Best Crypto Exchange for Beginners 2021
Making Crypto Simple
Burning with enthusiasm to start investing in cryptocurrency, but uncertain whether this is the right time to break new grounds? We’re here to assure you there’s nothing to worry about.
This panicky feeling you’re experiencing is a normal and healthy reaction that proves you’re not someone who acts on a whim. While it’s true that the crypto market is highly volatile and unpredictable, when executed carefully, crypto assets are a great way to diversify your portfolio. You know what they say – don’t put all your eggs into one basket!
For the newbies among our readers, this guide will give a detailed overview of the ten best beginner-friendly crypto exchanges. Keep reading, as your first cryptos are only a few clicks away.
Just like our best Australian crypto exchange comparison, we used factors like ease of use, features, fees, and available cryptocurrencies to build this list.
|Exchange Website||Rating||Currencies||Available Cryptocurrencies||Fees||Our Review||Visit Site|
|5/5||USD||30+ Cryptocurrencies||Varies||Coinbase Review||Visit Site|
|4/5||42+ Currencies||100+ Cryptocurrencies||0.1%||Binance Review||Visit Site|
|3.5/5||USD & Others||50+ Cryptocurrencies||0.26%||Kraken Review||Visit Site|
|3/5||USD & EUR||190+ Cryptocurrencies||0.2%||Bittrex Review||Visit Site|
|3/5||USD & Others||100+ Cryptocurrencies||0.2%||Bitfinex Review||Visit Site|
|2.5/5||USD||5+ Cryptocurrencies||1%||Visit Site|
|2.5/5||USD & EUR||7 Cryptocurrencies||6%||Visit Site|
|2/5||USD & Others||70+ Cryptocurrencies||3.5%||Visit Site|
|2/5||EUR & Others||90+ Cryptocurrencies||Daily Fees||Visit Site|
|2/5||USD & EUR||90+ Cryptocurrencies||0.5%||Visit Site|
The Best Crypto Exchanges for Beginners – Reviews 2021
1. Coinbase Exchange
If you’re buying cryptocurrency for the first time, the best point of entry for you is definitely Coinbase, an American platform that was among the first to offer cryptocurrency brokerage services.
Coinbase was launched in 2012 by Brian Armstrong and Fred Ehrsam. Since then, the company has opened two additional offices in the States and one in Japan, Ireland, and the UK each. Today, they have a functioning team of over 200 employees and continue to simplify the process of purchasing cryptocurrencies quickly and safely.
One way Coinbase protects its customers is by limiting its offer to include only the most lucrative and stable crypto assets such as Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ethereum (ETH), and Litecoin (LTC) that have been assessed and approved in accordance with the platform’s Digital Asset Framework.
As a broker, Coinbase provides asset liquidity itself instead of directing traders to an order book. Contrary to some exchanges, Coinbase has a fiat gateway that allows new investors to purchase their first digital currencies with fiat. You can link your bank account to make an ACH or wire transfer for a 1.49% fee per trade, or use your Visa/MasterCard debit card for a 3.99% fee.
When signing up for an account, you’ll be asked to provide your full name and place of residence (with an ID as proof), your phone number, and email address. Once Coinbase verifies your personal details, you’ll be notified via email that your account is ready-to-use.
If you like Coinbase’s approach to trading cryptocurrency but need some more advanced features, you can check out their more intricate platform, Coinbase Pro.
2. Binance Exchange
Another cryptocurrency exchange beginners can lay their trust in is Binance. Launched in 2017 by Changpeng Zhao, the platform has been constantly on the move due to regulatory restrictions before finally settling down in crypto-friendly Malta. The platform is available all around the globe with the exception of a few restricted countries.
Although as a beginner you might feel more comfortable sticking to well-known cryptocurrencies like the ones supported by Coinbase, we have no doubt that soon enough you’ll develop an interest in altcoins as well. When that happens, there’s no better user-friendly platform for altcoin trading than Binance. Here, you’ll find all sorts of assets, stablecoins, and DeFi tokens, including but not limited to Ripple (XRP), Ethereum Classic (ECH), Cardano (ADA), and Tether (USDT).
