Buying Bitcoin is evolving as a mere hobby for well-informed early adopters. They believed in Satoshi Nakamoto’s financial revolution, to a mainstream activity for casual investors to make a pretty penny on the side of their day-to-day lives. However, if you believe it’s time to buy into the hype and get yourself some of those fancy cryptocurrencies that everyone is hollering about, below, we will show you the best sites to buy from and why.
First, allow us to explain what qualities we think the best brokers should have.
Diving Deeper Into Our Winners
When Changpeng Zhao launched Binance in 2017, he set out to create the world’s biggest and best cryptocurrency exchange. Like hundreds of other exchange startups in this fledgling industry of the last dozen or so years, Zhao knew that getting to the top of the pile would cement Binance’s place in the financial world. However, having seen what happened to Mt.Gox, the first crypto exchange to dominate the marketplace, and which was hacked for 840,000 BTC (over $30bn at today’s rate), Zhao knew that driving Binance to the peak would not be easy. There would be powers at play looking to pull him and his project down the ladder at every rung.
For Zhao and Binance, the rise to the top has been anything but smooth sailing, starting with the need to relocate the entire business and leave China, followed by a major hack in which 7,000 BTC disappeared. However, thanks to a crypto-insurance fund, users barely noticed hackers robbed the exchange since Binance replaced funds almost immediately. Since moving from China and basing themselves in several countries, primarily the Cayman Islands and Malta, Binance has gone from strength to strength. It is now unanimously recognized as the best crypto trading platform globally for low trading fees, fair market prices, an impressive trading experience, and the best Bitcoin trading liquidity anywhere on the market.
- With over 300,000 BTC (1.6% of all Bitcoin) in reserve, Binance offers the second-best liquidity of any exchange in the world
- Largest daily trading volumes for those who have purchased BTC and want to start buying and selling crypto
- Unlike most rivals, Binance accepts Credit Card payments
- Debit cards are also accepted
- Users can buy Bitcoin with a bank transfer
- Customer support is available through a live agent or ticket system
- Choose between Bitcoin and many other cryptocurrencies
- There is a P2P trading platform for traders to buy and sell Bitcoin from each other, allowing you, the user, to become a broker if you wish
As a Bitcoin broker, Binance is quietly and unassumingly growing its cryptocurrency broker services by expanding the regions it can serve, meeting the legislations it must be compliant with, and working with numerous payment gateways to make payment more accessible. They’ve also been growing their Bitcoin pot, boasting one of the most significant private holdings, with over 300,000 BTC (around $10bn in value). Most crypto brokers could only dream of having reserves that large, as well as having the power to offer countless payment methods, such as Banxa, Simplex, Wire Transfer, SEPA, Faster Payments, and so many more. FYI – Binance is also one of the only crypto brokers that accepts credit cards.
Most cryptocurrency brokers buy and sell Bitcoin and make a profit on the margins, but it doesn’t seem to be Binance’s main intention; why else would they build a free P2P exchange for customers to trade directly with each other with zero commissions. This customer-to-customer trading platform allows their users to become cryptocurrency brokers for one another and unlock other payment options, such as PayPal, Wise (Transferwise), and Revolut.
Why is Binance Our Number One Pick?
When looking at all of the best crypto brokers, the fact that stood out to us was that Binance is the best cryptocurrency trading platform with the highest liquidity, daily trading volume, and number of market pairs. So, once you’ve bought your Bitcoin, it’s the best place to trade it, stake it, or sell it. In addition, it’s the best on-ramp and off-ramp, with the excellent range of payment and deposit options matched by a super easy off-ramp broker process for getting your funds out quickly and into your bank account, with a low withdrawal fee.
We have to be transparent, though; it’s not all great. First, Binance was kicked out of China, then kicked out of the US, and in 2021, out of the UK. Too hot to handle, it seems. So, if you’re in an accepted territory outside of those, that’s fantastic for you, but if not, you’ll want to continue reading to learn about our other winners.
