Cryptocurrency is the latest craze to sweep the world of finance, with Bitcoin (stock ticker: BTC) dominating the headlines while Dogecoin (DOGE)…
Cryptocurrencies are the latest craze to sweep the world of finance, with Bitcoin (stock ticker: BTC) dominating the headlines while Dogecoin (DOGE) grabs the headlines.
As the number of cryptocurrencies continues to grow in the market, investors have more options than ever to exchange their hard-earned cash for decentralized digital money. But how do you trade your favorite cryptocurrency?
The internet is filled with horrific stories of hackers defrauding traders of their winnings from poorly protected cryptocurrency exchanges, which makes it even more important to choose a safe cryptocurrency trading platform carefully before making your investment. However, which of the cryptocurrency exchanges is the best option for you?
There are a myriad of factors that will influence your decision: security measures, ease of use, trading fees, and the number of coins available for trading play a role in helping you decide the best cryptocurrency trading platform for you. To help you find a cryptocurrency trading platform that meets your needs, here are five options to choose from that suit a variety of cryptocurrency investors:
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It should come as no surprise that Coinbase, one of the world’s most popular cryptocurrency exchanges, tops this list. Cryptocurrency traders have been using Coinbase since 2012, and the cryptocurrency exchange only got better with age.
An easy-to-use interface, straightforward setup process, and free $5 bitcoin just to open an account make Coinbase an excellent place for new traders to get started. Hill, a certified financial planner and president of Hill Wealth Strategies in Richmond, Virginia, says Coinbase is the best site for beginners because you “are able to see all the coins in one place, (it has) the user interface and you (you) can easily buy a variety of crypto” .
Advanced users will enjoy Coinbase Pro, which provides more powerful tools for power users looking to dive into cryptocurrency trading.
With hundreds of digital currencies and altcoins supported on Coinbase, users have a good range of options to choose from, although the list is by no means extensive. Additionally, users will want to keep an eye on the high trading fees charged for their trades, which are part of the maze fee structure across Coinbase.
Hill says Coinbase is more expensive than other cryptocurrency exchange sites and only has a few payment options.
Another cryptocurrency trading site, Binance, has only been around for four years, but it quickly took over the cryptocurrency market.
Headquartered in Hong Kong, Binance is an international exchange that supports more than 500 different cryptocurrencies. The website is very intuitive and straightforward, allowing users to switch between the basic and advanced version of the site at will as they advance in their cryptocurrency trading career. While new cryptocurrency traders will find it easier to use Binance, it may ultimately be better for cryptocurrency traders – low trading fees, powerful charting tools, and an easy-to-use mobile app that allows for fast and simple cryptocurrency trading. With all these powerful features, it is not difficult to understand why Binance has become one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world.
The sheer volume of cryptocurrencies available is why Hill says Binance may not be the best fit for beginners. “Often, when investors are getting started and learning about the market, a little is more,” he says. “However, Binance is the best choice for those who are familiar with the language of cryptocurrency and their investment options.”
Note that Binance does not allow you to exchange US dollars for cryptocurrency, although it accepts credit and debit cards – there is a US site for US users, but it offers more limited options than the main site. In addition, the Binance platform has been hit by cyber attacks in the past, most recently in 2019 – although the site has an insurance fund to cover any losses. However, Binance is a secure trading platform that provides many powerful tools for users who want to invest in different digital currencies on the blockchain.[Read: The History of Bitcoin.]
You might not think of Robinhood when you think of cryptocurrency trading – and for good reason. The well-known mobile app for commission-free stock trading – and users banned from selling GameStop Corp. (GME) and other “stock meme” earlier this year — a first stock app, but in 2018 Robinhood started rolling out cryptocurrency trading as well. In the years since, the company has slowly built up the crypto aspect of its app, allowing users in select countries to trade just seven cryptocurrencies, including Dogecoin.
Although this is a small group to work from, it is an easy choice for beginners for users who are just beginning their crypto journeys. With the company’s mobile-first mindset, Robinhood has built an app that’s incredibly easy to use, and no trading fees mean barriers to entry are extremely low. As for security, “Robinhood uses cold wallets to store your cryptocurrency, which means that the majority of user funds are safely kept offline,” says Edmund McCormack, founder and CEO of Dchained. “However, in the event of a breach, it is guaranteed by Lloyd’s to cover any cybersecurity breaches.”
You should know that Robinhood does not allow users to remove their coins and place them in a wallet of their choice. In fact, Robinhood does not allow users to use their coins for payments – it is strictly a trading app. Robinhood lacks the bells and whistles of larger, more established competition, and advanced users will be better served elsewhere. But it has all the basics for cryptocurrency beginners and it might be the best cryptocurrency trading platform for new traders.
Founded by the Winklevoss twins in 2014, Gemini has established itself as one of the most trusted names in crypto. The two stars of Gemini are Bitcoin and Ethereum (ETH), but today the exchange allows users to trade more than 40 different cryptocurrencies on its site, including Bitcoin Cash and Gemini dollar, a stablecoin backed by the US dollar. Gemini is based on legitimacy, and the site was created with compliance with regulations as a top priority. The company is a trust company, and the site is insured by Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. As you might imagine, this means that safety is of paramount importance to a Gemini.
Gemini is known for its security, as most coins on the exchange are kept in cold storage. Additionally, according to McCormack, Gemini has a “very responsive customer service branch, and email inquiries are usually answered within a few hours.”
McCormack notes that “Gemini’s trading fees are slightly higher than Coinbase Pro but lower than Coinbase itself.” Fees are charged on a graduated scale depending on the pace of trading, encouraging premium users to use the platform more often while leaving one-time buyers paying above average fees. The site itself is pretty straightforward, although the mobile app isn’t as intuitive as some competitors, and the site doesn’t accept debit or credit card payments to fund your trading. However, if your primary concern is the safety and security of your cryptocurrency, then trading via Gemini is an excellent option.[READ: What Are Altcoins and Should You Invest In Them?]
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Kraken has proven to be a secure and reliable crypto exchange since it was founded in 2011.
With 90 coins available to trade on the site, Kraken’s selection is smaller than some of the others but makes up for it with excellent features that experienced cryptocurrency traders love. While the site has essential features for new traders, Kraken’s Pro is where it really shines. Advanced tools like margin trading and cryptocurrency futures are sure to appeal to premium users, while the ability to buy your coins will appeal to users who set it and forget it. As for security measures, Kraken has its own proprietary solution and does not rely on any third-party service, according to a Kraken spokesperson. In fact, the company says 95% of all deposits on Kraken are held in non-contact, geographically dispersed cold storages. The only time the assets are transferred online is when you trade or withdraw them from the platform.
The Kraken maker’s fee schedule system is confusing at best, often letting users hold the bag for a fee greater than they would find anywhere else unless they are actively trading during the 30-day period. In addition, as CrossTower CEO Kapil Rathe points out, the Kraken exchange has been known to break down during periods of high volatility. Kraken was selected by the New York Attorney General’s Office in 2018 for compliance issues. Besides, Kraken is one of the oldest and most secure exchanges available, and a great choice for anyone looking for advanced crypto features.
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Update 09/27/21: This story was posted earlier and has been updated with new information.