The Best Bitcoin Exchanges & Platforms to Trade & Buy Bitcoin In 2021
When it comes to finding the best Bitcoin exchange things are not all that easy. Many of the best Bitcoin exchanges to buy Bitcoin are only recently online. This means that they have had little time to get the word out about their services and products. Most people coming to this page will be asking how to buy Bitcoin online through a secure means. Well, here is a good starting point.
One of the first things to consider when searching for the best Bitcoin exchange is; how safe is both the website and server. A trustworthy Bitcoin exchange provides transparent data about coins in cold storage (more on this later). It is also good to look for available currency pairs, For example; looking to trade Bitcoin for USD, Euros, or other fiat currencies. The location usually gives an idea of what is on offer. However, the largest Bitcoin exchanges usually have many options for buying Bitcoin with government-issued currency and altcoins.
Top 10 Best Bitcoin Exchanges to Trade & Buy Bitcoin, Altcoins & Cryptocurrency In 2021
Although you should always do your own research before investing, the above table features the best Bitcoin exchanges to buy Bitcoin online. If you are new to cryptocurrency exchanges then check out our exchange finder section which breaks down all exchanges by different criteria. We rank exchanges by the following criteria:
- Best exchanges in different countries
- Best exchanges per exchange type
- Best exchanges that offer different fiat transactions
- Best exchanges for different payment methods
- Best exchanges for beginners
- Exchanges with the lowest fees
- Exchanges with the easiest verification process
- Largest exchanges by volume of transactions
We rank the exchanges first and foremost by their security measures and how trustworthy they are considered to be. User feedback is essential for us to create a rounded view of each exchange, make sure to give your input on exchanges you regularly use and those that you have tried and discarded immediately.
For a list of all the exchanges we have reviewed, see the exchanges page.
How to buy Bitcoin using this list of Bitcoin exchanges?
This list should be used as a guide, make sure to read our reviews on each exchange and ultimately make your own decision. All exchanges have their pros and cons, and you should make sure that the exchange you choose is suitable for you.
Hopefully, the list of best Bitcoin exchanges and cryptocurrency exchanges above will be of good use when buying and trading Bitcoins. Each outstanding site should have detailed instructions. From here, one can easily figure out how to buy Bitcoin with a credit card, PayPal, cash, or bank transfer. Once you have purchased some coins, check out the list of available wallets.
What is the top crypto exchange site to buy Bitcoin in the above list?
It’s a tough question in our opinion. Each will have an upside compared to others. Check a few out and look up on forums to see what users are saying about the service provided, and which they think are the best crypto exchanges to buy Bitcoin easily. Localbitcoins.com is a really cool p2p Bitcoin exchange for beginners wanting to buy for their first time. The service is all over the world, meaning you can use euros, pounds, yen, Australian dollars, Swiss francs, Canadian dollars, krona, rubles, lira, rupees and so on.
If you pay by physical cash then you need to meet the person in real life. Alternatively, you can do a fast bank transfer and the site will hold your coins in escrow for you once it goes through. Obviously, there are more simple ways to start using crypto exchanges. Some like to buy with PayPal, but not many leading Bitcoin exchanges accept this because of chargebacks.
Having used LocalBitcoins myself, I found it a great way to sell Bitcoins. Especially if you are trying to shift a lot, you can wait for the price you want and slowly sell, I found that despite the charge I got on average a better price than other exchanges.
Which are the largest exchanges to buy cryptocurrency?
Generally, the biggest Bitcoin exchanges to buy cryptocurrency will be toward the top of the above list. For example, eToro, Bitfinex, Coinbase Pro (GDAX), Bitstamp, Coinbase (also the best USD Bitcoin exchange) all represent large volume proportions. Daily volume varies, and therefore the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange vary each day. Go to Bitcoinity for a good list of all the best bitcoin exchange sites and their proportional volumes. Some find this handy for arbitrage between markets.
What about the best cryptocurrency exchange?
Sadly, with the demise of Cryptsy, there is a need for a new major first-rate cryptocurrency and Bitcoin exchange (aka altcoins). Having many medium-sized cryptocurrency exchange sites is a better situation than having one large amazing option. Binance has now replaced Poloniex as the largest and best option to exchange Bitcoin. Its platform is functional enough to have attracted tens of millions of new customer every month.
