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The Top 10 Crypto Exchanges and Apps for January 2024


Farran Powell

Farran Powell

Farran was the deputy editor of investing & retirement at Forbes Advisor. She has extensive experience with the investing beat, having served as the former assistant managing editor of investing at U.S. News & World Report, where she also launched several newsletters. Her work has appeared in TheStreet, Mansion Global, CNN, CNN Money, DNAInfo, Yahoo Finance, MSN Money, and the New York Daily News. She's an alumna of the London School of Economics and holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin. Follow or DM her on Twitter at @farranpowell.

Farran Powell

Farran Powell

Farran was the deputy editor of investing & retirement at Forbes Advisor. She has extensive experience with the investing beat, having served as the former assistant managing editor of investing at U.S. News & World Report, where she also launched several newsletters. Her work has appeared in TheStreet, Mansion Global, CNN, CNN Money, DNAInfo, Yahoo Finance, MSN Money, and the New York Daily News. She's an alumna of the London School of Economics and holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin. Follow or DM her on Twitter at @farranpowell.

Contributor

Michael Adams

Michael Adams

Michael Adams is lead editor, investing at Forbes Advisor. He's researched, written about and practiced investing for nearly two decades. As a writer, Michael has covered everything from stocks to cryptocurrency and ETFs for many of the world's major financial publications, including Kiplinger, U.S. News and World Report, The Motley Fool and more. Michael holds a master’s degree in philosophy from The New School for Social Research and an additional master's degree in Asian classics from St. John’s College.

Michael Adams

Michael Adams

Michael Adams is lead editor, investing at Forbes Advisor. He's researched, written about and practiced investing for nearly two decades. As a writer, Michael has covered everything from stocks to cryptocurrency and ETFs for many of the world's major financial publications, including Kiplinger, U.S. News and World Report, The Motley Fool and more. Michael holds a master’s degree in philosophy from The New School for Social Research and an additional master's degree in Asian classics from St. John’s College.

Updated: Dec 28, 2023, 8:38am

Editorial Note: We earn a commission from partner links on Forbes Advisor. Commissions do not affect our editors' opinions or evaluations.

If you’re interested in buying cryptocurrency, you need to open an account with a crypto exchange. There are around 500 examples to choose from, and Forbes Advisor combed through the leading players to determine the best crypto exchanges for both new and experienced investors.

Show Summary

The Best Crypto Apps & Exchanges of January 2024

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Coin Bureau

Kraken

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Trading Fees

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Lark Davis

Flat 0.9% fee for stablecoins, 1.5% for other cryptos *Kraken Instant Buy

Tradable Coins

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Cepryl

Trading Fees

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MoneyZG

Flat 0.9% fee for stablecoins, 1.5% for other cryptos *Kraken Instant Buy

Tradable Coins

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Tom Crown

Why We Picked It

Kraken  is one of the oldest U.S. crypto exchanges, founded in 2011 during crypto’s Paleolithic era. This platform offers a solid range of coins with very competitive trading fees. It’s also one of the few exchanges in the U.S. to offer margin trading and a suite of other advanced trading tools like advanced order types and futures trading.

This exchange offers two trading platforms: Kraken and Kraken Pro. The basic Kraken platform with “Instant Buy” doesn’t offer the cheapest fees, although advanced users can get volume discounts and lower their costs by trading on Kraken Pro.

Pros & Cons

  • Sophisticated features available on Kraken Pro, such as margin trading.
  • Good customer service options, including a chatbot and phone support.
  • Relatively low Bitcoin (BTC) withdrawal fees.
  • Publishes a wide range of educational material on cryptocurrency.
  • Not available in all 50 states.
  • Crypto staking no longer available to U.S. customers.
  • Kraken only accepts a select few fiat currencies.

Gemini

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Gemini

Trading Fees

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Lark Davis

0.2% Maker Fee, 0.4% Taker Fee

Tradable Coins

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Gemini

Trading Fees

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Altcoin Daily

0.2% Maker Fee, 0.4% Taker Fee

Tradable Coins

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Why We Picked It

Gemini  is well suited for crypto traders of any skill level. The platform is packed to the brim with scores of features, like its unique Gemini Earn program for earning interest on crypto holdings and the Gemini Credit Card. Another major plus is Gemini is available in all 50 states, and the company says it has a strong commitment to meeting all U.S. regulatory compliance requirements.

