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Crypto exchanges function similarly to online brokerage platforms, providing you with the tools you need to buy and sell digital currencies and tokens like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Dogecoin.
When choosing a cryptocurrency exchange, it’s important to look at factors such as supported assets, fees, payment methods, and security. We considered these factors when selecting this list of the best cryptocurrency exchanges.
Best Crypto Exchanges of 2023
Unlike traditional brokerage firms, cryptocurrency exchanges are not members of the Securities Investor Protection Corp. (SIPC). Therefore, unless user terms specify otherwise, investors with cryptocurrency assets commingled on a custodial cryptocurrency exchange could potentially lose their funds as unsecured creditors.
Investing in cryptocurrencies, Decentralized Finance (DeFi), and other Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) is highly risky and speculative, and the markets can be extremely volatile. Consult with a qualified professional before making any financial decisions. This article is not a recommendation by Investopedia or the writer to invest in cryptocurrencies nor can the accuracy or timeliness of the information be guaranteed.
Best for Low Fees and Best for Experienced Traders : Kraken
Kraken’s professional-grade trading platform, Kraken Pro, is our pick for the best low-fee exchange because it charges some of the lowest fees in the crypto exchange landscape. It’s also our top choice for experienced traders, as it offers advanced order types and supports margin and futures trading.
Large number of supported cryptocurrencies
Low fees on Kraken Pro
Highly liquid exchange
Not available in all U.S. states
Limited account funding options
Established in 2011 and available in most of the world, Kraken is one of the most reputable cryptocurrency exchanges in the world. The San Francisco-based exchange enables investors to buy, sell, and store over 185 cryptocurrencies while charging low fees on its professional-grade trading platform, Kraken Pro.
This feature-rich crypto exchange established itself as the go-to platform for professional investors in the early days of the crypto market, and it’s maintained its reputation as a reliable and professional trading venue.
Kraken offers two platforms, its main trading platform and its professional platform, Kraken Pro. The exchange’s Pro dashboard provides highly customizable chart analysis tools, detailed insight into the order books, 13 order types, and high-speed execution. In addition to spot trading, Kraken users can also trade cryptocurrency using margin and execute crypto derivatives trading strategies.
While instant buy fees on Kraken’s main platform are quite high—up to 1.5%—fees on Kraken Pro are very low. Kraken Pro offers a tiered fee structure that allows high-volume traders to save on trading fees. For traders with 30-day volumes of less than $50,000, Kraken Pro’s maker fees start at 0.16% and taker fees start at 0.26%. However, maker fees can drop as low as 0%, and taker fees can drop as low as 0.10% (for traders with 30-day rolling volumes of over $10 million).
Moreover, Kraken has limited funding options, with wire transfers being the primary payment method for Kraken users. ACH transfers are not supported.
Best for Beginners : Coinbase
Coinbase is our pick for best crypto exchange for beginners because it offers a large number of supported cryptocurrencies, strong security, and advanced trading capabilities, all on an easy-to-use platform.
Large number of cryptocurrencies and trading pairs
Offers both beginner-friendly and advanced trading platforms
Highly liquid exchange
Lack of high-quality customer service
Coinbase.com is a custodial account meaning you don't control the private keys
Coinbase was founded in 2012 to enable people to seamlessly buy, sell, and store Bitcoin. Fast-forward to today, and Coinbase is a publicly traded cryptocurrency exchange with a total market value of over $36 billion.
The originally San Francisco-based crypto exchange is now a geographically decentralized company with no headquarters and available in 100+ countries. It stands out for providing a user-friendly trading experience, robust security, and a range of advanced features for experienced traders. Because of its large number of supported assets (200+) and easy-to-use platform, Coinbase has become the go-to exchange for many first-time crypto buyers. The platform has the look and feel of an online banking app, which most people are using already, making the transition to crypto investing simple.
Coinbase also insures the digital funds it holds on behalf of users and stores U.S. dollar balances in Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)-insured bank accounts to prevent a loss of user funds in the case of a security breach. Trading accounts can be funded with a wide range of payment methods, including wire transfer and ACH transfer.
