The Best Crypto Exchanges Of January 2022
Everyone seems to want cryptocurrency these days. But to get in on the action, you’ll need a crypto exchange where you can buy and sell digital currencies, like Bitcoin, Ethereum and Dogecoin.
To help you pick the right one, Forbes Advisor combed through the leading exchange offerings, and reams of data, to determine the best crypto exchanges. All of these, however, come with one caveat: Cryptocurrencies are speculative investments and should only be made if you’re willing to accept wild price swings and a decent risk of losing everything.
Best Crypto Exchange
Our pick for
0.50% spread for buy/sell transactions; transaction fee from $0.99 to $2.99; up to 0.50% for Coinbase Pro
Bitcoin-focused individuals and institutions
0% (Spread fee built into exchange rates)
0% - 0.26%
Futures and margin traders
0.10-0.25% maker fees; 0-0.16% taker transaction fee (2.99% deposit)
Large cryptocurrency selection
$0.99-$2.99 fee for USD web and mobile transactions between $10 and $200 (1.49% fee for transactions over $200); 0.50% convenience fee; 3.49% debit card transfers
Bitcoin and ethereum traders
0-0.35% maker/taker fees
TheHoursTime reviewed the top 10 centralized cryptocurrency exchanges on CoinMarketCap.com based on their web traffic, liquidity, trading volume and availability for U.S.-based customers.
We then collected more than 20 data points per crypto exchange to assess important features, like the types of cryptocurrencies available, fees, cybersecurity features (per crypto exchange security rating agency CER.live), user reviews and educational resources, among others. To determine rankings of these exchanges, Forbes Advisor weighted each of these data points in accordance with their importance to different types of cryptocurrency investors.
Account minimum: $2
Fees: 0.50% spread for buy/sell transactions; transaction fee from $0.99 to $2.99; up to 0.50% for Coinbase Pro
Features: Coinbase Earn rewards, Coinbase Pro advanced account, user-controlled storage, Stablecoin, staking, and institutional trading tools
App store rating(s): 4.7 Apple & 4.3 Android/Google Play
Coinbase offers more than 80 cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, ethereum, litecoin, dogecoin, and ripple. The exchange also offers multiple investment options for individual and institutional clients. Some of its account features include staking rewards, iOS and Android mobile apps, and a Coinbase Earn account option that pays you in crypto assets for watching educational videos.
Coinbase also offers two other options: Coinbase Pro for advanced traders and Coinbase Prime for institutions and high-net-worth clients (individuals with at least $1 million). Coinbase Pro users get access to more advanced features like secure trading bots, charting tools, and real-time order books.
On top of that, the Prime cryptocurrency trading platform, institutional clients can utilize commerce services, cold storage (offline storage for crypto assets), and an Asset Hub that allows issuers to list and grow their products on the platform.
If you regularly use margin accounts to trade, Coinbase isn't the best choice. The exchange doesn't let you temporarily borrow money to trade crypto assets, nor does it offer futures (legal contracts that give you the choice to exchange a security at a specific price on a forthcoming date).
Account minimum: $5 minimum deposit; Minimums vary per cryptocurrency
Fees: 0% (Spread fee built into exchange rates)
Features: 100+ cryptocurrencies, crypto-backed loans, staking, and support for traders in 150+ countries
App store rating(s): 4.6 Apple & 4.3 Android/Google Play
Abra is a global crypto exchange serving individual and institutional traders in more than 150 countries. Along with the fact that Abra doesn't charge any trading fees (though it earns income from the spread between different assets), the exchange also stands out due to its expansive selection of crypto products and features.
This includes trading for more than 100 cryptocurrencies, interest accounts that let you earn up to 14% on eligible assets, crypto-backed loans, over-the-counter (OTC) trading, and multiple educational guides for beginners. Its OTC services also give institutional clients access to interest-earning accounts, loans, and one-on-one account support.
Abra is available on iOS and Android phones.
Do note that Visa and Mastercard transactions have high fees.
Account minimum: Depends on type of cryptocurrency
Fees: 0% - 0.26%
Features: More than 80 cryptocurrencies, margin and futures trading, OTC trading; account management for high-net-worth individuals and institutional clients; multiple trading platforms, educational resources, and staking rewards
App store rating(s): 4.7 Apple & 4.4 Android/Google Play
Kraken has 80+ cryptocurrencies with an array of options both for retail investors and institutional investors. But when it comes to global support, Kraken has a bit more reach than Binance.US. The exchange currently supports traders in nearly 200 countries.
Kraken also offers margin trading and futures trading. With its margin accounts, you can borrow up to five times your account balance to trade crypto assets. Futures trading — contracts which allow you to buy or sell an asset at a set price on an upcoming date — is available for bitcoin, ethereum, litecoin, bitcoin cash, and ripple.
