Getting started with crypto can be a daunting task.
You’re asking yourself how to buy crypto, where to buy crypto, where to store crypto, and hundreds of other questions.
Well, exchanges make it extremely easy to buy, exchange, send, receive, and store crypto.
Cryptocurrency exchanges are not created equal. They each have their own pros and cons. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular cryptocurrency exchanges.
What are the best ways to buy crypto?
Coinbase is the perfect exchange for those looking to get started in crypto. It’s established in the United States, one of the few exchanges available in all of the states, and is available all around the world. Coinbase is a publicly traded company in the United States, which gives it a lot of credibility. Coinbase has a mobile app.
Why Coinbase is good
Coinbase has a small minimum fee to get started, just 2$. This allows just about anyone to get started with crypto. You can use a few different payment methods on Coinbase. These include a bank account, PayPal, a debit card, wire transfers, Google Pay, or a Coinbase gift card.
Coinbase offers a great selection of crypto with almost 100 cryptocurrencies available on the platform. They also add new cryptocurrencies quite often, which you can view under “New on Coinbase”.
One of the best things about Coinbase is Coinbase Learn and Earn, which allows you to earn a small amount of certain cryptos by learning and answering questions about the crypto. This amount has ranged from 1.50$ up to 10$ worth of crypto just for a few minutes worth of your time. New cryptocurrencies get added to Coinbase Earn every so often, and it’s worth checking up on from time to time. Currently, I have received 42.50$ worth of different cryptocurrencies from Coinbase Learn and Earn.
Unlike most crypto exchanges, Coinbase is insured in case they are hacked and you lose your crypto. This has been a problem in the past for certain exchanges, so it’s great to have this peace of mind with Coinbase.
Why Coinbase is bad
The worst thing about Coinbase is the fees to buy crypto. Depending on which payment method you use, the fees can range anywhere from 0.5% to 4.5%. This range of fees also depends on the cryptocurrency itself, or the size of the transaction.
The fees are based mostly on the amount of the trade. For anything 10$ or less the fee is 0.99$, and goes up from there. For transactions between 10$ and 25$ the fee is 1.49$, for 25$ to 50$ the fee is 1.99$, for 50$ and 200$ the fee is 2.99$. After 200$ the fee will be based on a percentage.
Another bad thing about Coinbase is their customer service. Most complaints I see on reddit are about the abysmal customer service. Apparently, it’s very hard to get in touch with a real person if there is any problem with your account. You are able to email their support or even go on Twitter to tweet at them, but it might take some time for them to respond. They do have an emergency number to disable your account.
However, these are really the only two things wrong with Coinbase.
Kraken is an exchange that was founded in 2011 and is available in 48 U.S. states and every country except Cuba, Iran and North Korea. A mobile app is available for both U.S. and international investors.
Why is Kraken good?
Kraken is extremely easy to use so it's perfect if you are just starting out in cryptocurrency. The app and website have a good design and it's simple to find what you need. You can even buy crypto from a linked bank account as soon as you have verified your Kraken account. The minimum to start is only $10.
The fees for trading on Kraken are relatively low. For most normal transactions there will be a 2.0% transaction fee. If you are buying stablecoins, you can find this percent to be 1.4%.
One of the best things about Kraken is that you can exchange over 120 different cryptocurrencies. They offer the main coins like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin. They also offer many others like Polkadot
, and Solana, but you can also find some of the less popular currencies. On top of that you will also find a few stablecoins like Tether and USD Coin.
You can stake your coins
on Kraken. Staking is a way to make passive crypto just for holding some in your wallet. Kraken offers staking for coins like Cardano, Polkadot, and Solana with good returns on each.
What makes Kraken bad?
Some users have reported that they don't have a way to get their money onto Kraken to buy cryptocurrency. This is because Kraken only supports bank accounts who use a third party service called Trustly, which securely connects bank accounts to Kraken. There are over 1,000 banks listed on Trustly, but if yours is not listed there is no way to directly buy using your bank account. Instead, what you have to do is wire money from your bank to Kraken. That can be annoying.
Another annoying thing about Kraken is that it is available in only 48 U.S. states. Two states are unable to use the exchange. Those states are New York and Washington. So, yeah, if you're living in New York you have something in common with North Korea.
Gemini is another exchange you can use to buy cryptocurrency. Gemini is available in all 50 U.S. states and is perfect for a casual cryptocurrency investor, yet also works well for advanced traders. It can also be used to swap different cryptocurrencies. Gemini has a mobile app.
Why is Gemini good?
Gemini is easy to sign up for and even easier to use, making it perfect for those just getting started in cryptocurrency. Gemini offers one of the best incentives to sign up. You will earn 20$ worth of Bitcoin by spending at least 100$ within 30 days.
Gemini currently has about 50 cryptocurrencies available. These include Bitcoin
and Ethereum. It also carries a few cryptocurrencies that are not available on Coinbase, the other exchange available in all of the United States. It’s a great way to diversify your portfolio.
Digital assets on Gemini are insured against any losses from a hack. However, Gemini is extremely serious about its security, and has never been successfully hacked, making it one of the safer options when holding your cryptocurrency.
Gemini lets you stake your crypto and earn a certain percent for what you stake. For Bitcoin this percent is 1.01, for Ethereum it’s 1.26%, but the best return on investment is Gemini’s own Gemini Dollar which yields 8.05%!
Gemini gives you 10 free withdrawals per month. After that the fee is quite high, so it’s best to keep withdrawals under 10.
What makes Gemini bad?
While Gemini does offer insurance against any hacks, it does not cover losses due to letting someone else access your account. Meaning, if you give out your login information and someone sends away all your crypto, you are out of luck.
