The Best International Crypto Exchanges 2021
Making Crypto Simple
Even though the Covid-19 pandemic has had a tremendous impact on financial markets worldwide and investors have been worried about the falling price of their asset classes, the cryptocurrency market proved to be an exception.
First of all, Bitcoin has had an amazing price rally, surpassing its all-time high a few times in a row. Next, a recent study shows that the use cases of blockchain, the underlying technology of digital assets, have more than tripled, and estimates that blockchain-based solutions can add over $1 trillion to the global gross domestic product in the near future. This, in turn, has spiked the interest in blockchain-based DeFi tokens.
As you can see, this is a great time for crypto investments! Regardless of your location, there are many international cryptocurrency exchanges that you can use as an entry-point. In this guide, you’ll find out all about the top ten global crypto platforms and the trading services they offer.
And if you’re in Australia, please check out our top Australian crypto exchanges list.
Let’s get started with our exchange reviews!
|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 & Others||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 International Cryptocurrency Exchanges – Reviews 2021
1. Coinbase Exchange
Coinbase definitely deserves the top spot on our list of cryptocurrency platforms focused on growing their international clientele. This San-Francisco-based exchange was founded in 2012 by two brilliant crypto minds, Brian Armstrong and Fred Erhsam, who’ve remained true to their vision of creating a global platform since day one.
One of the team’s premises is that “Economic freedom is unevenly distributed around the globe”, so their mission is to create a more open financial market through their trusted, beginner-friendly, and affordable financial products and services.
At the moment, Coinbase can be used in the US and 17 other North American countries, in 8 countries in South America, in over 40 European countries, in 20 countries in Asia, 13 countries in Africa, in Australia, and New Zealand. When you visit the official website, you can found the whole list of “Supported Countries” at the bottom of the page.
However, different countries are eligible for different Coinbase services. For instance, most countries in North America, except for the US, Canada, and Mexico, are only allowed to convert digital coins but not to buy or sell them. Moreover, although buying/selling countries can always choose between Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), and Litecoin (LTC), as far as altcoins go, the offer is location-based as well.
If you want to deposit fiat, debit cards, and PayPal in the US, plus quick local bank transfers), debit/credit cards or SEPA transfers for European citizens, and Interac e-transfers, debit cards, and PayPal for Canadians are some of the most popular methods. Another great thing about Coinbase is the multilingual customer support and user interface.
More experienced crypto traders can check out their advanced trading platform, Coinbase Pro.
2. Binance Exchange
The second global exchange on our list is Binance. Although relatively new on the market – founded in 2017 – Binance has succeeded in branching into international financial markets in less than two years. At the start of 2021, Binance is topping the charts with its daily trading volume.
However, things haven’t always been easy for the company. Originally from China, Binance had to be relocated first to Japan and then to the crypto-friendly island, Malta due to disagreements with regulatory authorities. Also, the exchange was forced to cut its ties with US clients as it had allegedly avoided US regulators’ scrutiny for years. Instead, US trading is now moved to its US-based (and compliant!) arm, Binance US.
So, why would you choose Binance over another crypto exchange? First of all, Binance offers an exhaustive range of cryptocurrencies, both popular and lesser-known ones, large and small-cap coins, stablecoins (including Binance’s USD-pegged BUSD coin), and DeFi tokens for high-volume trades.
The platform even has a native token, Binance Coin (BNB), which gives its holders an extra discount when used to cover their transaction fees. Even if you don’t own BNB, Binance charges a very low fee of 0.1%. Binance allows on-ramp and off-ramp crypto conversions and supports more than 30 fiat currencies. In case your native currency is not on the list, the platform automatically converts your funds into USD.
3. Kraken Exchange
Kraken is one of the oldest and most reliable international crypto exchanges. Founded in 2011, by cybersecurity expert Jesse Powell, this trading platform has stood the test of time and has never been hacked nor survived a major security breach.