Nowadays, you might see the Winklevoss twins referred to as ‘finance magnates,’ or as ‘the guys who came up with the idea for Facebook’, but to us, they are a couple of intelligent investors who bought Bitcoin early and strategically invest their gains into growing an empire. They deserve many plaudits, reportedly taking their settlement from suing Mark Zuckerberg ($65m) and using it to buy A LOT of Bitcoin ($11m). But, rather than selling it for gains, resting on their laurels, and retiring early to some island paradise for a life of coconut water and sunshine, they decided to build Gemini (the zodiac symbol for twins).
It’s reported their holdings of Bitcoin have now grown to somewhere between 120,000 and 170,000 BTC, though some suggest they had as much as 210,000 at one point, which is worth several billion dollars. We aren’t at all surprised by this success, as they’ve worked very hard to become the best Bitcoin brokers in the USA. However, unlike in Europe, where crypto regulations are pretty smooth, each crypto broker in the US must jump through several difficult hurdles and meet so many compliance requirements and regulations just to get off the ground. It’s not easy, but it’s necessary. Gemini, rather than existing on the more liberal and democratic side of the crypto world where anonymity and decentralization are highly valued, lives in the ultra-regulated, highly insured identity verified, and bank-account linked centralized side.
- Gemini’s Bitcoin holdings are not so transparent; however, it’s estimated that its owners, the Winklevoss Twins, personally own between 120,000 and 170,000 BTC
- Link your bank account to your Gemini Account to make verified and insured purchases instantly
- Debit card (Visa and Mastercard) payments are permitted, with a 3.49% transaction charge
- Customer support available via ticket system
Gemini can seem overly professional and a bit too legit for your average trader trying to do a side hustle, but that simply makes it perfect for a different type of customer. For example, let’s say we are at the point of crypto adoption in which your normal everyday person is deciding to put some of their savings into coins and maybe do some cryptocurrency trading. These people may have heard a lot of fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) around the market about hackings, pumps and dumps, scams, and insane volatility. Gemini’s compliance and insurance give them the reassurance they need. Still, beyond beginners, it appeals to those from the financial world, Forex traders, C-level professionals, institutions, and institutional investors.
Why Does Gemini Come 2nd?
It’s not about the amount of Bitcoin Gemini has that places them behind Binance in this article; it’s the rigamarole. Gemini has the highest levels of legitimacy, as we’ve explained, but how that translates for the user experience is that they require more data and personal information than the other exchanges. In particular, they want your banking information, which the other trading platforms and Bitcoin brokers generally won’t ask for. On the plus side, if your bank connects to Gemini, you can make instant crypto purchases, with transactions fully insured in case something goes wrong.
For those who like to make debit card payments, Visa and Mastercard are permitted, at a 3.5% charge. What’s quite nice about Gemini’s Bitcoin broker service is that when you make a deposit or payment, you receive your crypto funds immediately, with Gemini transferring them before your money has cleared. This means you can buy, sell, or trade Bitcoin, as well as dozens of other cryptocurrency tokens, without delay.
Coinbase has 56 million ID-verified users as of April 2021. With impressive growth in the quarter preceding that, you can imagine that the figure is several million higher by now, regardless of when you’re reading this. With more verified users than any other platform, Coinbase, in effect, became a household name. While trading Bitcoin and selling different coins to crypto traders was always the primary focus, it’s plausible that becoming recognized as the world’s easiest starting point for cryptocurrency exploits was also a focal point of the mission.
