4 Best Places To Buy and Sell Cryptocurrency

bitcoin and ethereum cryptocurrency coins
znm / Getty Images

Over the past several years, cryptocurrency has grown in popularity. Thanks to relatively low fees, investors find buying and selling cryptocurrency particularly attractive. Crypto isn’t connected to any world governments, and it offers significant profit potential.

If you’re just getting started with investing in cryptocurrency, you may need some help navigating the exchange waters.

Whether your intent is to trade frequently or to purchase coins and hold them long term, this article provides insight into cryptocurrency and recommends four of the best crypto exchanges based on exchange score, average liquidity and trading volume.

Cryptocurrency Explained

To better understand what cryptocurrency is, you can begin with the root of the word: crypt. Merriam-Webster defines a crypt as a completely or partially underground chamber or vault. The term “vault” is appropriate when referring to cryptocurrency, as it’s a compartment for keeping valuables safe.

A cryptocurrency is a cryptography-secured digital or virtual currency. On crypto exchanges, cryptography technology is used to secure transactions on exchange networks, control the generation of new cryptocurrencies, and verify the transfer of digital tokens and assets.

Building Wealth

Currently, cryptocurrency is not produced or issued by any central financial authority and is exempt from government rule, regulation or influence. This government exemption is due to cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, initial coin offerings and altcoins (cryptos launched after the success of Bitcoin, such as Ethereum) being decentralized.

Decentralization of currencies occurs when no central government or financial system has the power to control or manage them. Most financial systems are centralized, meaning they’re managed by a single highest government authority.

Are Your Cryptocurrency Transactions Secure?

Since cryptocurrencies are decentralized, you may wonder how you can ensure the security of your transactional data. Blockchain technology is an essential organizational method that’s used to keep your crypto assets safe.

What Is Blockchain and How Does It Work?

Blockchain technology is designed to enhance the trust you place in keeping your cryptocurrency trading records and financial transactions. Using the blockchain system to record your crypto information makes it practically impossible for anyone to hack into the system and change records.

A blockchain is a digital transaction ledger that’s duplicated and distributed across an entire computer network on the blockchain. Here’s how it works:

  1. A block in the chain contains a certain number of transactions.
  2. A new transaction occurs on the blockchain.
  3. A record of that transaction is added to every participant’s ledger on the blockchain.

Multiple cryptocurrency exchange participants manage a decentralized database — distributed ledger technology. On the blockchain DLT, investors’ transactions are recorded with immutable cryptographic signatures called hashes.

The following are four of the best places to buy and sell cryptocurrency. Learn how you can use these exchanges to start investing in the crypto market.

4 of the Best Cryptocurrency Exchanges

The cryptocurrency space is rapidly growing, and crypto traders need a reliable source to track their assets. CoinMarketCap is the most referenced crypto asset price-tracking website worldwide. It provides investors with well-researched, unbiased and accurate information to make the most informed cryptocurrency buying and selling decisions.

The following chart lists four of the 20 most widely used cryptocurrency exchanges according to their exchange score, average liquidity and approximate trading volume, as reported by CoinMarketCap as of April 13.

Building Wealth

To understand how cryptocurrency exchanges are rated, you’ll want to know more about what each rating category means.  Here’s a look at each type:

  • Exchange score: Cryptocurrency exchanges are ranked and scored based on their amount of web traffic, average liquidity, volume and legitimacy confidence level. These factors are weighted, and an exchange is assigned a score between 0.0 and 10.0.
  • Average liquidity: Simply put, liquidity is the ability of a crypto asset to be converted to cash essentially on demand. The average liquidity of cryptocurrency can also be determined by its bid-ask spread, which is the difference between the best available price to buy or sell an asset.
  • Trading volume: A cryptocurrency’s trading volume is the number of assets or coins that have been traded, usually within a 24-hour period.
Exchange Exchange Score Average Liquidity Trading Volume
1  Coinbase Pro 8.8 525 $3.9 billion
2  Kraken 8.6 526 $2.6 billion
3  Binance.US 7.9 327 $890 million
4  Bittrex 7.6 334 $344 million
Data is accurate as of April 13, 2021.

