Anyone with even half an eyeball on current events realizes what a wild ride cryptocurrency trading has been, practically since its debut in 2009. It’s experienced scandals and hacks and weathered bull and bear markets, the most recent of which zapped trillions of dollars from the market.
Through it all, crypto trading continues, with some investors seeing it as a buy low, sell high situation. And where there is trading, there are exchanges.
Top Crypto Trading Platforms
- Binance US
The crypto trading platforms and exchanges profiled here have fascinating histories. Some are traditional brokerages new to digital assets; others were founded with a specific type of trading in mind. Some were founded by tech legends, and others use celebrities to boost their marketplace presence. All, given crypto’s innate ability to make headlines, are worth knowing about.
Cryptocurrency Trading Terms to Know
- AMM: Automated market maker, the underlying protocol that powers decentralized exchanges
- Altcoin: A digital asset that’s not Bitcoin or Ethereum
- Cryptocurrencies: Digital assets that have their own blockchain
- DEX: The acronym for decentralized exchange — the marketplace for peer-to-peer trading
- Pairs: Digital assets that can be traded with each other on an exchange; examples include Bitcoin for Ether (BTC/ETH) and Bitcoin for dogecoin (BTC/DOGE)
- P2P: Peer-to-peer trading, which eliminates the middleman
- Stablecoin: Tokens backed by fixed assets, such as the dollar or gold
- Staking: Earning interest on stored crypto assets
- Tokens: Digital assets built on an existing blockchain
18 Top Crypto Trading Platforms and Exchanges
The platform, Binance’s version for U.S.-based investors, offers fee-free trading for certain combinations of currencies, operates via desktop or mobile app, and serves both individual and institutional clients. Binance.US’s website offers tutorials on Bitcoin basics (for four age groups), bitcoin halving and the fine points of technical analysis for cryptocurrencies. The Palo Alto, California-based company was founded in 2019.
A 2022 Investopedia article called Bisq the best platform for decentralized exchange, which means there is no middle party to handle the transfer; traders can trade peer to peer (P2P in crypto parlance), according to this explanation on newsletter Cointelegraph. Bisq’s open-source software can be downloaded for Mac or Windows.
This British Virgin Islands-based company, founded in Hong Kong in 2012, made news in 2022 when a New York couple allegedly hacked the site to the tune of $8 billion. The company said it has since strengthened security measures. Users can trade about 10 crypto and a handful of fiat currencies, and its website claims a “world class” trading platform with exchanging, margin funding, margin trading features and more.
Bitflyer, based in Tokyo, claims the top spot in Bitcoin trading volume in Japan for six years running. Users pay zero fees to trade; some coins carry a withdrawal fee, however. The site offers trading on a variety of currencies, including Bitcoin and Ethereum. Crawl type on the website’s home page posts the real-time trading price of the currencies.
Bitmart’s platform enables spot and futures trading on dozens of cryptocurrencies and trading pairs, or combinations that can be traded with each other, according to a Cryptopedia article. Individual and institutional investors can use the platform, which offers cash back and savings on crypto balances — except not for people based in or residents of the United States, according to the BitMart website. A recent Investopedia article called BitMart the top exchange for altcoin. .
Bitstamp, based in Luxembourg, was founded in 2011. Users can trade a handful of currencies, including Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin. Its website touts “easy, fast and reliable” trading with round-the-clock support and “bank-grade” security and insurance. Its Bitstamp Earn feature lets users earn rewards for “staking,” or holding assets for a certain amount of time, the website explains.
This traditional brokerage facilitates investing in cryptocurrency, but not trading it. Users can invest in entities called “cryptocurrency coin trusts,” for instance Grayscale Bitcoin Trust, Bitwise 10 Crypto Index Fund, and others, according to Schwab’s website. The trusts trade over the counter and can also be susceptible to high volatility, fees and other risks, the website says. In 2019, Schwab purchased online brokerage TDAmeritrade, which, like Schwab, offers trusts and other ways to invest in crypto, but does not actually facilitate crypto trading.
