7 Cryptocurrency Exchanges You Can Trust
Know what to look for in a cryptocurrency platform and the seven trustworthy cryptocurrency exchanges that I can recommend.
Now I don’t know about you but I hate review videos…there’s just something lazy about them, just listing out the pros and cons of different products but they are useful and recently comparing the cryptocurrency exchanges I’ve been using against what else is out there really opened my eyes to what a freakin’ idiot I’ve been.
You see, I just assumed that buying cryptocurrency on one of the biggest exchanges was going to be the lowest cost, the most secure and just the best option. And after paying nearly $3,000 in fees…I feel kind of stupid now.
So in this video, I’ll review the seven best cryptocurrency websites for fees, altcoins available, everything you need to make the decision. I’ll share the pros and cons of each crypto platform and then reveal the best for different types of investors.
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Cryptocurrency Exchanges: Which Ones Should You Trust?
I’ll leave a clickable index in the video description to jump to each of the cryptocurrency exchanges we’ll talk about but understand…none of this means you can’t have more than one crypto account. For example, I’ve got eight different stock investing accounts on five websites because each offers something special like free research, low costs or faster execution and I think this is how the cryptocurrency platforms are going to evolve as well. It may not be a one-site-to-rule-them-all kind of idea but maybe you use one for investing, one for earning interest and another for research.
I’ll show you what to look for in a cryptocurrency platform; how to know which site is giving you the best deal and then reveal a side-by-side comparison towards the end of the video.
Full disclosure here, this video is sponsored by BlockFi because…well, why not let them pay for it. I’ve been using the BlockFi platform to earn interest on my bitcoin and cash savings but I’m going to compare all the crypto exchanges here, show you the pros and cons so you can make your own decision.
Through the video, I’ll be comparing each crypto exchange on fees, the interest rate you earn on your holdings, the rates you’ll pay for borrowing as well as where the company is based, security and any pros and cons. What you’ll see though is, again, it may not be a case of one site being best for everyone but depending on what you need so check out that side-by-side comparison towards the end of the video.
First up in our cryptocurrency exchange review, BlockFi, with some unique features and the first bitcoin rewards card.
I first started using BlockFi because of the interest rates offered on holdings. I earn up to 4% on bitcoin and Ethereum held in the account and 7.5% on stablecoins. It’s the highest rate I’ve found and way above what you earn on cash in savings, so a good alternative to the 0.06% savings rate you’ll get from a bank.
BlockFi Lets You Borrow to Invest in Cryptocurrency
BlockFi also lets you borrow on your crypto account at rates as low as 4.5%, and I know a lot of investors that have used this for cash instead of selling their crypto which would mean capital gains taxes owed.
Now BlockFi isn’t as focused on trading so it’s better for investors than traders but where it really shines is these unique features. They just released the first bitcoin rewards credit card with Visa, that pays 1.5% back on all your purchases along with a 3.5% bonus in the first three months and extra bonus interest on stablecoins. Now I do have to warn you, the wait list for the credit card is ginormous, like last time I checked it was over 300,000 people waiting, so if you even think you might be interested, use the link below and just get on the wait list now.
Pros of using BlockFi are no commissions or fees, which is a big saving over most of the other platforms. The company is based in the U.S. and regulated by the New York Department of Financial Services, so you won’t have to file an FBAR with the IRS, you’ll earn interest on your crypto and stablecoins while they’re in your account, and you’ll get $250 in free crypto when you start your account with $25 or more.
So there’s a lot there but there are a few drawbacks to BlockFi. One is you only get two free withdrawals a month, one crypto and one stablecoin, before paying a fee…which most of the exchanges charge a fee anyway. Another drawback, especially with the interest earned is those rates change every few months depending on the market.
In fact, I wanted to point out, understand that the interest rates are on different tier levels. Notice you earn 4% interest on your bitcoin holdings up to 0.25 BTC or about the first $10,000 worth. Then it drops to 1.5% annually earned on the next 4.75 BTC and finally a quarter of a percent on anything above five bitcoins or about $200,000 in the account. Even with the lower rates on higher amounts, it’s still the best interest-earning crypto exchange I’ve found but maybe not as great as you might think just looking at that initial rate.
