. 55 min read

10 Best Crypto Exchanges for Beginners in 2023 – Compare Crypto Trading Platforms

best crypto exchanges for beginners

If you’re new to crypto trading or even if you have a few trades under your belt, finding the best crypto exchanges can be challenging. Some people want to keep it simple, while others want all the bells, whistles, charts, and indicators.

Fortunately, there’s a crypto platform out there for nearly any trading and investing style. In this guide, we’ll compare the best crypto exchanges, detailing the pros, cons, and standout features of each so you can choose which one fits your needs. Ultimately, you might even choose multiple platforms, using different platforms for specific trades or investments.

Our Top Picks: The Best Crypto Exchanges

There are hundreds of cryptocurrency platforms available today, ranging from platforms for basic crypto purchases to full-featured exchanges. Collectively, we’ve used many of them, making real-world trades and clicking buttons to see how each one really works. Here are our top picks for the best crypto exchanges.

  1. eToro – Best crypto exchange in 2023 with copy trading features, low market spreads, and a user-friendly Money crypto wallet
  2. Coinbase – Publicly traded crypto exchange with over 250 cryptos, advanced trading, and staking
  3. Kraken – Security-focused crypto exchange with proof-of-reserves, 200+ cryptos, and low fees
  4. Binance – Full-featured exchange with 350+ cryptocurrencies, low fees, and trading bots
  5. OKX – Lowest-cost exchange with copy trading, trading bots, and 350+ cryptocurrencies
  6. Nexo – Easy-to-use crypto platform with 60+ cryptos, crypto lending, and crypto loans
  7. Strike – Bitcoin-focused app with no trading fees and easy dollar-cost-averaging
  8. Bitstamp – Beginner-friendly crypto platform with 80+ cryptos and no fees for low-volume traders
  9. Gemini – Well-Regulated Exchange with Perpetual Futures and Low Fees
  10. Crypto.com – Low-Cost Exchange With 250+ Cryptocurrencies and Crypto Rewards Cards

The Top Crypto Exchanges Reviewed

We compared the best crypto exchanges, including features, pros and cons, and trading fees.

1. eToro – Overall Best Cryptocurrency Exchange for Beginners 

Started in 2007 as a trading platform focused on transparency and ease of use, eToro initially offered forex trading, letting users trade currencies easily. Over time, the platform added stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and then added cryptocurrency trading in 2017.

What started as a Bitcoin-only offering has grown to over 80 cryptocurrencies available for trading, including popular choices like Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Dogecoin (DOGE), and Shiba Inu (SHIBxM).

etoro's crypto selection

eToro’s approach to trading makes it one of the best crypto exchanges for beginners, although experienced traders will also feel at home due in part to eToro’s advanced TradingView charts with up to 100 market indicators. On both mobile and desktop, the interface is bright, inviting, and easy to navigate. A simple search box at the top of the screen helps you discover new assets to trade, news stories, and posts from other traders, which leads to one of eToro’s strongest selling points: eToro Social Trading.

You can follow posts from other investors (or share your own thoughts), but eToro also lets you copy the trades of other traders using their intuitively named Copy Trading. In the US, copy trading is currently limited to crypto trades (and cryptos supported in the US). Elsewhere in the world, you can copy trades for crypto, stocks, ETFs, and even commodities.

Just find a trader that interests you, and check their trading history — including long-term performance, risk level, and percentage of profitable weeks — and then click “copy.” You choose the investment amount for each copy trade, and you can also set a “stop loss” by choosing a level to exit the trade if the market turns south. etoro copytrading

eToro also offers a demo account called a Virtual Portfolio. Every account gets $100,000 in virtual funds with which to test trading strategies or just learn the ropes of trading crypto on eToro. It’s a risk-free way to learn, and very few competing exchanges offer the feature.

eToro Trading Fees

eToro uses a flat 1% trading fee for cryptocurrencies. Here’s how it works. For a $100 BTC purchase, you’ll pay $1 in trading fees. You’ll also pay 1% when you sell, which may be higher or lower than $1 based on the value when you close the position. For standard orders, you’ll buy at the ask price (and sell at the bid price), so you also pay a spread.

We’ll cover bids, asks, and spreads in more detail later in the guide. eToro’s 1% crypto trading fee is easy to understand and makes trading costs predictable, a welcome approach compared to many popular exchanges. Coinbase, for example, uses two different fee schedules, and both have several levels.

Tradable Coins

eToro offers over 80 cryptocurrencies, including:

  • Bitcoin (BTC)
  • Ethereum (ETH)
  • Shiba Inu (SHIBxM – SHIB in millions)
  • Cardano (ADA)
  • Dogecoin (DOGE)
  • Ripple (XRP)
  • Litecoin (LTC)
  • Bitcoin Cash (BCH)

eToro Pros and Cons


  • Newbie-friendly interface
  • Copy trading: copy the trades of successful investors
  • Smart portfolios: Choose from ETF-style targeted investments
  • PayPal support


  • Limited support for crypto storage in eToro Money wallet
  • Can’t move crypto onto the platform
  • $5 withdrawal fee

eToro Overview

Number of cryptos 80+
Trading fees 1% + spread
Fees to buy $100 worth of Bitcoin $1
Proprietary wallet Yes
Top features
  • Copy trading
  • Smart portfolios
  • TradingView charts w/ 100 indicators
  • $100,000 demo account
Regulation and Licenses
  • UK: Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
  • Europe: Cyprus Securities Exchange Commission (CySEC)
  • Australia: Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC)
  • USA: Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)


2. Coinbase – Best Publicly Traded Crypto Exchange 

Coinbase dates back to 2012 and the exchange is currently the largest publicly traded exchange worldwide. Being a publicly traded company brings more transparency for users because Coinbase discloses its SEC statements and financial statements to comply with regulatory requirements. Following the collapse of FTX in 2022, transparency has become more important than ever.

You’ll find over 250 cryptocurrencies available for trading on Coinbase, ranging from top assets like BTC and ETH to newly launched tokens. Like eToro, Coinbase is known for its user-friendly interface. However, Coinbase uses two trading platforms  — simple and advanced — which can add some complexity for newer traders. coinbase exchange trade crypto

There’s also a third trading option called Coinbase One. With a $30 monthly subscription, traders can trade with no additional fees. Coinbase reports that subscribers save an average of $55 per month with Coinbase One. Most new traders will gravitate toward Coinbase’s simple trades, which you can access through conveniently placed Buy & Sell buttons throughout the site. While easy to use, it’s worth noting that simple trades come with higher fees, and Coinbase’s fee structure varies based on the amount of the trade as well as the funding source.

coinbase buy crypto preview

One key advantage of using Coinbase or a similar full-featured crypto exchange like Kraken (up next), is that you can move your crypto off the exchange easily. Many traders prefer to keep larger balances in a crypto wallet they control rather than on the exchange. eToro also supports this for Bitcoin and seven other assets, but many crypto assets can’t be moved off the eToro platform.

Coinbase Trading Fees

Coinbase offers simple trades, as mentioned above, but also provides an advanced trading platform called Coinbase Advanced. You’ll save money by trading on Coinbase Advanced, but expect to invest some time in learning the platform. You’ll find a myriad of buttons, toggles, and settings to trade with precision. Here’s an example of the cost difference between simple trades and Coinbase Advanced. Trading fees for a $100 Bitcoin purchase:

  • Simple trades: $3.84 + 1% spread
  • Coinbase Advanced (market order): $0.80 + market spread (buy at ask price)
  • Coinbase Advanced (limit order): $0.60 (no spread with limit orders)

Coinbase Advanced offers lower fees compared to eToro. However, eToro brings lower trading costs compared to Coinbase’s simple trades.

