Hundreds of billions of dollars-worth of cryptocurrencies are traded around the world each day, and Bitcoin alone has a daily trading volume of $72.6 billion. The coin is more popular than ever, and it is easily comparable with major fiat currency trading pairs, given its usage.
If you are new to the crypto industry and wish to join and trade Bitcoin yourself, you should know that choosing the right exchange is crucial for making a good trade. Not all platforms are equal, with some offering higher or lower fees, more or less altcoins to trade against Bitcoin, and some do not even offer the ability to buy BTC with fiat currencies.
But, with so many exchanges around these days, it can be difficult to figure out which one to choose. That’s what we will discuss today, and present you with our top choices for trading Bitcoin.
Before we start listing up platforms, we wanted to point out how we chose these exchanges. Each of them is different than the others in one or more aspects, but they all have some things in common or are at least striving towards achieving the same, and that is to provide a safe, user-friendly experience for their users. This was also our top priority — for the exchanges to be safe for you to use them.
This is why we only listed reputable platforms, that are well-known to investors and regulators alike. We also tried to focus on the platforms that are not too expensive to use, and that, in general, have a very wide reach. This is necessary, as new traders and investors are arriving to the crypto industry from all over the world. With that in mind, an exchange that only services one of few regions in its immediate vicinity would not be a good choice.
Lastly, we also wanted to see things like low minimum investment amounts, multiple payment methods being supported, and a fair selection of cryptocurrencies. Since we are focusing solely on Bitcoin today, this last one was not a must-have, but it is desirable, given that a lot of people will likely want to expand and diversify their portfolio once they familiarize themselves with Bitcoin.
With that in mind, here are our choices, and alongside them — a few short steps on how you can start trading on each of these platforms.
Top Bitcoin exchanges and trading platforms to use in 2021
1) eToro — Overall best
eToro is one of the best options for buying Bitcoin in 2021. The company operates as a regulated brokerage firm and an exchange, which makes it extremely safe for investors to use. Particularly since it was regulated by three different regulatory bodies, including the FCA, ASI, and CySEC. This means that eToro is available and regulated internationally, which allowed it to attract over 13 million users.
The platform has done a lot to make it very easy for everyone to reach Bitcoin. All that users need to do is create an account by filling out a short form, which is followed by verifying their identity through a somewhat larger form. After that, traders are free to buy and sell Bitcoin and a variety of other cryptos as they see fit.
The reason why we say that eToro did its best to be inclusive and convenient is the fact that the platform allows users to invest as little as $25. This is the minimum amount, and for once — it is a sensible one, even for retail investors. Furthermore, eToro is handling fees quite well, too. All it takes for itself is 0.5% of the amount that the user deposits. Trading is completely free of charge after that. All of this makes eToro very beginner-friendly, which is especially important these days, as the crypto industry is seeing a major increase in the number of users.
The low minimum investment is also a great thing for another reason — strategic investments. Users can buy small amounts regularly — using $25 per week, or even per month if they are in it for the long run. This is the amount that everyone can set aside, and it will provide them with significantly greater returns over the years.
eToro also offers a lot of other investment choices, such as 15 different altcoins, over 1,700 stocks, more than 150 ETFs, and, as of last month, the platform also has CFDs.
How to buy Bitcoin on eToro
If you wish to buy BTC on eToro, there are only a few short steps that you need to take:
- Create an account on eToro and verify your identity
- Click on the deposit button on the bottom-left side of your screen
- Select the amount that you wish to deposit, as well as your payment method
- Once you deposit the money, type “Bitcoin” into the search bar at the top of your dashboard
- After getting on Bitcoin’s page, click the Trade button and opt to buy
- Enter the necessary details, such as the amount you wish to purchase
- Execute trade, and you will have BTC in your account, which you can use or sell.
- Offers 16 different cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin
- It also has stocks, ETFs, CFDs, and more
- It has well over a dozen million users
- Low minimum investment
- Low deposit fee
- No trading fee
- Regulated by three different regulatory bodies
- Very beginner-friendly and affordable
- Easy onboarding
- It has a withdrawal fee of $5
- Works in USD
2) Binance — Best for altcoins
Next up, we have Binance, which is the world’s largest exchange by trade volume. Binance is also one of the best exchanges out there if you are looking to trade altcoins, currently offering around 400 different trading pairs.