So BlockFi really is best for those wanting a buy-and-hold type of account, to collect interest or borrow on their cryptocurrency. The platform doesn’t support as many coins as the other exchanges but it does offer all the big ones like bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and the stablecoins. BlockFi is extremely easy to use so it’s a good exchange for beginners as well.
Other CryptoCurrency Exchanges You Can Trust
Binance is the largest cryptocurrency exchange by volume and that’s going to be important for trader but it’s been having trouble with regulators lately. The international platform has had to suspend payments in British pounds or euros and stop taking new customers in different regions. Americans will have to use the domestic site, Binance.US which was set up last year when the company ran up against regulatory problems like what it’s seeing in Europe. At that time, U.S. users were only give two weeks to transfer from the international site to the U.S. exchange.
Despite the problems, Binance does have some things going for it besides the volume. The international site offers trading in 377 coins though the U.S. exchange is limited to just over 50 but has all the big ones. The U.S. site charges higher fees at 0.5% to buy or sell plus fees for wire transfers and debit card funding though ACH is free so it’s still cheaper than Coinbase.
Binance also offers more order types including limits and stop-orders and fee discounts for higher volume, so it’s really a trading platform rather than a buy-and-hold crypto investing sites.
On the downside, there are the limits for U.S. investors and kind of a questionable future for the company on the regulatory side.
We’ve still got five cryptocurrency exchanges to review but I want to get your opinion on this as well. If you’re investing in crypto, what exchange are you using and what’s the most important factor for you? So scroll down and let me know in the comments, which platform you’re on and what’s important, like fees or trading or whatever you look for.
Next here we’ve got the most well known cryptocurrency exchange, Coinbase, and the one I used until switching most of my crypto to BlockFi for the higher interest rates.
Coinbase started listing its stock in April and while it hasn’t gone well for investors, it still brings a lot of credibility and funding for the company that it can use to grow its services. The platform offers more than 50 coins and the opportunity to earn free crypto while you learn about different coins.
Pros of using Coinbase are it usually offers some free bitcoin on signup, though it’s only like $5 so…yeah. It’s a U.S. company which is important for a couple of reasons. First, if you invest more than $10,000 on a non-U.S. exchange then you’ll have to file the ‘Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts, or FBAR, report to the IRS, so you don’t have to do that with Coinbase. The platform is fairly easy to use and again, you can earn rewards in other coins. For example, it took me all of half an hour to earn over $30 in rewards for Stellar Lumens, Compound, Amp, The Graph and BarnBridge coins.
Cons of using Coinbase are, first and biggest are the fees. Trading fees are a 0.5% spread plus $3 per transaction and it will cost you 1.5% to buy from your bank account or 4% through a debit card. I typically buy $5,000 at a time and pay $73 each time in fees.
Other cons though are Coinbase may be more susceptible to IRS reporting in the future because it is a U.S. listed company, it’s not going to want to run afoul of the SEC or the U.S. government so the platform will report your investments.
I want to compare Coinbase with Coinbase Pro as well because I know there are a lot of Coinbase users that could save a lot of money by switching to the Pro level, even if it’s not necessarily less expensive than some of the other exchanges I’ll show you.
Coinbase pro is run by the same company but is geared more towards trading cryptocurrencies than the buy-and-hold investing you might do on Coinbase. It’s a little less intuitive than the other platform, so harder to find your way around for beginners but does offer some benefits.
The biggest pro here is just lower fees. Whereas you’ll pay that 1.5% fee on Coinbase, the pro platform rates your fee depending on how much trading volume you did in the previous 30 days…and you can see here, you can really get your fees down if you’re trading a million or more over a month. Otherwise, most people are going to be paying fees of around half a percent which is still a big saving from the regular platform.
Other benefits include charting and order book as well as different order types, basically everything you would expect for frequent cryptocurrency trading and pair trading.
Cons of using the pro platform are that even with the lower fees, it’s still higher than some of the other options we’ll talk about. It’s also a little difficult to find your way around the charting if you’re not already familiar with that kind of thing and the charts aren’t as advanced as you’ll find elsewhere.
