Bitcoin exchanges comparison: These are the best trading venues in 2021
Our best choice:
There are now many Bitcoin exchanges on the German and international crypto markets. But which of these providers should I trust? And what do I have to bear in mind when trading on crypto exchanges?
We compare the best Bitcoin exchanges!
The following article compares and evaluates the currently most popular and best Bitcoin exchanges so that nothing stands in the way of a successful investment. Click here for the comparison:
Our test winner
Our test winner in the area of Bitcoin exchanges is eToro. eToro scores best due to fair fees, ease of use and extensive features.
The Crypto Exchange Comparison: The Best Crypto Exchanges & the Top Crypto Brokers
Here are the current best Bitcoin exchanges and brokers recommends especially for Bitcoin beginners:
Trade real cryptos and crypto CFDs
Deposit management in Stablecoin USDT offers protection against volatile price movements
Many tradable assets
Many tradable assets
The virtual currency "Bitcoin" (BTC), created by software developer Satoshi Nakamoto (the name is a pseudonym), has attracted a lot of attention on the financial markets since its programming in 2008. Due to the enormous price upswing of more than 3000% at the end of 2017, many private investors have also become aware of the "digital coins", which were previously only a phenomenon among expert programmers and investment professionals for a long time. However, even though Bitcoin has experienced a considerable increase in value over the course of its history, investors should still inform themselves comprehensively about the Bitcoin phenomenon. The partly dramatic price losses in recent months and the danger of overheating indicated by several experts show that the online currency is not a sure-fire winner.
Investors should therefore deal comprehensively with the digital currency, but also with the possible platforms and exchanges on which bitcoin can be traded. Particular focus should be placed on the security of the Bitcoin exchange, but also on the possibilities for analysing and controlling the investment made.
In the following, we will describe how the Bitcoin and the available crypto exchanges work, give tips on trading on Bitcoin exchanges and recommend trading platforms that offer particularly interesting options for private investors.
Note: Today, there are many other cryptocurrencies besides Bitcoin, such as Litecoin, Etherium or Monero. However, since bitcoin is the most important of the digital currencies, this article will mainly focus on it.
How do you buy Bitcoins?
For a long time, bitcoin was considered "play money" for internet nerds and cyber gangsters. Today, however, Bitcoin has established itself as a serious currency and a lucrative investment vehicle in the financial sector.
The relatively easy access to the Bitcoin system also plays an important role. Even if terms like cryptocurrency or decentralised value creation sound confusing to investors at first, buying your own Bitcoins is still relatively easy and uncomplicated. However, similar to the purchase of shares, where the customer must first open a securities account with a broker, the purchase and trading of Bitcoin and Co. also requires a corresponding platform.
The registration and identification of the customer is possible via app with a few swipes. The amount of registration information required is manageable, and registration is completed within a few minutes.
The premium partner of Eintracht Frankfurt and sponsor of many other companies is the regulated and licensed trading platform eToro. This well-known provider is ideal for buying real Bitcoins and Bitcoin CFDs. Furthermore, eToro offers a nice additional feature with social trading.
Create an account with eToro
Our buttons will take you to the eToro platform, which you may need. Then click on "Register now" to enter your personal details in the next window. Use a secure password and finally accept the terms and conditions to create an account with eToro.
You will be taken to eToro's homepage. From here you select the option "Deposit money" - you can deposit up to €2,000 without verification. However, sooner or later you should still verify yourself in order to be able to use all functions to the full extent.
Now all you have to do is select your desired method from the payment methods and make the payment afterwards. Your money should then be available.
After you have successfully deposited money, you can start buying Bitcoin at eToro. Click on "Markets" in the navigation menu and then on "Crypto". Here you will be shown a number of cryptocurrencies and all the necessary details about each one.
To buy the desired Bitcoin, you need to click on "Buy" and then on "Open trade".
You have just bought your first Bitcoin at eToro. We wish you every success with it!
