Best cryptocurrency exchanges

Find the best cryptocurrency exchanges for beginners, low fees and more.

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You can use a cryptocurrency exchange to buy, sell and trade cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH). We’ve compared some popular exchanges by different categories to make it easier to find the best for you.

Disclaimer: This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of cryptocurrency or any specific provider, service or offering. It is not a recommendation to trade.

Compare cryptocurrency exchanges you can use in Ireland

Name Product Deposit methods Fiat Currencies Cryptocurrencies
Credit card
Debit card
Neteller
PayPal
Wire transfer
Online banking
EUR, GBP, NZD, USD, AUD, CAD, HKD, SGD, CHF, NOK & 5+ more

17
cryptocurrencies

Disclaimer: Volatile investment product. 75% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
Copy the trades of leading cryptocurrency investors on this unique social investment platform.
Credit card
Debit card
Bank transfer (SEPA)
SWIFT
USD, EUR, AUD, CAD, GBP, JPY

10
cryptocurrencies

Founded in 2013, CoinMama lets you buy and sell popular cryptos with a range of payment options and quick delivery.
Bank transfer
Credit card
Debit card
Bank transfer (SEPA)
Wire transfer
GBP, EUR

96
cryptocurrencies

BC Bitcoin is a UK-based cryptocurrency brokerage that buys and sells more than 100 different cryptocurrencies.
Bank transfer (ACH)
Credit card
Debit card
Bank transfer (SEPA)
USD, EUR, GBP

20
cryptocurrencies

Get US$10 in free bitcoin when you buy US$100 or more of any crypto. T&Cs apply.
Buy and sell major cryptocurrencies on one of the world's most renowned cryptocurrency exchanges.
AdvCash
Credit card
Debit card
Neteller
Payeer
USD, EUR, GBP, CAD, JPY

9
cryptocurrencies

Buy Bitcoin and other popular cryptocurrencies with credit card or debit card on this digital cryptocurrency exchange.

US residents: Restricted in the following states - NY, CT, NM, WA, HI, AL, VT, FL, AK, NV.
Cash
Credit card
Cryptocurrency
Neteller
Bank transfer (SEPA)
SOFORT
EUR, GBP, CHF, USD

34
cryptocurrencies

A European exchange which enables users to pay in EUR, GBP, CHF and USD through a variety of payment platforms.
Credit card
Cryptocurrency
USD

387
cryptocurrencies

CoinSwitch allows you to compare and convert over 250 cryptocurrencies across all exchanges.
Credit card
Debit card
USD, EUR, GBP, AUD, CAD, CHF, HKD, JPY, PHP, ZAR & 30+ more

146
cryptocurrencies

Access competitive crypto-to-crypto exchange rates for 150+ cryptocurrencies on this global exchange.
Bitstamp Cryptocurrency Exchange
Credit card
Cryptocurrency
Debit card
Bank transfer (SEPA)
Wire transfer
USD, EUR

5
cryptocurrencies

A global cryptocurrency exchange that facilitates crypto to fiat transactions, where you can use EUR or USD to buy bitcoin and popular altcoins.
ShapeShift Cryptocurrency Exchange
Cryptocurrency
-

51
cryptocurrencies

Quickly swap between more than 40 cryptocurrency assets or use your credit card to instantly buy bitcoin.
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How to choose a cryptocurrency exchanges list

Bitcoin exchanges

The best Bitcoin exchange is cheap, easy and fast, with a wide range of payment options. It doesn’t need to have a wide selection or any advanced trading features. It’s for people who just want to buy Bitcoin. Generally, the most important factor is whether you’re using a local exchange, as this typically means you can pay with the local currency, and enjoy faster, cheaper transactions.

Altcoin exchanges

The best altcoin exchange has a wide selection first and foremost, ideally with good liquidity across all pairs. Low fees, extra features, fiat payment options and other extras are nice, but sheer selection is more important.

The cheapest cryptocurrency exchanges

The cheapest cryptocurrency exchange isn’t always the one with the lowest trading fees. It’s also important to look for good spreads, to get good exchange rates and to make sure the deposit or withdrawal fees are reasonable.

The cheapest exchange may depend on whether you’re looking for a place to buy cryptocurrency, or if you want to trade cryptocurrencies instead. It can also depend on whether you’re buying Bitcoin, or a more obscure altcoin.

The largest cryptocurrency exchanges

There are different ways of measuring “largest”, but the most common is trading volume. More volume is good because it can indicate more popular, responsive and liquid exchanges. Unfortunately, you can’t just take the exchange’s word for it or trust exchange volume rankings from sites like CoinMarketCap. Fake volume and wash trading are common in cryptocurrency.