Here’s more detailed information about these crypto exchanges and why they made this list.

Coinbase

1. Coinbase Pro

Overview: Founded in the U.S. in 2012, Coinbase Pro is one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges around. The service is available in more than 100 countries and has more than 30 million users worldwide.

Users can buy and sell Bitcoin using their bank accounts, credit cards and debit cards. You can also use the platform to trade USD Coin, a Coinbase-built stablecoin.

Customers report that rates are on par with other exchanges, but according to the Better Business Bureau, Coinbase Pro’s customer service leaves a lot to be desired.

Services and features: Coinbase Pro’s main offering is a platform for buying and selling cryptocurrency. The exchange has a relatively good reputation and marketing strategy and a user-friendly interface. New crypto traders often buy their first Bitcoin through Coinbase, which is Coinbase Pro’s predecessor. Coinbase Pro is targeted at more experienced cryptocurrency traders. 

Here are some of the features that are available:

  • Coinbase and Coinbase Pro wallet: Coinbase launched its independent Android and iOS mobile wallet in 2018. The wallet stores an investor’s private keys on their mobile device, and only the user has access to the crypto funds.
  • Funds transfer: You can instantaneously transfer funds between your linked Coinbase account and Coinbase Pro account for free using your same login credentials. Each account has a separate wallet.

Accepted currencies and payment methods: Coinbase Pro accepts the following currencies: U.S. dollars (USD), euros (EUR), Canadian dollars (CAD), Singapore dollars (SGD) and British pounds (GBP).

Number of coins available for trade: Approximately 100, including Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), Ripple (XRP), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), EOS (EOS) and Stellar Lumens (XLM)

Fees:

  • 0.04% to 0.50% fee for placing an order at the market price
  • Flat fee for transactions under $200 or a percentage of the transaction (whichever is greater)
  • Most standard buy transaction fees are 1.49%, and credit card buys are 3.99%.
  • Deposits are free via ACH transfer, but otherwise, users pay $10 per transaction.

Supported countries: Coinbase Pro offers services in more than 100 countries. See the website for a complete listing.

Average customer rating on G2.com: 4 out of 5

Kraken

2. Kraken

Overview: Established in 2011, Kraken is headquartered in San Francisco. It claims to be the largest Bitcoin exchange in terms of liquidity and euro volume. Kraken offers an advanced crypto trading platform with over-the-counter and margin trading options.

Previously, Kraken’s unstable platform gave it a bad name. However, the exchange has redeemed itself and updated its services, focusing more on security and customer support. Additionally, its trading fees are very competitive.

Services and features: Kraken offers crypto traders an array of services on its platform, including:

  • Spot and margin trading: For more experienced users
  • OTC services: For high-volume trades (over $100,000). Frequent high-volume traders have access to a dedicated account manager to make trades for them.
  • Staking services: Crypto investors can earn a return on crypto assets that would normally be held and unused by other investors.

Accepted currencies and payment methods: Kraken currently accepts the following fiat currencies: U.S. dollars (USD), euros (EUR), Canadian dollars (CAD), Australian dollars (AUD), British pounds (GBP), Swiss francs (CHF) and Japanese yen (JPY).

Number of coins available for trade: Approximately 40, including Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), Ripple (XRP), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Chainlink (LINK) and Curve (CRV)

Fees: Among all the major Bitcoin exchanges, Kraken has some of the lowest fees. Your fees depend on your last 30 days’ trading volume and are generally based on a maker-taker basis. If you’re a maker and add limit orders to the exchange, you pay a lower fee than takers who fulfill existing orders.

Here are the details on some of the fees you might encounter:

  • Spot trading fees range from 0% to 0.26%.
  • Stablecoin trading fees range from 0% to 0.2%.

Supported countries: Currently, Kraken is available worldwide except in Afghanistan, Congo, Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Syria and Tajikistan.

U.S. traders, except for residents of New York and Washington state, can participate on Kraken’s exchange.

Average customer rating on G2.com: 4.5 out of 5

3. Binance.US

Overview: The word Binance is a mashup of the words binary and finance. Launched by Binance, the spinoff Binance.US is one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges. Under full U.S. regulatory compliance, Binance.US offers customers in all but seven states the same crypto trading services loved by traders worldwide.