You can access Kraken pretty much wherever you are unless you’re a resident of one of the following blacklisted countries: Afghanistan, Congo-Brazzaville, Congo-Kinshasa, Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Syria, and Tajikistan. Also, buying crypto is not allowed to residents of the Central African Republic, Namibia, Eritrea, Lebanon, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Yemen. Their only option is to trade crypto against crypto.
Although based in the US, due to different regulatory frameworks and compliance rules, for the time being, Kraken isn’t available in Washington State and New York.
Across the rest of the US, customers are able to buy, sell, or trade crypto, and deposit USD via Fedwire, wire transfer, Etana Custody, SWIFT, or SEN. The only drawback is that you need to wait up to 5 business days for the funds to reflect in your account balance. Kraken also supports EUR, GBP, CAD, AUD, CHF, and JPY deposits. Credit and debit card deposits are possible with Visa and Mastercard for a slightly higher fee (3.75% + 0.25 Euros).
Like Binance, Kraken has a wide selection of altcoins and hundreds of trading pairs. Based on its target market at the moment, Kraken works on adding more assets for cryptocurrency trading. For example, the platform has recently placed 26 new trading pairs on its Australian and UK market. Kraken is also perfect for traders interested in margin and futures trading, or large-volume traders who can use Kraken’s OTC desk to avoid slippage.
4. Bittrex Global Exchange
Bittrex Global, as the name suggests, is a global trading platform with an interesting history. The exchange was launched in 2014 under the name “Bittrex” and offered its trading and custodial services to US customers only.
The platform quickly gained the trust of American crypto enthusiasts as all three of its co-founders – Bill Shihara, Richi Lai, and Rami Kawach – are ex-Microsoft, Amazon, and BlackBerry employees, straight out of these leading companies’ cybersecurity departments. In 2016, Bittrex was rebranded as Bittrex International which operated out of Malta and managed Bittrex’s international clientele.
In 2018, this international platform rebranded yet again as Bittrex Global, this time relocating to Liechtenstein. Its services are available all across the globe with the exception of Cuba, Iran, North Korea, the Crimean region, and Syria.
Once registered, you can buy, sell, or trade all sorts of crypto assets like BTC, BCH, ETH, LTC, EOS, ZCASH, and stablecoins like Tether (USDT) in exchange for crypto or fiat. Bittrex Global accepts a range of fiat currencies so you most likely won’t be charged a conversion fee. The exchange accepts SEPA, wire transfers, and VISA debit and credit cards.
The highest trading fee for both makers and takers is 0.2% but Bittrex uses a scaled approach which means the fee lowers as your trading volume progresses.
5. Bitfinex Exchange
Bitfinex is a state-of-the-art cryptocurrency exchange launched in 2021 by Raphael Nicole and headquartered in Hong Kong. The platform offers its services to traders worldwide to the exclusion of Bangladesh, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Kyrgyzstan as the only blacklisted countries.
Unfortunately, since 2017, Bitfinex is no longer available in the United States. According to US financial authorities, this was as a result of the platform’s lack of transparency and regulatory compliance, while Bitfinex stated it was mostly due to their inability to obtain banking services.
Like most exchanges on our list, Bitfinex supports over 100 crypto tokens. You can use USD, EUR, GBP, or JPY to fund your account. While crypto and stablecoins deposits are free, bank wire transfers have an added 0.1% fee per transaction, with a minimum limit of 60 USD/EUR. In terms of trading fees, Bitfinex charges 0.2% for takers and 0.1% for makers which is the industry average.
Another reason why we’ve included Bitfinex on our list is to introduce a suitable platform for advanced crypto traders. Apart from regular crypto-to-crypto trading, Bitfinex supports margin trading, staking and lending, various order types (stop-loss, limit, market, etc), and API trading support. The platform even has its own OTC desk, P2P financing option, and cryptocurrency gateway for merchants.
