Last updated on November 4, 2023
If you’re thinking about getting into the crypto game, you’ll need to know where to start. To buy and trade cryptocurrencies, you’ll need to sign up with a crypto exchange.
There are quite a few out there, around 500 to be precise, but don’t worry, we’ve done the hard work for you and found the top 5 best crypto apps and exchanges.
Here they are:
What you'll learn:
➤ Best Crypto Apps
- Trading Fees: 0.9% for stablecoins, 1.5% for other cryptos (Kraken Instant Buy)
- Tradable Coins: 120+
Kraken is one of the oldest U.S. crypto exchanges, founded way back in 2011. They offer a wide range of coins with competitive trading fees. Kraken is one of the few crypto apps in the U.S. that offers margin trading and advanced trading tools.
Kraken Pros & Cons
- Advanced features available on Kraken Pro.
- Good customer service options, including a chatbot and phone support.
- Relatively low Bitcoin withdrawal fees.
- They provide a lot of educational material on cryptocurrency.
- But it’s not available in all 50 states.
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- Trading Fees: 0.2% Maker Fee, 0.4% Taker Fee
- Tradable Coins: 120+
Gemini is a great option for crypto traders of any skill level. They offer unique features like the Gemini Earn program for earning interest on your crypto holdings and the Gemini Credit Card.
Gemini is available in all 50 states and focuses on complying with U.S. regulatory requirements.
Gemini Pros & Cons
- It has a simple and intuitive user interface.
- Available in all 50 states, including New York.
- You can earn crypto rewards with the Gemini Credit Card.
- But the fee structure can be a bit complicated for some types of trading.
- Customer service options are limited, and some popular coins like Cardano are not available.
- Trading Fees: 0.075% Maker / 0.075% Taker
- Tradable Coins: 250+
Crypto.com offers a wide selection of cryptocurrencies, with over 250 to choose from.They provide unique perks and crypto rewards for Crypto.com Visa Card users.
You can use Crypto.com’s utility token, Cronos (CRO), to pay fees on the platform and earn other benefits.
Crypto.com Pros & Cons
- Trading fee discounts for users with high CRO balances.
- You can get up to 8% cashback on Crypto.com Visa debit card spending if you have high CRO balances.
- It has high cybersecurity ratings.
- However, they offer limited margin trading and have higher fees for lower-volume trading.
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- Trading Fees: 0.1% Maker Fee, 0.1% Taker Fee (LV0 Trading Fee Level)
- Tradable Coins: 700+
KuCoin is another option for those who want a vast selection of altcoins at low fees.They’re headquartered in Seychelles and have users across Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.
While U.S. users can access the platform, it’s important to note that KuCoin is not licensed in the U.S.
KuCoin Pros & Cons
- They offer a broad selection of tradable cryptocurrencies.
- Competitive trading fees with volume discounts.
- Advanced features like margin trading and futures trading are available.
- They accept credit and debit cards.
- But KuCoin is not licensed in the U.S., and funds kept on the platform are not insured.
- Trading Fees: 0.4% Maker Fee / 0.6% Taker Fee
- Tradable Coins: 200+
Coinbase offers over 200 tradable cryptocurrencies, making it a good choice for most investors entering the crypto space.
It’s known for its user-friendly interface, which makes buying and trading cryptocurrencies a breeze.
They also offer an Advanced Trade product for those interested in in-depth technical analysis.
Coinbase Pros & Cons
- It has a user-friendly interface and a straightforward purchase process.
- Strong user reviews and security features.
- You can stake certain cryptocurrencies for rewards.
- However, fees can be relatively high for the convenience.
- It’s not available in all 50 states, with some restrictions in Hawaii and New York.
➤ What’s a Crypto Exchange?
A crypto exchange is like a digital marketplace where you can trade cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, Ether, or Dogecoin. It’s similar to how you might use a regular trading platform for stocks or other assets.
These exchanges give you a place to create different types of orders to buy, sell, and speculate on cryptocurrencies.
Some crypto exchanges offer more advanced features, such as margin accounts and futures trading. But it’s important to note that these might not be as readily available to users in the U.S.
Some exchanges even have cool features like staking your crypto or getting crypto loans, which can help you earn more from your holdings. The best exchanges also provide educational resources to help you stay informed about the crypto world.