Pros & Cons

  • Simple, intuitive user interface.
  • Available in all 50 states, including New York (a common omission among other crypto exchanges).
  • Users can earn crypto rewards with the Gemini Credit Card
  • Convoluted fee structure when not spot trading.
  • Limited customer service options.
  • Some popular coins aren’t available, such as Cardano  (ADA).

Crypto.com

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Crypto.com

Trading Fees

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0.075% Maker / 0.075% Taker

Tradable Coins

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Crypto.com

Trading Fees

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Jamie Tree

0.075% Maker / 0.075% Taker

Tradable Coins

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Crypto Banter

Why We Picked It

Crypto.com  provides a very good selection of cryptocurrencies, with more than 250 available. The platform offers unique perks and crypto rewards for Crypto.com Visa Card  users.

Users can take advantage of Crypto.com’s utility token Cronos (CRO) to pay fees on the platform and earn other benefits.

Pros & Cons

  • Trading fee discounts are available for users who hold high balances in CRO.
  • Get as much as 8% cash back on Crypto.com Visa debit card spending for users who hold high balances in CRO.
  • Limited margin trading is available.
  • High cybersecurity ratings.
  • Lower-volume trading incurs higher trading fees.

KuCoin

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JRNY Crypto

KuCoin

Trading Fees

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Altcoin Daily

0.1% Maker Fee, 0.1% Taker Fee *LV0 Trading Fee Level

Tradable Coins

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Crypto Love

KuCoin

Trading Fees

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Alex Becker's Channel

0.1% Maker Fee, 0.1% Taker Fee *LV0 Trading Fee Level

Tradable Coins

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Why We Picked It

Another heavy hitter when it comes to the sheer amount of coins available, KuCoin  provides access to a wide library of altcoins at low fees.

The platform is headquartered in Seychelles, with a growing number of users in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa. While U.S. users can access and use the trading platform, KuCoin is not licensed in the U.S.

Pros & Cons

  • Broad selection of tradable cryptocurrencies.
  • Competitive trading fees.
  • Volume discounts on fees.
  • Offers advanced features like margin trading and futures trading.
  • Accepts credit cards and debit cards.
  • KuCoin is not licensed in the U.S.
  • Funds kept on the platform are not insured.
  • Suffered a major hacking incident in 2020.

Coinbase

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Trading Fees

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0.4% Maker Fee / 0.6% Taker Fee

Tradable Coins

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Trading Fees

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Coin Bureau

0.4% Maker Fee / 0.6% Taker Fee

Tradable Coins

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Why We Picked It

Coinbase  offers more than 200 tradable cryptocurrencies, which should satisfy most investors looking to break into the crypto space. The platform stands out for an easy-to-use interface that makes one-time or recurring crypto transactions a snap.

Customers who are interested in features like in-depth technical analysis might consider paying for Coinbase’s Advanced Trade product, which will also be augmented with increased security. Advanced Trade is also replacing some of the features offered by Coinbase Pro, which was sunsetted in November 2022.

Pros & Cons

  • User-friendly interface and easy purchase process.
  • Strong user reviews and security features.
  • Allows users to stake Algorand (ALGO), Cosmos (ATOM), Ethereum (ETH), Tezos (XTM), Cardano and Solana (SOL).
  • High fees for convenience.
  • Not available in all 50 states. Hawaii is currently awaiting support. New York residents are not eligible to stake ADA, ETH, XTM or ATOM.

The Best Crypto Apps & Exchanges for Beginners of January 2024

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Gemini

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Gemini

Trading Fees

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Femi Olaniyan

0.2% Maker Fee, 0.4% Taker Fee

Tradable Coins

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Gemini

Trading Fees

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0.2% Maker Fee, 0.4% Taker Fee

Why We Picked It

Thanks to its simple, easy-to-use interface, we found Gemini to be the best crypto exchange for beginners. Note that the platform’s slightly higher fees are worth paying in exchange for convenience and ease of use.

