can use its aggregator and payment management services. 

It’s also important to point out CEX.IO’s fee schedule. The exchange has a maker/taker schedule that’s based on your 30-day trading volume. Maker orders can’t be executed immediately since there are no other orders to match with them; however, taker orders match immediately, according to CEX.IO.

Its maker fees range from 0.00-0.15%, and its taker fees span from 0.01-0.25%. You can also access CEX.IO on iOS or Android devices.

What to look out for: Transactions with debit or credit cards can be pricey at CEX.IO. For Visa and Mastercard deposits, you’ll be have to pay a 2.99% fee (it only requires 1.49% for GBP deposits with UK-issued cards). Withdrawals for US residents using a Visa card include a service charge up to 3% plus an additional $1.20 and commission up to $3.80. Mastercard users can expect a service charge up to 1.8% plus an additional $1.20. There’s also a commission up to 1.2% plus $3.80.

Visit the CEX.IO website »

Best for Bitcoin and Ethereum traders: Gemini


Fees


$0.99-$2.99 fee for web and mobile transactions between $10 and $200 (1.49% fee for transactions over $200); 0.50% convenience fee; 3.49% debit card transfers


Investment Types


Cryptocurrencies


Fees


$0.99-$2.99 fee for web and mobile transactions between $10 and $200 (1.49% fee for transactions over $200); 0.50% convenience fee; 3.49% debit card transfers


Investment Types


Cryptocurrencies

Pros

  • Want to trade bitcoin and more than 50 other virtual assets
  • Value account security and want your assets securely stored and insured against theft
  • Are an advanced trader looking for features like faster order execution, crypto trading pairs and auctions, and charting tools
  • Want to earn daily interest from different cryptocurrencies

Cons

  • Want to use margin accounts to take on additional buying power
  • Prefer to pay less for larger transaction amounts
  • Are looking for a straightforward fee schedule


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  • Promotion: Receive $10 of bitcoin (BTC) when a referral exchanges $100 or more within the first 30 days of creating an account.
  • Features: Trading options for beginners, experts, and institutions; Gemini Earn, Gemini Wallet, and $200 million insurance in Gemini Custody.
  • App store rating: 4.8 iOS/ 4.5 Android

Why it stands out: Gemini offers a wide variety of crypto trading services for individuals and institutions. Traders can take advantage of multiple platforms, including the Gemini web exchange, Gemini iOS and Android mobile apps, Gemini Active Trader platform, Gemini Fund Solutions, and institutional trading tools.

But the exchange also provides a few other notable features: Gemini Wallet, Gemini Earn, Gemini Clearing (brokerage services for off-exchange crypto trades between parties), Gemini Custody, Gemini Pay, and Gemini Dollar (a digital asset backed by US dollars).

Though Gemini isn’t strictly a personal wallet service, its two storage and custody options — Gemini Wallet and Gemini Custody — give you the choice of online storage or institutional offline storage for your crypto assets. Gemini custody also offers $200 million in cold storage insurance coverage.

Gemini Earn gives you the option to receive up to 8.05% interest on your crypto balance, while Gemini Pay gives you the option to use your assets for purchases at more than 30,000 retail facilities across the US.

What to look out for: Gemini has multiple fee schedules for different accounts and account actions. While you won’t be charged for transferring funds through ACH or wire methods, credit or debit card transfers have a 3.49% fee. The exchange also has a limited number of cryptocurrencies (see its full list of supported assets here).

Visit the Gemini website »

Best for account security: Bittrex


Fees


0-0.35% maker/taker fees


Investment Types


Cryptocurrencies


Fees


0-0.35% maker/taker fees


Investment Types


Cryptocurrencies

Pros

  • Low account minimum
  • More than 100 cryptocurrencies
  • Numerous trading pairs
  • Can fund account through Visa or Mastercard debit cards, ACH transfers, or wire transfers
  • Two-factor authentication and cold storage for assets

Cons

  • No margin trading
  • Limited selection of educational resources for beginners
  • Limited customer support


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  • Promotion: Earn 10% on all commissions your referred friends spend on trades.
  • Features: Instant buy/sell, highly secure cold storage, mobile access, and 100 coins
  • App store rating: 4.7 Apple/4.3 Android

Why it stands out: When it comes to account security, Bittrex is difficult to beat. In addition to two-factor authentication, the exchange says it uses a multi-stage wallet strategy to make sure funds are kept in secure, cold storage (offline storage). Bittrex’s transaction fees are also notably lower compared to other exchanges.

Like CEX.IO, the exchange utilizes a maker/taker fee schedule that’s based on your 30-day trading volume (the amount of crypto assets you’ve exchanged over the past 30 days). But unlike many of the investment apps listed above, Bittrex charges absolutely nothing for deposits (USD deposits and withdrawals have no fees either). Blockchain/crypto withdrawals, however, have small network fees.

Bittrex also offers an Instant Buy & Sell feature that lets you exchange bitcoin and other assets with the click of a button. You can access Bittrex on iOS or Android phones.