On top of that, Binance has a generous offer on fiat payment methods – from bank deposits and debit/credit card purchases to P2P trading and third-party providers (e.g. Paxos) in more than 30 fiat currencies.
Even though you might expect such an opportunity to be pricey, Binance actually offers some of the lowest trading fees in the industry. The rate is fixed (0.1% per trade) and can even get slashed in half for BNB (Binance Coin) owners.
In 2019, residents of the United States were relocated to Binance’s US subsidiary Binance US which offers more or less the same trading services and adheres to US financial laws.
3. Kraken Exchange
Kraken is another American-based platform with headquarters in San Francisco, California. The brainchild of Jesse Powell, a household name among cybersecurity experts, Kraken opened its trading platform for the public back in 2013.
In terms of its cryptocurrency selection, Kraken is more similar to Binance as it supports a wide variety of tokens. You can buy these assets via bank transfer or wire transfer (SEPA or SWIFT depending on your location). However, there have been complaints that it takes up to 5 days for the funds to reflect in your account balance after you deposit them.
The supported fiat currencies are USD, GBP, EUR, AUD, CAD, CHF, and JPY. The trading fees don’t go above the industry-average (0%-0.26%) and vary based on your 30-day trading volume.
Although some more experienced users might find Kraken’s onboarding process slightly cumbersome, as a beginner, it’s always best to trade on a platform that takes great care to verify the authenticity of its users before allowing them to use its services. This is why Kraken has mandatory identity verification.
There are three verification levels: Starter, Intermediate, and Pro. The last two are for those of you who want to trade with large amounts of assets. To apply for these tiers, you’ll be asked to provide your occupational info, SSN, face photo, and fill out a KYC questionnaire.
In addition, Kraken stores 98% of user funds in offline wallets (cold storage). Account-wide, users are encouraged to activate two-factor authentication, a Master Key, and Global Settings Lock to customize their privacy settings.
4. Bittrex Global Exchange
Bittrex Global was co-founded by Bill Shihara, Richi Lai, and Rami Kawach, all of whom have an impressive background in cybersecurity and software development. Prior to Bittrex, they gained their work experience as part of the team at Microsoft, Blackberry, and Amazon. The company offices are located in Seattle, Washington.
In 2018, Bittrex rebranded as a global trading platform in order to attract international clientele as well. As part of its expansion, Bittrex also extended its cryptocurrency selection adding hundreds of tokens and trading pairs. However, to avoid scam tokens and pump and dump schemes, the exchange team delists suspicious assets on a regular basis.
In the past, Bittrex used to be a crypto-to-crypto platform only but now, users are able to make USD deposits and withdrawals as long as they file a Fiat (USD) Trading Request and have their account verified. Unfortunately, the only way to pay with USD is via wire transfer. Bittrex uses a scaled fee approach like Kraken with a 0.2% fee for both makers and takers on volumes lower than $50,000.
Despite its advanced trading features, Bittrex acknowledges the trading level of both new and seasoned traders and has two separate trading accounts. The Basic Account has a withdrawal limit of 3 BTC per day, while the Advanced Account allows withdrawing up to 100 BTC on a daily basis.
5. Bitfinex Exchange
Bitfinex was launched in 2012 by Raphael Nicolle and headquartered in Hong Kong, China. Although at first sight, the platform looks more suitable for experienced traders because of its altcoin support, margin trading, and OTC trading features, Bitfinex has a lot to offer to beginners as well.
Provided you have your account verified, Bitfinex allows you to make fiat deposits in one of the following fiat currencies: USD, EUR, GBP, JPY, and CNH. A fully verified account is also your ticket to faster deposits and withdrawals. You can perform the payment via bank wire deposits with a minimum deposit of $60 and a 0.1% fee.