Things feel smooth when using Binance. All big and small trading pairs are offered and it is now possible to do cryptocurrency margin trading on major altcoins. This is a cool feature, but use it with caution as leveraged trading has a certain risk factor. Keep in mind that some of the best Bitcoin exchange sites also have altcoins available. Yobit, Bittrex, Cryptopia and Changelly, are great options worth checking out. Some even offer short selling on major coins.
You may also like to check the coin rankings & market capitalizations on Coinkapp – which has a splendid comparisons list of the top cryptocurrencies. Alternatively, Coinmarketcap offers a rather simplified list.
Where is the best place to buy Bitcoin securely?
This is an important question to ask when choosing the best place to buy Bitcoin. Yes, putting the words trustworthy Bitcoin exchange and the best place to buy Bitcoin in the same sentence seems like an oxymoron, especially when remembering the shiny days of MtGox (aka Empty-Gox). While the Bitcoin protocol has never been hacked, many peripheral businesses have. Perhaps the best question to ask would be: which are the least secure Bitcoin exchanges. Generally, those listed here are optimum and of good standing, but please proceed with caution. Remember never to leave more BTC online than you can afford to lose.
A sample of some reviews below, or view our full cryptocurrency exchanges reviews!
Below are the pros and cons of some of the most popular exchanges on the market.
eToro was one of the first CFD providers to offer cryptocurrencies on their platform. With an extremely easy to use interface, it is a huge attraction for beginners who are looking to invest in crypto for the first time. Buying crypto as a CFD is different to buying and owning the actual cryptocurrency, but does it really matter? We take a look at eToro in more detail.
- Increased liquidity allows for easier entries and exits, decreasing the likelihood of slippage
- FCA, CySEC & ASIC regulated provides increased security
- Leverage means you do not need to put the full position down. Although caution is advised when using leverage
- Currently offers 14 cryptocurrencies
- You don’t own the underlying asset
eToro USA LLC does not offer CFDs and makes no representation and assumes no liability as to the accuracy or completeness of the content of this publication, which has been prepared by our partner utilizing publicly available non-entity specific information about eToro. eToro is a multi-asset platform which offers both investing in stocks and cryptoassets, as well as trading CFDs. Please note that CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 75% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work, and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money. Past performance is not an indication of future results. Cryptoassets are volatile instruments which can fluctuate widely in a very short timeframe and therefore are not appropriate for all investors. Other than via CFDs, trading cryptoassets is unregulated and therefore is not supervised by any EU regulatory framework.
Coinbase Update: Coinbase buy and sell orders resolved but performance still ‘degraded’. Coinbase combines an attractive interface, a great site to acquire Bitcoins with a debit card, and an insured online wallet for your digital currency. Over 30,000,000 users are signed up, including 75,000 merchants, and 15,000 developer apps. Works well for European and American customers. It started with just Bitcoin buying but has now expended to include Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum & Litecoin. I’ve also written a comprehensive Coinbase review for more detail.
- The most user-friendly and trusted platform
- Lots of long-time customers
- Online wallet with insurance
- Slightly more work needed when verifying an account
Binance Update: Binance offers $250,000 reward for details that lead to the arrest of hackers. The China-based cryptocurrency exchange began live trading in July 2017, so is fairly new to the crypto exchange world. However, it has proven itself thus far to its clients, with its robust charting software and both basic and advanced interfaces attracting novice and expert traders. We’ve written an in-depth analysis of Binance
- Low fees on transactions and withdrawals
- Offers a vast array of coins including typically rare coins
- The team has an excellent past in crypto and finance
- High liquidity allows for efficient entries and exits
- Clarification needed on how Chinese regulation will affect the exchange
- New platforms require time to gain client trust
Bittrex Update: We’ve unlisted Bittrex from the ranking while new account registrations remain closed. I’ll be re-listing the exchange once new sign-ups are allowed. Currently, only corporate accounts are being accepted, which is not ideal for cryptocurrency exchanges.
Update 2: Bittrex now claims they are compliant with SEC’s ICO rules.
Bittrex has earned it’s place as the new contender to the throne of world’s largest crypto exchange. Years of hard work and some lucky circumstances (BTC-e shut-down, Poloniex exodus, Cryptsy) have compounded a steady inflow of new users. It is a great place to trade Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. I’ll let you read the detail in my Bittrex review, which has some important facts and analysis.
