Best Crypto Exchanges for September 2022: Buy and Sell Bitcoin, Ether and More

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Despite  in the first half of 2022, buying and selling cryptocurrency continues to steam forward as the « crypto winter » shows . While governments have increased their efforts to , scans continue to , and it’s more important than ever to find a trusted platform for buying and selling crypto. 

Crypto exchanges are where most crypto traders buy and sell , , and other types of . In its rawest and most decentralized form, cryptocurrency is relatively unfriendly to obtain and use. Crypto exchanges make it fairly simple to trade all sorts of crypto tokens and coins.

The best crypto exchanges will hold your crypto securely, provide you with unfettered control over your assets and make buying, selling, sending, receiving and trading crypto simple and affordable.

Some investors may desire more advanced features from crypto exchanges, including the ability to earn interest, access or . (It’s worth noting that the safest place to that you control exclusively.)

Here, we’ll focus on the basics, highlighting the exchanges that make it easy to sign up, get started and carry out transactions without getting fleeced on fees. As with any investment, high fees can erode returns over time, and some exchanges offer more competitive fees than others.

Whether you’re a beginner looking for an easy on-ramp to crypto, or you’re a high-volume trader looking for the lowest « maker » and « taker » fees, we’ve got the info you need to choose the best crypto exchange for you.

Note: Crypto exchanges add and delist crypto tokens on a regular basis. Our « number of supported tokens » data is based on data from each exchange’s website as of July 25, 2022.

Best crypto exchanges

James Martin/CNET

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  • US availability: All states except Hawaii, New York or Washington
  • Number of supported tokens: 191
  • Trading fees: 0.0 to 0.2% maker; 0.0 to 0.5% taker; 1.5% instant buy
  • Credit/debit card fee: No credit/debit card purchases in US

One of the oldest cryptocurrency exchanges, and in business since 2013, Kraken’s low fees make it particularly attractive to high-volume traders. Kraken also offers riskier and more advanced trading features — such as margin trading and on-chain staking, with biweekly payouts.

The exchange supports transactions for about 130 crypto assets for purchase or trade in the US. It also supports more than 100 crypto pairs — two crypto tokens that can be exchanged for each other.

Kraken does not include any insurance on crypto deposits held in hot wallets, but it does claim to keep 95% of digital assets offline with enough liquidity to allow users to withdraw at any time. No hacks of the Kraken crypto exchange have ever been reported.

While Kraken is available to most US crypto investors, it’s not licensed for crypto services in New York, Washington state or Hawaii.

See at Kraken

Sarah Tew/CNET

  • US availability: All 50 states
  • Number of supported tokens: 101
  • Trading fees: Spot trading fees: $0.99 to $2.99, or 1.49% for trades over $200
  • Credit/debit card fee: 3.49%

Gemini features competitive trading fees and support for almost 100 currencies and 20 crypto pairs, but the exchange’s educational resources are what may be most appealing to novices. It’s also one of the few exchanges operating in all 50 US states — and the only exchange on this list that does.

This crypto exchange offers strong security features, including FDIC insurance for US dollar deposits, private insurance for hot wallets — on the blockchain — crypto assets and support for U2F hardware keys. Its ActiveTrader platform for high-volume traders offers charting, multiple order types, auctions and block trading. Having acquired the NFT marketplace in 2019, Gemini also lets users buy and sell crypto collectibles and digital art. 

Gemini’s educational resources are the best we found on any crypto exchange. Its section provides deep knowledge about cryptocurrencies and the technology behind them. Cryptopedia contains a bounty of articles on a wide range of crypto subjects, from basic explainers on and to more advanced topics like , the and .

James Martin/CNET

  • US availability: All states except New York
  • Number of supported tokens: 333
  • Trading fees: 0.04% to 0.4% maker; 0.1% to 0.4% taker
  • Credit/debit card fee: 2.99%

Featuring transactional support for more than 300 cryptocurrencies, Crypto.com offers the widest range of cryptocurrencies of any exchange on this list. It also lists support for more than 80 trading pairs.

