As cryptocurrencies continue to disrupt the financial landscape, more people are venturing into the exciting world of digital assets. Considering a myriad of options, from Bitcoin to Ethereum, Ripple to Litecoin, it’s no surprise that a robust infrastructure has emerged to facilitate purchases, sales, and trading of these assets. One such component of this infrastructure is a crypto exchange.
As a crypto user myself, I know how important it is to find the perfect cryptocurrency exchange. After all, for many of us, it will become our primary window to the crypto market. In this article, I will talk about the best crypto exchanges in the USA and take a look at some of the factors one should consider when choosing an exchange.
Table of Contents
What Is a Crypto Exchange?
A cryptocurrency exchange, or crypto exchange, is a platform that allows users to trade crypto assets like BTC or ETH for other digital currencies or traditional fiat currencies like USD, EUR, or GBP. Much like a stock exchange, a crypto exchange operates as a marketplace for buyers and sellers. However, instead of trading stocks or commodities, users trade digital currencies. These platforms are integral to the world of cryptocurrencies, providing the infrastructure necessary for users to interact with the blockchain and carry out transactions with their crypto assets.
Types of Cryptocurrency Exchanges
Crypto exchanges typically fall into two primary categories — that is, centralized and decentralized ones.
Centralized Exchanges (CEXs)
Centralized exchanges are operated by a central authority or a company, much like traditional financial institutions. Users deposit their assets directly into the exchange’s wallet, and trades are facilitated by the exchange itself. Centralized exchanges usually offer a wide range of crypto assets and trading pairs, high liquidity, and easy-to-use interfaces, making them popular among crypto traders. Examples include Coinbase, Binance, and Kraken.
Decentralized Exchanges (DEXs)
In contrast to their centralized counterparts, decentralized exchanges operate without a central authority. They use blockchain technology to facilitate peer-to-peer transactions directly from user wallets. DEXs offer increased privacy and control over one’s assets, with trades being executed via smart contracts on the blockchain. Examples of decentralized exchanges include Uniswap and SushiSwap.
What to Look For in a Crypto Exchange
Choosing the right crypto exchange can significantly enhance your crypto trading experience. Here are some factors to consider:
- Security. Security is paramount in the crypto space. Look for exchanges that employ robust security features, such as two-factor authentication (2FA), withdrawal whitelists, and cold storage for assets. Cold storage refers to storing crypto assets offline, which makes them inaccessible to hackers.
- Fees. Pay attention to the fee structure. Most exchanges charge trading fees based on the trade volume, and there may also be deposit and withdrawal fees. Some exchanges offer fee discounts for using their native tokens.
- Supported Assets. Ensure the exchange supports the cryptocurrencies you wish to trade. While some exchanges list a wide range of crypto assets, others may only work with a few.
- Fiat Options. If you plan on buying crypto with fiat currencies, you’ll need an exchange that supports this option. Some exchanges allow users to purchase cryptocurrencies directly with a debit card or bank transfer.
- User Experience. The platform should be user-friendly, with a clean interface and easy-to-use features. Many exchanges also offer mobile apps for trading on the go.
- Customer Support. Look for exchanges with responsive and helpful customer support. This can be invaluable, especially if you encounter any issues or need help navigating the platform.
- Trading volumes and liquidity. Exchanges with high liquidity can fill orders quickly and at the best prices, making them ideal for traders.
- Wallet Services. Some exchanges offer integrated wallets for storing your digital assets. However, remember that keeping your assets in an external wallet can be safer.
Top 10 Crypto Exchanges in the USA
Now, let’s explore the best crypto exchanges for American users, no matter the experience level. Please note that these are not arranged in any specific order.
Founded in San Francisco, Coinbase Pro is a digital currency trading platform under Coinbase, a widely respected and renowned cryptocurrency exchange service. Designed with the needs of both novice and advanced traders in mind, Coinbase Pro provides access to a broad spectrum of cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and a host of other digital assets. It delivers an easy-to-navigate trading interface that gives users a clear view of the current market situation.
Coinbase Pro operates on a maker-taker fee structure, where trading fees vary from 0.04% to 0.50%, depending on the user’s 30-day trading volume. While the transaction fees might seem high at first glance, they’re relatively competitive, given the platform’s high liquidity and robust security measures. Coinbase Pro’s popularity within the crypto community is largely due to these factors and its sophisticated trading features, such as advanced order types and real-time order books.
This platform offers its own secure digital wallet for storing crypto assets. However, users who desire more control over their funds often opt for an external, non-custodial wallet. Notably, Coinbase Pro provides mobile applications for both Android and iOS, making trading seamless and accessible, even when you’re on the move. A downside to consider is that the platform’s interface may seem slightly more complicated to complete beginners due to its focus on advanced trading features.
Kraken is one of the longest-standing and most recognized crypto platforms in the world. Based in the US, Kraken offers an extensive array of digital currencies, including major ones like Bitcoin and Ethereum, along with various altcoins. After its foundation in 2011, Kraken has built its reputation on its high-level security protocols, comprehensive features, and commitment to regulatory compliance.
