The Best Crypto Exchanges
in the US 2021
Making Crypto Simple
There are quite a few options to buy cryptocurrency in the United States. However, there aren’t as many as you would think. It is very hard for exchanges to meet legislative requirements in the US.
Even so, there are a number of good exchanges to choose from and most of the largest exchanges are able to operate in the US. Over the years we’ve reviewed 100’s of different exchanges all over the world. Below is our summary of findings and our top 10 list.
|Exchange Website||Rating||Currencies||Available Cryptocurrencies||Fees||Our Review||Visit Site|
|5/5||USD||30+ Cryptocurrencies||Varies||Coinbase Review||Visit Site|
|4/5||USD, GBP & EUR||30+ Cryptocurrencies||0.26%||Kraken Review||Visit Site|
|3.5/5||USD & EUR||7 Cryptocurrencies||6%||Coinmama Review||Visit Site|
|3/5||USD & Others||70+ Cryptocurrencies||3.5%||CEX Review||Visit Site|
|3/5||USD & EUR||6+ Cryptocurrencies||0.5%||Bitstamp Review||Visit Site|
|2/5||USD||150+ Cryptocurrencies||0.5%||Visit Site|
|2.5/5||USD||5+ Cryptocurrencies||1%||Visit Site|
|2/5||USD||90+ Cryptocurrencies||0.25%||Visit Site|
|2/5||USD||150+ Cryptocurrencies||0.1%||Visit Site|
|2.5/5||GBP & USD||6 Cryptocurrencies||Daily Fees||Visit Site|
The Best Cryptocurrency Exchanges in the United States – Reviews 2021
1. Coinbase Exchange
One of the first crypto exchanges launched in the US is Coinbase, a crypto exchange available to traders since 2012. It was created by Brian Armstrong and Fred Ehrsam, two software engineers who founded the company in San Francisco, California.
Coinbase is not only a popular trading platform for US residents but also for traders in more than 100 different countries in the world. The main reason for its success lies in the platform’s user-friendliness that makes crypto trading look attractive and feasible for beginners as well.
The platform is actually a brokerage that instead of connecting buyers to sellers who would then exchange currencies between themselves, directly provides digital assets to its users at an average market price. To maintain a high level of security, Coinbase uses a Digital Asset Framework to evaluate the potential and demand of cryptocurrencies before it adds them to its list.
Right now, Coinbase supports only the most prominent coins: Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Ripple, and Litecoin. US customers can choose from the following payment methods: linking a bank account for both small and large investments, using a debit card to make small instant purchases, wire transfer for large investments, or PayPal, for withdrawals.
As for the fees, debit cards incur higher fees (3.99%), while bank purchases add a 1.49% fee. That’s the industry average.
2. Kraken Exchange
Another crypto exchange veteran, Kraken is a fully-fledged platform founded in 2011 by Jesse Powell, an expert in virtual currencies who’s been around in the industry for more than 15 years. Before founding Kraken, Powell worked on different crypto projects and even helped Mt. Gox get back on its feet after the notorious hacking attack.
Witnessing the challenges of the industry and realizing the need for secure crypto trading platforms, he was motivated to create his own. The security improvements that he added to Kraken’s protocol were: “Master Key” that gives you access to restricted account options and Global Settings Lock that you can set to recognize a list of addresses and block the rest.
As a fiat to crypto exchange, Kraken offers around 30 cryptocurrencies that can be purchased with USD, EUR, CAD, JPY, GBP, and CHF, depending on the user’s location.
Kraken’s fees are below the industry average, starting at 0.16% for makers and 0.26% for takers. The good thing about using a maker and taker fee schedule that takes into account your 30-day trading volume is that fees get significantly lower if you exceed $50,000 per month in trades.
Both Coinbase and Kraken comply with US financial regulations and perform KYC checks on all their customers.
