As cryptocurrencies have grown in popularity, so have the various exchanges on which to trade them. A lack of regulation and a relatively immature marketplace contributed to price manipulation and fraud in the early days.
One of the industry’s earliest exchanges, Mt. Gox, handled more than 70% of all cryptocurrency transactions before being hacked in 2011. Luckily, better options have become available as the market has grown and matured. Here are seven of the best Coinbase alternatives for cryptocurrency traders.
Do You Need Best Coinbase Alternatives? Pros and Cons of Coinbase
Coinbase, a peer to peer platform, has gone from small startup to cryptocurrency behemoth in less than a decade. In 2012, former Airbnb engineer Brian Armstrong wanted to start his secure cryptocurrency exchange.
At first, the exchange’s only functionality was trading Bitcoin (best cryptocurrency) via bank transfers, but over the years, it expanded its product offerings to include Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Litecoin, and other cryptocurrencies. Coinbase would eventually raise money from big-name venture capital firms like Andreessen Horowitz and Union Square Ventures. The company has raised $547 million in funding to service its 35 million users.
Coinbase recently completed its direct listing on April 14, 2021. Coinbase shares, which trade under the symbol COIN on the Nasdaq, opened for trading at $381 before finishing the first day with a share price of just over $328.
Despite its sterling reputation as the top crypto exchange in the US, one of our team members wrote an article in March detailing why Coinbase wasn’t worth what it was trading for in private sales leading up to its direct listing.
As you can see in the chart below, it appears the market agrees.
Despite the fall in share price, Coinbase remains a great option for many cryptocurrency traders, especially those in the USA to buy and sell Bitcoin – best cryptocurrency. Let’s dive into some of the pros/cons of trading with Coinbase.
- Broadly available to US residents, including those in New York (licensed by the New York State Department of Financial Services)
- A variety of deposit methods such as bank account, wire transfer, and credit card
- Extensive privacy and security
- Easy-to-use mobile app
- Higher fees than some of its competitors
- Robust identity verification required
- Poor customer support reported by many users
- Have suffered outages during peak activity days
What about Coinbase Pro?
Traders don’t have to go outside of Coinbase to reduce their fees. Instead, Coinbase Pro gives traders a more robust trading system and a straightforward fee structure.
Coinbase Pro trading fees are based on a tiered structure and maker or taker status. Fees start at 0.50% and decrease for higher volume traders (which is based on monthly trading volume). Most retail traders, especially those just beginning their crypto journey, can expect to pay 0.50%.
Many advanced traders prefer Coinbase Pro to Coinbase for its in-depth platform, user experience, and lower fees to sell or buy Bitcoin.
Things to Consider When Evaluating Alternatives Coinbase
Before you search for alternatives to Coinbase, you should know what to look for. Doing your homework beforehand will allow you to identify the right exchange for your trading needs.
Security and reputation
Unlike stock exchanges, where customers don’t hold money at the exchanges themselves, crypto exchanges directly hold customer accounts. Therefore, your cryptocurrency exchange must be extremely secure to prevent fraud or hacking.
Cryptocurrency hacks have unfortunately become commonplace in the industry, and while security measures have tightened over the years, using the wrong exchange can lead to disastrous results. Check to see if the exchange has been hacked in the past and, if so, what they are doing to prevent it from happening again.
Are you a Bitcoin trader? What about Ethereum? Maybe you like to dabble in altcoins as well. Each exchange offers its own set of cryptocurrencies available for trading. Therefore, it’s good to consider an exchange that supports many currencies you are interested in. That way, you don’t have to trade back and forth between exchanges.
At the end of the day, what good is the best exchange if you can’t use it? Due to local regulations, some cryptocurrency exchanges are bound by geography and won’t allow users from certain countries to use their services. Before you get excited about a new exchange, check and see if you can use that exchange based on your location.
Every trader wants to pay low fees. Fees can take a bite out of your profit as a trader, turning a good trade into a marginal one or even a losing one. Remember to account for all possible fees, such as deposit/withdrawal, trading, and other exchange fees. Any respectable exchange will be completely transparent about its fee structure. If you don’t understand the fees, you are about to pay for trade. Chances are, you can’t trust the exchange.