What to look out for: Bittrex isn’t available for residents of New York, Connecticut, Vermont, or Hawaii.

Visit the Bittrex website »

Other platforms we considered

  • Binance.US: Binance.US supports more than 50 cryptocurrencies and offers investment options for both individuals and institutions. Its account perks also include staking rewards, recurring buys, OTC trading, crypto trading pairs, and stablecoins (assets that are backed by US dollars). But it may not be the best choice for beginner traders since its educational offerings are limited.
  • Bitstamp: Bitstamp is a Luxembourg-based company offering more than 60 cryptocurrencies, with options for advanced traders and institutional traders. US clients can trade crypto assets through its subsidiary, Bitstamp USA. The lowest fees start at 0.5%, and you’ll need at least $10 to trade.
  • SoFi: SoFi is more of an online brokerage than a cryptocurrency exchange, but it currently offers three crypto assets: Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin. The investment app also charges a 1.25% markup on all crypto transactions, meaning you’ll receive an additional 1.25% on the final price of your share(s). The only downside is that SoFi’s crypto options are limited, and its fees are a bit higher than other exchanges.
  • BlockFi: BlockFi is a crypto platform offering commission-free trading, interest accounts, crypto-backed loans, institutional trading and more. The crypto broker is also known for its recurring trades and instant trades feature, and it offers trading access for individuals across the globe. One downside, however, is that it has a limited crypto selection (fewer than 10).
  • eToro: The eToro USA crypto exchange offers a highly secure and easily navigable interface that gives you access to more than 25 crypto assets. The exchange also supports traders in 140 countries, and you’ll need at least $10 to trade. However, eToro also doesn’t currently support traders in New York, Minnesota, Nevada, Puerto Rico, Tennessee, Hawaii, Guam, American Samoa, Northern Marianas, and the US Virgin Islands. 
  • Webull: This online brokerage only requires $1 to start trading crypto, but its investment selection is limited. Webull may not be the best crypto option if you want to trade assets other than bitcoin, dogecoin, bitcoin cash, ethereum, litecoin, zcash, or stellar.
  • Robinhood: This brokerage’s commission-free structure has quite the appeal for those who prefer low-cost investments, but like SoFi and Webull, Robinhood’s cryptocurrency selection is on the shorter side. The investment app only offers 11 cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, bitcoin cash, bitcoin sv, ethereum, dogecoin, and others.

How we determined winners

We researched several exchanges to find the best options for cryptocurrency availability, low fees, asset/account security, user interfaces, and mobile access.

We also explored whether exchanges offered services both for individuals and institutions, and we paid close attention to other account options like staking rewards, margin trading, and Stablecoin support.

Frequently asked questions

Why trust us?

At Personal Finance Insider, we aim to help smart people make the wisest decisions with their money. We also know that the word “best” is often subjective, so we make sure to highlight both the benefits and drawbacks of crypto exchanges.

We spent hours comparing and contrasting the features and product offerings of various crypto exchanges so you don’t have to.

What is a cryptocurrency exchange?

A cryptocurrency exchange is like an


online brokerage

for cryptocurrencies, tokens (virtual assets created through existing blockchains), and other digital assets. Many of these exchanges offer investment options for active traders looking to buy, sell, or hold digital assets like bitcoin, ethereum, and litecoin. 

Most exchanges also offer custody and storage options for users looking to safely protect their crypto assets against theft and hacks. But then again, most exchanges aren’t solely personal wallet services. If you want to set up an external wallet with a bitcoin wallet provider or another storage wallet service, you can do so while maintaining your crypto exchange account.You can simply transfer assets between your exchange account and crypto wallet when necessary.

Are cryptocurrency exchanges worth it?

This depends on your investment goals and needs. You can invest in cryptocurrencies in more than one place. For instance, both PayPal and SoFi aren’t strictly crypto-focused companies, but both offer digital assets. 

And if you’re interested in low-cost options, note that you can also trade cryptocurrencies with fee-free brokerages like Webull and Robinhood. The catch with taking this route is that you won’t have as many crypto-specific features as you would with a Kraken or Gemini. 

You would essentially sacrifice a wider range of investments and account features for lower fees and limited cryptocurrency options. If you’re looking for a wider range of crypto-specific trading tools and account features, a cryptocurrency exchange may be the best option.

Rickie Houston, CEPF

Wealth-Building Reporter

Rickie Houston is a wealth-building reporter for Business Insider, tasked with covering brokerage products, investment apps, online advisor services, cryptocurrency exchanges, and other wealth-building financial products. He is also a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF).
Previously, Rickie worked as a personal finance writer at SmartAsset, focusing on retirement, investing, taxes, and banking topics. He’s contributed to stories published in the Boston Globe, and his work has also been featured in Yahoo News.
He graduated from Boston University, where he contributed as a staff writer and sports editor for Boston University News Service.
Learn more about how Personal Finance Insider chooses, rates, and covers financial products and services »


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