Coinbase enables individual and institutional investors to buy and sell cryptocurrency, store it in a wallet, earn crypto by using Coinbase credit card, dabble in derivatives and borrow using Bitcoin as collateral, its website says. Its home page lists trading prices of 10,038 crypto assets, searchable by gainers and losers, the website says. Tutorials offer help on crypto slang, buying NFTs, and opening a crypto wallet.
CoinFlip users buy and sell crypto (Bitcoin, Ethereum and more) with cash at the company’s ATM machines; there are north of 2,000 machines in 47 states across the country, according to Crunchbase data. To start trading, users only need a minimum of $10, a crypto wallet and a phone number, the website says. The company, based in the Chicago area, opened a Tampa, Florida office in the spring of 2022. It was founded in 2015.
Actor Matt Damon starred in a Crypto.com ad, luring viewers with the company’s slogan: Fortune Favours the Brave. The Crypto.com universe includes an app for trading, an NFT, a cash-back credit card, a Pay function for users to “pay and get paid” in crypto, and trading bots, which are automated strategies that enable users to build their portfolios, the website says. In June of 2022, it altered its Crypto Earn program (removing some currencies and adding others) in response to the bear market for crypto, according to newsletter Decrypt. The Singapore-based company was founded in 2016.
eToro enables trading of 78 currencies, including Bitcoin, Ethereum and Solana. The website touts low and transparent fees, ready-to-go portfolios, social trading, and an easy-to-use platform. In July of 2022, the Tel Aviv, Israel-based company laid off 6 percent of its employees after a canceled SPAC merger, according to newsletter CTech. The company was founded in 2007 as a platform to invest and trade stocks and other financial instruments.
Interactive Brokers, a global trading platform, enables trading of Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum and Litecoin. Users, its website says, can fund their accounts in 25 currencies and can trade on 150 global markets. The company’s website includes a webinar on digital assets and portfolio diversification. The online brokerage, founded in 1977, began offering cryptocurrency trading in 2021.
Kraken, according to Crunchbase, facilitates spot and futures trading of 40-plus digital assets, including Bitcoin and Ethereum against hard currencies including the Japanese yen and US dollar. Professional charting tools help individual traders, while concierge service is available for those trading large amounts. San Francisco, California-based Kraken was founded in 2011.
KuCoin’s website promises fast trading of more than 600 currencies, with options for spot and margin trading as well as platforms on which to buy and sell NFTs. With 8 million users, the company says 25 percent of the world’s crypto holders are with KuCoin. In June of 2022, it launched the KuCoin Wallet App, which the company says “redefines the concept of decentralized wallets” and offers users a “unique Web 3.0 experience.” KuCoin is based in Seychelles and was founded in 2017. Its May 2022 pre-Series B raise of $150 million boosted its market valuation to $10 billion, according to Techcrunch.
Poloniex offers trading of 350-plus currencies, including bitcoin, tokens and stablecoin such as USDD and USDJ. In June of 2022, it announced a partnership with Tron, a blockchain-based digital platform with its own cryptocurrency, called Tronix or TRX, according to Investopedia. Delaware-based Poloniex was launched in 2014, acquired by fintech company Circle for $400 million in 2018, and was spun out to an unnamed Asian investment firm in 2019, according to a Coindesk feature.
Robinhood offers trading for popular cryptocurrency, including Bitcoin, Ethereum and Dogecoin, and newcomers can start trading for $1, its website says. Menlo Park, California-based Robinhood, founded in 2013, pioneered fractional trading (portions of one share of stock) to tempt young investors; in 2021, restricting trades of a certain white-hot stock put Robinhood in the spotlight and under hot lights.
TradeStation’s TSCrypto offers an array of trading tools, including the ability to build a crypto portfolio, advanced order routing and execution, analysis tools, one-click order entry, plus easy-to-view positions and mobile and desktop versions. Users can trade five currencies (as of July 2022); trades are commission-free to a certain point, and fees do apply for futures traded on certain exchanges.
“Made for you, by you,” promises this New York-based company, founded in 2017. The commission-free platform enables trading in 44-plus cryptocurrencies with a $1 minimum. It’s beta-testing an ewallet for crypto, which will allow users to buy, store and transfer crypto in one place, the website says. Webull’s site offers tutorials on common trading terms and strategies for newbie traders.