A cryptocurrency exchange should be intuitive and easy to use for anyone. But depending on your skill level and knowledge, you might look for certain features. For instance, technical traders should seek an exchange with robust charting tools and functionality, while beginner traders might want a simple exchange interface.
Top 7 Alternatives For Coinbase to Buy Bitcoin
Using the above criteria, our team has selected seven cryptocurrency exchanges that sophisticated crypto traders should consider before buying best crypto. Those seven crypto exchanges include the following:
- Binance – Ideal for liquidity and supported cryptocurrencies
- Kraken – Excellent mobile trading experience
- Robinhood – Easy-to-use trading interface
- Bitstamp – Strong customer service
- Gemini – State-of-the-art security
- Uniswap – Best for a decentralized trading experience
- FTX – Most innovative exchange in the world
7 Alternatives to Coinbase : A Breakdown
So, what are your other options if Coinbase isn’t the exchange for you? Maybe you prefer an exchange with more trading pairs or a decentralized exchange to maintain the integrity of distributed networks. Each exchange has its advantages and disadvantages that could make it the right exchange for you.
Who Should Use It: Those looking for a wide variety of cryptocurrencies to choose from and low trading fees.
Quick History: Founded by Changpeng Zhao, Binance was created in 2017 and quickly became one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges. The company recently launched its Binance.US platform, designed explicitly for US-based customers.
Fees: 0.1% trading fee for both makers and takers and tapering down with higher trading volumes. The fee is reduced if traders use the Binance native BNB token to pay for trading fees.
Users who utilize the instant buy/sell feature will pay a 0.5% fee. There is no fiat deposit or withdrawal fee when using ACH but a $15 domestic withdrawal fee for withdrawals using wire transfer.
|Level||30d Trade Volume (USD)||&||BNB Balance||Maker / Taker||Maker/Taker BNB
|VIP 0||< 50,000.00 USD||or||≥ 0 BNB||0.1000% / 0.1000%||0.0750% / 0.0750%|
|VIP 1||≥ 50,000.00 USD||&||≥ 50 BNB||0.0900% / 0.0900%||0.0675% / 0.0675%|
|VIP 2||≥ 100,000.00 USD||&||≥ 100 BNB||0.0800% / 0.0900%||0.0600% / 0.0675%|
|VIP 3||≥ 500,000.00 USD||&||≥ 200 BNB||0.0700% / 0.0800%||0.0525% / 0.0600%|
|VIP 4||≥ 1,000,000.00 USD||&||≥ 400 BNB||0.0500% / 0.0700%||0.0375% / 0.0525%|
|VIP 5||≥ 5,000,000.00 USD||&||≥ 800 BNB||0.0400% / 0.0600%||0.0300% / 0.0450%|
|VIP 6||≥ 10,000,000.00 USD||&||≥ 1500 BNB||0.0000% / 0.0600%||0.0000% / 0.0450%|
|VIP 7||≥ 25,000,000.00 USD||&||≥ 2500 BNB||0.0000% / 0.0500%||0.0000% / 0.0375%|
|VIP 8||≥ 100,000,000.00 USD||&||≥ 4000 BNB||0.0000% / 0.0400%||0.0000% / 0.0300%|
|VIP 9||≥ 250,000,000.00 USD||&||≥ 6000 BNB||0.0000% / 0.0300%||0.0000% / 0.0225%|
|VIP 10||≥ 500,000,000.00 USD||&||≥ 6000 BNB||0.0000% / 0.0200%||0.0000% / 0.0150%|
- Over 500 cryptocurrencies and more than 1,200 trading pairs
- Lower fees than most exchanges and high liquidity
- Robust education and resources for beginners
- Solid reputation and security
- Accept a wide range of credit cards
- A bit complex for beginners
- No phone support
- Binance is unavailable to US residents, and Binance.US is still less liquid.