In addition, Gemini offers an extensive selection of educational materials in its Cryptopedia library. Users can read up on a whole host of crypto topics, from advanced crypto trading strategies to understanding the latest developments in decentralized finance (DeFi).

Pros & Cons

  • Simple, easy-to-use interface.
  • A wealth of educational materials on cryptocurrency.
  • Strong security measures, including an integrated hot wallet.
  • Convoluted fee structure when not spot trading.
  • Limited customer service options.

BYDFi

VIDEO:

BYDFi

Trading Fees

VIDEO:

0.1% to 0.3% maker/taker fees

BYDFi

Trading Fees

VIDEO:

0.1% to 0.3% maker/taker fees

Why We Picked It

An ambitious newcomer, BYDFi (formerly BitYard) launched in 2019. This Singapore-based crypto exchange provides trading services in more than 150 countries.

BYDFi is one of the few exchanges that complies with financial industry regulations and holds licenses in Australia, Singapore and the U.S. Users who are interested in spot trading will enjoy the low trading fees and a decent selection of popular cryptocurrencies.

Pros & Cons

  • Available in all 50 states.
  • Low trading fees.
  • International platform that accepts more than 50 fiat currencies.
  • Offers both an online wallet and cold storage.
  • Does not offer much in terms of advanced trading features.
  • Staking and lending are not available.
  • Funds are not insured.

Kraken

VIDEO:

Trading Fees

VIDEO:

0.9% for stablecoins, 1.5% for other cryptos *Kraken Instant Buy

Trading Fees

VIDEO:

0.9% for stablecoins, 1.5% for other cryptos *Kraken Instant Buy

Why We Picked It

Offering a solid range of coins with low fees, Kraken is well-suited for beginners. This exchange makes it easy to buy and sell with the Kraken Instant Buy platform. More advanced users can take advantage of lower fees with Kraken Pro, which charges a 0.16% maker fee and a 0.26% take fees for trades of $50,000 or less.

Pros & Cons

  • Several types of customer service are available, from chatbot to phone support.
  • Bitcoin withdrawal fees are relatively low.
  • Offers users a wide range of educational material on crypto.
  • Not available in all 50 states.
  • Accepts only a limited number of fiat currencies.
  • Higher fees on Instant Buy.

Crypto.com

VIDEO:

Crypto.com

Trading Fees

VIDEO:

0.075% Maker Fee, 0.075% Taker Fee

Crypto.com

Trading Fees

VIDEO:

0.075% Maker Fee, 0.075% Taker Fee

Why We Picked It

Beginners can benefit from the relative ease of buying and selling cryptocurrencies on Crypto.com, although it charges slightly steeper fees than some competitors. The Crypto.com DeFi wallet allows users to store their crypto and earn rewards on their assets.

Crypto.com provides a very good selection of tradable cryptocurrencies, with more than 250 available. The Crypto.com Visa Card  is available for users who want to optimize for coin-based rewards.

Pros & Cons

  • A one-stop shop for spot trading and storing crypto.
  • High cybersecurity ratings.
  • Higher trading fees for low-volume crypto investors.

Coinbase

VIDEO:

Trading Fees

VIDEO:

0.4% Maker Fee / 0.6% Taker Fee

Trading Fees

VIDEO:

0.4% Maker Fee / 0.6% Taker Fee

Why We Picked It

Beginners will appreciate Coinbase’s user-friendly interface and the simplicity of its buy and sell orders, akin to using an online brokerage platform for trading stocks. Coinbase’s more than 200 tradable coins should satisfy most looking to break into the crypto space.

Pros & Cons

  • Beginner-friendly interface and easy purchase process.
  • Strong user reviews and security features.
  • Offers popular cryptos like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Cardano.
  • Relatively high fees for convenience.
  • Not available in all 50 states: Hawaii is currently awaiting support while New York residents are not eligible to stake ADA, ETH, XTM or ATOM.

Our Methodology

VIDEO:

We performed an in-depth assessment of the features and options offered by nearly 25 cryptocurrency exchanges, crypto trading apps and brokerage platforms that offer crypto trading options.