- Coinbase is the ultimate Bitcoin hoarder, having accumulated over 1 million BTC, around 5% of all Bitcoin globally
- This massive reserve of Bitcoin makes it a great place to buy BTC, and it’s straightforward too, with the easiest and best UX/UI design of any broker
- UK: 3D Secure Card purchases
- US: ACH, Debit Card, and now accepting PayPal too
- Coinbase offers a phone number for their customer support service, something that very few brokers do
Sometimes an exchange is not a broker, and sometimes a broker is not an exchange. Fortunately, Coinbase is both and brokers 25 different digital currency choices for their users. What also separates Coinbase from other crypto exchanges is their acquisition of GDAX several years back, which was then subsequently rebranded into Coinbase Pro, now the second-most popular Bitcoin trading platform in the industry. Not only can you trade Bitcoin, but each trader has access to their Coinbase holdings from their Pro account while accessing different features, services, and trading fees. The Coinbase and Coinbase Pro trading platforms charge crypto traders differently for trading Bitcoin and other tokens, with transaction costs of 2.0% and 0.5%, respectively.
Available to use in over 100 countries and regularly expanding into new territories, Coinbase is doing a great job of keeping Binance on its toes. It also introduced PayPal as a payment method in the US, something that many exchanges are struggling to achieve. On the downside, Coinbase has removed credit card payments from most of its accepted countries.
As we’ve mentioned, Coinbase is the most uncomplicated cryptocurrency broker to use, with carefully curated user journeys that make transactions feel like online shopping for those who want to buy Bitcoin. Of course, brokers are always trying to make this purchase journey smooth, but some honestly perform better as trading platforms, and their Bitcoin broker service goes mostly unused. This couldn’t be further from the truth for Coinbase, which buys and sells Bitcoin so much that it has managed to accumulate the world’s largest Bitcoin wallet, with over one million Bitcoin. With the impressive Bitcoin prices in 2021, the wallet values at over $60bn.
Here are some of the different payment methods for Coinbase’s most popular territories.
- UK: Debit card purchases
- Canada: Debit card purchases
- EU: Debit card purchases
- US: ACH, Debit Card, and now accepting PayPal too
We are pleased to say that not only is Coinbase US-friendly (unlike countless other cryptocurrency exchanges), but it’s actually from the US, with headquarters in San Francisco!
Why is Coinbase 3rd behind Binance and Gemini?
As a trading platform, Coinbase falls behind Binance and Gemini in terms of quality for the trading interface and the high crypto-to-crypto trading fees: 2.0% compared to 0.1% and 0.35%/0.1% on Binance and Gemini. Trading platforms need to be affordable and offer a sleek design, so they somewhat make up for it with Coinbase Pro, but the fees (0.5%) are still much higher, making crypto trading more costly for the average user.
Despite the higher costs, Coinbase is a remarkable place to get hold of digital currency, buy and trade Bitcoin, and even do things like stake coins to make a passive income instead of trading. Of course, the average day trader will not like Coinbase (Coinbase Pro is a different story). Still, few exchanges or broker services can compete for the beginner looking to buy Bitcoin first. Plus, it can all be done from a nifty trading app, with a separate and secure wallet app to keep coins protected (Coinbase has never been hacked, so this wallet comes highly recommended).
Coin Clarity’s Sleeper Pick
In December 2020, the best of Hong Kong’s crypto exchanges decided to branch out and become a cryptocurrency broker. In a short space of time, KuCoin has done remarkably well, creating a broker platform that offers more than 30 digital currency options, including Bitcoin. On top of the selection of coins, there are many different payment options and gateways to choose from, making KuCoin incredibly versatile.
- Only started brokering crypto in December 2020
- Lists SEPA, Visa/Mastercard, Apple Pay, and Bank Transfer as payment methods
- Partnered with Simplex, Banxa, and Mercuryo as the payment gateways for purchasing cryptocurrencies
- Sells Bitcoin, plus 30 other cryptocurrencies through the brokerage
- The brokerage accepts more than 40 fiat currencies
- KuCoin’s BTC holdings are assumed to be much lower than their rivals, being in the tens of thousands of Bitcoin rather than the hundreds of thousands or millions
- KuCoin offers both a ticket system and live chat for users with an issue
- Americans may use KuCoin. However, there are specific tax implications related to FBAR that may make other platforms more appealing or logical
Users can choose to use SEPA, a Visa/Mastercard debit card, Apple Pay, or a bank transfer to pay for their crypto. On top of that, working slightly different from other brokers, they have partnered with the best liquidity providers on the market – Simplex, Banxa, and Mercuryo. This allows the purchase system to automatically generate a quote for the crypto price from each liquidity provider, giving flexibility to the buyer about where to buy from and get a great deal in the process.