What Else You Should Know: Binance provides a wide range of trading tools. OTC markets, P2P trading, derivatives, staking, savings, crypto lending, Bank transfering, Crypto portfolio and more. The exchange’s native BNB coin is a top-10 cryptocurrency.
One other point that traders should be aware of is that in May, CoinDesk reported that the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) was investigating whether Binance allowed US residents to trade derivatives on its exchange. Interestingly, the news came one day after Binance announced that it hired Max Baucus, a former U.S. senator and ambassador to China, as a policy adviser.
What about Binance.US?
Binance.US, Coinbase alternative exchange, launched in September 2019 to serve customers from the United States. Since its launch, Binance.US has developed into one of the largest exchanges in the U.S.
The exchange had two positive developments in April 2021. First, Brian Brooks, the former Comptroller of the Currency, was hired as CEO of the exchange. Second, Binance.US had a record month with total trading volume surpassing $28 billion.
Binance, the parent company of Binance.US, is known for having some of the lowest crypto trading fees in the world. Binance.US also offers incredibly low fees, which are more competitive than Coinbase and Pro version.
Unfortunately, Binance.US doesn’t offer the same number of cryptocurrencies and crypto pairs that its parent company, Binance, does. But, for those Bitcoin traders looking to trade the top 40-50 cryptocurrencies – best crypto, Binance.US represents a great option.
Who Should Use It: Traders looking for technically extensive exchange with good mobile trading features or those based in Europe.
Quick History: One of the oldest cryptocurrency exchanges, Kraken, was founded in 2011. Over the years, the company has acquired various crypto-based companies to build on its existing infrastructure.
Fees: Trading fees start at 0.16% for market makers and 0.26% for takers. Fees taper downward for higher trading volumes. There are no cryptocurrency deposit fees (save for a few exceptions), and crypto withdrawal fees depend on cryptocurrency. Fiat deposits are free, while fiat withdrawals come with a minimum $4 fee depending on the withdrawal method.
|30- Day Volume||Maker||Taker|
|$0 – $50,000||0.16%||0.26%|
|$50,001 – $100,000||0.14%||0.24%|
|$100,001 – $250,000||0.12%||0.22%|
|$250,001 – $500,000||0.10%||0.20%|
|$500,001 – $1,000,000||0.08%||0.18%|
|$1,000,001 – $2,500,000||0.06%||0.16%|
|$2,500,001 – $5,000,000||0.04%||0.14%|
|$5,000,001 – $10,000,000||0.02%||0.12%|
- Lower entry-level fees than Pro version
- Strong mobile trading app
- A wide range of cryptocurrencies available for trading
- Good liquidity, especially in EUR pairs
- Support credit cards and Fiat currencies
- Low-quality customer services
- No control over crypto wallet keys
What Else You Should Know: In 2018, the NY Attorney General accused Kraken of violating virtual currency regulations. Although these claims were never substantiated, Kraken had already left the state. Recently, Kraken received approval to launch its bank in the United States. This could lead to more financial product offerings from the company.
Who Should Use It: Those looking for a no-fee, easy way to get exposure to cryptocurrencies alongside other assets like stocks and ETFs.
Quick History: Robinhood got its start as a stock trading platform. In 2018 the company added coin trading and quickly had 1.25 million customers on its waitlist. Trading began with Bitcoin and Ethereum and other best crypto has since added more cryptocurrencies to its platform.
Fees: Robinhood is free to trade cryptocurrencies. There is also no fee to deposit or withdraw fiat funds from the exchange. However, the trade price is often less competitive than leading exchanges, so there may be a hidden fee in the form of a less competitive bid-ask spread.
- Includes trading capabilities for other assets like stocks
- Easy-to-use, simple, and fun interface
- Fiat currencies supported
- No visibility over market prices or control over price execution
- Can’t transfer cryptocurrency off of the platform
- Don’t purchase ownership of cryptocurrency.
- FINRA recently fined her $70 million.
What Else You Should Know: Robinhood is not an exchange in the traditional sense. Instead, it matches trades directly with high-speed traders. Also, Robinhood has a minimal selection of cryptocurrencies that include Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin SV (BSV), Dogecoin (DOGE), and ETH, Ethereum Classic (ETC), and Litecoin.