Kraken’s fee structure is volume-based, with trading fees ranging from 0.00% to 0.26%, which can be beneficial to high-volume traders. Its state-of-the-art features, such as futures and margin trading, detailed charting, and spot trading, cater predominantly to experienced traders, while its user-friendly platform is also suitable for crypto newcomers. Comprehensive customer support and extensive educational resources further elevate the user experience.
The exchange provides a digital wallet for the secure storage of crypto assets, supports funding through debit and credit cards, and offers round-the-clock customer service. Despite its broad appeal, beginners might find Kraken’s range of advanced trading options slightly overwhelming at first.
Gemini is a fully regulated US-based cryptocurrency exchange that was founded by the Winklevoss twins. It offers a robust selection of cryptocurrencies, encompassing Bitcoin, Ethereum, and a variety of other altcoins. Its strict regulatory compliance has attracted a large user base, particularly among those prioritizing security and regulatory oversight.
Gemini operates on a tiered fee schedule, where transaction fees start at 0.35% for high-volume traders. This relatively high fee structure is offset by the exchange’s robust security measures, clean, intuitive interface, and seamless user experience. Gemini is praised for its clear and straightforward navigation, making it an excellent choice for newcomers to the crypto space.
The platform facilitates the purchase of cryptocurrencies via debit cards and wire transfers and provides a mobile app available on both iOS and Android. Apart from having access to Gemini’s secure hot wallet, customers can use the platform’s offline cold storage option. Its comprehensive customer service and strong commitment to user security make it an appealing choice. However, Gemini’s high fees for smaller transactions might deter some users.
Established in 2013 by three cybersecurity engineers, Bittrex is a US-based cryptocurrency exchange known for its extensive selection of cryptocurrencies. The platform supports a vast array of digital currencies, including major ones like Bitcoin and Ethereum, as well as numerous smaller altcoins. Bittrex prides itself on its commitment to security, utilizing an elastic, multi-stage wallet strategy that keeps 80–90% of funds safely offline.
Bittrex enforces a flat trading fee of 0.35%, which, while competitively low, can be higher than that of other exchanges for high-volume traders. Nevertheless, the platform’s ease of use and intuitive interface make it suitable for both beginners and experienced traders. Its comprehensive and easily accessible data on coins and trading help users make informed decisions.
Bittrex allows funding via debit card and wire transfer. It also enforces mandatory two-factor authentication, further securing user accounts. Despite its enticing offerings, it’s important to note that Bittrex doesn’t currently support margin trading, which could be a potential downside for advanced traders seeking to leverage their positions.
eToro is a social trading platform based in Israel and founded in 2007. It is renowned for allowing users to trade not only cryptocurrencies but also stocks, commodities, and other financial assets. eToro currently supports a selection of popular cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin and Ethereum.
Trading fees on eToro come in the form of spreads, which start from 0.75% for Bitcoin. This spread can be somewhat higher than the fees charged by some other exchanges, so it’s worth bearing in mind. However, one of eToro’s most unique and enticing features is its social trading system. This innovative feature allows users, particularly beginners, to follow and replicate the trades of experienced investors, making it a great learning tool.
The platform accepts various payment methods, including debit cards, credit cards, and wire transfers, and also has a functional and user-friendly mobile app. Despite its broad appeal, eToro requires a minimum deposit of $200, which might be high for those just starting out. Moreover, while eToro’s user-friendly interface is ideal for beginners, it might lack the depth of features sought by more advanced traders.
Established in 2012 and headquartered in Hong Kong, Bitfinex is one of the largest and most advanced cryptocurrency exchanges globally. The platform supports a vast array of cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, and many altcoins. Bitfinex is known for its advanced trading features and high liquidity, making it an appealing choice for experienced traders.
Bitfinex has a tiered fee structure, with trading fees ranging from 0.1% for the maker to 0.2% for the taker. The platform offers advanced trading options, including spot trading, margin trading, and a variety of order types. Bitfinex also provides an over-the-counter (OTC) market for larger trades.
The exchange provides a digital wallet for the secure storage of cryptocurrencies and accepts deposits in both fiat currency and digital assets. However, it’s important to note that Bitfinex experienced significant security breaches in the past. While they have significantly enhanced their security measures since then, potential users should be mindful of this history.
Binance.US is the American division of Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume. It offers a broad selection of digital assets, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, and numerous altcoins. Binance.US is popular because of its low fees, high liquidity, and extensive range of cryptocurrencies.
The trading fees on Binance.US are competitively low, starting at 0.1% per trade. Users can reduce these fees by paying with Binance’s native token (BNB) or reaching higher trading volumes. The platform is quite user-friendly, offering basic and advanced interfaces to cater to traders of all levels.
Binance.US supports deposits and withdrawals via bank transfer, debit card, and digital assets. The platform also offers a multi-tiered security system, including two-factor authentication and a withdrawal whitelist for added security. However, it is not available in every state in the US due to local regulations, which may limit its use for some American traders.
