Cryptocurrencies had a great year in 2021. In this period, we have seen the market go from being classified as a billion-dollar economy into a trillion-dollar economy. Aside from that, cryptocurrencies are gaining visibility in the mainstream world with, for example, El Salvador's adoption of Bitcoin as the official digital currency. As a result, investors are looking for the "new Bitcoin" on the market, hoping to find a great alternative in so-called altcoins. Unfortunately, many traders value an altcoin exclusively…
With multiple cryptocurrencies trading at all-time highs, you’re probably looking for the quickest way to buy some digital assets. But where will you find willing sellers?
The answer is on a crypto exchange. There are plenty available to Americans, but they may greatly vary in volume, available cryptos, and regulatory compliance. Today we’ll cover three top US cryptocurrency exchanges you should consider for trading. However, first we’ll explain what a crypto exchange is and the main qualities to look for when choosing one.
What Is A Crypto Exchange?
A cryptocurrency exchange is a marketplace for cryptocurrency trading. They allow members of an otherwise decentralized world to find willing buyers and sellers of their coins.
Some exchanges are “decentralized,” operating on a peer-to-peer basis with trades that smart contracts mediate. These include protocols like Uniswap and PancakeSwap.
However, the most popular exchanges are “centralized,” meaning that a central institution is responsible for mediating payment. Though this may seem contradictory, these exchanges are necessary on-ramps for people trying to convert their fiat money into cryptocurrency. The crypto exchanges here are centralized by nature.
What to Look For In a Crypto Exchange
- Security: As cryptocurrencies grow in value and trading volume rises, exchanges become increasingly popular honey pots for hackers. Make sure to use a reputable – and preferably, regulated – exchange to keep your funds safe. Alternatively, try withdrawing your cryptocurrency to cold storage in self-custody.
- Low-Fees: Fees are how exchanges make their money. This isn’t an issue if you’re an infrequent crypto-purchaser, but fees can substantially reduce gains for high-frequency traders.
- Available cryptocurrencies: Though almost every exchange offers Bitcoin, certain companies may not sell famous listless altcoins. For avid traders looking for all available arbitrage opportunities, the diversity of cryptos is paramount.
- High-Volume: Higher trading volumes lead to more accurate prices and greater market liquidity. If you want to buy and sell coins efficiently, going where the money already is will be beneficial.
With that said, let’s review some top-tier cryptocurrency exchanges for US residents.
3 Top Crypto Exchanges
Not what you were expecting? Believe it or not, the CEO of Square – the company that developed Cash App – is actually a huge Bitcoiner. That president is the CEO of Twitter, Jack Dorsey.
Cash App is a super convenient way to gain first-time access to cryptocurrency. Over 30 million people already use the app for peer-to-peer payments, including splitting food and shopping online. It can also be helpful to buy stocks, ETFs, and, more recently, Bitcoin. Though it usually operates as a custodial wallet, it allows users to withdraw their funds to a personal address. Interestingly, Dorsey has hinted that the app could bring Bitcoin access to teens in the future.
Due to its interoperability with other payment functions, Cash App is probably the most seamless option for crypto purchases. Also, the app only allows users to purchase Bitcoin, and Dorsey made clear he has no intention of adding other cryptos. However, beginners that only seek access to the primary cryptocurrency will find great use in this app.
Binance US isn’t only renowned as a crypto exchange but as a cryptocurrency itself. Check any live price index nowadays, and you’ll find Binance coin among the top cryptos listed, right under Ethereum and Bitcoin. Using this utility token, users can pay some of the world’s lowest fees when trading on the Binance exchange.
This crypto exchange launched in 2017, and it heavily focuses on altcoin trading. It offers over 100 different cryptocurrency trading pairs and allows one to deposit 12 other fiat currencies. However, Binance US has fewer trading pairs than the international version, making it slightly less suited for US investors.
Nevertheless, the platform’s low fees make it a stellar choice for frequent and experienced traders. This exchange is an excellent pick if you’d like to take advantage of advanced charting and access to various altcoins.
Coinbase is one of those exchanges that frequently make headlines – probably because it markets itself so well. The company partnered with the NBA, but its advertisements are visible at various other sports/ eSports events. It’s proven popular with retail investors, reaching the top of the Apple store last month while barely trailing Crypto.com on Google Play.
Coinbase offers access to various altcoins and is more accessible than almost any other dedicated cryptocurrency exchange. It provides regulated custody services for users’ crypto holdings and FDIC-insured bank accounts. These regulations are essential in an industry riddled with various hacks and scams.
This exchange’s most significant specialty is its ever-expanding list of features. Besides trading, the exchange allows one to receive their salary in any crypto of their choice. It will also be launching an NFT marketplace soon. Finally, it offers a free “Coinbase Pro” app geared better towards experienced traders seeking advanced charts and indicators. However, newbies that choose not to use Coinbase Pro must incur higher fees.
Make sure to pick the crypto exchange that’s right for you, based on your circumstances. If you’re a newbie who simply wants to buy Bitcoin conveniently and familiarly, consider using Cash App. Meanwhile, if you’re an experienced trader looking for various altcoin trading opportunities and low fees, try Binance US. Finally, for all-around access to a range of cryptocurrency features get familiar with Coinbase.
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