The best crypto exchanges for US bitcoin trading offer three essential benefits. The first, and most important, is robust security with two-factor authentication, cold storage, and integrated safe wallets. Second is a user-friendly website and platform. Third, they provide access to trading a variety of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum.
In our assessment and ranking of cryptocurrency exchanges, we focused on traditional exchanges headquartered and regulated in the United States, as well as the incumbent online brokers in the US, which are expanding to offer bitcoin trading on top of regular stock trading (e.g. buying shares of Apple or Google).
Best Bitcoin Trading Platform
- TradeStation - Best Trading Platform
- Coinbase - Best Crypto Exchange
- Kraken - Maker-Taker Fee Schedule
- Bittrex - Most Altcoins
- Gemini - Offers Gemnini Dollar
- Robinhood - Best Mobile App
Here's a breakdown of some of the best online brokers for US crypto trading.
Best Trading Platform - Open Account
Promo Offer: Commission-Free Trades on Stocks, ETFs & Options Trades
As a trading technology leader, TradeStation supports casual traders through its web-based platform and active traders through its award-winning desktop platform, all with $0 stock and ETF trades. TradeStation Crypto allows you to buy, sell, and trade Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash and XRP. TradeStation Crypto caters to both institutional and recreational clients. Read full review
Best Crypto Exchange
Founded in June of 2012, Coinbase is the largest US-based cryptocurrency exchange, housing over 20 million users. Coinbase is best known for its easy to use website and crypto trading platform, Coinbase Pro. Coinbase supports 14 different cryptocurrencies for trading, including Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), and Litecoin (LTC), among others.
Maker-Taker Fee Schedule
Kraken was founded in July of 2011 and offers trading on 18 different cryptocurrencies, including Monero (XMR), Ripple (XRP), and Dash (DSH). Kraken currently offers a web platform but does not have a mobile app.
Bittrex was founded in Seattle, Washington in 2014. Although Bittrex doesn’t provide a mobile or desktop platform, it still offers over 100 tradeable coins, including Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), and Litecoin (LTC).
Offers Gemini Dollar
Founded in 2015 by the Winklevoss twins, Gemini is a licensed digital asset exchange and custodian built for both individuals and institutions. Gemini lets users buy, store, and sell Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), and ZCash (ZEC), as well as the self-named Gemini dollar (GUSD).
Best Mobile App
Robinhood Crypto allows users to trade Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Litecoin (LTC), Dogecoin (DOGE), Ethereum Classic (ETC), and Bitcoin SV (BSV). Ten additional coins can be added to a watch list. Robinhood Crypto is best-fitted for users who trade multiple classes of assets.
Below is pricing information for each of the top online brokers for bitcoin trading. Each company uses a different structure.
TradeStation - Open Account
Promo Offer: Commission-Free Trades on Stocks, ETFs & Options Trades
Headquartered in Plantation, Florida, TradeStation is a wholly owned subsidiary of Monex Group, Inc., one of Japan’s largest online financial services providers. (1). TradeStation's roots date back to the 1982, when the company was formed under the name Omega Research. The company's flagship TradeStation platform was launched in 1991, and TradeStation Group was a NASDAQ listed company from 1997 - 2011, until it was acquired by Monex Group (2).
TradeStation Crypto features a simple pricing structure. Account balances below $100,000 pay a 0.50% maker fee and a 0.50% taker fee. Account balances over $100,000 don’t pay a maker fee, paying either a 0.25% or 0.125% fee based on account size. At this commission rate, it would cost $5.00 to buy $1,000 worth of Bitcoin (BTC).
Coinbase - Coinbase.com
If buying Bitcoin from a linked ACH account, the average commission is ~1.49%. If buying Bitcoin by selling another cryptocurrency you already hold in your Coinbase Wallet (or vice versa), then the average commission is ~.50%. For example, buying $1,000 worth of Bitcoin would cost ~$15 from a linked bank account.
Kraken - Kraken.com
Kraken uses a maker-taker fee schedule with price incentives based on your trading volume over the last 30 days. For example, the average customer who trades less than $50,000 a month will pay $2.60 in fees for every $1,000 in trading volume. Fees for market makers range between 0% and 0.16%, while fees for takers range from 0.10% to 0.26%. This fee schedule, is more competitive than competitors like Coinbase and Gemini.
Bittrex - Bittrex.com
Bittrex has a simple pricing model, and charges a flat 0.25% on all trades. At this commission rate, it would cost $2.50 to buy $1,000 worth of Bitcoin (BTC). Higher-volume traders, those trading more than $25,000 a month, should look at Kraken for discounted pricing.
Gemini is much more expensive than other exchanges, charging between $0.99 - $2.99 on transactions under $200, and 1.49% on orders over $200. This means it would cost $14.90 to purchase $1,000 worth of Bitcoin (BTC). Overall, Gemini is the most expensive crypto exchange included in this guide, charging more than five times what other exchanges would charge for the same transaction.
Robinhood - Robinhood.com
Robinhood Crypto does not charge a commission for placing crypto trades; however, it generates tiny profits from each order as it is routed. This routing practice, known as payment for order flow (PFOF), is also how Robinhood makes money from stock trades. In their user agreement, Robinhood Crypto states that they may receive activity-based rebates from Crypto exchanges, brokers, and market-makers, among other crypto intermediaries. Bottom line, since Robinhood is not transparent with its pricing structure, there is a possibility the all-in costs per trade are actually much higher than some competitors. Unfortunately, there is no way to know for certain.
Pricing Details per Exchange
Trading cryptocurrencies is becoming more widespread as investors around the globe become more comfortable with blockchain technology and the exchanges that offer online crypto trading. Security enhancements for digital wallets continue to improve as well, providing traders more confidence that buying bitcoin is safe.
When assessing security, ease of use, trading tools, and total cryptocurrencies offered, TradeStation comes out on top for 2020. That said, hopefully this review helps shed light on some of the other US crypto exchanges that also provide a good, clean, competitive offering.
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About the author: Blain Reinkensmeyer As Head of Research at StockBrokers.com, Blain Reinkensmeyer has 18 years of trading experience with over 1,000 trades placed during that time. Referenced as a leading expert on the US online brokerage industry, Blain has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Forbes, and the Chicago Tribune, among others.
About the author: Steven Hatzakis Steven Hatzakis is the Global Director of Research for ForexBrokers.com. Steven previously served as an Editor for Finance Magnates, where he authored over 1,000 published articles about the online finance industry. Steven is an active fintech and crypto industry researcher and advises blockchain companies at the board level. Over the past 20 years, Steven has held numerous positions within the international forex markets, from writing to consulting to serving as a registered commodity futures representative.
All pricing data was obtained from a published web site as of 01/20/2020 and is believed to be accurate, but is not guaranteed. For stock trade rates, advertised pricing is for a standard order size of 500 shares of stock priced at $30 per share. For options orders, an options regulatory fee per contract may apply.