Still haven't opened an account with eToro?
Plus500 is a well-known, state-regulated and licensed Bitcoin CFD broker. This makes this reputable provider perfect for trading a Bitcoin CFD.
Set up an account with Plus500
One of the buttons will take you to Plus500's platform. After that, you need to click on "Start trading now" and then enter your email address and choose a strong password.
You will then be taken to the Plus500 overview page. From here, navigate to the "Deposit" option in the menu on the left.
Select your desired payment method, such as Sofortüberweisung, and carry it out afterwards.
Note: Before trading, you must first verify your identity and residential address. To do this, simply upload the relevant documents in the account area.
Trade Bitcoin CFD
Once your payment has been received, you can use it to buy a Bitcoin CFD at Plus500. To do this, click on "Trade" on the left and then "Crypto". Alternatively, you can search for the currency you want using the search bar.
You will now be shown a Bitcoin screen that provides you with information on prices. To buy the Bitcoin CFD now as in our example, make the desired settings and click on "Buy".
Investors who want to start trading with Bitcoin should initially do so with very small trading volumes. In this way, they can take their first steps and gain experience without the risk of losing a large sum of money in the event of negative price developments.
What is a Bitcoin exchange?
Unlike classic currencies, where a physical object (e.g. bank note) reflects the value of the currency, bitcoin as a currency cannot be traded directly, i.e. physically.
As a decentralised currency, bitcoins are created in a decentralised computer network, the core of which, a database that now spans several gigabytes, is called the blockchain. Since all Bitcoin transactions are listed in the blockchain, the size of the database is constantly growing.
To become part of this system and Bitcoins, investors have two options:
1. access via a Bitcoin wallet.
2. trading via a crypto exchange.
The Bitcoin wallet, also known as a digital wallet or purse, allows the investor to personally own the Bitcoins. The customer independently manages the Bitcoin keys, which can be used to allocate each Bitcoin beyond doubt.
However, many customers find the self-management of the Bitcoins with the associated wallets and Bitcoin keys too time-consuming or insecure, as they do not want to deal with the technical peculiarities of the wallets (in the case of paper or hardware wallets) and fear security risks when transferring the keys to mobile or online wallets.
List of the best Bitcoin exchanges
Bitcoin exchanges, on the other hand, offer a simple and straightforward alternative. When trading Bitcoin via a Bitcoin exchange, the digital coins are traded on an exchange, similar to shares and funds.
The investor does not own the Bitcoins himself, but has them managed by the respective exchange platform in the form of share options. The model of crypto exchanges is therefore comparable to the trading of currency or commodity certificates, where the investor does not own the money or the commodity (e.g. oil) directly, but has the assets acquired through the share certificates managed by a broker.
Special features of Bitcoin exchanges - What should you look out for?
Trading Bitcoins can seem complex and confusing for investors. The constantly growing market of Bitcoin platforms makes the overview even more difficult. Even though trading with Bitcoins is similar in many respects to trading on the classic stock or foreign exchange market, investors should also pay attention to some important special features in order to avoid unnecessary risks:
Crypto exchange or broker?
Even though the term bitcoin exchange has become firmly established in financial parlance, it is still helpful to distinguish between actual bitcoin exchanges and bitcoin brokers:
At real Bitcoin exchanges (also called Bitcoin marketplaces) such as Bitcoin.de or Kraken, sellers and buyers are brought together directly. The price of the Bitcoin currencies is permanently determined from the existing supply and the prevailing demand and displayed in real time. Sellers thus know exactly at what price they can buy or sell Bitcoins at the current moment. The coins bought or sold are immediately transferred to the customer's trading wallet and can be transferred from there to the personal wallet.
With a Bitcoin broker, the method of so-called CFD trading (Contracts for Difference) is used. The Bitcoins are not bought or sold directly. Instead, investors speculate on rising or falling prices of the respective Bitcoin currency.