The trading fees reflected for each brokerage or crypto exchange are the trading fees for the lowest volume of trade, using the most basic version of the platform.

The data addressed 10 key variables to assess the quality of each platform:

  • Basic Trading Features. Key metrics included the number of cryptocurrencies available to trade, the number of fiat currencies accepted, the exchange’s overall liquidity and trading fees.
  • Advanced Trading Features. We looked at the availability of complex trading features like advanced order types and volume discounts for frequent trading.
  • Margin Trading. An assessment of margin trading rates, if applicable.
  • Platform Availability. While some of the best crypto exchanges are available everywhere, others have widely varying degrees of accessibility to different features by country and by U.S. state.
  • Customer Service. Available types of customer support.
  • Educational Resources. We evaluated the educational content offered by each platform.
  • Crypto Rewards Credit Card. A few platforms offer crypto rewards credit cards.
  • Security and Storage. Types of storage options, security and insurance available, plus an assessment of any large-scale hacks of each exchange over its lifetime.
  • Staking and Rewards. Some platforms allow users to stake selected cryptos and earn interest payments.
  • Crypto Lending. Some crypto exchanges allow users to lend out their cryptocurrency.

These ten variables benchmark features and options across the crypto exchanges and brokerages we surveyed.

For each ranking, the sum of weighted values across all or some of these key factors was calculated to award each brokerage or exchange its overall rank. Margin trading, platform lending and advanced trading were not considered for choosing the best crypto exchanges for beginners.

To learn more about our rating and review methodology and editorial process, check out our guide on How Forbes Advisor Rates Investing Products.


What Is a Crypto Exchange?

VIDEO:

A crypto exchange is a marketplace where you can buy and sell cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, Ether or Dogecoin. Cryptocurrency exchanges work a lot like other trading platforms that you may be familiar with. They provide you with accounts where you can create different order types to buy, sell and speculate in the crypto market.

Some crypto exchanges support advanced trading features like margin accounts and futures trading, although these are less commonly available to U.S.-based users. Others have features like crypto staking or crypto loans that allow you to earn interest on your crypto holdings. The best exchanges offer educational offerings to keep you up to date on all things crypto.


How Do Cryptocurrency Exchanges Work?

VIDEO:

Crypto exchanges work a lot like brokerage platforms. Each offers a portal where you can create different order types to buy, sell and speculate on cryptocurrencies with other users.

Cryptocurrency exchanges can be either centralized or decentralized:

  • Centralized crypto exchanges. Crypto exchanges can be centralized, meaning they are managed by one corporate authority, like a brokerage company that facilitates the security of trades, or decentralized.
  • Decentralized crypto exchanges. Decentralized exchanges generally distribute verification powers to anyone willing to join a network and certify transactions, much like cryptocurrency blockchains. This may help increase accountability and transparency and ensure an exchange can keep running if something happens to a company running an exchange.

Different Types of Crypto Exchanges

VIDEO:

Broadly speaking, there are two categories of crypto exchanges: centralized exchanges and decentralized exchanges. Each category comes with its own advantages and disadvantages.

Centralized Exchanges

VIDEO:

Centralized crypto exchanges (CEX) are managed by one organization. Centralized exchanges make it easy to get started with cryptocurrency trading by allowing users to convert their fiat currency, like dollars, directly into crypto. The vast majority of crypto trading take place on centralized exchanges.

Some crypto enthusiasts object to centralized exchanges because they go against the decentralized ethos of cryptocurrency. Even worse in the eyes of some crypto users, the company or organization may require users to follow Know Your Customer (KYC) rules. These require each user to divulge their identity, much as you would when you apply for a bank account, to combat money laundering and fraud.

There’s another concern with centralized exchanges: hacking. With a CEX, the exchange holds the crypto traded on its platform—at least in the short term, while trades go through—raising the risk of hackers stealing assets.

To address this risk, centralized crypto exchanges have beefed up security over recent years. Among other strategies, they now store most customer assets offline and take out insurance policies to cover crypto losses in the case of hacking.

If you like the convenience of a centralized exchange, you can reduce your risk by transferring crypto to a separate, off-exchange hot or cold wallet.

