While the cryptocurrency has grown in popularity in recent years, only a small minority of Americans have actually traded it.
The most popular cryptos include Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Dogecoin, each of which has seen a lot of action in the past year or so. The allure for traders? The potential to make big bucks from the volatility of these highly speculative assets.
Traders have more and more ways to access cryptocurrencies. New exchanges and trading platforms have been launched in response to the huge interest in crypto. In fact, you may already have an app on your phone that you can use to trade.
For example, if you have the PayPal or Venmo app, you can buy and sell at least a few different cryptocurrency coins. But other apps and exchanges give you access to a wider range of cryptocurrencies – there are literally thousands – or offer other benefits like lower costs.
Below are some of the top apps and exchanges for crypto trading and some of the top things you need to know.
Top cryptocurrency trading apps and exchanges in 2022
The following platforms include specialized crypto exchanges, online brokers, and cash and payment apps. We’ve included the prices as well as the number of coins you can trade to give you an idea of the scope of each app or exchange.
If you’re interested in exclusively trading the largest cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, it might not make sense to settle for an app that offers you dozens of others. On the other hand, if you want to trade what’s hot, consider an app or exchange with more variety.
Bittrex is an attractive option for crypto traders, especially those trading high volumes, thanks to its no-hassle, low-cost commissions. If you trade less than $50,000 every 30 days, you’ll pay between 0.25 and 0.35 percent in commissions, but the fees drop quickly if you’re trading big money. Also, Bittrex does not charge fees for USD deposits or ACH withdrawals.
Hardcore crypto enthusiasts will also appreciate Bittrex’s offering of more than 250 cryptocurrencies to trade. You’ll find all of the most popular coins, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Dogecoin, as well as the more obscure listings.
Costs: Fees start at 0.35 percent and drop sharply for high-volume traders.
Available coins for trading: 250+ coins including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin and Litecoin
Binance.US, the American arm of the larger Binance organization, is one of the best crypto exchanges due to its low trading costs. Traders with less than $50,000 in trading volume in the last 30 days pay just 0.10 percent, and fees for high-volume traders go down from there. You also get a 25 percent rebate when you use Binance’s proprietary coin, BNB, to pay trading fees.
You can also trade 117 different cryptocurrencies on Binance, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding what you’re looking for, especially if you only want to trade the most popular coins.
Costs: 0.10 percent, but lower for wholesalers. A 25 percent discount is available when paying trading fees with BNB.
Available coins for trading: 117 coins including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Solana, Cardano and more
Broker eToro is all crypto all the time (at least for American traders, although others can trade stocks). At eToro, you have access to 63 cryptocurrencies, including some like Tezos, Uniswap, and Polygon that you don’t typically find in traditional brokerage apps. The app doesn’t charge a direct commission, instead charging a flat 1 percent spread markup regardless of which coin you buy or how much.
Costs: Commission-free, but spread premium of 1 percent
Available coins for trading: 63 cryptos including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin and more
4. Coin base
Coinbase is a specialist cryptocurrency exchange that allows you to trade a range of digital currencies, 174 at last count. This range is likely to scratch your crypto itch as it encompasses most of the top coins including Bitcoin of course. But what do you pay to use the basic service? Unfortunately, Coinbase has become coy about the fees you pay to trade, recently obfuscating the fee structure on its website.
When it was visible, the fee structure was complex to say the least. You pay a spread premium of about 0.5 percent and a transaction fee that depends on the size of the transaction and the funding source. For Coinbase Pro, you pay fees that start at 0.6 percent for trades under $10,000 and drop to 0.15 percent for trades up to $100,000 in volume, and then go down even further.
Costs: Typically at least 1.99 percent (lower with Coinbase Pro)
Available coins for trading: A whopping 174, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Cardano, and Solana
Kraken is another specialized cryptocurrency exchange that allows you to trade a ton of different coins, including the most popular ones as well as some (Solana, Uniswap, Cardano, and more) that aren’t typically available in the usual financial apps. In total, the exchange supports trading of more than 175 cryptos. Kraken does not offer its service to residents of New York and Washington State.
Kraken generally charges a fee of 1.5 percent (or 0.9 percent for stablecoins), but debit or credit card transactions incur a fee of 3.75 percent plus 25 cents, and you can expect a 0.5 processing fee percent will be charged for online banking if you deposit through a bank.
However, the prices drop significantly if you use Kraken Pro. Fees there start in a 0.16 to 0.26 percent range on the lowest volumes and drop to a 0 to 0.1 percent range on volumes of $10 million or more over the last 30 days. High net worth traders can also access margin trading, increasing their buying power (and risk).
Costs: 1.5 percent fee, plus card and online banking fees (less with Kraken Pro)
Available coins for trading: 175 of them, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Solana and Uniswap
6. Robin Hood
You may know Robinhood for its slick stock, options, and ETF trading app, but it’s also expanded into cryptocurrencies. Also, it brings its zero-commission structure to the crypto world. Although trading may appear free, Robinhood charges a spread premium rather than a direct commission, meaning the cost is built into a coin’s buy or sell price.
With Robinhood’s instant broadcast feature, you can get started almost immediately, so just download and play.
Costs: $0 or commission-free, but there is a spread premium
Available coins for trading: Twelve of these (some not available in all states), including Bitcoin, Dogecoin, and Ethereum
Webull may not be the flagship trading app, but its feature set feels a step above Robinhood. Like its well-known rival, Webull offers stocks, options, ETFs, and cryptocurrencies with no upfront commission. And similarly, Webull is working on a spread mark-up for its crypto trades, so your costs are built into the trade. You can also trade a few coins more than Robinhood, including Cardano.
Costs: Commission-free, but spread premium of 1 percent (100 basis points)
Available coins for trading: 62 different types including Bitcoin, Ethereum and Cardano
8. Cash app
When you think of cryptocurrency, you might not think of Cash App at first. The finance app is more known for its cash management account or even trading stocks and ETFs. But it also offers an opportunity to trade crypto, albeit just one – bitcoin.
While you can send bitcoin to other users for free, the Cash App charges what it calls a “small fee” for trading the coin, which it discloses before you place the trade. This is in addition to a spread premium built into the trade itself. Unfortunately, it does not disclose its exact fee structure.
Costs: Spread markup plus a trading fee
Available coins for trading: Bitcoin only
As with Cash App, you may already have PayPal installed on your phone, and if so, you could be working with cryptocurrency in literally seconds from now. PayPal charges a fee for each trade and also prices in a spread markup on trades.
The fee starts at 49 cents for trades under $5 and then gradually increases to $2.49 for trades up to $200. It then switches to a percentage that drops to as low as 1.5 percent for trades above $1,000. Helpfully, PayPal lists its fee structure for all to see. PayPal’s sister app, Venmo, offers the same services on similar terms.
Costs: Spread premium plus trading fee, which starts at 49 cents and drops to 1.5 percent
Available coins for trading: Four different cryptos – Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash
10. Bottom line
The best crypto trading app or exchange for you depends on your needs. If you want to trade a wide range of digital currencies, you should consider an app or exchange that allows you to do so. But if you prefer to stick mostly to the big ones like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and a handful of others, then many of the platforms mentioned here can get the job done. But cost is also an important consideration, so keep that in mind before opening an account.