Tradable Coins

Coinbase offers over 250 cryptocurrencies, including:

  • Bitcoin (BTC)
  • Ethereum (ETH)
  • Shiba Inu (SHIB)
  • Cardano (ADA)
  • Dogecoin (DOGE)
  • Solana (SOL)
  • Litecoin (LTC)
  • Polygon (MATIC)

Coinbase Pros and Cons


  • Learning rewards for passing quizzes
  • Easy-to-use simple trades
  • Reduced fees with advanced trades
  • Easily move crypto to and from Coinbase
  • Interest paid on USDC balances
  • Staking rewards for several assets, including ETH
  • PayPal support


  • High trading fees for simple trades
  • 2.5% PayPal deposit fee
  • Debit cards not supported for Coinbase Advanced

Coinbase Overview

Number of cryptos 250+
Trading fees Variable fees + spread for simple trades; 0.6% maker fees and 0.8% taker fees for Coinbase Advanced, with lower fees available based on volume
Fees to buy $100 worth of Bitcoin $3.84 to buy $100 of Bitcoin using simple trades; $0.60 to buy $100 of Bitcoin with a limit order on Coinbase Advanced
Proprietary wallet Yes
Top features
  • Advanced Trading platform
  • Learning rewards (paid in crypto)
  • Staking rewards, including liquid ETH staking
  • Debit card: spend your crypto or cash and earn crypto rewards
Regulation and Licenses
  • USA: Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC)
  • UK: Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)


3. Kraken – Best for Pro Trading Tools

As one of the oldest crypto exchanges, Kraken has earned a loyal following through transparency combined with low trading fees. Kraken was founded in 2011, just two years after Bitcoin came onto the scene as the first cryptocurrency. Now, this San Francisco-based exchange offers 200+ cryptocurrencies and provides trading services in nearly 200 countries worldwide.

This gives Kraken a wider footprint compared to Coinbase, which operates in just over 100 countries. Transparency has always been paramount with Kraken, and the company was the first to provide proof-of-reserves, which is a blockchain-based method of proving that the company has the crypto it shows for your account. kraken exchange buy bitcoin  

Like Coinbase, Kraken offers both simple trades and advanced trading, with the latter being called Kraken Pro. Despite the Pro moniker, you can use Kraken’s advanced trading platform as a beginner or intermediate trader to enjoy lower fees and access advanced analytics at a glance.

kraken pro trading dashboard

Kraken Trading Fees

Similar to Coinbase, Kraken offers two trading platforms. The simpler of these is called Instant Buy/Sell and brings higher trading costs compared to the advanced platform as well as eToro’s 1% fee. Instant Buy/Sell orders use a variable “display fee,” which you see on your details before you confirm, plus a spread that can vary based on market conditions. Like many simple buy boxes, it can be a pricier way to trade crypto.

The real trading-cost savings come from Kraken Pro, where you’ll pay just 0.26% for market orders and 0.16% for limit orders. This compares well against Coinbase Advanced where you’ll pay 0.8% or 0.6%, respectively. Watch out for higher fees on debit card transactions, however. Here are the fees we saw in sample trades for $100 worth of Bitcoin:

  • Instant Buy/Sell (bank transfer): $1.97
  • Instant Buy/Sell (debit card): $5.42
  • Kraken Pro (limit order): $0.16
  • Kraken Pro (market order): $0.26

Healthy trading volume combined with low fees help make Kraken one of the best bitcoin exchanges and crypto exchanges overall.

Tradable Coins

Kraken offers over 200 cryptocurrencies, including:

  • Bitcoin (BTC)
  • Ethereum (ETH)
  • Ripple (XRP)
  • Cardano (ADA)
  • Dogecoin (DOGE)
  • Solana (SOL)
  • Tron (TRX)
  • Chainlink (LINK)

Kraken Pros and Cons


  • Proof of reserves (per account)
  • Low fees on Kraken Pro
  • 200+ cryptos
  • Available in 190+ countries


  • High trading fees for Instant Buy/Sell trades
  • High debit card fees
  • Debit cards not supported for Kraken Pro

Kraken Overview

Number of cryptos 200+
Trading fees
  • Display fee + spread for Instant Buy/Sell
  • Kraken Pro: 0.16% limit orders, 0.26% market orders
Fees to buy $100 worth of Bitcoin
  • $1.97 for Instant Buy/Sell (bank funding)
  • $0.16 for Kraken Pro limit order
Proprietary wallet No
Top features
  • Advanced Trading platform
  • Technical indicators overview (Pro)
  • Transfer crypto on or off Kraken
  • Futures and leverage trading in select markets
Regulation and Licences
  • USA: Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN)
  • UK: Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
  • Canada: Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre (FINTRAC)


4. Binance – Best for Range of Cryptocurrencies

Binance is the largest crypto exchange worldwide by trading volume, but whether you can use the platform depends on where you live in the world. US residents aren’t able to use the main exchange but can use Binance.US. Currently, Binance.US does not support bank deposits (crypto deposits only), which makes an otherwise easy-to-use exchange less beginner-friendly.

Traders from other areas of the world will find Binance.com offers basic trading with plenty of room to grow into advanced trading, including futures, leveraged trades, crypto loans, and much more. With over 350 cryptocurrencies available for trading, Binance offers one of the largest crypto selections in our roundup, giving you access to staples like BTC and ETH, as well as many lesser-known cryptocurrencies like RDNT or ARB.

binance trading chart BTC pair

You’ll also find more trading on Binance pairs compared to many other exchanges. Above, you’ll see the RDNT/BTC trading pair. Many exchanges don’t offer smaller cryptocurrencies at all and BTC trading pairs are typically limited to very high-volume assets like UDST or ETH. Binance offers more flexibility in trading, but like many other exchanges, much of the functionality revolves around the advanced trading platform rather than the instant buy boxes you’ll see throughout the site.

binance instant buy

To its credit, Binance makes instant buys affordable. You’ll pay the base trading fee of 0.1% plus a 0.5% fee for using the instant buy box. This compares well against Kraken, which charges about 2% for instant buys, and Coinbase, which charges 3.84% for a $100 simple trade. Binance instant buys are also more affordable compared to eToro. However, eToro’s ease of use combined with innovative features like Copy Trading make it a popular choice.

Binance Trading Fees

Binance puts less distance between trading fees for its advanced platform vs its simple trading platform. For Binance Advanced, you’ll pay 0.1% for both limit and market orders. Using instant buys, the simpler trading interface, adds a 0.5% fee to the trade and reduces the number of cryptocurrencies you can trade to just under 100.