What’s more, Coinbase also offers options for storing crypto. The first is a custodial option for new investors: storing your coins on the Coinbase.com exchange. The second is a non-custodial wallet (Coinbase Wallet) for experienced crypto users. When storing your crypto on Coinbase.com, Coinbase holds the private keys and effectively stores funds on behalf of the user. With Coinbase Wallet, the user has complete control over their funds as they hold the wallet’s private keys.
While Coinbase can be a good exchange for both new and advanced crypto investors, trading fees can be relatively high, ranging from 0% to 0.60% depending on trade volume. In addition, Coinbase’s user feedback is relatively poor. For instance, several Trustpilot users mention problems with customer support. Additionally, there are numerous stories of unexpected account closures that have tainted the exchange’s image.
Despite these drawbacks, Coinbase is still worth considering due to its many positive features.
Best Mobile App : Crypto.com
We chose Crypto.com as the best mobile crypto exchange app because it provides an extensive digital asset trading and investing ecosystem you can access easily from your smartphone.
Supports more than 250 cryptocurrencies
Provides a range of cryptocurrency products
Poor customer support
After launching in 2016, Crypto.com has established itself as one of the leading global crypto exchanges. It’s now available in 90 countries worldwide, and it supports over 250 cryptocurrencies.
In addition to offering a large number of supported assets, Crypto.com provides a vast digital asset ecosystem composed of its own blockchain, Crypto.org Chain; a native token called CRO; a crypto visa card; yield-generating crypto products; and more.
What stands out the most, however, is the Crypto.com mobile app. While many crypto exchange mobile apps provide a watered-down version of the exchange’s web-based platform, Crypto.com put a strong focus on building an app that offers a wide range of products and features so users can benefit from this exchange’s ecosystem on the go. Mobile app users can buy, sell, trade, and earn interest on their crypto, as well as pay with crypto.
While Crypto.com offers an impressive amount of products and features, customer support is lacking. Additionally, unless you trade at higher volumes, you will end up paying trading fees of up to 0.075%.
If you are looking for an excellent mobile crypto trading experience, Crypto.com is arguably the best option thanks to its range of products and features, as well as its large number of supported assets.
Best for Security : Gemini
We have picked Gemini as the crypto exchange with the best security because it has robust security protocols, insures user funds, and is SOC 2-certified.
Available to users in all 50 U.S. states
Highly liquid exchange
Insures funds held in hot wallet
Strong security framework
High fees on many trades
Supports fewer cryptocurrencies than many competitor exchanges
Launched in 2014 by Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, Gemini stands out for putting a strong emphasis on security and compliance. The New York-based exchange has hot wallet insurance to make sure user funds remain safe in the case of a security breach. Additionally, it requires users to complete an identity verification process to reduce the potential for fraud.
Gemini also encourages users to utilize two-factor authentication to secure their accounts and provides the option to review and approve devices used to log onto the trading account. Another standout security feature of Gemini is that it is SOC 2-certified, which means that third-party auditors have verified the company’s security and compliance frameworks.
Built with advanced traders in mind, Gemini provides a professional-grade trading dashboard and supports over 100 digital currencies and tokens. Gemini also offers a cryptocurrency reward card and allows users to pay for goods and services with crypto.
Gemini's main platform and active trader platform use different fee structures. The primary platform charges fixed amounts for smaller trades and a very high 1.49% on trades above $200. The active trader platform charges maker-taker fees up to 0.4% with reductions as your volume grows. These are also on the high side. However, paying the comparatively high fee may be a small price to pay for Gemini’s highly robust security.
Traders and investors who prefer to trade on a highly secure platform will appreciate what Gemini has to offer.
Best for Altcoins : BitMart Exchange
BitMart is our top pick in the best for altcoins category because it allows users in 180+ countries to buy and sell over 1,000 cryptocurrencies.
