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While cryptocurrency has surged in popularity in recent years, only a small minority of Americans have actually traded it. Among the most popular cryptos are Bitcoin, Ethereum and Dogecoin, each of which has seen a lot of action in the past year or so. The appeal for traders? The potential to make significant money on the volatility of these highly speculative assets.
Increasingly, traders have more and more ways to access cryptocurrencies. New exchanges and trading platforms have started in response to the wide interest in crypto. In fact, you may already have an app on your phone that lets you trade. For example, if you have the PayPal or Venmo apps, you can buy and sell at least a few different cryptocurrency coins. But other apps and exchanges give you access to a wider selection of cryptocurrency — there are literally thousands — or they offer other benefits such as lower cost.
Below are some of the top apps and exchanges for crypto trading and some of the key things you need to know.
Top apps and exchanges for cryptocurrency trading in December 2022
The platforms below include specialized crypto exchanges, online brokers, and cash and payment apps. We’ve included pricing as well as how many coins you’re able to trade, so you can get a sense of the scope of each app or exchange.
If you’re interested in trading the largest cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, exclusively, it may not make sense to go with an app that offers you dozens of others. On the other hand, if you’re looking to trade whatever is hot at the moment, consider an app or exchange with more variety.
Bittrex is an attractive option for crypto traders thanks to its straightforward low-cost commissions, particularly for those trading high volumes. If you’re trading less than $50,000 every 30 days, you’ll pay between 0.25 and 0.35 percent in commissions, but the fees fall quickly from there if you’re trading big bucks. Plus, Bittrex doesn’t charge for USD deposits or ACH withdrawals.
Hard-core crypto enthusiasts will also appreciate Bittrex’s offering of nearly 100 cryptocurrencies to trade. You’ll find all the most popular coins including Bitcoin, Ethereum and Dogecoin, as well as the more obscure listings.
Cost: Fees start at 0.35 percent and decline sharply for high-volume traders.
Coins available to trade: Nearly 100 coins including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin and Litecoin
Binance.US, which is the American arm of the larger Binance organization, is one of the best crypto exchanges because of its low trading costs. Traders with less than $50,000 in trading volume over the previous 30 days will pay just 0.10 percent, and the fees decline from there for high-volume traders. Plus, if you use Binance’s in-house coin, BNB, to pay trading fees, you’ll get a discount of 25 percent.
You’ll also be able to trade 137 different cryptocurrencies at Binance, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding what you’re looking for, especially if you just want to trade the most popular coins.
Cost: 0.10 percent, but lower for high-volume traders. A 25 percent discount is available if you pay trading fees with BNB.
Coins available to trade: 137 coins including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Solana, Cardano and more
The broker eToro is all crypto, all the time (at least for American traders, though others can trade stocks). At eToro you’ll have access to 63 cryptocurrencies, including quite a few, such as Tezos, Uniswap and Polygon, that you won’t normally find on the traditional brokerage apps. The app doesn’t charge a direct commission but rather a flat spread markup of 1 percent, regardless of which coin you purchase or how much.
Cost: Commission-free, but spread markup of 1 percent
Coins available to trade: 63 cryptos, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin and more
Coinbase is a specialized cryptocurrency exchange that allows you to trade a bunch of digital currencies, 230 at the latest count. That range will likely scratch your crypto itch, since it includes most of the top coins, including Bitcoin, of course. But what will you pay for using the basic service? Unfortunately, Coinbase has become cagier about what you’ll pay to trade, recently obscuring the fee structure on its website.
When it was visible, the fee structure was complex, to say the least. You’d pay a spread markup of about 0.5 percent and a transaction fee that depended on the size of the transaction and the funding source. For Coinbase Pro, you’ll pay fees that start at 0.6 percent for trades under $10,000 and decline to 0.15 percent for up to $100,000 in volume and then head even lower.
Cost: Typically at least 1.99 percent (lower with Coinbase Pro)
Coins available to trade: A whopping 230, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Cardano and Solana
Kraken is another specialized cryptocurrency exchange that lets you trade a ton of different coins, including the most popular as well as some (Solana, Uniswap, Cardano and more) that are not typically available on the usual financial apps. In total, the exchange supports trading in more than 212 cryptos. Kraken does not offer its service to residents of New York and Washington state.
Kraken generally charges a 1.5 percent fee (or 0.9 percent for stablecoins) but debit or credit card transactions incur a 3.75 percent fee plus 25 cents, and you can get hit with a 0.5 percent online banking processing fee if you fund through a bank. But prices decline significantly if you’re using Kraken Pro. Fees there start at a range of 0.16 to 0.26 percent at the lowest volume levels and decline to a range of 0 to 0.1 percent with volume of $10 million or more in the last 30 days. High-net-worth traders can also access margin trading, increasing their buying power (and risk).
Cost: Fee of 1.5 percent, plus fees for cards and online banking (lower with Kraken Pro)
Coins available to trade: 212 of them, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Solana and Uniswap
You may know Robinhood for its slick trading app for stocks, options and ETFs, but it’s also expanded into cryptocurrencies. Plus, it brings its no-commission structure to the crypto world. Although trading may look free, Robinhood charges a spread markup rather than a direct commission, meaning that the costs are built into a coin’s buy or sell price. You can get started almost immediately with Robinhood’s instant transfer feature, so it’s just download and go.
Cost: $0, or commission-free, but there’s a spread markup
Coins available to trade: 18 of them (some aren’t available in all states), including Bitcoin, Dogecoin and Ethereum
Webull may not be the poster child for trading apps, but its feature set feels a step above Robinhood’s. Like its well-known rival, Webull offers stocks, options, ETFs and cryptocurrencies with no out-of-pocket commission. And similarly, Webull works on a spread markup for its crypto trades, so your cost is built into the trade. You’re also able to trade a few more coins than you’re able to at Robinhood, including Cardano.
Cost: Commission-free, but spread markup of 1 percent (100 basis points)
Coins available to trade: 39 different types, including Bitcoin, Ethereum and Cardano
When you think of cryptocurrency, you might not think of Cash App at first. The financial app is known more for its cash management account or even its ability to trade stocks and ETFs. But it also offers the ability to trade crypto, albeit only one — Bitcoin. While you can send Bitcoin to other users for free, Cash App charges what it calls a “small fee” for trading the coin, which it will disclose before you place the trade. That’s in addition to a spread markup built into the trade itself. Unfortunately, it doesn’t disclose its exact fee structure.
Cost: Spread markup plus a trading fee
Coins available to trade: Only Bitcoin
Like Cash App, you may already have PayPal installed on your phone and, if so, you could be up and running with trading cryptocurrency in literally seconds from now. PayPal charges a fee for any trade and also prices in a spread markup on trades. The fee starts at 49 cents for trades under $5, then gradually rises to $2.49 for trades up to $200. It then switches to a percentage that declines to as low as 1.5 percent for trades over $1,000. Helpfully, PayPal lists its fee structure plainly for all to see. PayPal’s sister app Venmo offers the same services on similar terms.
Cost: Spread markup plus a trading fee that starts at 49 cents and declines to 1.5 percent
Coins available to trade: Four different cryptos — Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash
The best crypto trading app or exchange for you depends on your needs. If you’re looking to trade a wide range of digital currencies, consider an app or exchange that allows you to do so. But if you prefer to stick mainly to the major ones such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and a handful of others, then many of the platforms mentioned here can get the job done. But cost is an important consideration as well, so keep that in mind before opening an account.
Editorial Disclaimer: All investors are advised to conduct their own independent research into investment strategies before making an investment decision. In addition, investors are advised that past investment product performance is no guarantee of future price appreciation.