The latter, known as Bitfinex Pay, is Bitfinex’s newest fintech solution. By creating an account with the platform and obtaining proper verification, merchants receive a Bitfinex Pay widget that facilitates borderless and contactless digital payments, i.e. lets the merchants’ customers pay in crypto for their goods and services with just a few clicks.
If you like the services offered by Bitfinex and Bittrex Global, we suggest you take a look at Poloniex as well.
6. Gemini Exchange
You’ve probably heard of the Winklevoss twins, the guys who sued Mark Zuckerberg for stealing their idea for a social networking site (what we now know as Facebook). After years of lawsuits, Facebook finally paid $65 million to the twins in 2009. The Winklevoss twins used this money to invest in Bitcoin and later on founded their own cryptocurrency exchange, Gemini.
Gemini is an American-based platform, with offices in New York City. The platform’s strongest asset is its robust security infrastructure and high-level of compliance. New York is notoriously strict when it comes to regulating crypto exchanges, so the fact that Gemini is licensed with the NYDFS says a lot about the trustworthiness of this platform.
You can access Gemini in the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, and a number of countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America. You can see the full list of eligible countries here.
Our only remark is that Gemini lacks altcoin support, so you can only purchase BTC, BCH, LTC, ETH, and ZCASH. Also, you can only buy crypto via bank and wire transfers but not with cards.
7. Coinmama Exchange
Coinmama is the second most user-friendly platform on our list, after Coinbase. This Israeli-based exchange, with a second office in Slovakia, was founded in 2013 and offers its services to an international clientele.
The platform is registered with the American financial authority, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), and complies with their AML and CFT policies. On the official Coinmama website, you can find a list of restricted countries or territories. However, some of them can still use Coinmama’s services via third-party providers.
If you’re a resident of a restricted country, when you visit Coinmama, instead of registering for an account and going through the verification process, click on the “Buy Now” button. Once you fill out the order details, you’ll be redirected to a third-party payment processor that supports your place of residence, and you’ll be able to finish the order.
On Coinmama, you can purchase one of the following digital currencies: BTC, BCH, ETH, ECH, XRP, LTC, ADA, and QTUM. As a pioneer in card payments, Coinmama lets you purchase crypto with a credit or debit card for an added 5% fee. This makes it one of the most expensive exchanges on our list.
8. CEX Exchange
CEX.io is an outstanding crypto platform with a couple of offices around the world: the first one in London, then another one in Ireland, Ukraine, Cyprus, Gibraltar, and finally in the US. Although it was founded in 2013, CEX.io shifted its focus exclusively on cryptocurrencies in 2015.
The platform doesn’t have any geographical restrictions and it’s available in more than 200 countries except for some blacklisted ones. In the US, access to CEX.io is restricted in New York City and Texas but it’s otherwise regulated by the local authority, FinCEN.
CEX.io supports a nice variety of cryptocurrencies including but not limited to BTC, BCH, BTG, ETH, LTC, XRP, TRON, XLM, BTT, ZCASH, and MCH. You can fund your account by depositing one of the following fiat currencies: USD, EUR, GBP, and RUB. You can make the deposit via bank transfer, Epay, or a Visa/Mastercard credit or debit card for a 2.99% fee.
The trading fee schedule varies based on the traders’ volume in the last 30 days. For example, if you haven’t traded more than 5 BTC during the last month, CEX.io will charge you a 0.25% taker fee or a 0.15% maker fee. Advanced traders can enjoy CEX.io’s cross-platform and margin trading services (with up to 10x leverage).
9. eToro Exchange
If you’ve had any experience in trading other financial assets besides crypto, you must have heard of eToro, a global online platform offering all sorts of asset classes for purchase. From ETFs, indices, and stocks to forex trading, CFDs, commodities, and more recently, cryptos – eToro has it all.
eToro has its own offices in Tel Aviv, Cyprus, Sydney, the UK, and the US. Although it can be accessed worldwide, due to differences in regulatory frameworks the platform is out off-limits in a couple of restricted areas. However, eToro is far from unregulated. The broker already has licenses from a number of financial regulators including the FCA, CySEC, FinCEN, and ASIC.