There are some exchanges which, after heavy scrutiny, are believed to show entirely genuine volume though.

The world’s highest real-volume exchange is consistently Binance, according to reports from the Blockchain Transparency Institute, Bitwise and others.

If someone wants to find a reliable and all-around good cryptocurrency exchange without spending too much time sifting through the options, it can be helpful to beeline right for the most popular.

Popularity can be tricky to measure though, and many exchanges don’t disclose their total number of user accounts, and this figure will often be very different to the number of active users.

However, according to Similarweb, the most-visited cryptocurrency exchange website in the world between November 2019 and January 2020 was Coinbase, with over 57 million website visits worldwide. The second most-visited cryptocurrency exchange was Binance, with 53 million visits.

This echoes findings from the Blockchain Transparency Institute, which reported in December 2018 that Coinbase was the world’s most popular cryptocurrency exchange.

The best cryptocurrency trading platforms

The best cryptocurrency trading platforms are very liquid, very fast and offer a full range of features such as margin trading with up to 100x leverage, cryptocurrency derivatives such as futures and options, and good integration with third-party trading tools such as cryptocurrency trading bots. Ideally, they will also be well-regulated, popular and have a good reputation.

There are no exchanges which fit all of the above criteria, so the best cryptocurrency trading platform for you may depend on which of these criteria is most important to you. There are a number of options to consider.

BitMEX is very liquid, fast and popular, but it’s largely unregulated and doesn’t have the best reputation. Binance offers the highest leverage of any exchange (125x) and a wide selection of crypto derivatives, but it’s been known to experience technical issues.

Kraken only offers up to 5x leverage on a comparatively small range of coins, but it’s got a good reputation and offers both futures and options contracts. eToro allows trading of a wide range of assets beyond cryptocurrency, and has unique features such as Copy Trade, but it’s primarily a CFD platform which means you’re only betting on the prices rather than actually taking possession of the underlying cryptocurrency.

Cryptocurrency exchanges that don’t require ID

As a general rule of thumb, crypto-to-crypto trading doesn’t always require user verification, and people can do it without ID. Exchanging fiat currency for cryptocurrency typically does require ID.

Many of the exceptions to the rule are peer-to-peer exchanges, such as Paxful, where users can arrange fiat-to-crypto trades directly with each other that don’t always require ID.

However, there are often strict purchase limits and other downsides when using exchanges that don’t require ID.

Read the full guide to buying cryptocurrency with no ID for more information and a list of exchanges that don’t require ID.

Cryptocurrency exchanges that let you pay with cash

There are two main types of exchange that let you pay with cash, or three if you include Bitcoin ATMs.

The other exchanges that let you buy crypto with cash include those which let users pay with cash via cash vouchers, and peer-to-peer cryptocurrency exchanges such as Paxful where traders can find sellers who are willing to accept cash.

Read the full guide to buying cryptocurrency with cash for more information and more options.

The safest cryptocurrency exchange

Most exchanges will claim to be perfectly safe and secure right up until they get hacked, so you can’t just take their word for it. Instead, you can find the safest exchanges by looking at their security history, their security policies and any additional measures they take to protect their exchanges.

Internationally, the safest cryptocurrency exchange might be Gemini. It was founded in 2014, it’s never been hacked, it was one of the world’s first exchanges to get ISO27001 certified and it’s also created its own captive insurance company specifically to ensure coverage for digital assets.

As safe as Gemini is, non-custodial or decentralised cryptocurrency exchanges are arguably even safer. Non-custodial exchanges send funds directly to your personal wallet when you make a purchase, while decentralised exchanges allow direct peer-to-peer cryptocurrency swaps.

The exchange doesn’t hold user funds, which means there’s no risk of losing your money to an exchange hack.

Non-custodial and decentralised exchanges put you in personal control of your security.

If you have a secure hardware wallet and know how to use it, non-custodial exchanges are arguably as safe as cryptocurrency exchanges can ever get. Decentralised exchanges are theoretically just as safe, but they’re also more experimental so bugs and unforeseen vulnerabilities may pose problems.

The best non-custodial cryptocurrency exchange

Non-custodial cryptocurrency exchanges send your cryptocurrency directly to your personal wallet after you make a purchase. This can be convenient, and it’s also perceived to be safer than entrusting funds to centralised exchanges.

The best non-custodial exchanges are characterised by variety, a wide range of payment options and fast delivery.

Coinmama is a well-known non-custodial exchange. It doesn’t hold your funds or cryptocurrency. Instead, it simply takes payment and then sends cryptocurrency directly to your wallet address as soon as payment is received and your wallet address is confirmed.

