Best Crypto Exchanges
A curated list of the best crypto & Bitcoin exchanges in 2021. Buy & trade Bitcoin & other cryptocurrencies safely & with low fees on trustworthy exchanges.
Hundreds of Bitcoin exchanges exist in 2021, but which ones are best? That's what we've set out to answer in this comprehensive guide.
Trying to decide which exchange is right for you can be a slow and confusing process. And making the wrong choice could be costly.
To simplify and speed up this process, we've conducted countless hours of research and testing to come up with a list of our top 5 absolute favorites. We provide detailed reviews of each exchange explaining why we picked them.
Whether you're a complete newbie or a seasoned crypto trader, we've got you covered. Buying, selling, trading, and using Bitcoin is much simpler when you know which exchanges are safe and reliable.
Quick Summary of our Top 3 Bitcoin Exchanges
If you're pressed for time, here are our top three Bitcoin exchanges in 2021.
You can't go wrong with any of these; they're all trusted, well-established exchanges. They allow you to buy and sell Bitcoin easily using fiat, debit cards, or crypto. Each has a decent number of markets to trade and wallets for storage.
These Bitcoin exchanges have robust security features in place, so you can feel safe using them. They're also user-friendly, making them great for beginners while still offering sophisticated services that'll satisfy advanced users. In summary, these exchanges meet or exceed all of the key criteria we laid out earlier.
How Did We Decide?
We used five key criteria to assess each Bitcoin exchange, along with our own common sense and judgment. Starting with a huge list of exchanges, we gradually whittled them down to our five favorites. The criteria we used are:
- Fees: How much does it cost to buy, sell, and trade Bitcoin and other cryptos?
- Services: How many markets can you trade? What other services does it offer?
- Safety: How secure are users' funds? What security features does it have?
- Availability: Which countries can use it? How easily can you fund and withdraw from your account?
- Usability: How user-friendly is the exchange?
Top 5 Crypto Exchanges - An In-Depth Look
Now let's take an in-depth look at all 5 of our top exchanges.
Binance is the world's largest Bitcoin exchange and our top pick. Its daily trading volume easily exceeds that of any other exchange, showing how popular and dominant it is. The stats speak for themself, and there are plenty of good reasons why so many crypto users have flocked here.
In the past, Binance was considered an "altcoin exchange" due to its lack of fiat currency support. But that's no longer the case, with Binance now providing fiat ‘on and off ramps' for users all over the world.
So, why is Binance such a good Bitcoin exchange? Let's dive a little deeper into the details:
Binance's spot market maker/taker fees start at 0.1% per trade, making it one of the cheapest exchanges. If you pay the fees using Binance's native token, BNB, then you'll get a 25% discount. Further discounts are also available if you hold more than 50 BNB or exceed 50 BTC per month in trading volume. For Binance futures, the maker fee is 0.02%, and the taker is 0.04%, with a 10% discount if you pay with BNB. Overall, Binance is an excellent choice if you're looking for an exchange with low fees.
Binance has a whopping 1000+ markets and 300+ coins to trade. It offers a growing list of services including, spot trading, margin trading, futures, options, leveraged tokens, mining pools, IEO's, loans, P2P trading, and more. Binance is an ecosystem, not just an exchange. If you're looking for variety, Binance has got you covered.
Despite Binance's large variety of services, the platform remains fairly easy to use and is well designed. Binance offers Convert (simple to use), Classic (intermediate), and Advanced trading interfaces to meet any skill level. Binance also has an excellent mobile app and a desktop trading platform. While Binance is not the simplest exchange to use on this list, it still performs very well in this category.
Binance has a Secure Asset Fund, which covers users in the event of a security breach. Binance allocates 10% of its trading fees to this fund. The exchange was hacked once in 2019, but it quickly reimbursed all impacted users. Binance now utilizes the latest technology, such as AI, to secure its platform. Users are encouraged to use the security features it provides, such as 2FA, device authorization, and withdrawal whitelists. Overall, your funds should be SAFU with Binance.
Binance.com is available in most countries worldwide, but not in the USA (they must use Binance.US). Users can deposit fiat currencies directly into their accounts or buy Bitcoin and other cryptos using a debit card if they prefer. Binance currently supports 46 fiat currencies, including GBP, EUR, and AUD. Many of these fiat currencies are supported in its P2P trading service.
US residents have to use Binance.US, which is a separate exchange; they cannot use Binance.com. The US exchange has a similar interface to Binance.com and trading fees, but it does offer fewer services and coins/markets to trade. Overall, it's still a great option for those in the US.