Tradable Coins

Binance offers over 350 cryptocurrencies, including:

  • Bitcoin (BTC)
  • Ethereum (ETH)
  • Gala (GALA)
  • dYdX (DYDX)
  • Sui Network (SUI)
  • Chainlink (LINK)

Binance Pros and Cons


  • 350+ cryptocurrencies
  • Low fees for advanced and instant trades
  • Wide range of trading pairs
  • Advanced features including crypto loans and peer-to-peer trades
  • 25% fee discount if paid in BNB


  • Bank deposits not supported in the US
  • High debit card fees
  • Can be overwhelming for new traders

Binance Overview

Number of cryptos 350+
Trading fees
  • Instant buy: 0.6% + spread
  • Advanced Trade: 0.1% maker or taker fees
Fees to buy $100 worth of Bitcoin
  • $0.60 + spread for instant buy
  • $0.10 for advanced trade (+ spread for market buys)
Proprietary wallet Yes
Top features
  • Futures and leverage trading
  • Crypto loans
  • Crypto staking (in select jurisdictions)
  • Advanced trading
  • Trading bots
  • Peer-to-peer trading
Regulation and Licenses
  • France: Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF)
  • Italy: Organismo Agenti e Mediatori (OAM)


5. OKX – Best Crypto Exchange for Low Fees 

OKK offers many of the advanced features you’ll find on Binance but with even lower fees for limit orders. This could make OKX the best Bitcoin exchange if trading fees are your main consideration and you’re comfortable using an advanced trading platform. (OKX offers a demo account perfect for learning.) You’ll pay just 0.08% for limit orders while market orders parallel Binance’s trading fees at 0.1%. Also, like Binance, OKX has over 350 cryptocurrencies available, including BTC, ETH, and a host of newer tokens to discover.

okx bitcoin trading platform

One downside, however, is that OKX is not available in the US or Canada. Instead, traders in (northern) North America — and elsewhere — can use OKcoin, a sister exchange that serves over 190 countries and offers a simple trading interface. Trading fees on OKcoin come in slightly higher at 0.1% for limit orders and 0.2% for market orders, both of which are more affordable than Kraken or Coinbase.

OKcoin buy bitcoin

The main exchange at OKX offers trading bots, which are programmable automated traders that buy and sell according to the rules you define. You’ll also find perpetual futures trading, a way to bet on the future price of a cryptocurrency without buying it, and a demo account so you can practice your trades or tune up your trading bots before you turn them loose in real-world trades.

OKX Pros and Cons


  • 350+ cryptocurrencies
  • Low fees
  • Programmable trading bots
  • Copy trading
  • Demo account
  • Proof of reserves


  • Not available in the US
  • Can be overwhelming for new traders

Tradable Coins

OKX offers over 350 cryptocurrencies, including:

  • Bitcoin (BTC)
  • Ethereum (ETH)
  • Ripple (XRP)
  • Lido Staked Ether (STETH)
  • OKB (OKB)
  • Toncoin (TON)
  • Polygon (MATIC)
  • Polkadot (DOT)

OKX Overview

Number of cryptos 350+
Trading fees
  • 0.08% maker fees, 0.1% taker fees
Fees to buy $100 worth of Bitcoin
  • $0.08 for limit orders
Proprietary wallet Yes
Top features
  • Futures and leverage trading
  • Options trading
  • Advanced trading
  • Trading bots
  • Demo account
Regulation and Licenses
  • N/A


6. Nexo – Popular for Crypto Lending & Loans

Nexo dates back to 2018. Since its launch, the Swiss-based crypto exchange has grown to over 6 million users in over 200 countries worldwide. With 60+ cryptocurrencies available for trading, you’ll find the most popular crypto assets, like BTC and ETH, as well as some that can be more difficult to find, like TRON (TRX)  and XRP. Nexo’s features parallel many of those you’re familiar with from banks.

In many regions (but not in the US), you can earn interest on your cryptocurrency held on the exchange. You can also easily borrow against your crypto holdings. Notably, Nexo also offers a credit/debit card you can use to access the value of your crypto.

nexo spot trading dashboard

Fees are beginner-friendly, with no extra trading fees on Nexo’s main platform. Instead, Nexo uses a spread that’s included in the price. If you choose to use Nexo Pro, the advanced trading platform, you can buy without a spread with trading fees at 0.3% for limit orders, half the cost of Coinbase Advanced.

Tradable Coins

Nexo offers over 60 cryptocurrencies, including:

  • Bitcoin (BTC)
  • Ethereum (ETH)
  • Cardano (ADA)
  • Solana (SOL)
  • Avalanche (AVAX)
  • Ripple (XRP)
  • Apecoin (APE)
  • Basic Attention Token (BAT)

Nexo Pros and Cons


  • No-fee basic trades
  • Earn interest on top cryptos
  • Borrow against your crypto
  • ETH staking with $1 minimum


  • Many features not available in the US
  • Interest rates tied to holding NEXO token

Nexo Overview

Number of cryptos 60+
Trading fees
  • 0% + spreads for basic trades, 0.3% for limit orders (Nexo Pro)
Fees to buy $100 worth of Bitcoin
  • $0.30 for limit orders
Proprietary wallet Yes
Top features
  • Crypto lending
  • Crypto borrowing
  • ETH staking ($1 minimum)
Regulation and Licenses
  • USA: Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN)
  • Canada: Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre (FINTRAC)
  • Australia: Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC)


7. Strike – Best Crypto App for No Trading Fees 

This one’s for the Bitcoin fans. With the Strike app, you can buy any crypto you want, as long as it’s Bitcoin. Built by Bitcoin HODLers for Bitcoin HODLers, Strike lets you put your BTC stacking on autopilot. Choose an investment amount and frequency and set up a payment method. Strike does the rest, delivering your Bitcoin to your Strike wallet on schedule with no fees. You can also buy BTC on demand.

strike crypto exchange buy BTC

Like many other platforms, Strike makes its profit from the spread, but unlike on other platforms, there are no trading fees. You can even withdraw BTC from your Strike wallet to a self-custody Bitcoin wallet without network fees. Strike also functions as a payment app, letting you send money globally, but the Bitcoin network — and specifically Bitcoin’s Lightning network — is the wizardry behind the curtain.

The Lightning network is a second layer on the Bitcoin network that enables fast transactions for a fraction of the cost. Strike’s easy setup and no-fee structure might make it the best Bitcoin exchange for absolute beginners or Bitcoin-only investors. The downside, of course, is that if you want to buy other cryptos, like ETH, you have to look elsewhere. Strike is now available in over 65 countries.

Tradable Coins

  • Bitcoin (BTC)

Strike Pros and Cons


  • Low fees
  • Built-in dollar-cost averaging
  • Built-in payment app


  • Only Bitcoin
  • 1.94% deposit fee for debit cards (no-fee for bank deposits)

Strike Overview

Number of cryptos Only Bitcoin
Trading fees
  • 0.0% (+spread)
Fees to buy $100 worth of Bitcoin
  • $0.00
Proprietary wallet Yes
Top features
  • Built for dollar-cost averaging
  • Free withdrawals and transfers
Regulation and Licenses
  • US: Strike has money transmitter licenses in most US states


8. Bitstamp – No Fees for Low-Volume Traders

Bitstamp’s fee structure makes it easy to get started with smaller investment amounts. If your Bitstamp trading volume is under $1,000 per month, you’ll pay no trading fees on the advanced platform. At $1,000 per month or less (based on trailing 30-day trading volume), limit order fees come in at 0.3%, which is lower than you’ll find on Coinbase Advanced, for example. Market orders in the same tier cost 0.40%.

There’s often a tradeoff to no-fee trades, and in this case, it’s withdrawal fees — which can get spendy. BTC withdrawal fees, for instance, are 0.005 BTC, or about $13 at today’s BTC price. If you’re taking advantage of Bitstamp’s no-fee trades at lower volume, it might be best to let your position build up before withdrawing.

bitstamp exchange welcome page

The platform offers both a simple interface and an advanced interface. Advanced trading gives you more control over your trade, whereas the simple interface offers a welcoming way to start buying crypto.