Supports a very large number of cryptocurrencies
Provides crypto earning opportunities
Offers a simple buy/sell cryptocurrency feature
Experienced a large-scale hack in 2021
Poor feedback from customers
Founded in 2017, BitMart is a global cryptocurrency exchange that’s available in over 180 countries. It allows users to buy, sell, and store over 1,000 digital currencies and tokens.
Incorporated in the Cayman Islands, BitMart has established itself as a leading trading venue for small and mid-cap cryptocurrencies. BitMart offers more assets and trading pairs than its market-leading peers, so Investors looking to add newly launched or obscure crypto assets to their portfolios will likely find what they are looking for on this exchange.
Additionally, BitMart customers can use the exchange’s Earn feature to receive interest on crypto assets held with the exchange. Users can also access trading fee discounts when holding the exchange’s native token, BMX.
While BitMart has a lot to offer for experienced crypto traders, the exchange has received some poor customer feedback over the years. For instance, several complaints from users reported withdrawal issues, poor customer support, and a lack of transparency. However, there are at least some positive reviews as well.
Moreover, BitMart suffered a security breach in December 2021 that resulted in the loss of $196 million in user funds. While BitMart has promised to reimburse users, the hack has made a substantial dent in the exchange’s reputation.
Despite these drawbacks, crypto enthusiasts interested in trading a wide range of lesser-known cryptocurrencies will find what they are looking for on BitMart.
Best for Bitcoin : Cash App
We chose Cash App as our top pick among Bitcoin-only exchanges as it allows you to seamlessly and securely buy, sell, and store Bitcoin from your smartphone.
Withdraw to wallets
Supports the Bitcoin Lightning Network
Only supports Bitcoin
Various limits on deposits, sales etc.
Launched in 2013 by Block, Inc. (formerly Square, Inc.), Cash App allows individuals in the United States and the United Kingdom to send, spend, bank, and invest. It’s essentially a mobile banking app geared towards peer-to-peer payments, but it also has an investment component. Users can invest in stocks, ETFs, and Bitcoin through Cash App. Unlike its peers, such as Robinhood and Venmo, Cash App also lets users withdraw their Bitcoin to third-party wallets, which makes it stand out from its competition.
In early 2022, Cash App’s CEO Jack Dorsey announced that the company has started to roll out support for the Bitcoin Lightning Network to enable near-instant Bitcoin transfers at almost no cost.
The main drawback of using Cash App to buy and store Bitcoin is that the in-app wallet is custodial, which means the company holds your virtual currency on your behalf. While custodial wallets can be convenient, they are also regarded as less secure than non-custodial wallets. However, since you can withdraw your Bitcoin from Cash App, you can move your crypto into a personal wallet to which you hold the private keys.
Cash App’s Bitcoin trading fees vary and are only shown when you are asked to confirm your buy or sell transaction. When you trade bitcoin, Cash App uses the mid-price and adds a spread fee.
Best Decentralized Exchange : Bisq
Bisq is our pick for best decentralized exchange because it allows users anywhere in the world to securely and privately buy and sell cryptocurrencies.
Offers a high degree of privacy, no ID verification required
50+ different payment options
Transaction speed can be slow
Trading volumes can be low
Not designed for active trading
Launched in 2014, Bisq is an open-source cryptocurrency trading software that enables individuals from across the globe to trade a range of digital currencies and tokens in a peer-to-peer manner. It currently supports over 120 digital assets.
This decentralized exchange does not require users to complete a Know Your Customer (KYC) identity verification process, nor is the trading software limited to users in specific jurisdictions. On Bisq, users can buy and sell Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies using various payment methods, including bank wire transfers, ACH transfers, and cash deposits.
While Bisq is popular among early cryptocurrency adopters as it stays true to many of the values that Bitcoin was built on, such as decentralization, privacy, and sovereignty, the exchange is not very beginner-friendly. The escrow mechanism used in the peer-to-peer trading process may be challenging for new users while the comparatively slow trade execution could deter first-time users and active traders. Additionally, the exchange is more targeted at making smaller trades as trading volumes are lower than on centralized global exchanges.