Other types of crypto exchanges
Peer to peer exchange
In a peer-to-peer exchange, cryptocurrencies are traded directly between two users or peers. The operator of the peer-to-peer exchange charges a fee for brokering and processing this transaction.
As a user, you register with the peer-to-peer exchange and verify your account. You can either transfer existing crypto assets into your crypto wallet managed by the exchange, or buy the corresponding amount in the desired cryptocurrency against fiat currency. The best-known peer-to-peer exchanges include Binance and Kraken.
Conclusion: A peer-to-peer exchange is particularly suitable for active crypto traders who buy and sell with certain cryptocurrencies several times a day. These exchanges were developed precisely for this purpose; low trading fees are an advantage, but the handling of such platforms is relatively difficult and not very intuitive.
A crypto broker is a broker who trades with users. You buy cryptocurrencies directly from the crypto broker (direct purchase), who sells his own stocks of cryptocurrencies or buys them back from users.
Because a crypto broker offers a wider range of services (and takes financial risk), the trading fees here are somewhat higher than with a peer-to-peer exchange. The broker has to organise the purchase of the cryptocurrency himself or buy it and "stockpile" it, which means more effort.
The crypto broker itself acts as a "market maker", which offers the advantage that your trades can usually be executed immediately. With a crypto broker, you trade according to their individually set prices, which are determined by a small mark-up on the market price. You can usually buy cryptocurrencies here either with other cryptocurrencies or with fiat currencies (EUR, USD).
With crypto brokers, you usually pay in the form of a so-called spread, the difference between the buying and selling price. You buy above the market price and sell below the market price. Some crypto brokers offer trading in crypto CFDs in addition to buying real cryptocurrencies.
Conclusion: Crypto brokers are particularly suitable for beginners who benefit from the high user-friendliness and quick processing when buying directly. Nevertheless, it should be noted that the fees here can be higher than with other types of crypto exchanges.
Decentralised Exchanges (DEX) are a fairly new phenomenon that is making ever greater waves with the triumph of Decentralised Finance ("DeFi"). In a decentralised exchange, there is not even an organisation that runs the exchange.
There is only a protocol programmed in the form of smart contracts that handles trades between traders directly and in a decentralised manner. More precisely, a transaction is settled between two decentralised wallets, e.g. Ethereum wallets. A separate registration with the exchange is not required, which saves time.
The amount of the transaction fees and the settlement time of the transaction fluctuates with the utilisation of the underlying blockchain (mostly Ethereum). In times of high demand, this can result in blatant transaction fees and long waiting times. The best-known decentralised exchanges are UniSwap and AirSwap.
Conclusion: Decentralised crypto exchanges are on the rise and represent a promising approach for the future. Currently, however, DEX are not yet technologically mature and their user-friendliness is low. DEX are mainly suitable for hard-core crypto fans, who must, however, pay attention to the transaction fees incurred at the time.
Exchange with or without wallet?
Some providers require a separate trading wallet for trading with Bitcoin and Co. from which the traded coins can be debited or realised profits can be deposited. All transactions are therefore first processed via the wallet created with the respective provider before they can be transferred to the personal wallet.
This small diversions in Bitcoin trading does not pose a problem in most cases, but in some circumstances acquired Bitcoins can only be traded with a minor delay due to the need to forward them to the private wallet. Investors should also note whether separate transaction fees are due for forwarding the bitcoins from the trading wallet.
Tip: However, setting up a trading wallet is not necessary with all providers. Markets.com, for example, does not have such a wallet. Instead, trading can be done directly with the deposited cash.
Tip: However, setting up a trading wallet is not necessary with all providers. Markets.com, for example, does not have such a wallet. Instead, trading can be done directly with the deposited cash.
Trading with one's own cash assets has a great advantage for investors: they can directly see at any time what monetary value is available in their securities account. There is no need to convert bitcoin assets into more manageable foreign exchange assets, as may be necessary when using trading wallets. However, investors should pay attention to the respective conversion rates of the selected trading currencies.