Tradable Coins

Bitstamp offers over 80 cryptocurrencies, including:

  • Bitcoin (BTC)
  • Ethereum (ETH)
  • PayPal USD (PYUSD)
  • dYdX (DYDX)
  • Gods Unchained (GODS)
  • Injective Protocol (INJ)
  • Convex (CVX)
  • Fetch.ai (FET)

Bitstamp Pros and Cons


  • 80+ cryptocurrencies
  • No trading fees for 30-day volume under $1,000
  • Advanced trading platform available
  • Flexible ETH staking


  • Missing top cryptos like SOL and ADA
  • Withdrawal fee based on asset
  • 4% fee for debit/credit

Bitstamp Overview

Number of cryptos 80+
Trading fees
  • 0.00% for 30-day trading volume under $1,000
  • > $1,000: 0.3% limit orders, 0.3% market order
Fees to buy $100 worth of Bitcoin
  • $0.00 for limit orders (with less than $1,000 30-day trading volume)
Proprietary wallet No
Top features
  • No-fee trading
  • ETH staking
  • Advanced trading
  • Learning center
Regulation and Licenses
  • USA: Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN)
  • UK: Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
  • Canada: Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre (FINTRAC)


9. Gemini – Well-Regulated Exchange with Perpetual Futures and Low Fees

Founded in 2014 by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, Gemini has grown to become one of the top crypto exchanges due largely to its commitment to security. In addition to being a leading exchange, Gemini is also a leading crypto custody provider. The company was the first to earn both SOC 1 Type and SOC 2 Type 2 certifications, which are measures of financial reporting integrity and customer data security, respectively.

Like Coinbase and several other exchanges, you can choose from either a simple trading interface called Gemini or an advanced trading platform called Active Trader. Also like other exchanges, you’ll find the lowest trading fees on the advanced platform.

Gemini Active Trader

Trading fees on Gemini’s Active Trader platform are affordable and straightforward. Gemini Active Trader Fees:

  • Limit order: 0.2%
  • Market order: 0.4%

Other features include perpetual futures trading, which lets you speculate on the future price of key assets like BTC without owning the asset, and a peer-to-peer trading platform that lets you trade with other willing traders with no intermediary. Due to regulations, perpetual futures are not available in some markets, including the US.

Tradable Coins

Gemini offers over 100 cryptocurrencies, including:

  • Bitcoin (BTC)
  • Ethereum (ETH)
  • Basic Attention Token (BAT)
  • Polygon (MATIC)
  • Dogecoin (DOGE)
  • Ripple (XRP)
  • Shiba Inu (SHIB)
  • Litecoin (LTC)

Gemini Pros and Cons


  • Low-fee advanced trades
  • Peer-to-peer trading
  • Perpetual futures
  • Trusted cold storage


  • Some features not available in the US
  • Limited selection of cryptocurrencies
  • Higher fees for basic platform

Gemini Overview

Number of cryptos 100+
Trading fees
  • Tiered fees for basic trades
  • Limit order: 0.2% (Active Trader)
  • Market order: 0.4% (Active Trader)
Fees to buy $100 worth of Bitcoin
  • $2.99 basic trade
  • $0.20 for limit orders
Proprietary wallet No
Top features
  • Advanced trading
  • Peer-to-peer trades
  • Perpetual futures
  • Secure crypto custody
Regulation and Licenses
  • US: Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN)
  • UK: Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
  • Australia: Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC)
  • Canada: Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC)


10. Crypto.com – Popular Mobile-First Exchange

Crypto.com lives up to its name by making 250+ cryptocurrencies available to trade on its platform. What’s different about Crypto.com is that it’s a mobile-first exchange. The web app offers only limited functionality and serves as a way to learn about the features of the mobile app, which has a Play Store user rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars.

crypto.com buy BTC

But the mobile app is loaded with ways to engage with the crypto economy. Yes, you can trade cryptos, but you can also earn rewards with Crypto.com’s crypto rewards cards or stake your crypto to earn a yield.

  • Trading: Trade all the top cryptocurrencies and many that aren’t yet on the radar using a market order or limit order, called a Target Price order. You can also set up recurring buys or use Crypto.com’s UpDown Options, a crypto options trading tool that sets a ceiling a floor for the asset price to help mitigate options risks.
  • Rewards cards: Earn up to 5% cash back with Crypto.com’s Visa rewards cards.
  • Staking: Earn up to 11% by staking your coins or tokens with Crypto.com. Choose from over 21 cryptocurrencies.

Crypto.com Fees

Trading fees are low, starting at just 0.075% for marker and taker orders for traders with less than $250,000 30-day trading volume. Higher-volume traders earn lower fees.

Tradable Coins

Crypto.com offers over 250 cryptocurrencies, including:

  • Bitcoin (BTC)
  • (Ethereum) ETH
  • Cronos (CRO)
  • Aave (AAVE)
  • Dogecoin (DOGE)
  • Ripple (XRP)
  • Shiba Inus (SHIB)
  • Litecoin (LTC)

Crypto.com Pros and Cons


  • Low fees for limit and market orders
  • Earn interest on top cryptos
  • Reduced risk options trading
  • Crypto rewards cards


  • Confusing incentives for Crypto.com’s CRO token
  • No desktop trading functionality

Crypto.com Overview

Number of cryptos 250+
Trading fees
  • 0.075% maker or taker
Fees to buy $100 worth of Bitcoin
  • $0.08 for limit or market orders
Proprietary wallet Yes
Top features
  • UpDown Options
  • Crypto staking
  • Rewards Visa cards
Regulation and Licenses
  • UK: Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
  • USA: Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC)
  • Australia: Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC), Australian Transaction
  • Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC)


What is a Cryptocurrency Exchange?

A crypto exchange is a marketplace where you can buy cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, with traditional (fiat) currencies, like the USD or GBP. Exchanges work like on ramps, a way to convert your fiat money into crypto and back again if you decide to sell. A crypto exchange or platform also acts as an intermediary, a go-between that allows buyers and sellers to transact without ever meeting, much like a stock exchange.

Full-featured exchanges like Binance or OKX also allow you to trade one cryptocurrency for another using trading pairs (trade this for that). For instance, you may want to trade some ETH (Ether from the Ethereum blockchain) for BTC (Bitcoin).

If there’s a trading pair on the exchange, you can trade one for the other, adjusting your crypto portfolio in one trade. Some platforms don’t offer everything you’ll find on an exchange, however, meaning you may not be able to trade one crypto for another. eToro is one example, favoring ease of use over crypto-to-crypto exchanges.

Depending on how you trade or invest, this might make eToro a perfect fit. Simpler platforms may forgo the extras that many people won’t use but still allow you to buy and sell cryptocurrencies, converting your crypto back to cash when you exit your position.

Crypto Exchanges vs. Crypto Brokers

Both crypto exchanges and crypto brokers provide a way to trade cryptocurrencies. There are differences going on behind the scenes, however. Exchanges use an order book, a list of open buy and sell orders. You’re buying and selling against existing orders placed by other traders or market makers. If you use an advanced trading platform on an exchange like Kraken, you can see these orders.

Crypto brokers, on the other hand, are intermediaries between traders and the market. Brokers are in the middle of the transaction and you’re really buying from or selling to the broker rather than other traders. The broker then fills the buy or sell order through market makers and orders placed by other traders.

Crypto trading platforms also offer basic crypto storage. The exchange or platform provides a built-in crypto wallet called a custodial wallet that you can access with your account login. The details above all refer to centralized exchanges, trading platforms run by a company and often regulated by local governments. There’s another type of exchange called a decentralized exchange (DEX) run by computer programs on the blockchain.

DEXs let users swap crypto directly from their crypto wallets. We’ll focus on the best centralized exchanges in this guide. A third (and less common) type of crypto exchange, called a P2P or Peer-to-Peer exchange, allows buyers and sellers to transact directly.

