The Best Crypto Exchanges for Altcoins 2021
Making Crypto Simple
If we take into account the fact that we most definitely had a bullish altcoin season for most of 2020, it’s no surprise that altcoin trading continues to be on the rise. The second-largest cryptocurrency, Ether (ETH), experienced a 45% month-over-month growth, affecting the crypto market dynamics and causing other altcoins to follow suit.
More importantly, in these uncertain times, the pandemic has exposed some of the loopholes of our outdated monetary system and increased the interest for alternative payment methods and profitable asset classes. Still, altcoins have more than just monetary value, and their use cases are likely to multiply with the advent of decentralized finance.
All this just goes to prove the profitability (and necessity!) of digital tokens for the new smart economy, which is why we’ve put together a detailed guide of the best cryptocurrency exchanges for altcoin trading and altcoin purchases in general.
We’re using the same factors we researched for our main list detailing the best cryptocurrency exchanges in Australia.
|Exchange Website||Rating||Currencies||Available Cryptocurrencies||Fees||Our Review||Visit Site|
|5/5||42+ Currencies||100+ Cryptocurrencies||0.1%||Binance Review||Visit Site|
|4/5||USD||30+ Cryptocurrencies||Varies||Coinbase Review||Visit Site|
|3.5/5||USD & Others||190+ Cryptocurrencies||0.2%||Bittrex Review||Visit Site|
|3/5||USD & 20 others||150+ Cryptocurrencies||0.1%||Kucoin Review||Visit Site|
|3/5||USD, GBP & EUR||50+ Cryptocurrencies||0.26%||Kraken Review||Visit Site|
|2.5/5||USD & EUR||90+ Cryptocurrencies||0.5%||Changelly Review||Visit Site|
|2.5/5||USD & EUR||6+ Cryptocurrencies||0.5%||Bitstamp Review||Visit Site|
|2/5||USD & Others||70+ Cryptocurrencies||3.5%||CEX Review||Visit Site|
|2/5||USD & 6 Others||200+ Cryptocurrencies||0.075%||Poloniex Review||Visit Site|
|2/5||USD & 23 Others||340+ Cryptocurrencies||0.35%||Huobi Review||Visit Site|
The Best Crypto Exchanges for Altcoins – Reviews 2021
1. Binance Exchange
Even though it’s been around for barely half a decade, Binance is already a household name in the crypto industry. This altcoin trading platform was developed and launched in 2017 by its current CEO Changpeng Zhao, better known in the crypto world as CZ. Since then, Binance has managed to remain at the head of the crypto ecosystem with its innovative exchange options.
How do we know that Binance is a popular choice for traders? Well, we should look no further than its daily trading volume which, at the time of writing this review, exceeds $36 billion on a daily basis according to CoinMarketCap. This hardly comes as a surprise considering that Binance offers over 100 different cryptocurrencies and 400 trading pairs (both crypto-to-crypto and fiat-to-crypto ones).
The choice goes beyond Bitcoin’s closest competitors like Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ripple (XRP), or most recently, EOS, Monero (XMR), and Cardano (ADA). Here, you’ll find both stablecoins such as Tether (USDT) and a decent variety of defi tokens.
Binance even has its own native token called the Binance Coin (BNB) with a fair amount of liquidity, although this is partly due to the fact it can be used to get a discount on Binance’s trading fees. To be fair, those of you who aren’t BNB holders can still enjoy a below-average rate of 0.1% for both makers and takers.
If you want to purchase altcoins with fiat, the available options include debit and credit cards, bank transfers, and even cash. Binance also excels at its customer service and top-notch security, thanks to its safety vault, SAFU.
2. Coinbase Exchange
The second platform on our list is the American crypto brokerage, Coinbase – another industry giant with a spotless record. Coinbase is spearheaded by Brian Armstrong and Fred Ehrsam, who have been working tirelessly on improving and expanding its services since 2012. Coinbase’s strongest asset? An easily navigable and beginner-friendly interface with state-of-the-art security.