The trading platform first introduced cryptocurrencies back in 2013. However, users weren’t able to purchase Bitcoin directly. Instead, they invested in CFDs which are a form of derivative trading where you speculate on the price of a given asset (in this case Bitcoin) without actually owning it. Later on, eToro added the option for direct purchase of Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin, and Stellar.
If you want to make a fiat deposit, the platform charges no additional fees as long as you’re paying in USD – otherwise, there’s a 0.5% conversion fee. You should simply link your bank account to make a transfer or use your credit/debit card. eToro charges variable spreads based on the cryptocurrency in question.
If you trade on eToro, you can download its secure mobile app and digital wallet as well.
10. Changelly Exchange
The last cryptocurrency exchange on our list is Changelly, a decentralized online platform founded in 2015 in Prague, Czech Republic. This European exchange offers international coverage for its attractive services. The lack of geographical restrictions is one of the main reasons why over 1.5 million traders have tried them so far.
Similar to altcoin platforms, Changelly offers over 150 different cryptocurrencies which makes it almost impossible for you to find your target one. As a decentralized exchange, instead of selling the assets itself, Changelly simply links buyers and sellers via its order books and lets them settle on the trading terms on their own.
Moreover, Changelly doesn’t limit the availability of payment methods as users can also agree on the preferred one between themselves. The platform doesn’t store any user data nor does it offer storage solutions for their assets. To start using Changelly, you only need a valid email address. Then, you can activate two-factor authentication to secure your account.
You only need to complete a KYC check if you plan on trading larger volumes.
How to Choose the Best International Cryptocurrency Exchange
Now that you’ve read our separate reviews on the best international cryptocurrency exchanges, it’s time to take your pick. This is far from an easy task, so we totally understand if you’re still having doubts. Here’s a little checklist to make your decision-making process easier and help you avoid scams:
- Double-check whether the exchange is available in your country.
- Browse through its coin selection to find out whether they support your target asset.
- Next, find out about the platform’s fees and payment methods.
- If you’re a beginner, look for a simple user-friendly platform. If you’re an advanced trader, opt for a trading platform with various order types, margin trading, and an OTC desk.
- Finally, don’t overlook the importance of choosing a platform with a robust security system.
Frequently Asked Questions
Cryptocurrency exchanges and trading platforms are two types of digital currency marketplaces. The former is an online platform where users can register for an account and then fund their account with fiat money to purchase cryptocurrency, or vice versa – sell their cryptos for fiat. These swaps are almost instantaneous, depending on the payment method (bank transfers, wire transfers, credit/debit cards, or other third-party payment providers). The latter is an online platform where customers trade cryptocurrencies against cryptocurrencies or crypto against fiat. Trading platforms are better suited for advanced traders as they require a good knowledge of the market, charts, and technical indicators.
In recent years, altcoins, led by stablecoins and DeFi tokens, have started revolutionizing the fintech industry. What makes them so alluring is that they’re all developed with different purposes and industries in mind (e.g. advertisement, social media, cross-border payments, decentralized applications, etc). Moreover, they tend to address Bitcoin’s shortcomings in terms of scalability, transaction time, and consensus algorithms and offer upgraded solutions. On the other hand, they’re more volatile, unpredictable, and liable to “pump and dump” schemes. Therefore, if you want to give altcoins a try, make sure you do thorough research on the project and don’t invest more than you can afford to lose.
All of the international exchange platforms listed above support Bitcoin and allow traders from all over the world to buy/sell BTC or trade the asset against another one. However, if we were to choose one, it would have to be Coinbase. This platform is suitable for both retail and institutional traders, beginners and seasoned ones as well. As a high-liquidity brokerage, Coinbase selects the best offer on the market for a very reasonable price. Plus, you’re dealing with a highly secure and fully licensed platform.