Cryptocurrency Exchange Fees

You can often avoid deposit fees by linking a bank account and depositing to your trading account from your bank account. Debit card transactions often come with additional fees of up to 4%. But there are some other fees to understand as well.

Trading Fees

We’ll discuss fees for specific types of trades in more detail in a bit, but crypto trading fees can come in several forms, depending on the platform and the type of trade.

  • Fixed fees and simple trading fees: Many exchanges and platforms use a specific fee structure for trades that use a simple buy/sell widget as opposed to an advanced trading platform. Often, you’ll pay a fixed fee, which varies based on the transaction amount. The fee schedule may convert to a percentage-based fee as the transaction value crosses a certain threshold.
  • Maker and taker fees: Advanced trading platforms use a maker/taker fee schedule, with the fee percentage typically driven by your 30-day trading volume. Placing a fixed price limit order maker you a “maker” because you’re making a market for other traders. “Takers” take liquidity off the market by trading against existing limit orders with a (buy at) market order. Take orders usually cost more in trading fees compared to maker orders.
  • Spread fees: The spread generally refers to the difference in price between the highest-priced limit buy order and the lowest-price limit sell order. Exchanges may use a spread fee as the trading fee itself or in addition to a simple trading fee.

Withdrawal Fees

Like trading fees, withdrawal fees come in more than one type.

  • Fiat withdrawal fees: Some exchanges charge a fee to withdraw your money from the exchange. On eToro, for example, some transactions require a $5 withdrawal fee. If the exchange uses a fixed dollar amount for a fee, waiting until you can withdraw a larger amount reduces the cost of the withdrawal fee as a percentage of the withdrawal amount.
  • Crypto withdrawal fees: If you withdraw crypto from an exchange by sending it to another wallet, you’ll pay a network fee. These fees vary by cryptocurrency type and the network to which you withdraw. For example, withdrawing ETH on the Ethereum network may cost several dollars depending on network activity. However, if you withdraw ETH on the Abitrum network, you’ll pay pennies rather than dollars. The size of the transaction does not affect network fees, but some platforms may charge a fixed withdrawal fee for crypto transactions.

How do Crypto Trading Platforms Work?

We discussed crypto exchanges as a marketplace to buy crypto with fiat money, such as USD or GBP, for example. Larger exchanges typically attract more buyers and sellers, making the pricing for common cryptos like Bitcoin competitive with the price elsewhere. For creating this marketplace and transferring crypto between buyers and sellers, the exchange typically charges a fee on trades.

However, you may find some platforms that don’t charge a trading fee. Generally, those platforms make money on the spread instead, which we’ll discuss in a bit. To comply with KYC (Know Your Customer) regulations, many exchanges also require proof of identity. Some exchanges don’t require KYC, however. Typically, these include decentralized and P2P exchanges.

How Crypto Trades Work

Mechanically, there’s a lot going on under the hood of a cryptocurrency trading platform. Beginner-friendly platforms like eToro obscure the complicated mechanics, giving you a simple trading interface and fee structure.

etoro open bitcoin trade

On eToro, you can buy crypto like Bitcoin with USD. When you’re ready to sell, you’ll get USD in exchange for your Bitcoin. eToro charges a 1% fee to buy and 1% to sell. All of this is reflected in the buying price and selling price, so there are no surprises. Advanced exchanges, like OKX or Coinbase Advanced, show more of what’s going on behind the scenes, including the ever-changing order book and executed orders flashing in real time.

The order book is at the heart of any exchange. As the name suggests, it’s a list of open orders. You’ll see sell orders stacked on top and buy orders listed at the bottom. These are all limit orders, meaning the trader sets a fixed price for the order. These are also called “maker” orders because the traders are making a market with their orders. Without maker orders, there are no trades because there’s no one to buy from or sell to, at least not visibly. As the market-making heroes of the story, maker orders typically earn lower trading fees.

coinbase crypto order book spread

In the screenshot of Coinbase Advanced above, you’ll also see the spread ($0.68) right above the limit buy orders and below the limit sell orders in the order book. Often, the spread on BTC is just $0.01 between the lowest-priced sell order (called the ask) and the highest-priced buy order (called the bid). However, spreads can be wider depending on which orders are open. On cryptocurrencies that don’t trade often or on low-volume exchanges, you can sometimes see much wider spreads.

Spreads as Trading Fees

Some platforms and exchanges use the spread as their fee, rather than charging a trading fee, while others might charge both a trading fee and a spread fee. Also, sometimes, a spread isn’t a spread as we described earlier.

Instead, the spread may be a fixed percentage fee, as seen with Coinbase’s simple trades. With Coinbase simple trades, you’ll pay a trading fee plus a 1% “spread.” Exchanges may use spread fees to lock in a price for your trade because ask prices can change quickly.

When you buy or sell without setting a price, it’s called a market order. You’re buying from or selling to other traders who placed limit orders on the exchange. Another name for a market order is a “taker” order because you’re taking liquidity provided by the maker orders in the order book. In the example below, if you wanted to buy 1 BTC, you could place a fixed-price limit order, which may or may not fill, or you could buy with a market order.

None of the existing orders offer one full BTC, however, so your order would fill from the bottom of the list and move up in price until you fill your order for 1 BTC. This is called slippage; the order slips into the next order in the order book, changing the average price for your order.

coinbase crypto order book slippage

You’ll also pay a bit more for the market order on many exchanges due to higher fees for taker orders. For example, Coinbase Advanced charges 0.6% on maker orders but 0.8% on taker orders.

The Role of Market Makers in Crypto

Odds are good that many of the orders you see in an exchange order book are from market makers rather than individual buyers and sellers. Market makers are people or companies that keep an inventory of an asset ready to sell (and cash ready to buy) while making a profit from the difference between the buy and sell price.

This parallels the role of market makers on stock exchanges, where they fill a similar role: reducing spreads and providing liquidity (making a ready trading market available). Typically, market makers earn a very small percentage on the asset they trade, making their profits from volume rather than margin.

How Crypto Storage Works on Exchanges

Once you’ve made your trade, the exchange holds your crypto for you. Technically, your crypto is in a crypto wallet controlled by the exchange called a custodial wallet. Crypto wallets work a lot like mailboxes.

You can send things from an address or receive things at an address. In this case, it’s crypto rather than bills and postcards. Unlike a mailbox, where your mail is hidden from view, the whole world can see the transactions in your crypto wallet, as shown in the transaction below from Etherscan.

etherscan history transaction hash

The good news is that it’s unlikely that the average blockchain detective knows your wallet address belongs to you. For many traders, this custodial arrangement with exchanges works well. The exchange provides custody for your crypto and you use your login to access your account. As your crypto balance grows, however, or if you want to do things with your crypto, you may want to research the best crypto wallets so you can self-custody your crypto.

How to Choose the Best Crypto Exchange

Whether you’re looking for the best crypto exchanges for beginners, the best bitcoin trading platform, or the best crypto trading platform for advanced traders, there are several factors to weigh. Features, fees, and safety all play important roles when choosing a platform that fits your trading needs and that won’t break the bank with surprise fees. Of course, it’s also essential to choose a platform that won’t disappear tomorrow, especially as your balance grows.


Much of the crypto industry remains unregulated, but some exchanges and trading platforms have taken steps to register with regulators and obtain licenses to operate in certain jurisdictions. For example, eToro operates in over 140 countries throughout the world and is regulated in several larger trading markets.