Who Should Use It: Those looking for an exchange to trade big-name cryptocurrencies with reliable customer service to trade BTC ETH.
Quick History: The Luxembourg-based exchange was founded in 2011 in response to the dominant exchange at the time, Mt.Gox. The exchange grew quickly but was hacked in 2015, compromising $5 million. Bitstamp got back on its feet and was so successful over the next few years that it was acquired by Belgium-based investment company NXMH in 2018.
Fees: Trading fees start at 0.50% for traders with a 30-day trading volume of less than $10,000. Fees drop to 0.25% for trading volumes of less than $20,000 and taper down with higher trading volumes. ACH deposits and withdrawals are free of charge, as are SEPA deposits. SEPA withdrawals come with a fee of €3.
|Fee||30-days trading volume|
- 24/7 customer support
- Solid security track record
- Relatively few cryptocurrencies are offered for trading
- Previous security compromise brings into question the reputation of the exchange.
What Else You Should Know: To increase the speed of trading on its exchange, Bitstamp has integrated with Nasdaq’s Matching Engine. This will lead to faster order execution, up to 1,250 faster than before.
Who Should Use It: Traders who want strong security and an easy-to-use trading platform.
Quick History: The exchange was started by Cameron and Tyler Winkelvoss, who founded Gemini in 2014. Gemini is a trusted exchange of many institutional investors and hedge fund managers.
Fees: Gemini charges a 0.50% trading fee and a fixed transaction fee of up to $2.99 depending on the transaction size, though their active trader platform (outlined below) offers considerably lower fees. There is no fee for deposits except in the case of a debit card transfer (3.49% of the purchase amount). Withdrawal fees depend on the cryptocurrency being withdrawn and can be found here.
|30-Day Volume (USD)||Taker||Maker||Auction Fee|
- 0% fees for high volume traders
- Strong security
- Available in a limited number of countries
- Limited amount of cryptocurrencies
What Else You Should Know: Gemini continuously adds functionality and new cryptocurrencies to its exchange. It now allows for the trading of Uniswap and other DeFi tokens. Recently, the exchange was granted an Electronic Money Institution (EMI) license in the UK.
Who Should Use It: Ethereum-based traders looking to avoid centralized trading platforms.
Quick History: Uniswap provides liquidity for cryptocurrencies on the Ethereum network as a decentralized protocol. Since 2018 the protocol has grown so large that it has surpassed the daily trading volume of Coinbase. Uniswap allows for the trading of any Ethereum-based token without the trust of a centralized third party.
Fees: The fees to trade on Uniswap are calculated based on the gas fee. The gas fee is essentially a representation of how congested the Ethereum blockchain is at any given time. Traders can expect the gas fee to be pretty high on days when the crypto market is especially volatile. When the market is low volume, such as during a consolidation period, the gas fee will be quite low and represent a huge cost saving for many coin traders, especially those trading large sizes.
Gas is priced in small amounts of Ethereum, usually called GWEI. This gas is used to allocate resources so that decentralized apps such as smart contracts can execute as securely as possible while maintaining the principle of decentralization.
Now, let’s summarize some of the benefits of trading on Uniswap:
- Completely decentralized
- Can trade any ERC-20 token
- Huge amounts of liquidity
- Based on the Ethereum network does not allow for Bitcoin, Litecoin, and BCH trading.
- No easy way to use fiat currency
- Risk of impermanent loss for AMMs
What Else You Should Know: The Uniswap token (UNI) has gotten so popular that it is now available for trading on other exchanges like Binance and Gemini. Many believe the future of cryptocurrency trading will be decentralized, making Uniswap a potential visionary of what the entire industry might look like down the road. For those of you who want a more in-depth comparison of Uniswap and Coinbase, please check out our blog.
Who Should Use It: Non-US-based traders looking for an innovative exchange that offers many different products such as futures, tokenized stocks, and leveraged tokens. US-based traders can trade BTC ETH at FTX US. However, the US version of FTX only provides access to spot trading.