Investors must therefore not only keep an eye on the daily value of the cryptocurrency during trades, but also on the respective trading rate of the payout currency (e.g. euro rate, dollar rate).
Trading with different currency pairs (e.g. bitcoin as a trading currency, dollar as a payout currency) can definitely offer great opportunities for smart investors. For example, if an investor sells his Bitcoin coins at a high Bitcoin exchange rate and a relatively low dollar exchange rate, he can increase his profit considerably in contrast to trading with a high Bitcoin and dollar exchange rate. Conversely, however, a false speculation can also result in significant losses.
Tip: For new investors, Bitcoin trading with stable and low fluctuation payout currencies is recommended, as this allows them to initially concentrate on the performance of their Bitcoins without having to keep an eye on a second currency. Even easier in this respect is the combination between Bitcoin exchange and Bitcoin wallet, which many platforms offer, as investors can thus almost completely neglect the aspect of value conversion, at least initially.
Trade with multiple cryptocurrencies
When trading cryptocurrencies, experienced investors do not only use the opportunity to speculate on the rising price of the selected digital currency. Instead, they execute trades between different cryptocurrencies so that they can also profit from falling prices.
For example, investors receive an above-average amount of Ethereum for exchanging Bitcoin for Ethereum when the price of this currency is currently relatively low. However, a corresponding final creation of value presupposes that the price of Ethereum will rise again later.
Cryptocurrencies are among the highly speculative investment vehicles on the stock market. High price fluctuations within short periods of time are not uncommon. Investors should therefore choose a trading venue with high liquidation. This means that cryptocurrencies are bought and sold on the corresponding market at any time in a high volume, so that transactions are executed within a short time.
If, on the other hand, the trading venue only has a relatively low trading volume, price changes are only reflected sluggishly. As a result, orders cannot always be completed promptly, which means that price losses are possible.
Tip: It is therefore advisable to rely on large stock exchange and trading platforms, such as those described at the end of this article, where there is a constantly high trading volume.
Leverage enables investors to significantly increase the effect of their own investment in a cryptocurrency or to profit disproportionately from price fluctuations in the predicted direction. Levers with an effect of up to 500 are available on the financial platforms. This means that with an amount of 100 euros, the sum of 500,000 euros can be represented.
Levers are therefore a great opportunity on the capital market. At the same time, however, they also significantly increase the risk of losing capital, so this tool should only be used with appropriate knowledge.
When choosing a Bitcoin exchange, investors should keep a good eye on which payment methods are available for purchasing Bitcoins. For newcomers to the Bitcoin market, the use of "real" currencies (also called FIAT currencies), which are deposited into the customer's account via bank transfer or credit card, is particularly manageable.
Among these, the US dollar is primarily accepted as a means of payment, but also euros, British pounds or Japanese yen. Some platforms, however, only allow investment with cryptocurrencies purchased by the investor. Investors must have a full Bitcoin wallet before they can start trading in the digital currency.
By the way: Buying Bitcoin via PayPal is only possible with a few providers (e.g. Plus500 or Markets.com). The reason for this is that the fundamentally anonymous value trading in the Bitcoin system is contrary to PayPal's buyer protection principles, as money flows in Bitcoin trading can only be allocated with difficulty.
Credit card, Giropay, Sofortüberweisung, Skrill, Neteller, PayPal, SEPA / bank transfer
Credit card, bank transfer, PayPal, Giropay, instant transfer
Credit card, debit card, Skrill, Neteller, bank transfer, Giropay, Sofortüberweisung, Paysafecard
Card payment, cryptocurrency
Credit card, bank transfer
Anyone who not only wants to keep Bitcoins and Co. in safekeeping, but also wants to trade them actively, should take a good look at the different fees charged by the respective providers, as depending on the amount of the fees due, the return can be reduced considerably in some cases.