Coinmama, founded in 2013, is a cryptocurrency broker that specializes in buying and selling cryptocurrencies with credit or debit cards. The platform supports a variety of cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, and a range of altcoins.
The trading fees at Coinmama are quite high compared to other exchanges, with a standard transaction fee of 5.9% plus an additional 5% fee for credit card purchases. However, Coinmama stands out thanks to its convenience, excellent customer service, and speedy transaction times. The platform’s intuitive interface and straightforward buying process make it an excellent choice for beginners.
Coinmama is available in most US states and supports USD for purchases. However, the platform does not provide a built-in wallet, meaning users need to have an external wallet address for transactions.
CEX.IO is a UK-based cryptocurrency exchange that offers a range of services for using cryptocurrencies and investing in them. The platform was established in 2013; it supports a variety of digital assets, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, and several altcoins.
CEX.IO offers a competitive fee structure, with a maximum trading fee of 0.25% and lower rates for higher-volume traders. The platform provides a variety of services, including spot trading, margin trading, and a brokerage service for less experienced traders who prefer a more straightforward buying process.
CEX.IO supports deposits and withdrawals via credit card, debit card, bank transfer, and crypto. The platform also provides a mobile app for iOS and Android, allowing users to trade on the go. However, users have reported slow customer service response times, which could be a potential downside for some.
Founded in 2011, Bitstamp is one of the oldest cryptocurrency exchanges. It supports a range of digital assets, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, XRP, Litecoin, and several other cryptocurrencies. Bitstamp is popular among both beginners and experienced traders thanks to its easy-to-use interface and advanced trading features.
Bitstamp operates on a volume-based fee system: fees range from 0.50% for low-volume traders to 0.10% for high-volume traders. The platform provides various trading options, including spot trading and margin trading.
Bitstamp accepts deposits and withdrawals in both fiat currencies and cryptocurrencies, supporting payments via credit card, debit card, and bank transfer. The platform also provides a secure digital wallet for storing your assets. Nonetheless, some users have reported that the platform’s customer service can be slow to respond, which some customers may regard as a disadvantage.
What is the best crypto exchange USA?
The title of “best” crypto exchange in the USA can vary depending on your priorities. Coinbase Pro is an excellent choice for beginners and experienced traders alike. It’s renowned as a global leader among crypto exchanges, providing a variety of crypto coins for trade. Its intuitive interface, sophisticated trading tools, and competitive crypto exchange fees make it a preferred choice for many. For the active trader who values a wide range of cryptocurrencies and advanced trading platforms, Binance.US could be a top contender.
Which US banks are most crypto-friendly?
When it comes to crypto-friendly US banks, a few stand out due to their forward-thinking policies. Silvergate Bank has established a reputation as a go-to for institutional traders and global crypto exchanges, offering crypto-focused financial solutions. Another is Simple Bank, which has fully integrated with most major exchanges. It also permits users to buy and sell cryptocurrencies directly from their bank accounts. Ally Bank is another crypto-friendly institution offering a seamless experience for their customers who trade on crypto exchange platforms.
What is the least safe place to keep your cryptocurrency?
While cryptocurrencies offer unique security advantages, they’re not immune to risks. Online exchanges or wallets on devices connected to the internet are probably the least safe place for storing your cryptocurrency. These are known as hot wallets, and they can be vulnerable to hacks. Even major exchanges have fallen victim to security breaches. For maximum security, consider using a cold wallet — a type of crypto wallet stored offline — that is less susceptible to online threats.
What is the best crypto wallet?
Selecting the “best” crypto wallet largely depends on your individual needs as a crypto investor. If security is your top concern, then hardware wallets like Ledger or Trezor offer robust protection by storing your crypto offline. They support a wide range of cryptocurrencies and provide you with control over your private keys. To those who prefer convenience and easy access, Trust Wallet and MetaMask appeal with user-friendly interfaces. Besides, they are ideal for interacting with a decentralized exchange.
Is Binance better than Coinbase?
Binance and Coinbase are two of the leading trading platforms, each with its own strengths. Binance offers a wider range of cryptocurrencies and more advanced trading features, making it a popular choice for experienced traders. It also typically has lower fees than Coinbase.
On the other hand, Coinbase’s interface is more user-friendly, which has made it a top choice for beginners. Its integration with the U.S. financial system, allowing for direct bank account links and debit card purchases, adds to its appeal for many American users. It’s essential to consider your own trading needs, payment options, and desired level of customer support when choosing between these two platforms.
Disclaimer: Please note that the contents of this article are not financial or investing advice. The information provided in this article is the author’s opinion only and should not be considered as offering trading or investing recommendations. We do not make any warranties about the completeness, reliability and accuracy of this information. The cryptocurrency market suffers from high volatility and occasional arbitrary movements. Any investor, trader, or regular crypto users should research multiple viewpoints and be familiar with all local regulations before committing to an investment.