3. Coinmama Exchange
Coinmama was founded and headquartered in Israel in 2013 but offers its services to customers from all over the world. In the US, Coinmama is available in 40 states.
The platform operates as a brokerage, or a buy-only outlet in particular, where users can purchase popular coins like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, Ripple, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, Cardano, and Qtum. In the future, the company might decide to include a “Sell” option as well.
Coinmama became famous as the first crypto exchange that started accepting credit and debit cards as a payment method for cryptocurrencies. This immediately caught the attention of traders worldwide, including US residents. However, you need to be aware of the added 5% fee to debit/credit card purchases.
Unlike Coinbase, Coinmama doesn’t feature its own cryptocurrency wallet. It’s important to know this beforehand, so you can choose one of the many online wallets available nowadays.
If you want to protect your personal data, Coinmama only requires a legitimate ID to verify your account. The only drawback is that you have a daily limit of $5,000 unless you provide more information and unlock higher tiers.
4. CEX Exchange
CEX.io is another international platform from London, UK, founded in 2013. This platform is fully licensed and complies with the UK regulatory framework. In the US, the platform can be used in 31 states.
The exchange offers a good choice of cryptocurrencies for purchase: Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Litecoin, Ripple, Dash, Bitcoin Gold, Tron, Stellar, BitTorrent, MetaHash, and ZCash. You can buy all of them with USD, EUR, GBP, and RUB, but always double-check your options based on the coin in question.
When it comes to selling crypto, only BTC, BCH, ETH, and XRP can be exchanged for fiat currencies. The platform has something to offer to everyone, from cross-platform trading to margin trading with as much as 10x leverage.
The only place where CEX.io falls short of our expectations is their fee schedule. When you open their website, you can see the fixed 0.2% fee. To many, this will seem incredibly cheap, and rightfully so. Later, you realize that an additional 7% have been added to the current coin market price.
5. Bitstamp Exchange
Bitstamp is the last crypto exchange on our top five list. Co-founded in 2011 by Nejc Kodrich and Damian Merlak, the exchange has built a solid reputation among the crypto enthusiasts.
At the start, Bitstamp was headquartered in Slovenia, only to be relocated to Luxembourg three years later where it was recognized as a payment institution and became the first nationally licensed crypto exchange. In 2018, Bitstamp was bought by NXMH, a Belgian company.
The company is constantly working on expanding its offices and clientele. In 2019, Bitstamp’s USA subsidiary acquired a cryptocurrency license from the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS). The media coverage resulted in more US traders getting to know about this platform and registering for an account.
On Bitstamp you can buy Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Ripple with USD or EUR, and pay via bank transfers or credit/debit cards. As far as fees go, the platform takes into account your trading volume to adjust the fee, the average being 0.50%.
Learn More About Cryptocurrency Exchanges
If you want to become a good trader, you have to approach crypto trading with seriousness. This means that you need to take stock of the cryptocurrency options available on the market before you make your decision.
Once you choose a cryptocurrency, it would be easier to find a crypto exchange that has what it takes. To make matters even more trouble-free for you, in this guide, we’ll suggest five highly reputable exchanges that can be used in the US and what features to keep an eye on.
We’re confident that by the end of the guide you’ll feel more comfortable with your investment strategy and readier than ever to start trading.
Cryptocurrencies are a special type of virtual currencies designed and protected using cryptographic proof. They are units of value and mediums of exchange, kept on digital ledgers known as blockchains.
The idea of designing a digital coin has been around since the late 80s but previous attempts have turned into failures. The biggest challenge was how to stay true to the decentralized nature of these coins and involve no central authorities, but protect the transactions from double-spending at the same time.
Finally, Satoshi Nakamoto, the father of Bitcoin, proposed a solution. In 2008, he published a paper called Bitcoin: An Electronic Peer to Peer Cash System where he explained how cryptography and proof of work mechanism can help miners detect false or double-spent transactions.