Crypto.com claims that 100% of all user cryptocurrencies are held offline in cold storage and that it has secured $750 million in crypto insurance. The exchange also says that all online funds in its custodial wallets are generated by the company itself to fund user withdrawals, meaning customer crypto assets are safe offline. US dollar balances in Crypto.com accounts are held by the Metropolitan Commercial Bank and insured by the FDIC.

Crypto.com uses multifactor authentication — including password, biometric, email, phone and authenticator verification — for all crypto transactions. Crypto.com also requires whitelisting of all external addresses via email verification. That means you’ll need to explicitly authorize any crypto wallets or bank accounts for withdrawal, which helps protect your crypto assets from accidental or manipulated withdrawals.

Along with Gemini and bitFlyer, Crypto.com is one of only 15 exchanges allowed to . Residents of every US state except for New York can use Crypto.com.

Sarah Tew/CNET

  • US availability: All states except West Virginia and Nevada
  • Number of supported tokens: 15
  • Trading fees: 0.03% to 0.1% maker/taker fee
  • Credit/debit card fee: 1.95%

BitFlyer is a private company that launched its crypto exchange first in Japan in 2014 and later expanded into the US in 2017. Though bitFlyer has much lower trading volume than the big exchanges, it ranks in the top 20 for average liquidity, per , and it supports 11 different cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, ether, litecoin and Stellar Lumens (XLM).

BitFlyer offers the lowest trading fees of any exchange on this list. There are two ways to buy and sell crypto on bitFlyer — through the instant buy/sell platform and transactions on bitFlyer’s Lightning Network.

Once you’ve verified your identity and funded your account, maker and taker fees on the bitFlyer Lightning Network max out at 0.1% for transactions less than $50,000. That’s even lower than Kraken’s baseline 0.2% fee for makers and 0.5% for takers — and far more affordable than Coinbase Pro’s 0.4% for makers and 0.6% for takers.

BitFlyer’s instant buy and sell platform doesn’t charge any transaction fees at all, which makes it a tempting proposition, but watch out for the wild range of spread fees, from 0.1% to 6%. BitFlyer will show you the spread fee for any transaction before you make it. Its 1.95% fee for credit card and debit card purchases is also the lowest on this list.

Its interface is more primitive than other exchanges, and we encountered a few minor hiccups — unexplained error messages and missing 2FA codes — during the sign-up process. It’s worth noting that the lower volume of transactions on the bitFlyer exchange may impact your ability to complete trades at the prices you want.

BitFlyer is available to all US residents except for those living in the states of West Virginia and Nevada.

Best crypto exchanges, compared

 Coinbase

Kraken

Gemini

Crypto.com

bitFlyer

Best for

Beginners

Advanced trading

Educational resources

Altcoins

Low fees

Currencies

207

191

101

333

15

Fees

$0.99-2.99, or 1.49% for trades over $200

0.0-0.2% maker; 0.0-0.5% taker; 1.5% instant buy

$0.99-2.99, or 1.49% for trades over $200

0.04-0.4% maker; 0.1-0.4% taker

0.03%-0.1% maker/taker

Excluded states

Hawaii

Hawaii, New York, Washington

None

New York

Nevada, West Virginia

Year founded

2012

2013

2014

2016

2014

What about Binance and Binance.US?

Binance is the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world, per . The exchange launched in China in 2017 and moved its servers and operations to Japan a few months later, in advance of the Chinese ban on cryptocurrency. 

In 2019, due to increased enforcement of regulations, Binance was banned in the US. The existing crypto exchange eventually spun off Binance.US as a separate company that now operates in 45 states. Binance and Binance.US are sister companies with distinct ownership structures.

Binance.US features a very similar interface and experience to Binance and also boasts some of the lowest fees of the major crypto exchanges. However, the company has a rocky past and uncertain future. 

In May 2021,  that the Justice Department and IRS were investigating Binance’s operation for possible links to money laundering and tax evasion. Bloomberg followed up in September with news that  was probing Binance’s connections to insider trading and market manipulation.