Quick History: FTX is a cryptocurrency exchange built by traders for traders. The exchange is known for offering innovative products, including industry-first derivatives, options, volatility products, and leveraged tokens. FTX’s goal is to build a robust platform for professional trading firms and intuitive enough for first-time users. Industry pioneer Sam Bankman-Fried leads FTX.
Fees: FTX uses a tiered fee structure for all spot and futures markets. The base rate is 0.02% for makers and 0.07% for takers. If customers have traded enough volume during the past 30 days, they can qualify for a higher tier level, substantially reducing their trading fees. FTX also discounts traders that hold the exchange’s native token, FTT, in their accounts. This discount can range from 3% (at the low end) up to 60%.
- An innovative exchange that offers access to unique products
- Some of the lowest trading fees in the industry
- Credit cards supported and Fiat currencies
- Not available to US residents
What Else You Should Know: FTX has recently gone on a marketing blitz and has now inked sponsorship deals with the Miami Heat, Major League Baseball, and Tom Brady.
Who Should Use It: Non-US-based traders looking for crypto derivatives trading with robust high-leverage margin trading.
Quick History: BitMEX is short for Bitcoin Mercantile Exchange and offers leveraged contracts trading using Bitcoin as collateral. This is different from purchasing Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies outright, although some best crypto can be purchased in fiat trading pairs.
Fees: Market makers on BitMEX receive a rebate on fees for adding liquidity to the market. Fees of taker start at 0.075% for perpetual contracts and go as high as 0.25% for futures.
|Series||Leverage||Maker Fee||Taker Fee||Long Funding||Short Funding||Funding Interval|
|Bitcoin (XBT)||100x||-0.0250%||0.0750%||0.0100%||-0.0100%||every 8 hours|
|Bitcoin Cash (BCH)||25x||-0.0250%||0.0750%||0.0100%||-0.0100%||every 8 hours|
|Ethereum (ETH)||50x||-0.0250%||0.0750%||0.0262%||-0.0262%||every 8 hours|
|Litecoin (LTC)||33.33x||-0.0250%||0.0750%||0.0165%||-0.0165%||every 8 hours|
|Ripple (XRP)||50x||-0.0250%||0.0750%||0.0100%||-0.0100%||every 8 hours|
|Series||Leverage||Maker Fee||Taker Fee||Settlement Fee|
|Bitcoin Cash (BCH)||20x||-0.0500%||0.2500%||0.0000%|
|EOS Token (EOS)||20x||-0.0500%||0.2500%||0.0000%|
- Robust trading platform with charting tools
- Frictionless account opening
- US traders cannot use the exchange and were recently charged by CFTC
- No spot trading
What Else You Should Know: BitMEX has gotten so big that it has been trading over $70 billion in cryptocurrency derivatives monthly. It is also expanding its crypto offerings for the first time in several years to include Chainlink and Tezos, both are among the best crypto to trade at the moment.
Coinbase’s prominent place among cryptocurrency platforms isn’t likely to dissipate anytime soon. That said, there are still various reasons why traders might choose a Coinbase alternative exchange for buying and selling cryptocurrencies.
Each platform outlined in this guide brings something to the table, and it’s up to the individual trader to determine which one best aligns with their priorities. Maybe you are looking for a wider range of cryptocurrency pairs, or maybe you prefer to use a fully decentralized exchange instead of a centralized service.
Hopefully, this article gave you a window into the other options available and the tools to help you evaluate which platforms best suit your needs and preferences. Note that we said “platforms,” plural, because it’s worth remembering that you do not need to limit yourself to one exchange, especially if you are a highly active trader.
Ultimately, active traders may require several exchanges to leverage the best resources for their trading needs. Suppose you already manage multiple trading accounts or consider expanding your trading to other platforms. In that case, you may find CoveTrader a valuable tool in keeping your different accounts organized and having the visibility to capitalize on the best possible trading prices.
Scott Knudsen is CEO of Cove Markets. He spent 14 years at IMC Trading, working in Chicago, Amsterdam, and Hong Kong. Follow him on Twitter here.