  • UK: FCA
  • Australia: ASIC
  • Europe: CySEC

Regulatory oversight offers an extra safeguard for investors that helps ensure cryptocurrency exchanges and crypto trading platforms follow regulations and conform to best practices. However, where each company is licensed or regulated matters. Exchanges often do business under different business units in various parts of the world. If you live in the UK, but the company is regulated in another country, UK safeguards may not apply. Ideally, look for exchanges that are regulated in your country or region.

Recently, the FCA named dozens of exchanges that it says are promoting financial services without the FCA’s permission. While this, in itself, doesn’t make the named exchanges unsafe, it does illustrate regulatory risk. Exchanges that come under fire from regulators can be forced to change the business dramatically, as happened with Binance.US and the SEC, or may even fall into insolvency, as happened with FTX (also charged by the SEC).

Available Cryptos

Most exchanges offer BTC and ETH, which together represent about 70% of the total crypto market cap. Bitcoin alone represents about 50% of the market and often moves the rest of the market with its ebbs and flows. But you might not find the latest crypto that people are talking about on social media on some of the most popular exchanges. etoro crypto selection by market cap   eToro offers 80 cryptos worldwide, whereas Binance and OKX offer over 350 each. More isn’t always better, however, and too many options can be confusing for new and experienced traders alike. But if you have your sights set on a particular cryptocurrency that’s only available at a few exchanges, that’s likely to drive your decision.

Trading Fees and Additional Fees

Many exchanges offer competitive fees if you use the advanced platform. However, the advanced platforms often look like a hacker’s terminal, with numbers flashing in green and red and trades whooshing by. It’s not a welcoming place for beginners. By contrast. simpler trading platforms often come with higher fees.

For example, using Coinbase’s simple trades will rack up $3.84 in fees to buy $100 worth of Bitcoin. By comparison, eToro, which also uses a simple trading interface, costs just $1 for the same $100 buying transaction. Weigh trading fees in the context of how you’ll use the platform. Low fees for advanced trading don’t mean much if you think you’ll only use the simple trading interface.

But also consider other fees that may apply to how you trade. Among these may be deposit fees, withdrawal fees, and inactivity fees. To use eToro as an example again, you won’t pay a deposit fee, although conversion fees may apply if you’re not depositing in USD. However, eToro has a $5 withdrawal fee and an inactivity fee that kicks in after 12 months with no login. These are both easy to work with, but in some cases, additional fees can create a strong headwind.

Crypto Wallet

Centralized crypto exchanges and trading platforms offer a built-in crypto wallet, but it’s not always obvious. In short, the exchange holds your crypto in a crypto wallet that they control. You access your funds through your account login. Many exchanges also offer a separate wallet that allows you to send and receive supported cryptocurrencies or move cryptocurrencies off the platform. For example, Coinbase offers Coinbase Wallet, which supports Bitcoin, Solana, Ethereum, ERC-20 tokens, and NFTs using a mobile app.

coinbase crypto wallet dashboard

Coinbase Wallet can be more complicated to set up, though, compared to simpler wallets like eToro’s wallet, called eToro Money, or the Strike app, which serves as a Bitcoin Lightning wallet. Some traders never need or want a separate crypto wallet, although two benefits of crypto wallets merit consideration. Crypto wallets allow you to store your crypto in a wallet you control.

The custodial exchange wallets on FTX were controlled by FTX. Customers who held balances on the exchange are now unsecured creditors in the bankruptcy process. Crypto wallets allow you to put your crypto to use elsewhere. Crypto held on an exchange usually doesn’t do much. The price goes up and down, but you often can’t use it to earn a yield. However, ETH, for example, can be moved off the exchange and used in decentralized finance  (DeFi) applications like Lido or Balancer to earn yield with your crypto. The availability of a crypto wallet with the platform’s branding is of lesser importance than the ability to move your crypto off the platform to a crypto wallet of your choosing.

Trading Tools & Features

Consider which tools you’re likely to use when trading. OKX and Binance both offer trading bots, for example, which are rules-driven digital traders that work for you 24-7. You may not need these digital gizmos, but you might want access to advanced charts like the customizable TradingView charts on eToro (with 100 available indicators). And there isn’t always one answer. You might use OKX for its trading bots or Strike for its Bitcoin DCA, while also using eToro for its copy trading, which lets you copy money-making traders trade-for-trade.

Available Payment Methods

Sometimes, how you can pay for trades (and the fees for those payments) makes all the difference. eToro supports bank deposits, debit cards, and PayPal with no deposit fees. Coinbase also supports all these payment methods but charges a 2.5% fee on PayPal deposits and nearly 4% on debit card transactions. Generally, bank transfers are the cheapest way to fund your trading account. But some platforms, like eToro, don’t make you choose between convenience and costly deposit fees.

Reputation and Customer Service

Overall, crypto exchanges have a pretty spotty record when it comes to customer service. Check a rating site like Trustpilot before you make a move. But bear in mind that, like the insurance industry and many other financial services, the crypto industry tends to garner low customer satisfaction ratings. Coinbase, for example, has a 1.5 (out of 5) TrustScore. Binance isn’t much higher with its 2.1 (out of 5) TrustScore. These are two of the largest crypto exchanges on the planet. eToro is the standout in this group with an impressive 4.4 (out of 5) TrustScore. Also, look for ways you can reach out if you have a question or problem. Many platforms offer chat or email support. A handful, like Coinbase, offer a customer service phone number.

Mobile App

Nearly 60% of internet traffic happens on mobile devices now, so a full-featured mobile app becomes a must for many traders. Both eToro and Coinbase offer mobile apps that closely match the trading experience you’ll find on the desktop app.

etoro mobile app portfolio dashboard

Strike, on the other hand, is a mobile-first app, although there’s also a Chrome extension available. Check the App Store or Play Store ratings for the exchanges you’re considering if you think you’ll be accessing your trading account with a phone or tablet.

Are Cryptocurrency Exchanges Legal?

Crypto exchanges are legal in many parts of the world, including the US, UK, Canada, and Australia, but it’s important to note that they’re unregulated, meaning the chances of being covered by financial compensation schemes are very slim. However, centralized trading platforms are subject to certain regulations that share a common theme.

In the US, for example, exchanges fall under the scope of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), which focuses on anti-money laundering (AML) and similar financial crimes. If you’ve ever wondered why you need to prove your identity before you can trade, AML and KYC (Know Your Customer) banking standards are at the heart of this requirement.

US Cryptocurrency Laws

In the US, cryptocurrencies fall under the purview of the SEC if they are securities. A security refers to a financial instrument in which there is an investment of money and in which the expected profits are due to the actions of someone else. For example, if you buy TSLA stock, your expected returns are based on the actions of Tesla’s management and workers. TSLA is a security.

Cryptocurrencies don’t all share this third-party element, although the topic is a source of constant controversy with the SEC. The agency sued Coinbase in 2023, alleging the sale of unregistered securities, one of many such lawsuits. Complicating the crypto scene in the US further, each of the US states has its own laws and licensing requirements. As a result, many crypto exchanges that operate in the US don’t operate in all 50 states.

UK Cryptocurrency Laws

Trading crypto is legal in the UK, but exchanges that operate in the UK must register with the FCA and comply with AML rules such as proof-of-identity requirements. The FCA also introduced new rules regarding crypto marketing designed to protect new investors.

Australia Cryptocurrency Laws

Crypto trading platforms operating in Australia must register with AUSTRAC, the country’s anti-money laundering authority. This brings with it the familiar identity verification requirements we see on most centralized exchanges. Exchanges also fall under the purview of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), Australia’s equivalent of the SEC in the US.

