While cryptographic electronic money has been around since the 1980s, it never really took off until 2008, when Bitcoin emerged as the first cryptocurrency. The first coins were worth very little then, but now one Bitcoin is worth nearly £32,000, and cryptocurrency technology is becoming increasingly popular with people looking for an alternative to traditional trading and investing.
Some of the benefits of dealing in cryptocurrency are that you can make payments without having to open a bank account, most cryptocurrencies are limited to a certain amount (which means devaluation can’t happen like it does when a government decides to print more money) and banks and governments aren’t able to confiscate your savings in the event of a financial crisis.
If you’ve decided to give cryptocurrency a go, you won’t be able to buy it from your bank or investment firm. Instead, you’ll need to create an account on a crypto exchange platform. Crypto exchanges are online marketplaces that allow you to trade, buy and sell digital currencies. Once you’ve created an account, you’ll be able to exchange your traditional currency for digital assets, trade your cryptocurrency for other cryptocurrencies and, depending on the platform, you can even earn interest on assets held within the exchange account.
There’s a lot to think about when it comes to buying cryptocurrency, and if you’ve never dealt in digital currencies before, it can be hard to wrap your head around it all. But before you make any decisions, you might find it helpful to read this article about the best crypto exchanges first.
What are the best cryptocurrency trading sites?
There are many different websites that allow you to buy, sell or trade cryptocurrency, but some of the best ones are Binance.com, Cash App, Coinbase, Crypto.com and Gemini.
Kraken, KuCoin, StormGain and Zengo are some other popular cryptocurrency exchanges, with investment site Robinhood and online payment system PayPal also now allowing customers to trade cryptocurrency within their existing accounts.
Read on to find out more about our favourite cryptocurrency trading sites, what to look for when choosing a cryptocurrency exchange platform and how to go about opening a cryptocurrency exchange account.
Nine top cryptocurrency trading sites
If you’ve never traded cryptocurrency before, Binance is a good place to start. With industry-low fees and a wide range of cryptocurrencies to trade, this exchange platform is ideal for those wanting to dip their toes in the water.
New users can easily buy, sell and convert more than 150 cryptocurrencies by simply clicking on the ‘Buy Cryptocurrency’ tab, however, it’s aimed at more experienced users too.
It offers a broad range of tools for trading online, including two powerful dashboards packed full of data and multiple trading order types so advanced users can develop their trading strategy.
With more than 1.4 million transactions per second, Binance’s average daily trading volume is 1.2 billion.
2. Cash App
While Cash App is essentially a mobile banking app that enables users in the UK and the US to send, spend and bank money, it also allows you to invest in stocks, Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) and Bitcoin.
Its main competitors are Robinhood and Venmo, but what sets it apart from these is the fact that you can withdraw your Bitcoin to third-party wallets.
Since the beginning of 2022, the company has been rolling out support for the Bitcoin Lightning Network, to allow superfast Bitcoin transfers for next to nothing.
If you’ve already done some research into cryptocurrency, it’s likely you’ll have come across Coinbase — one of the largest crypto exchanges. Another great trading platform for those just starting out, it’s got an easy-to-use interface and more than 100 tradeable cryptocurrencies to choose from.
You can schedule your trading on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, and, for safety purposes, your assets are securely stored in an offline vault.
Trading fees can be high, but more experienced cryptocurrency traders can head to the Coinbase Pro platform for lower fees.
Crypto.com is another of the world’s leading crypto exchanges. Again, it’s got a wide range of cryptocurrencies, and there are other perks too — like a rewards debit card.
It offers the lowest fees when you buy cryptocurrency with a credit or debit card or via bank transfer, and it allows you to trade without paying any fee at all.
Unlike other crypto exchanges, Crypto.com’s app isn’t just a watered-down version of its web-based platform, offering an array of features and products that allow users to buy, sell, trade and pay on the go.
With its professional-grade trading dashboard, this cryptocurrency trading site may have been built with advanced traders in mind, but, like Binance and Coinbase, it’s ideal for beginners too.
As well as having an elegant and easy-to-use interface, Gemini offers a cryptocurrency reward card, however, its most standout feature is the emphasis it puts on security and compliance. This is the best crypto exchange for traders and investors who want peace of mind that their funds will remain safe in the event of a security breach.
Founded in 2011, Kraken is one of the oldest crypto exchanges in the world and was the go-to platform in the early days of the cryptocurrency market.