While most trading pairs are crypto-to-crypto, there are also some fiat-to-crypto pairs against USD, EUR, GBP, and alike. Binance also supports a number of different stablecoins, including its own, BUSD.
Binance is a dominant exchange on a global level, and its volume exceeds $70 billion at the time of writing. It offers spot and derivatives trading, which makes it particularly useful and interesting to professional investors. BTC/USDT derivatives pair, for example, is responsible for over 20% of the exchange’s volume. However, this focus on advanced trading may also make it a bit too complicated for newcomers to feel at home.
Binance is also not that bad when it comes to fees. It does have trading fees, although they are only 0.1% per trade. Deposit fees are a bit higher, however, if you go for credit and debit cards. Binance charges a 2% fee per deposit made via card, which is something that traders should keep in mind.
However, deposit fees for cryptocurrencies are completely free. But, it does require different minimum amounts when it comes to withdrawals. For example, to withdraw Bitcoin, you need to own at least 0.001 BTC. It also has an extremely low minimum investment for Bitcoin of only $15.
How to buy Bitcoin on Binance?
Buying Bitcoin on Binance is an easy thing to do, and there are several methods. You can deposit another crypto, or you can use fiat currencies. Just follow these few steps and you will be done in no time:
- Start by going to Binance’s platform and registering your account
- You can trade on the exchange’s web version, or within the mobile app
- Binance will require you to verify your identity if you wish to buy Bitcoin with your credit or debit card. It also requires face verification (a photo of your ID and a selfie) to let you trade above 5,000 EUR daily, and you need to verify your address to go up to 10,000 EUR per day.
- After verifying your identity, you will be free to buy Bitcoin. Simply click on the “Buy Now” button and you will be led to a window that will let you select which currency to use, which crypto to buy, and which payment method to use.
- The world’s largest crypto exchange
- An excellent choice for reaching Bitcoin or altcoins
- Offers spot and derivative trading
- A massive ecosystem with a variety of services
- The trading fee is only 0.1%
- Great reputation
- Excellent security
- Top choice for expert traders
- Too complex for new traders
- Credit and debit card fees are 2%
3) Coinbase — Best for new users
Then, there is Coinbase — one of the largest crypto exchanges in the world, and the largest exchange in the US. Coinbase is very well-known for its excellent reputation, the fact that it was never hacked despite being in the crypto industry for over eight years now, and the fact that it serves over 100 countries.
The exchange has well over 35 million customers from all corners of the world, and it is regulated by multiple financial watchdogs. In other words, if you seek a safe platform to do your Bitcoin purchasing, then Coinbase is the platform for you.
Similarly to eToro, Coinbase is also extremely user-friendly. On the other hand, similarly to Binance, the exchange has a massive ecosystem that it continues to improve and expand. Coinbase is very easy to navigate and use, and it only takes around 15 minutes before arriving at the platform and owning your first BTC.
Now, minimum investment tends to differ, and it depends on which payment method you use, but for the most part, you can invest as little as $2-worth of crypto. As for payment methods, Coinbase supports bank account transfers, debit card transfers, wire transfers, or PayPal transfers. Now, it should be noted that PayPal is only for withdrawals, but it is instant. Debit card transfers can be used for small investments and withdrawals, and it also works instantly.
Wire transfers, on the other hand, will take 1-3 business days, and they are meant for large investments. Lastly, Bank account transfers can be used for large or small investments, but they are extremely slow, and can last anywhere from 4-5 business days.
In terms of fees, Coinbase may not be as good as it seems when it comes to other aspects. Unfortunately, the exchange can be rather expensive. It charges 0.5% for deposits, which is not that bad. However, it will also charge you a 3.99% fee on debit card payments. Even that is not it, as it also has a 1.49% trading commission, so there are quite a few fees to pay along the way.