Canada Cryptocurrency Laws

In Canada, regulators see crypto assets as securities, a distinction still open to debate in the neighboring US. Like other securities, including stocks, cryptocurrencies are legal in Canada, although the country has enacted tougher rules regarding trading limits, prompting exchanges like Binance to leave the Canadian market. The Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) oversees crypto trading in Canada. While trading cryptocurrencies is legal in many countries, it’s prudent to stay up-to-date on the regulatory climate where you live, as well as which crypto exchanges may encounter trouble with local regulators. After the SEC sued Binance, the US-only exchange lost its banking partners, causing temporary chaos in trading for USD-based trading pairs on the platform as there was no easy way to take USD off the exchange.wise

Are Crypto Exchanges Safe to Use?

No exchange or trading platform is 100% safe to use, but there are ways to reduce your risk. There’s also a possibility of outsized gains that might make the risk worth taking. Between 2011 and 2021, Bitcoin rewarded investors with more than 437,000% returns. First, it’s important to understand that there’s no government insurance available.

The exception is pass-through insurance available on cash balances on platforms like eToro and Coinbase. In both cases, US customers enjoy pass-through FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) on cash balances of up to $250,000. However, crypto assets are not covered by FDIC insurance or any similar program. This theme is carried throughout the crypto industry.

For example, eToro (UK) carries Excess of Loss insurance, which safeguards investors against broker insolvency. However, this policy excludes real cryptocurrencies. That doesn’t mean there’s no insurance at all. Coinbase carries a policy that insures against platform breaches. But generally, your crypto assets are uninsured. By choosing a platform that’s regulated in major markets, such as eToro, Coinbase, Kraken, or Bitstamp, you’ll have government regulators as allies, a set of well-trained eyes watching over the exchange.

You can also look for crypto trading platforms that offer proof-of-reserves (POR) to verify the platform has your crypto. Kraken and OKX both offer POR. Lastly, if you trade in size or as your account grows, you can consider moving your crypto to a self-custody wallet like MetaMask (Ethereum) or Electrum (Bitcoin). It comes down to the old adage about eggs and baskets. Moving some crypto off the exchange can reduce your risk if the exchange runs into trouble.

Types of Cryptocurrency Exchanges

Centralized exchanges like Coinbase and brokers like eToro represent the most common way to buy crypto with traditional currencies. But what is a centralized exchange, and what is the alternative?

Centralized Exchanges

A centralized exchange (CEX) is a crypto trading platform run by a company that acts as an intermediary between buyers and sellers. Coinbase may be the most well-known example. When you trade on Coinbase, you’re not trading directly with another trader. Instead, you’re buying or selling against on order book, a list of open fixed-priced orders on the exchange.

Centralized exchanges offer a convenient way to convert fiat money, like USD or GBP, to cryptocurrency or to sell crypto for fiat currencies. But centralized exchanges also offer custodial storage, meaning they can hold your crypto for you on the exchange. Similarly, centralized exchanges typically offer ways for you to take your crypto off the exchange. Centralization makes is easier to establish fiat on-ramps and off-ramps.

In many cases, it also means the exchange may be subject to regulation in many jurisdictions. One potential downside, however, is that the exchange controls your crypto wallet on the exchange. They have the ability to pause or freeze withdrawals.

Decentralized Exchanges

Where centralized exchanges are run by management teams, a decentralized exchange (DEX) is run by software called smart contracts. A smart contract is a computer program on the blockchain that users can interact with to perform various transactions. Instead of an order book, decentralized exchanges typically use liquidity pools.

Crypto investors can deposit one or more types of crypto into a liquidity pool, and this pool and other traders use the pool to swap crypto A for crypto B. Decentralized exchanges let you trade from within your own crypto wallet, so you don’t have to deposit your crypto before making a swap. Swap fees typically come in low as well, often at 0.3% or lower. To make swaps on a decentralized exchange, though, you’ll need crypto to swap. In many cases, you can buy crypto through a third-party provider partnered with the DEX. Fees can be higher than using a centralized exchange, however.

Many traders buy on centralized exchanges and then transfer the crypto to a self-custody wallet where they can use their crypto for swaps, to provide liquidity (and earn trading fees), or in several other ways. The most popular decentralized exchanges, including Uniswap and Balancer, run on the Ethereum network. Many also support Ethereum-compatible Layer 2 networks like Arbitrum or Polygon.

Buy Crypto Within Cash and Payment Apps

Sometimes, the best crypto exchanges aren’t exchanges at all. Several payment apps, including Cash App, PayPal, and Venmo, provide a convenient way to buy popular cryptocurrencies. You won’t find a massive selection of hundreds of choices, however. But if you’re primarily interested in Bitcoin, Ethereum, and a handful of other cryptos, you may not need to learn a new platform. You can build your stack with an app you may already use daily.

Cash App

Cash App offers Bitcoin as its only crypto option, but the popular payment platform also offers over 1,800 stocks and exchange-traded funds. Bitcoin trading fees on Cash App come in higher than you’ll find on an advanced trading platform like Coinbase Advanced or Gemini Active Trader but compare well with user-friendly platforms like Coinbase’s simple trades. For example, to buy $100 worth of Bitcoin on Cash App, you’ll pay $2.25 in fees. Using Coinbase’s simple trades, you’d pay $3.84 for the same purchase amount. Cash App Bitcoin fees range from 0.75% to 3%, depending on the transaction amount. Cash App also provides a Bitcoin wallet, so you can send or spend your Bitcoin or move it to another crypto hardware wallet if needed.


With a few more cryptocurrencies available, PayPal offers another way to buy popular crypto assets like Bitcoin. In total, PayPal offers five options.

  • Bitcoin
  • Bitcoin Cash
  • Ethereum
  • Litecoin
  • PayPal USD (PYUSD)

Like Cash App, PayPal lets you withdraw your crypto to a separate crypto wallet. PayPal used a fixed fee schedule to purchase crypto in amounts of $200 and under. At the lowest tier (up to $4.99), you’ll pay $0.49. The cost to buy $100 worth of Bitcoin falls into the highest fixed fee tier at $2.49, or about 2.5%. Above $200, fees range from 1.5% to 1.8%. PayPal supports crypto purchases for personal accounts but disables the feature for business accounts.


PayPal owns Venmo, and now both platforms offer the same lineup of cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Ethereum. Crypto buying and selling fees parallel PayPal as well, with both platforms using a fixed fee schedule for purchases up to $200. A purchase for up $100 worth of Bitcoin costs $2.49 on Venmo. Similar to Cash App, you’ll need to use the mobile app to buy and sell crypto, however. The web app for both platforms offers limited functionality.

How do Crypto Exchange Fees Work?

Earlier in the guide, we discussed limit orders, market orders, and spreads. Here’s how they all come together to determine crypto exchange fees.

  • Commission: Brokers like eToro charge a commission, which is another name for a trading fee. The difference, in eToro’s case, for example, is that the commission is a fixed percentage of the order and does not change based on trading volume.
  • Trading fees: Exchanges like OKX charge a trading fee based on the value of the trade and your trading volume (usually looking at a 30-day history). These trading fees might also differ depending on whether you place a market order or a limit order.
  • Market orders (also called taker orders) mean you’re buying at market price from the existing orders in the order book. On many exchanges, you’ll pay a higher fee for market orders compared to limit orders (up next).
  • Limit orders (also caller maker orders) mean you’re placing an order at a fixed price. These orders sit on the order book until there’s a match or a market order in the price range of your order. You’ll usually pay a lower fee for limit orders, but there’s also a chance that your buy or sell order might not be filled if the market price is too far away.
  • Spreads: A spread refers to the price difference between the lowest price limit sell order and the highest price limit buy order. On busy exchanges and with high-volume cryptos like BTC, the spread is often just $0.01. However, we showed a screenshot earlier where the spread was $0.68. For BTC, which trades at over $26,000 currently, that $0.68 spread is still quite small, but for thinly traded cryptos, the spread can be much wider relative to the trading price, possibly causing a sub-optimal trade.