Although it’s been around for over a decade, it’s managed to maintain its reputation as a professional and reliable trading site, and, like Gemini, it takes a highly comprehensive approach to security.
Kraken offers more than 120 cryptocurrencies and while fees are quite high on the main platform, they’re considerably lower on its professional-grade site Kraken Pro.
If you’re looking for a wide variety of cryptocurrencies, KuCoin offers one of the biggest libraries, with more than 600 different currencies to choose from.
Creating an account is quick and easy, you can buy and trade safely and securely and you have access to customer service 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
With a user-friendly dashboard that shows assets rising and falling, as well as charting tools so you can track price movements and trends, this crypto exchange provides a hassle-free way to invest in digital currency.
StormGain offers a range of cryptocurrencies to buy, sell, exchange and trade, and your funds are protected in a secure wallet.
ZenGo is one of the easiest cryptocurrency trading sites to use.
As well as having a stylish and user-friendly interface, you can open an account in less than 20 seconds, and rather than requiring you to remember complicated passwords and long phrases, your account is secured using facial biometrics and industry-leading encryption.
What to look for when choosing a cryptocurrency exchange platform
So now you know our pick of the best cryptocurrency trading sites, but how do you choose between them?
When making your decision, the main thing to consider is how secure the site is. As crypto has grown in popularity, it’s become an increasingly large target for hackers, with many leading exchanges being hacked. In most cases, you should be able to get your money back via the site’s insurance, but this usually takes time, as well as being hassle you don’t need.
Some other things to think about when choosing a crypto platform are:
- How your funds are stored
- Whether you can transfer your cryptocurrency to your own digital wallet
- The site’s exchange and transaction fees
- Which cryptocurrencies are offered
- User experience and navigation
- Whether there are educational resources to help beginners
- Customer reviews
- Whether the site offers customer support
It might be worth thinking about spreading your funds across multiple crypto exchanges. As well as being more secure than having all your cryptocurrency in one place, diversifying your crypto portfolio minimises your risk if one or more investments perform badly. You could also minimise your risk by transferring your cryptocurrency from an exchange’s default to your own secure offline wallet, which is much harder to hack. But do bear in mind that the exchange may charge you withdrawal fees for this.
How do you open a cryptocurrency exchange account?
Opening a cryptocurrency exchange account takes anything from a few seconds to several days, depending on the verification process.
Most trading sites require you to provide personal details, including your full name, date of birth, mobile number, email address and home address, as well as a utility bill or bank statement as proof of address and proof of identity. Then, you’ll usually have to verify your email address and create a password so your account can be set up. You may also have to verify your identity via a third-party application.
Once your account has been approved by the site, you can start buying, selling and trading cryptocurrencies.
Cryptocurrency is becoming increasingly popular with people looking for an alternative to traditional trading and investing.
If you’ve decided to give cryptocurrency a go, you’ll need to create an account on a crypto exchange platform, which is an online marketplace that allows you to trade, buy and sell digital currencies.
Some of the best sites are Binance.com, Cash App, Coinbase, Crypto.com, Gemini, Kraken, KuCoin, StormGain and Zengo, but investment site Robinhood and online payment system PayPal also now allow customers to trade cryptocurrency within their existing accounts.
Binance, Coinbase and Gemini are great crypto exchange platforms for beginners, Crypto.com and Gemini offer reward cards and one of the main benefits of Cash App is that you can withdraw your Bitcoin to third-party wallets.
Kraken is one of the oldest crypto exchanges in the world and was the go-to platform in the early days of the cryptocurrency market, while KuCoin offers one of the biggest libraries, with more than 600 different cryptocurrencies to choose from.
The best feature of both StormGain and ZenGo is their user-friendly dashboard, which allows you to invest in digital currency quickly and easily.
Some of the things to consider when deciding which cryptocurrency trading site to use are:
- How funds are stored
- Cryptocurrencies on offer
- User experience and navigation
- Educational resources for beginners
- Customer reviews
- Customer support
It’s also worth thinking about diversifying your crypto portfolio and transferring your cryptocurrency from an exchange’s default to your own offline wallet to minimise your risk.
Opening a cryptocurrency exchange account takes anything from a few seconds to several days and to do this, most sites require you to provide personal details, including your full name, date of birth, mobile number, email address and home address, as well as a utility bill or bank statement as proof of address and proof of identity.