Bitfinex offers yet another great beginner-friendly feature called paper trading that allows you to test the trading waters by experimenting in a simulated market using test tokens. This way you can plan out your trading strategies and gain the confidence to execute real orders in no time.
Finally, Bitfinex offers some really approachable and high-level security measures to protect your account. Apart from the well-known 2FA that you should enable right away, Bitfinex has an option to lock your withdrawals when an unknown IP makes a request, to set a withdrawal confirmation phrase and lock your withdrawal addresses, or disable “Keep Session Alive”. In case of any suspicious activity, Bitfinex reserves the right to temporarily freeze your account.
If you like Bitfinex’s features, you can visit a similar platform called Bitstamp.
6. Gemini Exchange
One of our favourite American trading platforms is the NYC-based crypto exchange Gemini, founded in 2015 by the Winklevoss twins. These are the same guys who won a lawsuit against Zuckerberg and used this money to invest in Bitcoin. Clever, right?
Gemini is great for users with different experience levels. They have an advanced trading platform as well as basic trading features. In terms of buying assets, Gemini supports around 20 different currencies, including Gemini Dollar (GUSD), the platform’s native token known as the first regulated stablecoin.
Gemini is definitely no stranger to regulations and makes continuous efforts to comply with local and international financial frameworks. The platform goes through security audits every once in a while and has so far completed the SOC 1 Type 1 and SOC 2 Type 2 security compliance exams with flying colors.
The only remark we have about this exchange is the lack of payment methods. Upon registration, users are immediately prompted to link their bank account to their Gemini account as this is the only way they can purchase crypto (via bank or wire transfers). This type of purchase has its own limits – $500 per day or $15,000 per month for deposits, and $100,000 per day for withdrawals.
7. Coinmama Exchange
Coinmama is a cryptocurrency exchange based in Israel and registered in Slovakia. It was launched in 2013 by a company called New Bit Ventures. Coinmama is available in more than 180 countries and diligently complies with FinCEN’s regulatory framework.
Unlike some other platforms we introduced you to, Coinmama has a rather limited coin selection. The only crypto assets it supports are BTC, BCH, ETH, ETC, XRP, QTUM, LTC, and ADA. On the plus side, Coinmama offers numerous payment methods.
The best option for UK traders to buy crypto is definitely via Faster Payments since there are no extra fees and the deposit takes a maximum of one business day. You can also choose to pay with your credit or debit card, as long as you don’t mind paying an additional 5% momentum fee. If you’re paying through a European bank, you can make a SEPA bank transfer with zero deposit fees. Other options include ApplePay (for Bitcoin purchases), Fedwire, Swift, and Sofort.
You should keep in mind that Coinmama is primarily a buying outlet and doesn’t allow selling other cryptos besides Bitcoin. However, if you decide to sell BTC, there’s an instant bank transfer withdrawal.
Finally, Coinmama is a non-custodial exchange and provides neither a digital wallet for your tokens nor a mobile app for trading on the go.
8. CEX Exchange
Headquartered in London, UK, CEX.io is another great exchange tailored for beginners. CEX.io serves an international clientele and operates from several additional locations: the USA, Ireland, Cyprus, Ukraine, and Gibraltar.
The company is an active advocate for the rights of crypto exchanges and the digital asset sector in the UK as one of the co-founders of CryptoUK, the first crypto trade association. CryptoUK holds frequent meetings with local regulators in an attempt to foster healthy dialogue and bring forth feasible solutions. Moreover, CEX.io is fully compliant with FinCEN.
Using this exchange, you can purchase BTC, ETH, BCH, BTG, DASH, XRP, XLM, and ZCASH with one of the following fiat currencies: USD, EUR, GBP, or RUB. Apart from regular bank transfers and Epay, the fastest and most convenient payment method is with your Visa/Mastercard for 2.99% per trade which is significantly cheaper than Coinmama’s services.
To create an account on CEX.io, you can either sign up using your email address or register with your Facebook, Google, or GitHub account. Verifying your identity isn’t compulsory to place your first order but it does limit your deposits and withdrawals.