Coinbase has been around since the early days of crypto, establishing itself as a highly secure and trustworthy exchange. If safety is your top priority, then Coinbase is definitely worth considering. Coinbase boasts 43 million verified users, and it is set to become a publicly-traded company worth tens of billions of dollars very soon.
A Coinbase account gives you access to both Coinbase and Coinbase Pro, so we'll cover both platforms in this review. The exchange claims to be the most trusted cryptocurrency platform, and there are many reasons why that is probably true. Let's take a closer look at the details.
Coinbase's trading fee starts at 0.5% per trade, meaning it's one of the most expensive exchanges on this list. Discounts are available if your USD trading volume exceeds $10k over a trailing 30-day period. If you want to buy Bitcoin using a debit card, the fee is 3.99%. Many of its fiat currency deposit and withdrawal options are free.
There are 120+ markets and 40+ coins available to trade on Coinbase. Coinbase no longer offers margin trading due to regulations. Coinbase also has a feature called Earn, which allows users to learn about crypto and earn rewards for doing so, which is an excellent feature, especially for beginners.
Coinbase is an easy-to-use Bitcoin exchange that is excellent for newcomers. Both Coinbase and Coinbase Pro have nice mobile apps and browser-based platforms available. Creating a Coinbase account is very simple and only takes a few minutes. Coinbase has to be one of the most user-friendly places to buy, sell, and store Bitcoin and other digital assets. Coinbase Pro provides users a more advanced trading platform with professional charts and order books.
This category is where Coinbase shines most. Coinbase stores 98% of customer funds in offline cold storage, ensuring they are secure from theft. Coinbase can proudly say that it has never been hacked, showing how secure its systems are. Any funds that are kept online on its servers are covered by insurance, meaning if anything ever went wrong, users should be protected. Coinbase's track record and security practices mean it's one of the safest Bitcoin exchanges on this list.
Coinbase is available in more than 100 countries. There are various payment methods available for users, including bank transfers, PayPal, and credit/debit cards to deposit and withdraw fiat. However, these payment methods are not available for all countries, so some users will only be able to deposit and withdraw crypto. Coinbase supports three fiat currencies for trading and storage on its platform: USD, EUR, and GBP.
Kraken is one of the oldest Bitcoin exchanges and is based in San Francisco, US. As one of the most popular exchanges, Kraken is known for its excellent customer support, user-friendliness, good liquidity, robust security, and reasonable fees.
Kraken is available worldwide, supports seven fiat currencies, and has hundreds of tradable markets. It's a great all-rounder, which is why it appeals to so many. Here's how Kraken performs on the key metrics.
Kraken's maker fee starts at 0.16% per trade, and the taker fee is 0.26%. This makes Kraken much cheaper than Coinbase but a bit more expensive than Binance. If your 30-day trading volume exceeds $50,000, then you'll qualify for trading fee discounts. The maker fee for Kraken Futures is 0.02% of the order value, and the taker fee is 0.05%.
There are 250+ markets and 60+ coins available to trade on Kraken. The exchange offers a good range of different services, including margin trading with 5x leverage, futures trading, OTC, indices, and staking. Kraken also provides some of the best customer support on this list, with 24/7 live chat support. Kraken's services should be enough to satisfy most types of users.
Creating an account on Kraken is quick and straightforward. The exchange has a user-friendly browser-based platform and a mobile app called Kraken Pro so that you can trade on the go. Kraken also owns Cryptowatch, an advanced trading terminal offering professional charts, indicators, and other trading tools. You can manage multiple exchange accounts from Cryptowatch, which is a nice touch.
Kraken keeps 95% of deposits in offline, geographically distributed cold storage. Its servers are under 24/7 surveillance by CCTV and armed guards to ensure the highest security. Kraken also has a team of top security professionals, and it encrypts sensitive information to ensure client privacy. It provides 2FA, SSL encryption, and many other security features for users to secure their accounts. Kraken does an excellent job on security.
Kraken Supports seven fiat currencies, including USD, GBP, AUD CAD, JPY, and EUR. There are many funding options for deposits and withdrawals from your account; most are free or have minimal fees. Kraken is available worldwide, including for US residents (except New York & Washington State). Kraken does very well in this category.
FTX is a leading crypto derivatives exchange that offers some innovative products. Its founders are also founded Alameda Research, a professional quantitative trading firm that manages $100m in digital assets. FTX is very much an exchange built by traders for traders.
Binance made a strategic investment of "tens of millions of dollars" in FTX back in 2019. Binance was impressed by FTX's innovation and rapid growth. FTX must be a top consideration for any serious traders.