What makes Coinbase so trustworthy, not only in the eyes of its customers but in the eyes of financial regulators as well, is that as a crypto veteran, it was Coinbase and its team that set the compliance bar for other crypto platforms to meet. Instead of waiting for authorities to reach out to them and introduce curbs on their activities, the Coinbase team contacted them first showing transparency and willingness to cooperate.
This crypto exchange provides buying and selling offers on the following staple cryptocurrencies: BTC, ETH, LTC, and BCH. As for trading altcoins, Coinbase supports around 50 digital assets but their availability is closely tied with your place of residence. If you like the trading experience on Coinbase, but need more advanced trading options and a wider range of altcoins, simply visit their upgraded platform, Coinbase Pro.
Both Coinbase and Coinbase Pro have more or less the same fees, starting at 0.5% per transaction. As for fiat deposits, Coinbase charges 1.49% on sums over $200 made via bank transfers and 2.99% on card purchases. The exchange comes with a compact mobile app available for both Android and iOS devices that doubles as a crypto wallet.
3. Bittrex Exchange
Bittrex was founded in 2014 by three cybersecurity experts and Bitcoin aficionados. Before evolving into one of the leading cryptocurrency exchanges, their project was called GiftcardBTC and the focus was on selling gift cards and phone cards in exchange for BTC. They converted bitcoins to US Dollars and had just enough left to put some BTC on the side and create a Bitcoin miner not long after.
As other cryptocurrencies were gaining in popularity, the Bittrex team wanted to add support for them as well, but lacked an easy way to convert one altcoin into another. This prompted them to look for solutions, “design, code, test, and launch an exchange in 8 weeks”, as Richie Lai, one of the three Bittrex co-founders, recounts in an interview for Steemit.
Bittrex prides on its robust security infrastructure – a perk of having the guy who designed an intricate automated security system for Microsoft on board. First of all, the exchange stores over 90% of all customer funds in cold storage, i.e. offline wallets, that minimize the chances of hacking attacks. Next, Bittrex performs KYC (Know Your Customer) checks on all users to verify their identity and comply with the AML policies embraced by their regulators.
Finally, Bittrex’s superiority over other platforms on our list is the incredible offer of over 300 crypto assets and twice as many trading pairs! Contrary to what skeptics may think, these are not spam or pump-and-dump tokens as the exchange takes great care to brush off any suspicious and extremely volatile coins.
4. Kucoin Exchange
When you first learn that KuCoin was launched in 2017 your first thought might be that the platform is still in its experimental phase, so you better place your crypto investment on an already established exchange, the likes of Coinbase.
However, you’d be surprised to learn that the idea for KuCoin was hatched up back in 2011. While its developers definitely took their time with this project, it must have been with good reason. Working under the radar for six years, they were able to create a cryptocurrency exchange that would answer the needs of a versatile and international clientele. As of now, KuCoin trades $2 billion a day.
The exchange offers a variety of purchasing options such as buying crypto with a credit or debit card (Visa, MasterCard, ApplePay, or SEPA), making instant crypto swaps, or using their P2P trading platform for the following currencies only: BTC, ETH, USDT, USDC, and their native token KCS.
All of these coins are paired against USD while only some of them can be traded in exchange for one of the 17 remaining fiat currencies supported by KuCoin. Overall, the platform has over 200 altcoins to choose from.
5. Kraken Exchange
Kraken is the brainchild of Jesse Powell, a cryptocurrency and cybersecurity expert, who fell down the crypto rabbit hole in the early days of Bitcoin. He was one of the experts hired to help Mt. Gox track down the lost BTC after the notorious hack, an experience that made Powell aware of the potential frauds and dangers in this business, and the main reason why Kraken’s security system is at the highest level.
For instance, users can secure their accounts with the common two-factor authentication method (2FA) and activate a Global Settings Lock or a Master Key to further secure their accounts from unauthorized IP addresses. This comes especially handy if you’re planning to travel someplace and get a break from crypto trading for a week or two. Thanks to these advanced settings, you can lock your account during the time you’ll be absent.
Compared to some other altcoin trading platforms on our list, Kraken’s offer with around 50 cryptocurrencies comes off a bit scanty. However, the platform makes up for the lack of extensive altcoin support with a range of payment methods and advanced trading features such as margin trading, futures, and even staking.