So basically, Coinbase pro is a good start for crypto traders, definitely better than the regular platform and it doesn’t cost anything extra though there might still be better options.
Our next crypto exchange, Kraken, is a popular one though I’m not sure about a platform named after a norse sea monster.
Kraken has a lot of features for investors ready to take cryptocurrency beyond the basics like futures trading and margin though I don’t think it explains the risks in these very well. Like, it’s said to have some of the best customer service among crypto platforms but that’s if you know what you want to ask…not necessarily if you’re a beginner that needs a little more information into the risks of futures and leveraged margin trading.
Anyway, Kraken does offer a solid list of more than 50 cryptocurrencies and the fees are a little lower than with Coinbase. On Kraken, you pay 0.9% to buy stablecoins or 1.5% for other transfers and then an online processing fee of half a percent. Fees on the pro feature are lower than Coinbase, starting at just 0.16% and lower depending on how much you trade.
Kraken gives you access to futures trading to hedge your bitcoin position, as well as low margin rates and 5-times leveraged borrowing.
So Pros of Kraken are those lower trading fees, excellent customer service through chat and ticket request as well as the extra features with futures trading and margin.
Against these, the biggest drawback to Kraken that I found are just the different fees for everything. You pay one rate for stablecoins and another for other crypto and another fee depending on the currency you’re using…its just all really confusing. Also, Kraken is not a wallet so you’ll need a wallet service either in cold storage or a hot wallet, so for beginners it’s just another confusing step.
Still two more cryptocurrency exchanges plus that side-by-side comparison but if you want to earn free bitcoin, click through the link in the description and sign up for the new BlockFi rewards card. You’ll earn 1.5% back on all purchases in bitcoin plus the 4% annual interest along with lots of other bonuses and there’s no annual fee. I’ll also link to a video in the description with more details and why I’m using the card for all my business spending.
Now Bittrex is much smaller than the other crypto sites with just $100 million in average daily volume and half a million weekly visits. Compare that to Binance with over $16 billion in daily volume traded and 44 million weekly visits and Bittrex might not be the best for traders looking for liquidity but I wanted to include it for its security.
Besides the two-factor authentication, Bittrex uses a multi-stage wallet strategy for cold storage on its accounts. Fees are also lower than many of the other exchanges. The platform charges nothing for depositing money and the trading fee is based on volume.
Cons then are the lower trading volume might mean the spread is larger when you go to trade crypto so maybe not getting the price you could on other exchanges.
Gemini was founded by the Winklevoss twins…yes the maybe co-founders of Facebook, and is also a U.S. based company. In fact, BlockFi uses Gemini as its trust custodian and both are audited by the New York Department of Financial Services.
Gemini also offers some solid interest rates on crypto and stablecoins held in the account and funds in your hot wallet are insured though that loaned out in Gemini earn are not.
Fees on Gemini can be a little confusing because it’s a tiered structure but most will pay a 0.5% ‘convenience’ fee…and I hate that they call it that, along with a 1.5% fee on transactions over $200 though there are no ACH or debit card fees.
One cool feature is Gemini has gotten into NFT trading so you can explore the digital art collection and bid into that.
Pros here are the fact that it’s U.S. based and gives you access to the NFT collection as well as earning interest on your holdings.
Cons for Gemini are the confusing fee structure and higher fees compared to others like BlockFi.
I wanted to put together a table comparing all seven cryptocurrency exchanges side-by-side with some of the factors I looked for as well as the fees. Now understand that some of the columns marked by an X, the platform actually does provide but it’s so far out of the competition compared to the others that it barely counts. For example; Coinbase does offer an interest account but the rate you earn is about half of what it is on BlockFi or Gemini.
And you see, none of the exchanges check every box with BlockFi falling short on the order types and Gemini coming close except for the sign-up bonus. It really comes down to what you need in a crypto platform, whether you’re investing and holding or trading.
Now one important factor I didn’t include here is liquidity which is huge if you’re trading but since I only compared the largest cryptocurrency exchanges, it really wasn’t a factor on any of them. There is enough buying and selling on each of these that you’ll get good prices but if you do decide to use a smaller platform, understand that liquidity can be an issue.