Bitcoin exchanges have a sordid past that’s best illustrated by Mt. Gox. By 2013, the company handled over 70 percent of all Bitcoin transactions. It was bankrupted by April 2014 after the theft of over 850,000 bitcoins it held for its customers.
Stories of manipulation by deep-pocketed holders have sewn seeds of skepticism in the minds of crypto buyers too. One whale, at one point associated with both the Tether cryptocurrency and Bitfinex exchange is associated with spiking the price of bitcoin up to nearly $20,000 in late 2017.
Regulators and legislators alike are heavily scrutinizing cryptocurrency and blockchain projects to this day. Most recently Uniswap, a decentralized finance platform (in theory), has been a focus for the SEC.
Still, there’s no denying the impact of investing in crypto – about 14 percent of Americans own it these days. And it’s available to buy in a lot more places.
You no longer need to rely on shady marketplaces to buy, sell, and trade cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. Here is a list of some of the best place to buy and sell crypto.
Coinbase Global Inc (NASDAQ:COIN) is the first cryptocurrency exchange to get SEC approval for listing on an American stock exchange. The company’s 2021 IPO valued the company over $50 billion.
CEO Brian Armstrong’s firm has ballpark $223 billion in crypto assets held in its custody.
It offers over 25 cryptocurrencies, along with staking, which allows customers to earn rewards on certain coins and tokens. As a pure crypto play, this is one of the safest and most popular markets available to U.S. investors.
Coinbase has a stamp of credibility associated with, so you can be more certain that any coins listed on its marketplace meet stringent requirements for listing.
As the most prominent crypto marketplace, Coinbase presents a big target for regulatory heat. Most recently, Brian Armstrong pointed out issues with the SEC restricting its Coinbase Lend program from rolling out.
Robinhood Markets Inc (NASDAQ:HOOD) is more than a crypto exchange – it started as an investment app giving retail investors access to stocks, options, and ETFs. Now it lets you buy seven cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin ($BTC), Litecoin ($LTC), and Dogecoin ($DOGE).
The difference between Robinhood and Coinbase is customers don’t hold the private keys to your crypto – Robinhood does. That means you can’t send any of your holding to the platform to sell. You’ll need other options for that.
3. Cash App
Cash App is the peer-to-peer (P2P) payment app from Square Inc (NYSE:SQ), which invested heavily in bitcoin in 2021. It spent $50 million on 4,709 bitcoins in October 2020 and dropped another $170 million on 3,318 bitcoins in February 2021.
That was after the company saw three million people (one million of which were first-timers) using bitcoin on its app in the January alone.
And unlike Robinhood, Cash App lets you transfer your balance between your other digital wallets.
The primary downside is that only bitcoin is supported, but more coins could be added if they rival bitcoin’s market cap. There is lots of speculation that a “flippening” will occur whereby ethereum’s market capitalization exceeds Bitcoin’s. Square will likely list ethereum if that happens, though CEO Jack Dorsey is a bitcoin fanatic, which may influence the decision not to list other coins.
Kraken is a San Francisco, California-based cryptocurrency exchange founded in 2011. The company supports over 100 trading pairs for 56 crypto coins and tokens. This means you’re able to convert crypto assets between each other without liquidating to fiat.
If you choose to diversify your crypto investments, you’ll want the ability to convert something like bitcoin to ether. That’s not possible on Robinhood or Cash App, but pure cryptocurrencies like Kraken and Coinbase can do this.
And they’re not the only crypto exchanges on the block, so you can find one that works best for you.
Changpeng “CZ” Zhao is one of the wealthiest people in the world, with a net worth of nearly $2 billion.
Although Coinbase gets the most media buzz because of its IPO, Binance is the largest cryptocurrency exchange by volume. It supports crypto-to-crypto trading of over 500 cryptocurrencies, although Binance and Binance.US are different companies and products to comply with U.S. regulations.
Only 50 cryptocurrencies are available to U.S. traders, which gives you a glimpse into the true global nature of the crypto market.
While the main company is under heavy scrutiny from both the U.S. Department of Justice and IRS (along with the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority), its U.S. branch is expected to survive because of the company structure.
6. Huobi Global
Huobi Global is a Hong Kong-based crypto exchange and one of the largest in the world. It temporarily banned U.S. customers but reinstated access to them in December 2020 after ironing things out with regulators.
Like Binance, Huobi has its own cryptocurrency token – Huobi Token. It’s used to facilitate transactions between blockchains, but it’s also one of the reasons regulators are so weary.
Coinbase never issued its own token, and that’s how it largely avoided regulatory scrutiny and went public. This is why it’s earned the reputation as the safest of the crypto exchanges, but it’s also the least useful, so power users still stray to other venues.
Not one to be left out of the fintech race, Paypal Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:PYPL) now has a digital crypto wallet. It supports Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, and Litecoin, and you can buy, sell, and trade them at will with your private digital keys.
Still, PayPal’s CFO Dan Schulman is adamant that the company will not invest its own money in bitcoin, despite companies like Tesla (TSLA) and Square (SQ) doing so. He made that clear in a February appearance on Jim Cramer’s “Mad Money.’
Another exchange comparable to Coinbase, Gemini is a New York City-based crypto exchange founded by the Winklevoss twins in 2014. Their support was enough to keep the company afloat as it grew to support over 40 cryptocurrencies and tokens.
It’s one of the most secure cryptocurrency exchanges and is very easy to use. It also has a slightly larger user base than Coinbase (COIN) at 13.5 million users versus 13.3 million.
The Gemini exchange has clearly proved its value and should continue to be a big player in the ever-evolving crypto market.
The author has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Financhill has a disclosure policy. This post may contain affiliate links or links from our sponsors.