- Nearly 200 trading pairs
- Currently the most visited altcoin exchange with over 150 million monthly visits
- Trusted by millions of traders
- High volumes available for big trades
- New account registration temporarily disabled to cope with demand. Cannot scale as well as Poloniex or Coinbase
- Heavy vetting requirements – especially for a non-fiat exchange
- Minor scaling issues as users flow into sing-up
Localbitcoins is quite popular for p2p (person to person) transactions all over the world. Simply put, you interact directly with the guy selling to you. Out of all the Bitcoin sites listed here, this is one of the first and most reputed. Escrow and dispute resolution is provided by the site. See my thorough review of Localbitcoins, I personally use it to cash out of positions quite often.
- Great way to meet people
- PayPal also available
- No verification needed in most cases
- Popular in all countries around the globe
- May take longer to conclude in-person transactions
- Risks associated with anonymous transactions
- Reports of some seller bank accounts being been suspended after receiving money
CEX is one of those international Bitcoin exchanges accepting euros, British pounds, US dollars, Russian Rubles, Ethereum, Zcash, and Dash. Needless to say, CEX is very popular within those currency regions. There is a no-nonsense landing page, giving you the option to buy or sell 100, 200, 500, or 1000 USD worth of Bitcoin. I like the transparency given to users about how much they will actually pay – even before they sign up. Good security practices, a modern and simple user interface, and both bank transfer & credit card purchases are available. CEX is indeed a good beginner-optimized alternative to Coinbase. Read the comprehensive Cex review for more details including fees, verification, & security.
- Bank transfer and credit card deposits
- Very easy to use & great for beginners
- Users know how much they will pay before even signing up
- Buying and selling Ethereum is available
- Recently Litecoin was unlisted
Kraken Update: In late 2017 Kraken was temporarily unlisted here following extensive trading engine and UI issues. Thankfully, in January 2018 the website underwent a successful migration and all systems are now reported to be functioning to everyone’s satisfaction.
Kraken works well through SEPA, has an easy verification process (expect 4-6 weeks vetting with current backlog) compared to Bitstamp, and is very knowledgeable when it comes to cryptography and security. As of early 2017, this platform has been re-positioning themselves as a crypto exchange by adding multiple new altcoins. I’ve written an in-depth Kraken review with everything you need to know.
- Cheapest rates and fastest times for trading, depositing and withdrawing
- Work best for Europeans and North America
- Has successfully resolved site-wide timeouts and trading engine lag
- A recent code update caused the site to be offline for 3 days.
- Recently disabled stop-loss and other trading features without giving explanation to the community
- Site not as visually intuitive as Coinbase or Cex
GDAX is a cryptocurrency exchange that is great for technical traders and offers high levels of liquidity. Deposits are in USD and can be processed just as rapidly as withdrawals. Also happens to be the best Ethereum exchange for serious players in this space. For more information on GDAX.
- An integral part of the trusted Coinbase brand
- Optimized to be a serious trading site
- More ID processing steps than on Chinese trading platforms
Xcoins describes itself as a Bitcoin lending service that allows traders to purchase Bitcoins using a credit card or PayPal. Due to chargeback with PayPal, buying cryptocurrency has been difficult, however, Xcoins claims to have found a way around it. Their unique peer-to-peer lending model connects lenders and borrowers and allows users to buy Bitcoins through a series of secure loans. Each secure loan can be paid with any PayPal-recognised payment method. Unlike regular cryptocurrency exchanges, borrowers that no longer want Bitcoin can get their money back. Lenders may also choose to join the platform for free.
- Two-factor authentication
- Good customer service
- Easy verification
- Users receive their Bitcoin immediately after paying the lender
- Low minimum loan amount
- The website was hacked in 2017
- No extensive features on the website
Update: Reports suggest Bitstamp will be sold to a South Korean gaming company. The price thought to be $350 million.
Bitstamp is big in Europe and, since 2011, have moved from Slovenia, and the United Kingdom in search of sound regulatory environments. Good volumes are available for larger trades. Well received by people using SEPA and credit cards. Both euro and US dollar deposits are accepted. I like Bitstamp because they really focus on being a pure Bitcoin-only exchange (update: since 2017 Bitstamp has started adding popular crypto coins). Please read my Bitstamp critique for analysis of factors such as security, fees, and history.