This may not be for everyone, but the fact that the exchange has dozens of millions of users shows that people either do not mind, or that they do not wish to risk using less reputable exchanges.
How to buy Bitcoin on Coinbase
If the high fees are not a problem for you and you are interested in using Coinbase to buy Bitcoin, here is what you need to do:
- Go to Coinbase’s website
- Create an account
- Verify your identity
- Click on Buy/Sell
- Enter the amount you wish to buy and specify your payment method
- Very user friendly
- Very low minimum deposits
- Offers multiple payment methods
- Licensed and regulated
- Serves over 100 countries
- Strong ecosystem
- Simple user interface
- Extremely high liquidity
- The exchange is very expensive to use
- User does not control wallet keys
- Fewer altcoins than most other exchanges
Lastly, we have Kraken. Now, Kraken is an exchange that is heavily security-oriented. It was created by Jesse Powell, who worked at Mt.Gox — a well-known Bitcoin exchange that was destroyed by hackers in the early years of crypto. As one of its developers, Powell realized that poor security of Mt.Gox can only lead to the end of the exchange and that it will reflect badly on the crypto industry. Investors and traders needed a safe place to trade, and he knew he could do a better job at providing it. So, he did just that.
The end result was Kraken, a security-oriented exchange that was never hacked, which is something that only a handful of platforms can say these days. On top of security, Kraken also wants to offer its users diversity, which is why it aims to list as many cryptocurrencies as possible. At the same time, it aims to allow users to buy them with as many fiat currencies as possible.
As far as trading is concerned, Kraken is mostly focusing on leveraged trading, or margin trading, which is generally not that beginner-friendly. However, it is a good place for experts to earn large amounts by borrowing trading money from the platform.
In terms of minimum deposits, they depend on different factors, such as the users’ choice of th bank. They can go from being free and allowing to deposit as little as $1, to having hefty $25 fees and requiring $100 minimum, or more for European countries. Deposit limits also depend on verification level, and it is worth noting that first-time fiat deposits will result in a 72-hour withdrawal hold. This is only for the first deposit, according to the exchange.
How to buy Bitcoin on Kraken
If you are interested in using Kraken for any reason, you can easily buy Bitcoin on it by following these few steps:
- Register on the exchange
- Verify your account
- Deposit fiat currency
- Wait for 1-5 business days for the funds to arrive
- Buy Bitcoin
The process is time-consuming as you have to wait for days for your money to arrive, but that is one of only two flaws that we found with Kraken.
- High-security measures that make it very safe
- Mostly reasonable fees on withdrawals and deposits
- Good ability to earn thanks to leveraged trading
- Great design and excellent overview of the market
- The platform is very customizable
- Very low minimum deposits in certain situations
- Not beginner-friendly
- Favors bank transfers, which are very slow
Bitcoin is supported on pretty much every crypto exchange out there, be it big or small, regulated or not, popular or unknown. However, just because it is there, it doesn’t mean that you can buy, sell, or trade it under equally good conditions. The platforms listed above cover some of the best conditions to buy BTC, including top-notch security. They can be more or less expensive, and offer various other conditions, depending but at the end of the day, they are the top platforms in the industry for a reason.
Are Bitcoin exchanges regulated?
Some Bitcoin exchanges are regulated, while others are not. Many of these major, global exchanges are regulated by multiple regulatory bodies in order to operate in multiple jurisdictions.
Why did Binance ban US users?
Binance offers a lot of altcoins — many of which are frowned upon by the US Securities and Exchange Commission. In order to avoid having problems with the regulator, Binance banned US users from its main platform, and instead, it launched a subsidiary Binance.US.
Does Coinbase only work in the US?
No, Coinbase has expanded its service to over 100 countries, many of which are in Europe. The exchange has done a lot of expanding in the past few years, and is now one of the biggest in the world, with a massive global reach.
Can I obtain Bitcoin without an exchange?
Yes, it is possible to receive Bitcoin without going through a centralized exchange. You can do it through mining, or Bitcoin faucets, or you can use decentralized exchanges and P2P platforms if you do not wish to trust traditional exchanges with your funds.