Unfortunately, CEX.io no longer allows withdrawals to US banks which is why it might be better for US traders to avoid this platform.
9. eToro Exchange
If someone with more experience in the trading industry saw eToro on our list of beginner-friendly exchanges, they might disagree.
While it’s true that eToro is an advanced financial broker for those of you interested in trading indices, forex, derivatives, CFDs, ETFs, commodities, etc, when it comes to the crypto market itself, eToro offers some very simple buying and trading options. Actually, it wasn’t until 2017 that eToro decided to add crypto services.
This broker offers 16 prominent cryptocurrencies: BTC, ETH, ETC, BCH, XRP, LTC, XLM, DASH, ADA, NEO, IOTA, EOS, TRX, ZEC, BNB, and XTZ. You can buy them with your debit or credit card or make a bank transfer. These deposits are free as long as you pay in USD. Otherwise, they incur a 0.5% conversion fee. Moreover, eToro has very tight spreads on all of its assets.
Once you master the crypto trading basics, you can enjoy eToro’s margin trading services and analysis tools. Also, their mobile app can be downloaded to Android or iOS devices.
10. Changelly Exchange
The last cryptocurrency exchange on our list is Changelly, a decentralized European crypto platform with offices in Prague, Czech Republic. Compared to centralized exchanges, Changelly offers more customization and transaction privacy and has no geographical restrictions, which is why it has been used by more than 1.5 million customers.
Changelly supports numerous altcoins and underrepresented tokens (more than 150!). To fund your account and buy coins, you have the option to either link your bank account or use your credit/debit card and allow Changelly to connect you to its third-party payment providers and partners – MoonPay, Simplex, and Indacoin – to process the payment.
As far as transaction fees go, Changelly charges 0.5% regardless of the trade amount and your status as maker or taker.
Disclaimer: Although the exchange requires only your email address and has no mandatory KYC at first, you’ll need to verify your identity to access higher daily tiers. Also, if you pay via the third-party providers we mentioned, they might have their own rules and requirements.
What to Look for in a Beginner-Friendly Crypto Exchange
For all you crypto novices, our key advice is not to start trading before you make a thorough research of the authenticity and reliability of the platform you’re interested in and its features. That’s why we’ll give you a list of things to keep in mind:
- Don’t go for the most advanced trading platform simply because it’s recommended by experienced traders. To be able to use such a sophisticated platform, these traders had to master the basics using a simpler one first. You don’t need a crypto exchange with features like margin and futures trading, or every order type you can imagine (limit, market, stop-loss, etc). This is enough to make crypto trading seem intimidating and discourage you.
- Look for a platform with a simple and inviting user interface where you don’t have to scroll up and down the page to find the Buy or Sell option or one with a cluttered trading interface with unnecessary charts and technical indicators.
- As a beginner, you need an exchange that either has a separate option to create a Beginner versus Advanced Account or includes a number of informative guides, video tutorials, or even an online onboarding tour of the key platform products and services.
- Next, since this is your first time buying cryptocurrency, you need a platform that supports fiat deposits and has a fiat gateway of some kind (either directly or through a third-party provider). Also, it’s always nice to use an exchange that offers custodial services so that you can store your cryptos temporarily before you decide what to do with them (cash them out, trade them, or purchase a hardware wallet for long-term storage).
- Finally, don’t underestimate the level of security and customer support. Typically, online reviews are useful sources on this topic. You’ll learn about the most frequent problems people had with these platforms and how quickly they were solved by the support team.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can buy Bitcoin anonymously using peer-to-peer exchanges. This type of exchange requires almost no information on the part of the user who’s joining the platform except for an email address. They simply link buyers to sellers and let them agree on the trading conditions among themselves. Peer-to-peer exchanges store no personal data or funds but they’re considered less secure in that they don’t provide any user protection. The seller you choose might turn out to be scamming you to trick you and steal your money. We recommend you give these platforms a pass.