In April,  evidence that Binance had turned over data to the Russian Federal Security Service, or FSB, about crypto donations to Alexei Navalny, a political opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Most recently, Binance has come under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission for possibly violating US law when it began selling its native token BNB in 2017 to fund its global exchange, per . And a indicates that, between 2017 and 2021, Binance processed $2.35 billion in crypto that originated from « hacks, investment frau, and .

Some of the larger crypto exchanges provide FDIC insurance up to $250,000, similar to a . But that insurance only covers US dollar deposits. Some crypto exchanges provide , though many do not.

What’s the difference between a crypto exchange and a crypto brokerage?

A crypto exchange provides a platform for individual buyers and sellers to trade crypto — or exchange tokens and fiat currency, like US dollars. Exchange rates are ostensibly based on market prices.

Similarly, a crypto brokerage serves as an intermediary for buyers and sellers, but the broker sets the prices. Brokerages often support fewer cryptocurrencies yet charge lower fees than exchanges. , for example, supports only seven cryptocurrencies — bitcoin, ethereum, dogecoin, litecoin, ethereum classic, bitcoin cash and bitcoin SV — but charges no transaction fees.

How much does it cost to trade cryptocurrency?

As with any investment, it’s important to consider the cost of buying, selling and trading cryptocurrency — high fees can erode returns over time. Exchange fees are typically based on how you buy, sell or trade. 

« Spot » trades, also known as « instant » transactions, involve buying from or selling to an exchange in real-time for a set price. These trades are simple to make, and most exchanges charge a relatively high fee to make them, often approximately 1.5% of the transaction value.

A more sophisticated type of trade — using « buy » and « sell » orders — is more convoluted and less user-friendly, especially for beginners. But these trades are also considerably less expensive, with « maker » and « taker » fees costing between 0.1% to 0.5% of the transaction value. With this approach, you choose the price you wish to buy or sell at, and a transaction clears only when the market finds a buyer or seller willing to buy or sell at that target price. 

Where else can I purchase Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies?

Along with crypto exchanges and brokerages like Robinhood, some payment services allow users to buy and sell cryptocurrency, although your options for tokens will be more limited, and you usually won’t be able to move crypto out of your account and into a private wallet.

, and all let users buy bitcoin via their payment apps. Cash App only buys and sells bitcoin, but it’s the only payment service that lets users withdraw crypto to their own private wallets. Crypto fees aren’t advertised on Cash App and will vary from trade to trade. Generally, Cash App will charge lower fees than most crypto exchanges for smaller trades, yet higher percentage fees for larger trades.

Venmo and PayPal support bitcoin, bitcoin cash, ethereum and litecoin. Both use a tiered fee structure for crypto that’s similar to Coinbase’s — $0.49 to $2.49 on transactions up to $200, a 1.8% fee on transactions between $200 and $1,000 and a 1.5% fee on transactions more than $1,000. Both sites also charge unspecified spread fees that are estimated at 0.5%. You can send crypto to other Venmo or PayPal users with each service, but you can’t move your crypto into your own wallet. 

Why are so many crypto exchanges unavailable in the US?

Regulations on cryptocurrency in the US are more stringent than other countries, and also vary from state to state. 

The SEC and crypto exchanges have clashed several times in recent years, with some exchanges facing investigations by the financial agency. The main sticking point is the SEC’s classification of virtual currencies. In 2017, the SEC announced that many crypto tokens represented investment securities, which must be registered with the SEC. The agency also argued that crypto exchanges should register with the SEC as securities trading platforms.

The additional regulatory burdens and threat of lawsuits from the SEC have prompted several crypto exchanges to pull out of US markets.

Methodology

CNET reviews crypto exchanges and brokerages by comparing them using an established set of criteria, including maker, taker, transaction and withdrawal fees, security features, number and type of supported crypto assets, geographical availability, number and type of supported crypto pairs, software interface and functionality, trade limits or restrictions, educational resources and customer support.

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