However, for experienced crypto investors who prefer to trade on a decentralized, KYC-free platform, Bisq offers everything you need to buy and sell cryptocurrency.
If you’re looking to get started with cryptocurrency trading or investing, choosing the best exchange for your needs is essential. Whether you want a large number of digital assets to trade, the lowest possible fees, or the best mobile trading experience, there is a good option for you.
We found that Crypto.com is the best choice to participate in the increasingly popular mobile trading space. Bisq offers the best decentralized exchange, while Gemini brings the best security offering. Experienced traders and those looking for low fees will find a home with Kraken. Bitcoin-focused traders will find what they need in Cash App, but Bitmart is our choice for anyone looking to trade a larger pool of altcoins. Consider your goals and priorities and choose the exchange that best fits your needs.
Compare the Best Cryptocurrency Exchanges
|Company||Transaction Fees||Currencies||Minimum Deposit or Purchase||Trade Limits|
|Kraken Best for Low Fees & Experienced Traders||0.00% to 0.26%||185+||$1||No|
|Coinbase Best for Beginners||0.00% to 0.60%||200+||$2||Yes|
|Crypto.com Best Mobile App||0.00% to 0.075%||250+||$1||Yes|
|Gemini Best for Security||0.0% to 0.40% for active trader, 1.49% for most transactions on regular platform||75+||Varies||Yes|
|BitMart Best for Altcoins||0.045% to 0.25%||1000+||$50 for Bitmart purchases||No|
|Cash App Best for Bitcoin||Varies||1||$1||Yes|
|Bisq Best Decentralized Exchange||0.1% to 0.70%||120||Not Disclosed||No|
Guide for Choosing the Best Crypto Exchanges
Are Crypto Exchanges Worth It?
If you are looking to purchase cryptocurrencies, signing up for a crypto exchange can be your best option to get started.
While buying a few hundred dollars worth of Bitcoin from a local Bitcoin ATM may be convenient, it makes more sense to use an exchange if you are looking to invest a larger amount or you’re interested in buying a range of cryptocurrencies.
Crypto exchanges are the safest and most legal way to obtain cryptocurrency. But that’s not the only reason using an exchange is most suitable. Here are some of the reasons crypto exchanges are worth it.
- Crypto exchanges let users buy and sell cryptocurrencies online or using a mobile app, making it easy to access the crypto markets from anywhere.
- Most cryptocurrency exchanges offer a range of digital currencies and tokens, providing numerous options for investors that want to build a diversified portfolio of digital assets.
- Leading crypto exchanges typically hold user funds in cold storage to ensure the safety of assets.
- Global crypto exchanges usually comply with Know Your Customer and Anti-Money Laundering (KYC/AML) rules as well as financial regulations. Therefore, users can be assured they’re not dealing with a fraudulent company or malicious market participants.
Comparing Crypto Exchange Platforms
When choosing a crypto exchange that meets your needs, there are several factors to consider. The most important things to look at are:
- Supported assets: If you are looking to buy cryptocurrencies other than Bitcoin, look at the list of supported assets before deciding on an exchange. Some only support a few cryptocurrencies, while others allow you to trade hundreds.
- Payment methods: Crypto exchanges typically offer a handful of ways to fund your account or purchase cryptocurrencies directly. While most exchanges support wire transfers, some platforms also allow you to buy crypto using credit cards, debit cards, and other digital payment methods.
- Fees: High fees can eat into your investment returns, which is why it is important to research crypto exchange fees before you open an account. Crypto exchanges typically charge trading fees and withdrawal fees, but other fees can also pop up.
- Security: Unfortunately, crypto exchanges are a prime target for hackers looking to get their hands on cryptocurrency. Security breaches and cyber theft are common in the crypto exchange landscape, which is why it is essential to choose an exchange with strong security measures in place.
- Customer service: If you are new to cryptocurrency or investing, you may have questions or need help getting started. In that case, choosing an exchange with excellent customer support is probably the right move.