- Card purchases available (visa MasterCard and Visa) in Europe and the USA.
- HQ Located in Luxembourg
- Good for large transactions yet easy to use for beginners
- Not available outside of EU and the USA
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I trade Bitcoin or buy Bitcoin? What’s the difference?
A lot of you have asked me whether trading Bitcoin is better than buying it. The answer depends on your goals, and experience of Bitcoin trading. If you’re looking to hold Bitcoin as a long-term investment and check the price intermittently, it’s better to buy Bitcoin. This way you benefit from a small, one-time exchange fee and the assurance that you hold a physical Bitcoin in your wallet which can be spent at various retail stores.
Trading requires daily technical analysis and a sound understanding of trading platforms. I wouldn’t recommend this unless you’re experienced with eToro or an MT4 platform. That said, there are benefits to Bitcoin trading. It gives you the option to quickly scale in and out of positions, and take profits at a desired price. When you trade Bitcoin, you can take advantage of daily fluctuations in price. The CFD brokers used for trading are regulated, and your funds are arguably more secure than at an exchange like Coinbase. You will be charged spread (fee) on each trade, but you can execute a buy or sell order quicker. The biggest benefit to trading Bitcoin is the limit – it’s far easier to open a $100,000 position at a CFD broker than go through stringent checks and buy an equivalent amount on Coinbase.
My honest opinion? Do both – start off by buying Bitcoin using an exchange, but learn to trade Bitcoin so you can better take advantage of price movements.
Where can I buy Bitcoin in the US?
There are loads of places where you can buy and sell Bitcoin in the US. In fact, some of the world’s most popular Bitcoin exchange sites are American.
Coinbase is one of America’s most popular Bitcoin exchange site and probably the fastest and easiest way to buy Bitcoin in the US. The site has an ‘Instant Buy’ option for credit or debit card purchases and setting up an account is quick and easy with no long waits for verification (this can be an issue with some exchange sites).
If you wish to buy Bitcoin via bank transfer on Coinbase, it can take up to five days which is a bit annoying. Although, if you do buy using a connected bank account, Coinbase charges a much lower fee for purchases – it’s 3.99% for credit/debit card purchases and only 1.49% for bank transfer purchase.
I’d say Coinbase is the easiest way for newbies to buy Bitcoin because the site specifically caters to those who may not be all that familiar with cryptocurrencies. Admittedly, the fees are a little on the steep side compared to, say, LocalBitcoins and Kraken, but the good thing about using Coinbase is that you don’t have to worry too much about security.
Coinbase gives users the option to store coins in what it calls ‘the Vault’ (a more secure location because allegedly not even Coinbase can access coins in the Vault). This is good because security can be a concern with some of the lesser-known sites. In short, Coinbase is a trustworthy brand and a safe and secure place to buy Bitcoin.
Oh, and additionally, Coinbase accepts payment via PayPal, which many sites are yet to cater for. As well as Bitcoin, Coinbase also offers support for Ethereum and Litecoin.
Of course, Coinbase isn’t your only option if you want to buy Bitcoins in the US. There are countless other sites, some of which charge lower fees than Coinbase so it’s worth considering other options.
If it’s lower fees you’re after, LocalBitcoins is another good option because the site simply puts buyers and sellers in contact with one other and offers an escrow service to ensure nobody gets ripped off. It is solely for Bitcoin trading but a benefit it has is that it operates in all countries and buyers can pay for Bitcoins however they like, though most pay via cash deposit. Just remember to follow the rules of the site and beware of scammers.
Finally, if you want low fees but still want to go the traditional exchange route, I’d recommend either Gemini, a New York-based site which offers some of the lowest fees around (but doesn’t operate in all states so check first to see if your state is catered for), or Kraken, which also charges low fees but can be a bit tricky for new users and the customer service isn’t all that great.
To be clear, I’ve only talked about sites where you can buy Bitcoin using FIAT money. There are other sites you can use if you already have another cryptocurrency and want to use that to buy Bitcoin.
If you are interested, this is a good page to give you information on buying Bitcoin in the US.
What is the biggest Bitcoin exchange by volume?
At the time of writing, OKEx is the exchange with the largest Bitcoin volume going through it. However, this changes on a regular basis.
With cryptocurrency exchanges moving locations (to avoid countries clamping down on them, namely China), the volumes of Bitcoin traded at each one are often found to fluctuate.