Decentralized Exchanges

VIDEO:

Decentralized crypto exchanges (DEX) distribute responsibility for facilitating and verifying crypto trades. Anyone willing to join a DEX network can certify transactions, much like the way cryptocurrency blockchains work. This may help increase accountability and transparency as well as ensure an exchange can keep running, regardless of the state of the company that created it.

The trouble is that decentralized exchanges are much less user friendly, not only from an interface standpoint but also in terms of currency conversion. Decentralized exchanges, for instance, don’t always allow users to deposit dollars and exchange them for crypto. This means you either have to already own crypto or use a centralized exchange to get crypto that you then use on a DEX.

You’ll also likely be engaging in direct peer-to-peer trades. This means it may take longer for you to find someone looking to buy what you’re selling and, if liquidity is low, you may have to accept concessions on price to buy or sell a low-volume crypto quickly.

Global Crypto Exchanges

VIDEO:

There are nearly 600 cryptocurrency exchanges worldwide inviting investors to trade bitcoin, ethereum and other digital assets. But costs, quality and safety vary widely. With an emphasis on regulatory compliance, Forbes Digital Assets ranked the top 60 cryptocurrency exchanges in the world.


Crypto Exchange Fees

VIDEO:

You pay two types of fees when you buy and sell crypto: trading fees and withdrawal fees.

Trading Fees

VIDEO:

Trading fees may be charged as a flat percentage of the amount of crypto you buy or sell, or an exchange may differentiate between orders that are makers and those that are takers, charging a different percentage accordingly.

On a basic level, makers are orders that add liquidity to an exchange, meaning they do not fulfill standing orders. Takers, meanwhile, remove liquidity from an exchange by completing orders that are waiting for a trade. Depending on the exchange, maker fees are usually slightly less than taker fees, although this isn’t always the case.

While you’re ideally picking an exchange with the lowest costs, dwelling too much on the ins and outs of maker and taker fees can be counterproductive. That’s because you can’t choose whether your order is processed as a maker or a taker. Instead, you’re better served considering overall fees and any discounts available for trading a certain amount each month or holding an exchange’s native cryptocurrency.

An important note: Some crypto investment apps claim to charge zero fees, but this isn’t entirely accurate. Instead of charging you an outright, they charge a spread—that’s the difference between the rate at which they buy or sell crypto. Spreads can, and frequently do, wind up being much more expensive than if you paid a percentage trading fee.

Withdrawal Fees

VIDEO:

Many exchanges charge fees to withdraw coins from their platform. This can be an issue if you prefer to move your crypto to a secure third-party wallet or onto another exchange. Withdrawal fees typically vary by cryptocurrency.

If you anticipate moving your crypto off of an exchange, you should choose a platform that allows a certain amount of fee-free withdrawals, like Gemini.

Other Fees

VIDEO:

If you engage in more advanced trading strategies, like margin trading, there are additional fees associated with borrowing money. Beginner-friendly exchanges like Coinbase and Gemini offer quick buy features that charge higher fees. You can avoid them by learning how to buy and sell on an exchange’s trading platform.

If you make purchases using a credit card or debit card, you may be charged a premium by both the exchange and your card issuer. That’s why it’s best to buy crypto with cash or wire transfers.


How to Choose a Cryptocurrency Exchange

VIDEO:

Beyond fees, when choosing the best crypto exchange for your needs, consider things like:

  • Security
  • Trading volumes
  • Educational resources
  • If the exchange lists the cryptocurrencies you’re interested in buying

Security

VIDEO:

As crypto has grown more popular and valuable, it’s become a big large target for hackers. Leading exchanges like Binance and KuCoin have been hacked, resulting in tens of millions of dollars in losses. While exchanges often reimburse those whose coins are stolen, nobody wants to be in that position in the first place.

You can minimize your risk by spreading your crypto purchases across multiple exchanges. Alternatively, make it a habit to move your crypto holdings out of an exchange’s default wallet to your own secure “cold” wallet. These are storage options that are not connected to the internet, making them nearly impossible to hack—although you’ll need to carefully record your passcode or you could lose access to your crypto forever.