The best decentralised cryptocurrency exchange

All decentralised exchanges (DEXs) struggle to a certain extent with liquidity problems, complex user interfaces and slow trading, and you can expect to find combinations of these issues on any DEX.

No decentralised exchanges are without problems, and the best might depend on which ecosystem you’re trying to access.

The Waves platform is a relatively well-known general-purpose DEX, while more Ethereum-specific DEX protocols include 0x and Kyber Network. Elsewhere, DEXs such as Stellarport offer access to the Stellar Lumens ecosystem, while the Binance DEX serves as a token swap system in the Binance Chain ecosystem.


A-Z list of cryptocurrency exchanges


Other ways to choose a cryptocurrency exchange

It’s important to research a wide range of platforms and compare the pros and cons of each option. The best Bitcoin exchange for you depends on what you’re looking for.

Consider the following factors when comparing crypto exchanges.

How to use a cryptocurrency exchange

For the sake of our example, let’s assume that you have EUR€500 that you want to use to buy Bitcoin.

  1. Compare cryptocurrency exchanges to find one that offers the right service for you.
  2. Register for an account on the platform, including providing any personal details and proof of ID required.
  3. Navigate your way to the “Buy” screen.
  4. Select Bitcoin as the cryptocurrency you want to buy.
  5. Select your payment currency, which in this case is EUR, and specify the amount you want to spend as €500.
  6. Select your payment method, such as a credit card payment or bank transfer.
  7. Enter your payment details, such as your account number and sort code if sending a bank transfer or your card number and CVV if paying by credit card.
  8. Review the full details of your transaction, including the fees that will apply and the amount of BTC you are purchasing.
  9. If you’re happy to proceed, click “Buy BTC”.
  10. Once the transaction has been processed, the BTC will be deposited into your exchange wallet. However, please note that some brokers will automatically send your purchased BTC to an external wallet address nominated by you.

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How to pay for your cryptocurrency

You’ll need to deposit funds on your cryptocurrency exchange, or otherwise make a transfer. Bitcoin exchanges accept all sorts of deposit methods, including the following:

  • Prepaid cards
  • Cryptocurrency transfers
  • Wire transfers

The payment types accepted will vary between exchanges though, so it’s worth checking to ensure your preferred payment method is supported before signing up.

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The different types of cryptocurrency exchange

The term “exchange” can be used to refer to a variety of cryptocurrency brokers, trading platforms and other services. Different types of exchange are often more geared towards beginners or experienced users.

  • For beginners – cryptocurrency brokers. Buy directly from cryptocurrency dealers for simple, quick and easy purchases. Many beginners use brokers for their first purchase.
  • For intermediates – cryptocurrency trading platforms. Buy and sell cryptocurrency on an open market for competitive fees, a wide selection of cryptocurrencies and optional extra features like margin trading. While a bit trickier than brokers, these platforms can still be quite beginner-friendly. Binance is an example of a cryptocurrency trading platform.
  • For advanced users – cryptocurrency derivatives platform. These trading platforms don’t sell cryptocurrency outright. Instead, they let you trade cryptocurrency derivatives. They’re for advanced traders who want high speed, high leverage, deeply liquid platforms with a full range of features. BitMEX is an example of a cryptocurrency derivatives platform.

Is it safe to store your cryptocurrency on an exchange?

Cryptocurrency is held in digital wallets. Some exchanges will give you your own wallet, which lets you hold cryptocurrency in your exchange account and then transfer it anywhere as desired, while others will require you to have your own wallet at the time of purchase.

However, using an exchange for long-term storage is not recommended. As the exchange controls the private key to your wallet, you don’t have total control of your funds. And with exchanges regularly (and sometimes successfully) targeted by hackers, storing crypto on an exchange long-term is very risky.

Learn more about cryptocurrency wallets

Next steps

Not all crypto exchanges are created equal, and not all crypto buyers and sellers have the same trading needs. The best exchange for one person might not necessarily be the right choice for someone else, so it’s essential that you do your own research.

Check out our reviews on a range of leading cryptocurrency exchanges in Ireland and around the world. Compare the features, fees and pros and cons of each Bitcoin exchange and consider how they align with your trading requirements.

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Frequently asked questions

Disclaimer: Cryptocurrencies are speculative, complex and involve significant risks – they are highly volatile and sensitive to secondary activity. Performance is unpredictable and past performance is no guarantee of future performance. Consider your own circumstances, and obtain your own advice, before relying on this information. You should also verify the nature of any product or service (including its legal status and relevant regulatory requirements) and consult the relevant Regulators' websites before making any decision. Finder, or the author, may have holdings in the cryptocurrencies discussed.

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