- Reputation: Before you sign up for an account on a crypto exchange, it’s a good idea to research that exchange’s reputation first. Read customer reviews, look into the exchange’s history, and look for any recent news stories that might provide some valuable insight
Signing Up for a Cryptocurrency Exchange Account
Opening an account on a cryptocurrency exchange works in a similar way to signing up for an online brokerage account.
You typically need to provide an email address and a password to initiate account creation. Next, you will receive an email asking you to confirm that you are the owner of the email address you provided.
Once you confirm your email address, you will usually be asked to complete an identity verification process. This generally involves providing personal information, proof of address, and uploading a copy of a government-issued photo ID. Most crypto exchanges ask for your full name, home address, and mobile number, as well as a utility bill or bank statement as proof of address and a digital copy of your passport or driver’s license.
Some exchanges may also require an extra step to prove the ID you're uploading is actually yours. Generally, this involves taking a photo of yourself holding your ID with a webcam or phone and submitting the photo to the exchange.
User verification can take from a few minutes up to several days depending on the exchange and the level of verification required. Exchanges often offer tiered verification levels, with lower tiers requiring less information. Lower verification tiers, however, usually come with lower deposit and withdrawal limits.
After completing the verification process, you can fund your trading account using the available funding options and start to buy and sell cryptocurrencies.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is a Cryptocurrency Exchange? How Does It Work?
A cryptocurrency exchange is an online marketplace where users buy, sell, and trade cryptocurrency. Crypto exchanges work similar to online brokerages, as users can deposit fiat currency (such as U.S. dollars) and use those funds to purchase cryptocurrency. Users can also trade their cryptocurrency for other cryptocurrencies, and some exchanges allow users to earn interest on assets held within the exchange account.
What Should You Look at When Choosing a Cryptocurrency Exchange?
When choosing a cryptocurrency exchange, there are several things to consider, including security, fees, and cryptocurrencies offered. It is also important to understand how your cryptocurrency is stored and whether you can take custody of that cryptocurrency by transferring it to your own digital wallet.
Cryptocurrency exchanges also come in centralized and decentralized formats. Centralized exchanges closely align with financial regulations from governmental authorities (such as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission). Many will insure U.S. dollar deposits and require proof of identity to use the platform. Decentralized exchanges are unregulated online exchanges hosted on distributed nodes that are user-owned, and there is no centralized governing authority. While this may sound scary, decentralized exchanges offer transparent transactions and fees as well as direct peer-to-peer exchange of cryptocurrency.
How Do You Buy Cryptocurrency?
Most centralized exchanges allow you to deposit funds via your bank account, credit card, or debit card to purchase cryptocurrency. You can then exchange those funds for the cryptocurrency of your choosing. While some offer only simple market orders, other exchanges will allow you to set more advanced order types, including limit and stop orders.
Once you purchase crypto through an exchange, the exchange typically holds it in a custodial wallet. Most exchanges store assets in offline “cold storage” for safekeeping. If you want to take custody of the cryptocurrency yourself, most exchanges allow you to transfer it to your “hot” or “cold” wallet, along with the private keys for that cryptocurrency.
How Do You Open a Cryptocurrency Exchange Account?
To open an account, most cryptocurrency exchanges require you to provide your name, email, personal information, and proof of identity (to follow KYC standards). This process may include answering personal questions, verifying your identity with a third-party application, or providing a picture of your driver’s license.
Once your account is approved, you can then deposit funds and start purchasing cryptocurrency.
How We Chose the Best Crypto Exchanges
Our team reviewed 28 cryptocurrency exchanges and collected over 1000 data points using publicly available information before selecting our top choices. We weighted more than 20 criteria and gave a higher weight to those with a more significant impact on potential customers.
The top picks were selected based on factors like trading fees (weighted 20%), withdrawal fees (15%), and if an exchange offers cold storage of crypto assets (weighted 10%).
We also took into account platform availability, the number of cryptocurrencies available, and customer support options. For further information about our selection criteria and process, our complete methodology is available.