Recently, Kraken became the first cryptocurrency exchange to charter a US bank in Wyoming. The status of a state-chartered bank allows Kraken to conduct its services all across the world as a regulated entity. It’s a sort of passport that saves Kraken the trouble of dealing with state-by-state regulatory frameworks.
6. Changelly Exchange
Decentralized exchanges are rising in popularity these days and Changelly is one of the most widely-known and used DEXs in the world. Launched in 2015 in Prague, Czech Republic, Changelly is one of the few European platforms that operate without geographical restrictions. These days, the exchange’s headquarters are located in Hong Kong.
Changelly started off as crypto-to-crypto exchange but has since then realized that fiat deposits are in large demand with its customers. Now, you can use USD, GBP, and EUR to buy cryptocurrency as well as buy crypto via MoonPay or Simplex. As for the choice itself, Changelly supports over 150 different tokens, including some underrepresented but very lucrative coins like EOS and DASH.
Unlike some other decentralized exchanges, Changelly still retains the role of a mediator to a certain extent. Namely, the platform aggregates the best market rates and matches buyers with sellers based on their preferences. On the other hand, this exchange is non-custodial and stores neither sensitive data nor user funds.
There are a lot of online stories saying how you don’t need to verify your identity in order to trade on Changelly. While this has been true in the past, in the past couple of years, Changelly has strengthened its security measures and now requires its users to perform a KYC check like any other regulated platform.
7. Bitstamp Exchange
Bitstamp is another old crypto stager, co-founded back in 2011 by the stellar duo Nejc Kodrich and Damian Merlak. They initially located the platform in their homeland, Slovenia, then relocated it to the UK but changed their offices one more time due to regulatory issues. They finally settled in Luxembourg in 2016 for good.
If you’re living in the European Union, this might be the best crypto marketplace for you. Bitstamp adheres to the same financial laws as do regular financial institutions in the EU. The exchange is backed by some bigwig institutions including Crédit Agricole, Swissquote, and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.
As a result, Bitstamp is very careful when it comes to adding new coins to its list. For the time being, you can only buy BTC, ETH, LTC, BCH, Stellar (XLM), and Paxos Standard (PAX). However, Bitstamp is currently reviewing ETC, Basic Attention Token (BAT), USDC, ZEC, and 0x (ZRX) as well. You simply need to deposit USD or EUR to make your first order. Additionally, Bitstamp accepts CHF and GBP but automatically converts them to USD/EUR for a small fee.
8. CEX.io Exchange
CEX.io is a recognized UK crypto exchange founded in 2013, first as a cloud mining provider, and later on as a buying, selling, and trading marketplace for cryptocurrencies. A true indicator of CEX.io’s trustworthiness is the fact that it has been used by over 3 million users in the last eight years.
The company has worked on obtaining licenses with international regulators. In 2019, CEX.io was registered as a Money Service Business (MSB) by FinCEN, the leading financial regulator in the United States. As a result, CEX.io offers its services across 220 countries around the globe.
As soon as you link your bank account or credit/debit card to your CEX.io account and deposit US dollars, Euros, British pounds, or Russian roubles, you can purchase any of the supported digital currencies. If you’re curious about the fees, this platform charges 0.25% for takers and 0.15% for makers on initial low-capital purchases. As for deposit and withdrawal fees, they vary based on the payment method in question.
The main caveat when engaging in cryptocurrency trading on CEX.io is the mandatory identity verification process which is quite extensive as you’re both required to prove your place of residence and take a picture with a legitimate ID.
9. Poloniex Exchange
Poloniex is another crypto platform from the USA on our list. It was founded by Tristan D’Agosta in 2014 and is headquartered in Seattle, Washington. During the first months, Poloniex experienced high volumes in altcoin trading and a great influx of new customers.
However, the exchange failed to live up to the traders’ expectations and experienced a major security breach just a couple of months later, resulting in over $50,000 worth of Bitcoin being stolen. Still, Poloniex was very transparent about the whole incident and managed to reimburse its clients promptly.