Unlike some cryptocurrency exchanges, which offer fairly good transparency about their crypto holdings, KuCoin has not shared their details or done a proof of reserves audit. This doesn’t impact the liquidity of their broker service, however, as the cryptocurrency tokens are provided by the liquidity partners, making KuCoin just a middle man. In some cases, other brokers will do precisely the same thing, using liquidity partners to facilitate deals, except they won’t give the user a choice on quotes and might even take a larger slice for themselves.
Why is KuCoin’s Broker Service Slept On?
KuCoin claims that one in four cryptocurrency traders is using their platform, a bit of a bogus claim, but they’ve somehow managed to wangle the data in their favor. If you can get past this bold claim, what you’ll find is a decent platform. Other perks are an excellent trading suite, hundreds of cryptocurrency choices (over 380), and a user-friendly platform. What has always held KuCoin back is how decentralized it was. There was no way to buy crypto, no way to sell it, and no way to interact with fiat currency. Some might argue that this was a good thing, allowing the platform to focus solely on cryptocurrency trading and not join the brokers in profiting on sales. But then, they started selling coins.
This focus on trading made KuCoin an excellent Bitcoin trading station, especially when you factor in that they didn’t require users to go through KYC checks to get started. This is still the case, you can trade without giving up your personal information, but if you want to use the broker service, you will need to submit your ID.
Ultimately, we are pleased to recommend KuCoin as an underrated exchange and broker service for the flexibility that we explained before. A solid range of payment options, payment gateways, and live quotes for Bitcoin and 30+ other cryptocurrency coins puts a lot of autonomy into the buyer’s hands. Their rivals may wish to take note.
What Else Do You Need to Know?
How can you find out if brokers are regulated or not?
The cryptocurrency world is full of scams. Sadly any fledgling and innovative industry will attract the wrong sort of attention, and the broker market is no exception. Those who have been Bitcoin trading for several years will probably be able to name some hacks, some Ponzi schemes, or some kind of scandal. On the other hand, there is a regulatory body for Bitcoin brokers (well, brokers in general), so you can go some way towards avoiding this issue by doing your due diligence.
All Bitcoin broker services must be registered, authorized, and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK. The SEC – Securities and Exchanges Commission regulates the United States. In Canada, the organization is called IIROC, the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada. And in Australia, there is the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. In Europe, each country regulates brokers independently.
To see whether your broker is legitimate or not, find out the company’s legal name and registered country and look them up.
Bitcoin CFD Trading – What Is It?
In this article, we’ve talked exclusively about the exchanges that broker Bitcoin deals, basically allowing you to buy or sell Bitcoin directly from or to them (or engage in Bitcoin trading). There exists, however, another type of broker, though they’re in the foreign currency exchange market and are called Forex Brokers. As cryptocurrency has grown in popularity, so has something called CFD trading. Most Bitcoin investors purchase Bitcoin in the hope the price will go up, they can sell it, and they can enjoy some easy profits. However, some traders and investors want to see the price of Bitcoin fall, as they can profit on these too — this happens through CFDs.
CFDs refer to Contracts for Difference, and CFD Trading has become an important part of Bitcoin’s economics. To get involved in this activity, you’ll need to open an account with a Forex broker rather than a crypto exchange. Forex brokers will be happy to sell you these services as CFDs can be very profitable, however not every Forex broker will recommend it or offer it. Where CFDs aren’t available, or where you don’t want to open a brokerage account, you can instead research Futures and Options contracts to help bet against Bitcoin.
There you have it — our top broker picks that made it through extensive research and metrics. We highly recommend you get started with one of these brokers ASAP to get trading. Get started with our number one ranked broker now. And as always, best of luck out there!