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➤ How Do Crypto Exchanges Work?
Crypto exchanges operate kind of like traditional brokerage platforms. Each one provides a place where you can create various types of orders to trade cryptocurrencies with other users.
There are two main categories of crypto exchanges: centralized and decentralized.
Centralized Crypto Exchanges (CEX)
These are managed by a single organization. They make it easy to start trading by allowing you to convert your regular money, like dollars, into cryptocurrencies directly. Most crypto trading happens on centralized exchanges.
But some people don’t like them because they can require you to reveal your identity to comply with Know Your Customer (KYC) rules, just like when you open a bank account.
Plus, there’s a hacking risk because the exchange holds the crypto, at least temporarily, which can be a tempting target for hackers.
To address this, centralized exchanges have improved their security, store most assets offline, and even have insurance to cover losses due to hacking.
If you prefer the convenience of a centralized exchange, consider moving your crypto to a separate wallet for added security.
Decentralized Crypto Exchanges (DEX)
These distribute the responsibility for verifying and facilitating crypto trades. Almost anyone can join a DEX network and certify transactions, similar to how cryptocurrency blockchains work.
This approach can enhance transparency and accountability and ensures that the exchange can keep running, even if the company that created it faces issues.
The challenge with DEXs is that they can be less user-friendly and might not allow you to deposit regular money for crypto.
So, you might need to already own some crypto or use a centralized exchange to get started on a DEX. Keep in mind that trading on DEXs can be a bit slower and might require accepting lower prices, especially for less popular cryptos.
Global Crypto Exchanges
There are nearly 600 cryptocurrency exchanges worldwide where you can trade Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other digital assets. However, the quality and safety can vary widely.
Crypto Exchange Fees
When you buy and sell crypto, you’ll encounter two types of fees: trading fees and withdrawal fees.
Trading Fees: These can be charged as a percentage of the crypto amount you buy or sell. Some exchanges differentiate between makers (orders that add liquidity) and takers (orders that remove liquidity) and charge different percentages accordingly.
Don’t get too caught up in maker and taker fees; focus on the overall costs and any discounts available for high trading volumes or holding the exchange’s native cryptocurrency.
Withdrawal Fees: Many exchanges charge fees for moving your coins to an external wallet. These fees can vary depending on the cryptocurrency you’re withdrawing.
Some crypto investment apps claim to have zero fees, but they usually charge a spread, which is the difference between the buying and selling rates. Spreads can sometimes end up being more expensive than percentage trading fees.
Other fees might be associated with advanced trading strategies like margin trading. Beginner-friendly exchanges often have higher fees for quick buy features. If you make purchases with a credit or debit card, you may also be charged a premium by the exchange and your card issuer.
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➤ How to Choose a Crypto App
Besides fees, consider the following when choosing a crypto app:
Security: Make sure the exchange takes security seriously. Hackers can target crypto exchanges, so it’s essential to trust the platform.
Trading Volumes: Ensure there’s enough trading activity on the exchange, especially for the cryptocurrencies you want to trade. Low-volume markets can lead to higher costs due to slippage.
Educational Resources: If you’re new to crypto, look for an exchange with educational resources to help you understand the market better.
Available Coins: Check if the exchange offers the cryptocurrencies you’re interested in buying.
Accessibility: Make sure the exchange is available in your country or state, as regulations can vary.
➤ Best Crypto Apps FAQ
What’s a crypto app? It’s a place to buy and sell cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum.
How much money do you need to buy crypto? Requirements vary by exchange and the type of cryptocurrency you want to buy.
How do I open a crypto app account? Visit the exchange’s website or app and follow their registration process, which often includes identity verification.
How do crypto apps make money? They earn money through various fees, including transaction fees, trading fees, interest on loans, listing fees, and market-making.
Which crypto app has the lowest fees? Fees can differ between exchanges, so it’s best to research and calculate fees for your specific needs.
How many crypto exchanges are there? There are over 550 crypto exchanges worldwide, but this number can vary.
Which crypto exchange does not report to the IRS? KuCoin is reported to not directly report information to U.S. governmental organizations, including the IRS, but it’s not licensed in the United States.
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