Available Coins

VIDEO:

Carefully consider the cryptocurrencies available on a given exchange. You might be perfectly fine using a crypto exchange that only trades a few coins. Conversely, if you’re a crypto fiend, you may want access to all of the more than 600 available on Gate.io.

Trading Volume

VIDEO:

The availability of coins alone isn’t sufficient if there are no trades happening. You’ll ideally want to verify that there’s sufficient trading volume in your target coins to ensure liquidity, so you can easily trade your coins and dollars.

Low-volume markets could cost you on sales. If there’s not a lot of volume and you put an order in, that’s called slippage. You could end up buying at a higher price or selling at a lower price than you’d want.

If you’re an advanced crypto trader, you may want to make sure your preferred exchange offers the trading types—like limit orders, which can prevent slippage by setting a hard price—and margin you want. Remember trade types involving the latter are still evolving in the U.S., so different exchanges’ offerings may vary over time.

Educational Resources

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If you’re just getting started with cryptocurrency, look for an easy-to-use platform with plenty of educational resources to help you understand this complex, rapidly developing market.

Accessibility

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Finally, don’t assume that an exchange is available in your country, or even state, just because you can access its website. Many state and federal governments are still figuring out how exactly they want to treat cryptocurrencies from a legal and tax standpoint.


Crypto Exchange FAQs

A crypto exchange is a marketplace where you can buy and sell cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, Ether or Dogecoin.

Exchanges have different requirements, often depending on the type of cryptocurrency you want to buy.

You may be able to buy fractional shares of coins for pennies or just a few dollars. Be sure to check your chosen crypto exchange’s requirements for the coin you want to buy.

To open a crypto exchange account, visit the exchange’s website or download its app.

Each crypto exchange has its own unique registration process. With some, you may be able to make an account and buy and sell small amounts of crypto without verifying your identity or submitting much sensitive information.

But as the industry has evolved, the U.S. government has introduced certain Know Your Customer regulations to prevent money laundering and fraud.

In general, you’ll need to provide:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Mailing address
  • Social Security number.

You may also have to verify your identity by submitting a photo or scan of a government-issued ID.

Cryptocurrency exchanges make money in a handful of different ways. They can either charge fees for transactions, charge additional trading fees, earn interest by lending crypto to traders, charge listing fees for tokens or coins listed on their platform, earn a profit through market making (providing users liquidity) or any combination thereof.

Just like when working with different brokers for trading stocks, fees can vary from crypto exchange to crypto exchange. If you want to find the exchange with the lowest fees overall, you’ll want to research trading fees, transaction fees and any additional fees for every individual exchange. Then, do your own calculations to determine which exchange actually has the lowest fees.

As of March 2023, it was assumed there were more than 550 crypto exchanges in operation throughout the world. However, that number has been estimated to be as high as 1,500.

Most crypto exchanges report their U.S.-based customers holdings to the IRS. Of the world’s largest crypto exchanges, it has been reported that KuCoin does not report information directly to any U.S. governmental organizations, including the IRS. However, KuCoin is also not licensed for use anywhere in the United States.



Information provided on Forbes Advisor is for educational purposes only. Your financial situation is unique and the products and services we review may not be right for your circumstances. We do not offer financial advice, advisory or brokerage services, nor do we recommend or advise individuals or to buy or sell particular stocks or securities. Performance information may have changed since the time of publication. Past performance is not indicative of future results.

Forbes Advisor adheres to strict editorial integrity standards. To the best of our knowledge, all content is accurate as of the date posted, though offers contained herein may no longer be available. The opinions expressed are the author’s alone and have not been provided, approved, or otherwise endorsed by our partners.

Farran was the deputy editor of investing & retirement at Forbes Advisor. She has extensive experience with the investing beat, having served as the former assistant managing editor of investing at U.S. News & World Report, where she also launched several newsletters. Her work has appeared in TheStreet, Mansion Global, CNN, CNN Money, DNAInfo, Yahoo Finance, MSN Money, and the New York Daily News. She's an alumna of the London School of Economics and holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin. Follow or DM her on Twitter at @farranpowell.

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