Not only exchange locations but exchanges abilities to keep their trading functionality working is also another factor when looking at their volume. Binance, for example, recently stopped its trading services to update its systems. During that period, volumes were obviously completely down, however now they’re back, they sit second for the highest volume in the last 24 hours according to coinmarkepcap.com.
It is always worth keeping an eye on the news if you are interested in exchange volumes, watch out for regulation being introduced into different countries.
I’m worried about Bitcoin exchange fees – which site has the lowest?
Bitcoin exchange fees are a pain, there’s no doubt about it. However, if you shop around you can avoid getting totally ripped off when you buy Bitcoin.
Bitstamp boasts deposit fees as low as 0.05% and, depending on how much Bitcoin you want to buy, you’ll be charged a transaction fee of between 0.25%-0.1%. If you deposit/withdraw your money via SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area) you won’t be charged any hidden commissions, as is the case with some sites.
I’d say Kraken is also a good shout if it’s low fees you’re after. Their fee schedule can be found here: https://www.kraken.com/help/fees
The good thing about Kraken is you can buy using FIAT and they charge you next to nothing to withdraw your funds. Most other sites charge higher fees when you buy and then again when you withdraw so you get bitten twice, so to speak.
Coinbase’s rates are relatively low if you pay via a connected bank account (although the downside is this can take up to five days). When you buy via bank transfer, Coinbase usually charges a 1.49% commission on Bitcoin purchases (this varies slightly depending on what country you are in).
If you are in Europe and in a country which participates in SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area), you are charged next to nothing to withdraw funds (€0.15 with Coinbase) which is great. The same goes for all sites which support SEPA. Kraken, for example, charges €0.09 for withdrawals.
Unfortunately, if you’re in the US, Canada, Australia or most other parts of the world, you’ll be charged a bit more to withdraw funds. This is annoying because you’re effectively paying commission twice: once when you buy and once when you withdraw.
Lowest fees are probably on LocalBitcoins because you’re buying directly from other people and the site doesn’t take much, per trade. Using LocalBitcoins maybe requires a tad more technical know-how but the site is good and reliable and guides you through the process of signing up and initiating a trade nicely.
LocalBitcoins charges a flat 1% fee on each purchase.
Which Bitcoin sites support PayPal?
There are some Bitcoin sites which allow payment to be made via PayPal. Coinbase, for one, offers support for PayPal. In fact, Coinbase is probably the most reputable site which allows payment via PayPal.
Can I only buy Bitcoin online?
The easiest way to buy Bitcoin online is via exchange sites such as Coinbase or escrow services like LocalBitcoins. The exchanges mentioned will explain how to buy cryptocurrency in a simple manner.
You need an internet connection to be able to use these services. Once you’ve purchased Bitcoin, however, you can store coins in an offline wallet for added security.
You can do this by storing the private keys which relate to the coins on either a paper wallet or a hardware wallet.
If you’re looking to buy large quantities of Bitcoin, you can use OTC (Over the Counter) exchanges. OTCs specialize in fulfilling large orders and, as such, can usually execute your order a lot faster than traditional exchanges can.
With OTC exchanges, you can essentially buy Bitcoin offline because you either phone up or more likely visit the offices in person.
I’m looking to deposit $100,000 in a Bitcoin account today – where should I go?
This is a problem lots of people are now beginning to run into. With many exchanges, there are high levels of verification to go through before even getting close to that sort of initial deposit.
If you are based in the UK, you can organise a meeting with them to discuss the best ways to invest larger sums of capital.
There are other exchanges out there that are specifically designed for high rollers, Cumberland mining will only accept clients who are looking to invest over $100,000.
Which exchange allows me to buy Bitcoin instantly?
Plenty of exchanges allow you to buy Bitcoin instantly but you’ll usually have to pay a bit more for the privilege.
Coinbase, for example, has an Instant Buy option but you must use a credit or debit card so the transaction can be authenticated instantly and they charge 3.99% per purchase, rather than the usual 1.49%.
Many other sites offer a similar service but, like with Coinbase, it will usually cost a bit more than to buy via a connected bank account or wire transfer.
LocalBitcoins is another great way to buy Bitcoin quickly. Setting up an account doesn’t take long and, as long there are enough sellers, it is usually pretty easy to execute an order.