How Display Fees Work

There’s another type of fee structure you’ll see on Coinbase’s simple trades or Kraken’s simple trades, for example. These easy-to-use trading boxes can come with much higher fees and often use complicated schedules that assign a different fee based on the value of the order and the payment method. Kraken, for instance, calls this a display fee, meaning you’ll see it displayed before you make your trade.

Typically, trades with a display fee also bring an additional cost in the form of a spread. In this case, the spread may be much wider than you’ll see in order-book spreads. Usually, the spread is in the quoted price, so it’s not hidden, but it’s also not shown precisely. Always check the price for your trade — including spreads and fees — to be sure the trade still makes sense for you.

There are a few other fees to watch out for, but not all exchanges charge these fees. Consider the big picture in regard to costs when choosing the best crypto exchange for your needs. A cryptocurrency trading platform with low trading fees might charge other fees that make trading costlier.

  • Deposit fees
  • Withdrawal fees
  • Conversion fees
  • Inactivity fees

For example, let’s say you buy $100 worth of Bitcoin on Bitstamp with no trading fee. If your balance stays at $100 and you want to withdraw, you’ll pay about $13 in withdrawal fees or about 13% of your investment’s value.

However, if you continue buying and your balance grows to $5,000, that same $13 fee drops to 0.26% of your investment’s value. Weigh how you’ll use the platform and how additional fees might affect your trading cost on each of the crypto trading platforms you’re considering.

How to Use a Cryptocurrency Exchange – 5 Simple Steps

When you’re ready to buy cryptocurrency, you can follow these 5 simple steps. We chose eToro for this example because the onboarding process is smooth, the exchange is well-regulated, and crypto trading fees are a flat 1%. This winning combination makes eToro well-suited to new traders.

Step 1: Open an Account

Visit eToro.com to open a trading account. Expect the basics here, like name and address as well as a username and password. You’ll also need to provide a phone number for two-factor authentication via text message. etoro create account

Step 2: Verify Your Identity and Address.

To comply with KYC (Know Your Customer) requirements, you’ll need to upload a copy of your proof of identity. Accepted forms of ID vary by country, so pay careful attention to the on-screen instructions. In the US, for example, you can use a passport or a valid driver’s license.

Step 3: Choose an Investment Amount.

Think about how much you want to invest. On eToro, you can get started with just $10. Some traders might want to start with a larger amount because eToro also offers stocks and ETFs, which lets you build a diversified portfolio on one platform. etoro fund account

Step 4: Fund Your Account.

Choose from PayPal, a bank account, or a debit card, and then link your account for deposits. eToro walks you through the simple steps to link your funding account. In some markets, like the UK, you may also be able to use Neteller or Skill as funding options.

Step 5: Make Your First Trade.

Let’s buy some Bitcoin. Look for the search at the top of the page and search for BTC or Bitcoin. If you’re looking for something else, just search for the asset you want to trade. Once you’ve found what you want to trade, click on buy. eToro includes the 1% buy/sell fee in the price, and your order is priced at the ask price we discussed earlier in the guide. Choose a purchase amount and then click on “open trade.” buy btc on etoro Easy enough. Now, your crypto position will show in your portfolio, which you’ll find on the left menu. Optionally, you can set a “take profit” order for the position to lock in profits or a “stop loss” order to protect your downside.

Why Trust Us

Our editors are committed to independent and fair reviews. Wherever possible, we use the products or services we review to bring you a real-world perspective on the pros and cons of each. For this exchange review, we made real trades with real money. This gives us the ability to speak knowledgeably about each aspect of the exchange and trading platforms reviewed from a user perspective. When appropriate, we used a data-driven ranking system to determine which exchanges and trading platforms earned a spot.

Our Methodology

We evaluated dozens of different exchanges, trading platforms, and crypto trading apps. The trading fees shown for each platform reflect the cost of trading at various volume tiers. Where possible, simple trading platforms and advanced trading platforms on the same exchange were also compared. Additionally, we compared the cost to buy $100 worth of Bitcoin on each platform.

In this review of the best crypto exchanges, we looked for benefits that can help you save or make more money while also being mindful of features or limitations that may create a stumbling block for newer users. On each exchange, we used the advanced trading platform or simple trading platform, depending on which options were available, and compared the experiences. The best crypto exchange in a given area may not have earned a top pick overall. In ranking the top exchanges, we considered the following criteria.

  • Simple trades: We evaluated both trading costs and ease of use for platforms that offered simple buy/sell widgets.
  • Advanced trades: For platforms with advanced trading features, we weighed trading options as well as ease of use and charting ability.
  • Available cryptocurrencies: Support for Bitcoin was mandatory, but we also evaluated the depth of available cryptocurrencies on each exchange and which other popular or trending cryptos were available.
  • Overall trading costs: We considered other fees and expenses people may encounter, including deposit fees, withdrawal fees, inactivity fees, and spread costs.
  • Learning resources for new investors: We weighed the educational content available on each platform as well as help tip placement near trading widgets that could be confusing for new users.
  • Security features: We evaluated account security, custodial storage, and the ability to move crypto assets off the platform if needed. Regulation: Where applicable, we detailed the regulatory agencies that oversee each exchange in major markets.


There’s a trading platform available for nearly every trading style. Crypto trading platforms like Kraken and OKX give you room to grow as a crypto trader, but they can be trickier to use as a beginner. eToro, on the other hand, gives you the freedom to diversify your portfolio with crypto, stocks, and ETFs while using a familiar and easy-to-use interface on both desktop and mobile.

But one of the top features is copy trading, which lets you copy the trades of successful traders on the platform. This strategy can eliminate the need for technical analysis before making a trade. eToro also gives every trader a $100,000 demo account, which provides the perfect sandbox to learn crypto trading before you invest real money. And when you’re ready to invest, eToro’s flat 1% trading fee on crypto trades makes trading costs easy to understand.




What is the best crypto exchange?

eToro offers the best crypto trading experience for beginners, whereas Kraken offers lower trading fees for its advanced platform and proof-of-reserves to verify crypto balances.

What crypto exchange has the lowest fees?

In our roundup, OKX had the lowest fees for advanced trades at just 0.08% for limit orders.

Which crypto platforms are legal in the US?

eToro, Coinbase, and Kraken are all licensed to operate in the US and regulated by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

What is the safest crypto exchange?

eToro is one of the most regulated crypto exchanges, but other platforms like Kraken, which provides proof of reserves verification, also focus on safe trading.

How do I choose a crypto exchange?

Consider your trading needs (simple or advanced) as well as safety features and regulation, but also weigh trading costs and the selection of cryptocurrencies before making a choice.

What is better Coinbase or Binance?

As a publicly traded company, Coinbase offers more transparency for traders, whereas Binance brings a wider selection of cryptocurrencies and lower trading fees.

What is the best broker for crypto trading?

eToro is one of the few brokers that supports crypto trading as well as stocks and ETFs. Innovative features like eToro’s Copy Trading help set the broker apart from competitors.


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