1. trading fees
Trading fees are the fees charged by the provider per transaction. As a rule, these are staggered and depend on the respective transaction volume. In principle, the higher the volume of the transaction, the lower the costs. In most cases, they range between 0.1 and 0.25 per cent of the transaction amount.
2. deposit and withdrawal fees
While a network fee is charged for so-called crypto-transactions (i.e. trading with different digital currencies), there are fees for depositing and withdrawing the respective amounts of money when trading with cryptocurrencies on the basis of foreign exchange. The costs are lower for transfers than for deposits via credit card, which can incur fees of up to 3.9% (Coinbase). However, there are also providers who offer trades and withdrawals completely free of charge. Investors should therefore study the conditions of the respective platforms carefully.
3.99% + $ 0.15
3. inactivity fees
Less active traders should primarily concern themselves with possible administrative fees for inactivity, so-called inactivity fees. They are always incurred if no trades are made on the platform over a longer period of time.
4. administrative costs
While you usually pay a so-called custody fee as a kind of administrative cost when trading on traditional exchanges, this is not the case with crypto exchanges and crypto brokers.
On the other hand, inactivity fees may be charged. Some crypto exchanges charge their users a fee if they do not make any trades or purchases over a certain period of time. The idea behind this is that crypto exchanges cannot earn money in this way.
5. other fees
In addition, some crypto exchanges have other fees that may be incurred when buying or trading cryptocurrencies. These are primarily the following overnight fees or swap fees:
When trading leveraged crypto CFDs, capital is borrowed from the broker on a short-term basis. If this position remains open overnight, you must pay the broker these capital lending costs, calculated as a small percentage of the amount borrowed.
The number of crypto exchanges and bitcoin brokers continues to grow. Especially for new investors in the market, it is therefore a challenging task to get an overview of the multitude of platforms and providers. Particularly recommendable for beginners are therefore the large platforms on the market that have the following features:
A broad offer,
A variety of deposit options,
Transparent fees and
High security standards
Less recommendable, on the other hand, are very small and unknown platforms, about whose business practices often only little information is known.
The following crypto exchanges were extensively tested and evaluated by our editorial team. Due to the extensive services and simple operation, the following provider made it to first place:
Rank 1: eToro ★★★★★
EToro is an excellent trading platform that enables trading in cryptocurrencies not only with real coins but also with CFDs. Overall, the platform, which was founded in 2006, has an extremely broad product portfolio where the following tradings are possible:
Currently, 13 different digital currencies are available to customers at eToro (Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Dash, Litecoin, Ada, Ethereum Classic, Stellar, Ripple, EOS, NEO as well as the currency pairs Bitcoin against Euro and Ethereum against Euro). The selection is thus significantly larger than that of many competitors.
eToro has specialised above all in the area of social trading. Investors can copy the portfolios of successful users into their own portfolios with just a few clicks and thus benefit from their success. This is also possible when trading with cryptocurrencies. Today, over 4.5 million users from 170 countries are active on the platform.
As the company was founded in Cyprus, it is subject to the legal deposit protection of the CySEC (Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission), which protects customer deposits of up to 20,000 euros.
The purchase of Bitcoins at eToro is possible with US dollars, pounds, euros, yen, as well as in Australian and Canadian dollars. Due to the comparatively low trading fees, eToro is particularly suitable for short-term investors who want to make profits within a few minutes and hours. By using appropriate leverage, high returns can be achieved even with small deposit amounts.
New investors can find various tips and assistance at eToro as well as a range of trading signals with which trades can be planned and analysed.
Place 2: Plus500 ★★★★
Plus500 is a typical Bitcoin broker that enables trading in cryptocurrencies CFDs. Overall, the platform, which was founded in 2008, has an extremely broad product portfolio where the following tradings are possible:
What speaks for the offer is the large selection of trading assets. In addition, a free demo account is available to users - as has become standard. What is above average, however, is that Plus500's website is available in over 30 languages. The low minimum deposit of only 100 euros should also make it possible for beginners to explore the platform and get into trading.