Services and features: Binance.US has quickly become an excellent trading platform for U.S residents because of the following features:

  • High liquidity
  • Attention to innovation and user security
  • Better customer service than its predecessor, Binance

Accepted currencies and payment methods: Binance.US accepts USD only.

Number of coins available for trade: Binance.US has more than 30 different cryptocurrencies on its platform, including Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), Ripple (XRP), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Binance Coin (BNB) and Tether (USDT).

Fees:

  • Spot trading fee of 0.1%
  • Instant Buy/Sell fee of 0.5%
  • Trading fees depend on your trading volume over the past 30 days and your daily Binance Coin balance.

Supported countries: Binance.US is open to users in the United States only, with the exception of residents of Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Louisiana, New York, Texas and Vermont.

Average customer rating on G2.com: N/A

Bittrex

4. Bittrex

Overview: Bittrex is a U.S.-based exchange founded in 2013 and headquartered in Seattle. In recent years, its popularity has grown among U.S. crypto investors because of its emphasis on the security of its users. Speed and stability keep users satisfied, and the exchange has so far never been hacked.

Bittrex offers a suite of updated features, including an improved user experience, lower fees and a new referral program. Other benefits of trading crypto on Bittrex include:

  • Effective and reliable technologies
  • Elastic, multistage wallet strategy (80% to 90% fund safety)
  • Quick-loading trading interface with no hanging or lagging
  • Automated trading features (stop loss, instant buy or sell)

Although Bittrex recently updated its exchange, it offers minimal customer support and has no option for margin trading. Additionally, user accounts can be suspended without prior notice.

Services and features: Bittrex offers a number of convenient services to its cryptocurrency traders, including:

  • Bittrex Credits promotions: Bittrex Credits are airdropped to recipients within 72 hours of a qualifying event.
  • Mobile app: Available on iOS and Android
  • Robust order types: Market orders, stop limit, ladder limit and limit
  • Personalized trading: Several layout options and themes help make your trading experience unique.

Accepted currencies and payment methods: Identity-verified users within and outside of the U.S. are eligible for USD trading, withdrawals and deposits on Bittrex. See the website for a list of states.

Number of coins available for trade: More than 400 altcoins are available for trading against USD, Bitcoin, Ethereum and stablecoins like Tether (USDT).

Fees:

  • Compared to the industry average, Bittrex’s trading fees are a bit higher.
  • A 0.25% flat commission fee is applied to all trades.
  • No rebates for higher-volume trades
  • No incentives for takers and makers

Supported countries: Currently, Bittrex is available worldwide except in North Korea, Iran, Syria, Crimea and Cuba.

Average customer rating on G2.com: 4 out of 5

Good To Know

Many people worldwide see cryptocurrencies as the future of money. Early adopters of crypto are also adopting major financial technological innovations such as blockchain. If you’re a new cryptocurrency investor, you too could be positioning yourself to get ahead of the crypto curve.

GOBankingRates’ Crypto Guides

Data is accurate as of April 13, 2021, and is subject to change.

Our in-house research team and on-site financial experts work together to create content that’s accurate, impartial, and up to date. We fact-check every single statistic, quote and fact using trusted primary resources to make sure the information we provide is correct. You can learn more about GOBankingRates’ processes and standards in our editorial policy.

About the Author

Kathy Evans is a personal finance freelance writer and entrepreneur with a technical writing and instructional systems design background. She holds an MS in technical writing and informational design and is currently a doctoral student in instructional technology at Towson University. Through work experience in the federal government as well as commercial and nonprofit industries, she has focused her freelance writing on finance, investing and economic content with a specialization in budget coaching.  

4 Best Places To Buy and Sell Cryptocurrency
Close popup Live Richer Newsletter

We're here to help you Live Richer.

Sign up to receive our daily weekday newsletter with the latest finance and lifestyle content.

Loading...
Please enter an email.
Please enter a valid email address.
There was an unknown error. Please try again later.

For our full Privacy Policy, click here.