Thanks to Bitcoin, people can make pseudonymous transactions that are ten times faster, cheaper, and more secure. Blockchain technology doesn’t allow outsiders to delete or make any changes to the stored data.
At first, Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, in general, were seen as stores of value with a great potential for short or long term investment. (if you want to purchase some yourself, read our guide on how to buy bitcoin in the US)
This was followed by the second generation of cryptos used primarily as utility tokens within peer to peer networks as fuel for blockchain-based applications and smart contracts.
What Are Crypto Exchanges?
Crypto exchanges are the best place to buy and sell cryptocurrencies, transfer them to another account, store them temporarily, or trade them with other fiat/cryptocurrencies.
If you haven’t bought any digital assets in your life, start from fiat to crypto exchange where fiat currencies can be used as a deposit method without a problem. Later on, when you’re experienced enough and have cryptos you want to trade for other cryptos, nothing can stop you from switching to crypto to crypto exchange.
Moving on, it’s important to learn the difference between a centralized (traditional) exchange and a decentralized (peer to peer) crypto exchange.
Centralized or traditional exchanges got their name for: being the first exchanges available to traders; playing the role of a central authority or intermediary that monitors users’ transactions and offers escrow services.
One of the advantages of centralized exchanges is enjoying a risk-free trading environment as most of these platforms comply with state regulations and have the money to invest in high-level security methods. Next, the top ten exchanges based on high liquidity are decentralized which makes the exchange less susceptible to market manipulation.
Decentralized or peer to peer exchanges connect buyers and sellers and help them execute their deals with smart contracts or atomic swaps instead of acting as an escrow. These exchanges typically have lower fees and more options for making payments. Most of the time, you don’t have to provide an ID to verify your account.
The Final Checklist
Reading our guide has definitely given you some insight into how crypto exchanges work and what they usually have to offer to their customers in terms of trading options. Which one did you like best from our five trustworthy crypto exchanges suitable for US traders?
If you have two or three favorites, try using this checklist as your decision-maker:
- Is this your first time trading cryptocurrencies or you’ve done this before? Beginners should stay away from complex trading platforms, and look for clutter-free, straightforward exchanges with basic trading options.
- Do you own any cryptocurrencies? If you do, it means you’re already using a digital wallet to store them. Otherwise, look for exchanges that provide their own wallet, like Coinbase for example.
- Can you buy the cryptocurrency you’re after? Can you sell it later for the fiat or cryptocurrency that you need?
- Does the exchange offer reasonable fees? What about deposit or withdrawal fees? Comparing the fees between two or three platforms can really help you make the right choice.
- Does the exchange comply with AML and KYC policies? Are you okay with providing a government-issued ID for account verification?
- What security methods do they use?
- What can you learn about their customer support from user reviews?
- What countries does the exchange support? If you’re looking for crypto platforms in specific countries, we’ve built the following comparisons: Best crypto exchanges in Australia, best cryptocurrency exchanges for Canada, and the best crypto exchanges for the UK.
Frequently Asked Questions
We already narrowed down the list of reliable crypto exchanges for you to use in the States. Now, it’s up to you to create an investment strategy and find the right platform to match. Check whether it has the coin you’re after or the payment method you’re ready to use. If you already have some experience and are interested in margin trading, make sure this platform supports that.
Globally speaking, Coinbase is one of the biggest crypto exchanges and among the biggest holders of Bitcoin! This has been discovered by assessing the platform’s trading volume, the number of markets, liquidity, etc.
Around 1.1 million BTC belongs to Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin’s founder, which makes him the person with most Bitcoins in the world.
It comes as no surprise that Bitcoin fees continue to grow. This is happening due to Bitcoin’s popularity and increased transaction throughput that causes mining difficulty to increase as well. The transactions that include higher fees have better chances of getting verified first.
Transaction fees remain for the Bitcoin miners as an incentive to continue doing their job, together with the BTC mining reward.