Plus500 does not use the MetaTrade4, which is so often used, but a specially created platform. This platform is clearly laid out and user-friendly, so that trading is easy. The software is also available as a download and app.
On paper, Plus500 seems like an extremely reputable crypto exchange. The offer is right, opening an account is easy, positive reviews can be found on the internet and Plus500 sponsors a well-known Spanish team.
Place 3: Alvexo ★★★★
Alvexo is an established broker that can look forward to a constantly growing customer base. And rightly so: The platform convinces with leading technologies, excellent service and a variety of tradable assets. Users have a choice of CFDs on more than 450 financial products from the areas of:
In the meantime, more than 650,000 customers worldwide benefit from the extensive offer. Thanks to cutting-edge technology, fast access to all financial markets is guaranteed here. The advanced analysis tools and trading functions help even beginners to get the best out of their trades.
In addition, Alvexo offers a variety of annual events, such as seminars or conferences, to provide customers with even more knowledge and to enable an exchange between participants.
Like many other established brokers, Alvexo is also based in Cyprus. This means that the provider is regulated according to strict European standards, which means a high level of protection for customers.
Place 4: CryptoRocket ★★★★
The online broker CryptoRocket is operated by CryptoRocket Limited, which has its headquarters in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The broker is characterised by particularly narrow spreads and a high leverage of up to 1:500. Tradable assets are:
With CryptoRocket, the user benefits from narrow spreads, starting from 0.01 pips. As with other FX brokers, both a fixed and a variable spread are available.
CryptoRocket generally does not charge any deposit or withdrawal fees.
CryptoRocket uses the well-known and popular MetaTrader 4 trading platform, which users can either download onto their PC (Windows and Mac) or use the web version of the trader. There are also practical apps for iPhone and Android.
There is customer support at CryptoRocket, and it is available 24 hours a day. CryptoRocket has customer service representatives who are ready to answer questions around the clock in a live chat service. If you don't feel like using a live chat, you can also contact customer service via a contact form. A telephone customer service is also available.
Place 5: StormGain ★★★★
StormGain is a new type of cryptocurrency exchange.
Headquartered in Malta, StormGain specialises in cryptocurrencies. As Malta is an EU member state, the MFSA must also follow the requirements of the European Union in its supervisory and regulatory activities. This therefore also ensures that StormGain is a reputable provider.
The platform was founded in 2019 and has the most important functions that one would expect from any reputable crypto exchange.
At StormGain, you can trade 6 of the most popular cryptocurrencies:
Another advantage of StormGain is that the fee structure is more favourable and therefore more advantageous for investors than with most other exchanges on the market.
The StormGain app offers everything needed for successful trading with cryptos and is compatible with iOS and Android devices. For this reason, there is virtually no difference between the browser on the desktop and the StormGain app.
The StormGain demo account exists and is a great way for newcomers to cryptocurrency trading to get to know the platform and its features.
StormGain is a new, promising crypto exchange on the European market. The provider convinces with:
Our recommendation: Buy cryptos with eToro
Buy and sell cryptocurrencies directly in the wallet
Paypal, credit card and instant bank transfer
Real cryptos or CFD trades
Bitcoin is a type of digital currency that is part of a worldwide decentralised payment system. This means that there are no banks or other financial institutions between transactions with Bitcoin.
Bitcoins are produced by the users themselves with the help of mathematical processes. Payments and credit balances are managed in a network, the blockchain.
Via a Bitcoin exchange. In contrast to the marketplaces, trading there is automatic. You can also buy other cryptocurrencies there.
First you have to register with a crypto exchange. Then you get a wallet and can store your Bitcoins in it.
When someone places a buy or sell order, the crypto exchange adds it to their order book (also called an order book). An order book is a list of the amounts bitcoin traders want to sell and the prices they are looking for. The exchange acts as a matchmaking service between the two.