The exchange also offers its own futures trading platforms. But institutional clients can take advantage of expert insights, one-on-one consultations, account management support, and more.
All clients can utilize Kraken's staking rewards, iOS and Android mobile app access, and educational resources. Kraken's futures mobile platform isn't currently available to US traders. In addition, only institutional and high-net-worth clients can utilize the exchange's consultation and account management services.
Account minimum: $20 minimum daily deposit
Fees: 0.10-0.25% maker fees; 0-0.16% taker transaction fee (2.99% deposit)
Features: More than 80 cryptocurrencies, margin trading, staking rewards, crypto-backed loans, institutional services
App store rating(s): 4.6 Apple & 3.7 Android/Google Play
Based in London, CEX.IO is a global crypto exchange supporting traders in more than 99% of countries worldwide, including 48 US states, according to its website. The exchange also gives you access to bitcoin and more than 80 other crypto assets.
All users can access CEX.IO's instant buy feature (this is only for credit and debit card purchases), mobile app, staking rewards, and crypto-backed loans. But more advanced traders might prefer CEX.IO's spot trading feature (this option lets you place different types of crypto market orders) and margin trading accounts. Institutions and businesses can use its aggregator and payment management services.
It's also important to point out CEX.IO's fee schedule. The exchange has a maker/taker schedule that's based on your 30-day trading volume. Maker orders can't be executed immediately since there are no other orders to match with them; however, taker orders match immediately, according to CEX.IO.
Its maker fees range from 0-.016%, and its taker fees span from 0.1-0.25%. You can also access CEX.IO on iOS or Android devices.
Transactions with debit or credit cards can be pricey at CEX.IO. For deposits, you'll be have to pay a 2.99% fee. Withdrawals for US residents using a Visa card include a service charge up to 3% plus an additional $1.20 and commission up to $3.80. Mastercard users can expect a service charge up to 1.8% plus an additional $1.20. There's also a commission up to 1.2% plus $3.80.
Account minimum: $0
Fees: $0.99-$2.99 fee for web and mobile transactions between $10 and $200 (1.49% fee for transactions over $200); 0.50% convenience fee; 3.49% debit card transfers
Features: Trading options for beginners, experts, and institutions; Gemini Earn, Gemini Wallet, and $200 million insurance in Gemini Custody
App store rating(s): 4.8 Apple & 4.5 Android/Google Play
Gemini offers a wide variety of crypto trading services for individuals and institutions. Traders can take advantage of multiple platforms, including the Gemini web exchange, Gemini iOS and Android mobile apps, Gemini Active Trader platform, Gemini Fund Solutions, and institutional trading tools.
But the exchange also provides a few other notable features: Gemini Wallet, Gemini Earn, Gemini Clearing (brokerage services for off-exchange crypto trades between parties), Gemini Custody, Gemini Pay, and Gemini Dollar (a digital asset backed by US dollars).
Though Gemini isn't strictly a personal wallet service, its two storage and custody options — Gemini Wallet and Gemini Custody — give you the choice of online storage or institutional offline storage for your crypto assets. Gemini custody also offers $200 million in cold storage insurance coverage.
Gemini Earn gives you the option to receive up to 7.4% interest on your crypto balance, while Gemini Pay gives you the option to use your assets for purchases at more than 30,000 retail facilities across the US.
Gemini has multiple fee schedules for different accounts and account actions. While you won't be charged for transferring funds through ACH or wire methods, credit or debit card transfers have a 3.49% fee. The exchange also has a limited number of cryptocurrencies (see its full list of supported assets here).
Account minimum: $3
Fees: 0-0.35% maker/taker fees
Features: Instant buy/sell, highly secure cold storage, mobile access, 100+ coins
App store rating(s): 4.7 Apple & 4.3 Android/Google Play
When it comes to account security, Bittrex is difficult to beat. In addition to two-factor authentication, the exchange says it uses a multi-stage wallet strategy to make sure funds are kept in secure, cold storage (offline storage). Bittrex's transaction fees are also notably lower compared to other exchanges.
Like CEX.IO, the exchange utilizes a maker/taker fee schedule that's based on your 30-day trading volume (the amount of crypto assets you've exchanged over the past 30 days). But unlike many of the investment apps listed above, Bittrex charges absolutely nothing for deposits (USD deposits and withdrawals have no fees either). Blockchain/crypto withdrawals, however, have small network fees.
Bittrex also offers an Instant Buy & Sell feature that lets you exchange bitcoin and other assets with the click of a button. You can access Bittrex on iOS or Android phones.