The fees on Gemini are comparable to Coinbase. Some may think these fees are high, but for beginner traders the convenience is worth the small extra fee.
Binance is the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world. It is available everywhere in the world except the United States, since the IRS accused them of money laundering. But Binance is perfect if you live anywhere else.
Why is Binance good?
Binance offers the largest selection of cryptocurrencies out of any exchange. According to their website you can, buy, trade and hold over 600 cryptocurrencies. These include the major currencies, but a lot of the appeal to Binance is that they usually list altcoins first, meaning you can invest in projects earlier than those who wait for the crypto to become available on another exchange.
The best thing about Binance are the low fees. The fees are 0.1%, but you can actually get a bit of a discount on fees by using Binance’s crypto $BNB. Using BNB you will only pay a fee of 0.075%.
Binance has a lot of options when it comes to trading. These include peer-to-peer trading, spot trading, margin trading, limit order, stop-limit order, market order, stop market order, trailing stop order, post only order, and some more.
What’s wrong with Binance?
Now I know I said that Binance wasn't available in the United States, but they do have a separate platform for those in the U.S. called Binance.US. However, this is more like Binance lite. On Binance.US you can only trade around 100 cryptocurrencies, but the fees are super low. Still 0.1%. But if you choose to pay with a debit card you’re looking at around 4.5%.
Another thing about Binance is that there are so many options. Now, this is also a pro because advanced investors can make use of those. If you’re just beginning, Binance can look extremely intimidating with all of its options. Some options could cost you a lot of money if you don’t know what you are doing.
They also don't have their own built-in wallet. Instead they recommend that you use Trust Wallet. Again, this could add complications for beginners.
Crypto.com is an exchange based out of Singapore. In 2022, they reached 50 million users. Crypto.com has a number of athletic sponsorships, and they even put their name on a stadium in the United States! Crypto.com is available in 90 countries and in 49 U.S. states. Can you guess which state it’s not available in? New York! Wtf, New York???
What makes Crypto.com good?
Like many of these other exchanges, Crypto.com offers a large selection of crypto. On this exchange you will find around 250 different currencies. Of course, allow you to invest in all the main crypto, but also have a big selection of altcoins. And you can do so for just $1.
The fees for Crypto.com are amazing! In fact, there is no fee for trading and only 0.40% if you use your bank account to purchase crypto. Yeah, it’s pretty rare to find an exchange that isn’t going to charge you crazy fees for transactions. It’s also possible to get discounts on your fees to make them even lower.
Crypto.com offers many different features other than just buying and selling cryptocurrency. They also allow staking, offer a credit card that gives you Crypto.com Coin ($CRO) as cashback, and has its own wallet that allows you to invest in NFTs.
What makes Crypto.com bad?
While the fees are a pro for Crypto.com, they are also a con. Fees are 2.99% if you plan to purchase cryptocurrency with a debit card. That’s not the only fee we didn’t like. You have to pay a fee to withdraw your crypto. For Bitcoin, it’s 0.0004 BTC! That’s a little over $10 at the current price of Bitcoin.
Sadly, Crypto.com doesn’t allow you to exchange cryptocurrencies for each other like a lot of the other platforms on this page. Instead, you have to sell the first crypto and then use the funds to buy the second crypto. Luckily, that doesn’t mean extra fees.
While Robinhood isn’t technically a cryptocurrency exchange, it is a good place to start with crypto trading. Robinhood is actually a platform for commission free stock trading and many people who use it for stock trading can easily trade crypto on the same platform. Robinhood does have a mobile app.
What makes Robinhood good?
Robinhood allows free cryptocurrency trading. Most exchanges do have fees that can cut into the amount of crypto you get with your money, but not Robinhood. This is one of the stand out features of Robinhood. So if you aren’t ready to fully jump into a cryptocurrency exchange, Robinhood can be perfect for you.
Robinhood is extremely easy to use. The mobile app is good, fast, and has a great design. The charts update quite frequently, so you are constantly up to date on the prices of the crypto. It also provides great information on your trades like average cost, today’s return, and total return.
Since Robinhood is mainly used for trading stocks, you can also use it as a place to hold those stocks, making it a great platform to consolidate all of your investments. Many retail investors already use Robinhood as a platform to trade stocks, so adding a couple different cryptocurrencies to your portfolio is easy.
What makes Robinhood bad?
There aren’t many different cryptocurrencies available on Robinhood. They do have a few big coins like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Dogecoin, but only have a total of 7 coins available. If you are looking to be a serious crypto trader Robinhood may not be for you.
Robinhood does not let you exchange one crypto for another crypto. It also does not allow you to send your crypto to any wallet. Essentially this crypto’s only function is to hold and invest.
Robinhood has had many controversies in the past, which can make it an unreliable trading platform. Most of these controversies are blocking traders from buying and selling during times of extreme volatility, making many people lose money during these times.
There are a few different cryptocurrency exchanges to choose from when you are just starting out with crypto. These include Coinbase, Gemini, and Robinhood.
Each has their own pros and cons.
Coinbase is easy to use, has a variety of choices of crypto, and allows you to earn crypto on the app.
Kraken offers a bunch of different cryptocurrencies, allows you to stake your crypto for passive rewards, and has relatively low fees.
Gemini allows you to stake your crypto for even more, and gives the highest amount of free crypto when signing up and buying some crypto.
Binance is better for more advanced traders, or traders outside of the U.S. They offer a massive selection of cryptocurrencies and have the lowest fees in the industry.
Crypto.com offers a selection of over 250 cryptocurrencies, has low fees, and offers its own credit card that allows you to earn crypto as cashback.
Robinhood is perfect for those who are already into investing in the stock market and those looking for fee-less crypto purchasing.
Now that you know the best ways to buy crypto, let's check out how to earn free crypto