FTX charges a 0.07% taker fee and a 0.02% maker fee for futures and spot trading, making it the cheapest exchange on this list. Further still, you can get discounts on trading fees if you hold the exchange's native token, FTT. Crypto withdrawals and deposits are free if the withdrawal amount doesn't exceed the user's trading volume.
FTX has 340+ tradable markets and hosts regular trading competitions. It offers spot trading, futures, leveraged tokens, BTC options, volatility products, tokenized stocks, and more. Some of its most unique offerings include the Shitcoin Index, which tracks a basket of the lowest cap coins, and TRUMP2024, which allows traders to speculate on whether Trump will win the 2024 election. FTX also has a Quant Zone for creating automated trading strategies. This exchange offers an excellent and unique range of products, which will appeal to many traders.
While FTX caters to professional traders, this exchange remains intuitive enough for beginners to use. The FTX trading terminal integrates TradingView, which is the world's most popular financial charting platform. This means you can fully customize charts with indicators and other tools on FTX. You can easily set take profit and stop loss areas when placing trades. They also have an excellent mobile app so that you can trade from anywhere.
FTX has an insurance fund worth more than $20 million to cover users if its security is ever compromised. They've never had to use the fund yet, which is a great sign. FTX works with Chainalysis, a leading anti-money laundering solution provider, to monitor any suspicious crypto transactions. Users can utilize 2FA, IP whitelists, wallet address whitelists, and other features to secure their accounts. Overall, FTX does very well on security.
FTX is available worldwide, except in the US and a few other countries. The exchange supports 11 fiat currencies, but it's worth noting that there is a $75 fee for fiat withdrawals under $10,000. So, it's better to use crypto if you're withdrawing smaller amounts to avoid the fiat fees. However, fiat deposits are free; you can use debit cards or wire transfers.
Bybit is one of the most popular crypto derivatives exchanges, with more than 1.2 million users from 200+ countries. Bybit is known for its excellent liquidity, fast order execution, and platform speed. This fast-growing exchange now has 300+ employees; its founding team consists of foreign exchange, investment banking, and blockchain professionals.
Bybit claims to be the exchange that "never goes down" and has 99.9% uptime. Some Bitcoin exchanges have been known to crash at times of high traffic and volatility, so Bybit's reliability will be appealing to many. Bybit is a top exchange for serious traders; it hosts the World Series of Trading (WSOT) twice per year, which is the biggest global crypto trading competition.
On Bybit, the maker fee is -0.025% which means users will get a rebate on limit orders that do not fill immediately. That's because Bybit wants to incentivize users to provide liquidity to the order books. The taker fee is 0.075%, which applies when you use market orders or limit orders that fill immediately.
Bybit only has ten tradable markets, which is the least on this list. This includes four Coin Margined and six USDT Margined perpetual futures markets. Bybit focuses on quality over quantity, providing significant market depth, an ultra-fast matching engine, and a state-of-the-art pricing system. Users can easily set their take profit and stop loss areas and adjust existing orders. Bybit also provides 24/7 multilingual live chat support, and it has a chat room for meeting other traders.
Bybit offers an advanced but user-friendly platform and a good mobile app. It also boasts 99.9% system functionality, which means there is never any server downtime, so you're always able to trade. You can also set trading alerts that notify you when a cryptocurrency's price reaches a certain level, so you'll never miss a trading opportunity.
Account security features for users include 2FA and wallet address whitelists. Bybit keeps 100% of its clients funds in its multi-signature cold wallet to guarantee security. It hires top security professionals for penetration testing and runs bounty programs to identify potential vulnerabilities.
Bybit is available worldwide, except in the US, Singapore, and a few other countries. Users can deposit and withdraw only five cryptos, BTC, ETH, EOS, XRP, USDT. There is no fee for deposits, but there are small fees for withdrawals. You cannot deposit or withdraw fiat currencies, but you can buy BTC, ETH, or USDT using 20+ fiat currencies. Various payment methods like Visa and MasterCard are available, but the fees are relatively high. It's better to buy crypto with fiat on a cheaper exchange like Binance and then send it to your Bybit account.
Final Thoughts on the Best Bitcoin Exchanges
Okay, that should cover all the most important things you need to know about the top 5 Bitcoin and crypto exchanges in 2021! While there are plenty more exchanges out there, we feel these perform the best overall. Most importantly, they are also safe, secure, and trustworthy.
There should be something for just about everyone on this list. Binance, Coinbase, and Kraken are excellent choices for most, especially beginners; they provide low-cost fiat gateways, user-friendly platforms, and a good range of crypto services. Bybit and FTX, on the other hand, offer some advanced features for those looking to get more serious about Bitcoin and crypto trading.