Poloniex made yet another comeback by being one of the first crypto exchanges to list Ethereum for trading in 2016. Since then, the exchange kept adding more and more tokens and now boasts a long list of over 100 altcoins. The trading fee is only 0.125% which is quite affordable for retail traders.
In the past, Poloniex received a lot of criticism for its lack of customer support. Users were complaining that their queries would go unanswered for over a month. Luckily, things have changed for the better. Apart from the ticket support, you can find all the information by visiting the official help center or following Poloniex’s social media updates.
10. Huobi Global Exchange
The last cryptocurrency exchange review is dedicated to the Chinese platform Huobi. The exchange was launched back in 2013 by computer engineer Leon Li and remained in China until 2017 when the country announced its ban on cryptocurrency ICOs. At this point, Huobi branched out into international waters and relocated to the Seychelles.
Huobi allows you to trade cryptocurrencies that are otherwise not so easily accessible on other crypto platforms. With over 340 different tokens available for purchase and amazing daily trading volumes, we won’t be surprised if Huobi manages to surpass an industry giant the likes of Binance.
Having said that, you need to keep in mind that Huobi is not aimed at crypto novices. Its user interface and trading dashboard carry a steep learning curve but they have been praised by experienced investors for following the latest market trends and movements in real-time. Moreover, Huobi offers both futures and options trading as well as OTC services for institutional traders.
If you’re looking for a platform that won’t tie you down to a fixed trading spot 24/7, look no further than Huobi. The platform’s team has designed a sleek mobile app and Huobi Wallet with multi-asset support. The funds remain safeguarded in cold storage but you’ll be glad to learn that Huobi operates with a Security Reserve Fund as a safety net for unforeseen scenarios.
What Are Altcoins?
The name “altcoin” is used to refer to any other cryptocurrency besides Bitcoin. It literally means an alternative coin. Until recently, Bitcoin stood out from the rest of the crypto assets not only because it’s the world’s first cryptocurrency but also because it has the highest monetary value and the largest number of use cases (e.g. it’s accepted as a payment method in many retail stores, travel agencies, restaurants, etc., around the world).
However, in the last couple of years, other cryptos, stablecoins, and defi tokens in particular, have started to attract more and more attention. The main reason behind this interest lies in the fact that these tokens are designed for different purposes and not as direct competitors to Bitcoin. The crypto market together with the fintech industry offers enough room for all sorts of blockchain solutions and alternative payment systems, which is what altcoins are all about.
The fact that some of the most acclaimed cryptocurrency exchanges offer altcoin support is a testament to their purposefulness and increasing popularity.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are two main ways in which you can trade cryptocurrencies these days: via a crypto broker or a crypto exchange/trading platform.
One of the differences between brokers and trading platforms is that with brokers, verifying your identity is a mandatory procedure. You won’t be able to make fiat deposits if you don’t provide the required personal information. Most exchanges on the other hand, even popular ones like Binance, let you deposit/withdraw funds up to a certain limit (e.g. 2 BTC per day) without KYC.
However, the main difference between the two is that brokers fulfill the orders themselves and set their own prices, while exchanges pair up buyers with sellers and use current market rates.
If you want to purchase Bitcoin, you won’t go wrong no matter which exchange platform you choose from the ones reviewed above as they all support BTC. If we had to choose one, we would go with Coinbase, only because it has high liquidity on Bitcoin orders, very few geographical restrictions, and average transaction fees as well as maker and taker fees for crypto exchanges. It’s the perfect user-friendly platform for low-entry traders. Conversely, advanced traders are welcome to use Coinbase Pro instead.
Yes, on BitMEX you can buy, sell, or trade a sheer variety of cryptocurrencies. The platform even offers margin trading with up to 100x leverage for the experienced traders. However, the reason why we didn’t include it on our list is because BitMEX has had some regulatory problems and was charged by US authorities for allowing US residents to use its services. BitMEX asked for no KYC checks from its customers so American traders were able to stay under the radar.
Although Gemini is a household name in the crypto industry, it’s not the first platform that comes to mind when talking about altcoin trading. The platform offers high liquidity order books on only 25 crypto tokens but includes some trending assets like Zcash (ZEC), Dai (DAI), Chainlink (LINK), and 0x (ZRX), among others.