Picking the most suitable online broker is a crucial initial step you must take if you are to become a successful investor. This guide aims to introduce you to some of the top cryptocurrency brokers in the market. For a comprehensive list, we thought it best to include a mix of traditional brokers as well as crypto focused brokers.
Summary of the Top Cryptocurrency Brokers
- Bybit – overall top cryptocurrency broker
- Robinhood – most affordable cryptocurrency broker
- eToro – top cryptocurrency broker for beginners
- CoinBase – best cryptocurrency broker for high liquidity and buying limits
- Plus500 – most secure CFD cryptocurrency broker
- TD Amenitrade – most well-rounded cryptocurrency trading platform
- IG.com – best cryptocurrency exchange for active and versatile traders
There are some characteristics that one should look out for before choosing a top cryptocurrency broker. These include: the various fees and commissions, nature of trading platforms, account options, range of investment choices, customer service among others.
Rise of Cryptocurrency Trading
Cryptocurrency, especially Bitcoin, has seen tremendous growth and uptake since its inception. Even though some huge investors including Warren Buffet do not engage in cryptocurrency trading, many other investors are making loads of money from the top cryptocurrency brokers in the market.
The huge price swings that are characteristic of cryptocurrencies could explain why investors are in love with cryptocurrency trading. The high risks allow investors to make huge sums over relatively short periods.
Volatility makes cryptocurrency trading profitable
For instance, in early 2017, Bitcoin rose surpassing the $1000 for the first time ever. By the end of the same year, one Bitcoin was worth $20,000. By the end of 2018, Bitcoin was hovering around the $3,000 mark. History repeated itself again in 2019, at some point going above the $12,000 mark. It is this kind of excess price swings that have made Bitcoin popular amongst investors who are keen to ride the profit waves.
While many traders own and trade with cryptocurrency directly, others prefer the futures market. Futures are popular with cryptocurrency investors since they allow traders to play the volatility of these markets using leverage which magnify gains – some by up to 100 times. Nevertheless, they also magnify losses.
Typically, traditional online brokers do not trade in cryptocurrencies directly. Nonetheless, they make up for it by offering a wide range of investible securities, including futures, which allow for indirect trading with common cryptocurrencies.
Top Cryptocurrency Broker in 2019 / 2020
Below, we have compiled a brief list of the top cryptocurrency exchanges. It includes a mix of traditional online brokers as well as specialized cryptocurrency trading platforms.
Bybit is a new generation cryptocurrency exchange platform that specializes in derivatives. It was registered in the British Virgin Islands in 2018. Bybit offers the trading of popular cryptos against the US dollar. These include: Bitcoin, Ripple, Ethereum and EOS trading.
Bybit stands out from other cryptocurrency brokers due to its focus on perpetual contracts and leveraged trading. Traders can use leverage to long or short different cryptocurrencies and thus multiply their exposure to the market. Although many other traders offer margin trading, Bybit is different because it offers investors up to 100x leverage.
Bybit offers its services to clients to all major countries in the world apart from the U.S. and Singapore. It makes it easy to deposit and withdraw popular digital coins including BTC, ETH, EOS and XRP. Nonetheless, this is a cryptocurrency-only exchange and therefore, it does not allow the use of fiat currency to make deposits or withdrawals.
Trading platform and fees
The platform offers an intuitive and highly customizable trading user interface. The web-based portal comes in a dark theme and minimalistic look with everything on the site arranged neatly. It provides various tools to help investors make informed trades, including a customizable analysis chart. Being a leveraged investing platform, ByBit is not considered an entry-level exchange for beginners in crypto trading. Nevertheless, the user interface is simple enough for both pros and novices to understand quickly.
As is common in the online derivatives market, ByBit also uses a market maker/taker pricing system. As a result, the fees you pay will depend on whether or not you are supplying the broker with liquidity. If you do, you will be categorized as a market maker and be eligible for a rebate. For instance, ByBit rewards makers with a 0.025% rebate for adding to the liquidity while takers are charged a 0.075% fee.
Furthermore, Bybit charges a withdrawal fee of 0.0005BTC on withdrawal transactions as well as a position funding fee. This fee indicates the amount of margin held by the system to pay for the next funding. It is updated every 8 hours and calculated using the following formulae:
- Short position fees = Entry price x Funding rate
- Long position fees = Bankruptcy price x Funding rate
In general, Bybit is a top cryptocurrency broker that takes care of the needs of all traders. Read our in-depth Bybit review.
- High leverage of up tp 100x
- 24/7 customer support
- Supports advanced orders
- No KYC needed
- Restricted for some traders such as the U.S. among others
- Offers limited CFD products
Robinhood is a relatively new top cryptocurrency broker in the market, but you cannot easily tell, thanks to the millions of customers subscribed to the site already. Founded in 2013, Robinhood has become popular due to its free trading of options, stocks, and EFTs.
Furthermore, this platform offers free and direct cryptocurrency trading. However, it does not allow short selling. They make very small profits from every transaction as it is routed in a practice known as payment for order flow (PFOF).
Trading platform and fees
Robinhood has put all the important features in their lean and efficient mobile app. While investors have the option of using the web-based interface to trade, the company seems to put more emphasis on the sleek mobile platform – making it easy to trade from anywhere with Android or iOS.
The app’s simplistic design makes it easy to move from screen to screen. Examining various assets and placing orders is also a breeze via the apps. While it cannot be compared with a fully-fledged, feature-rich trading platform, the app is perfect for anyone looking to trade a wide range of assets – including digital coins and options – at wildly low fees.
What can be made better
When you are getting it all for free, complaining becomes unbecoming. Nonetheless, when using Robinhood, you will notice that there is not much educational material and research on offer. If you are an experienced and savvy investor, this poses no problem at all, but if you are a beginner, it may be a turn off since at this stage you require more direction before placing orders.
Another bummer with Robinhood is that it is not a full-service online broker, so, they offer only one type of account type – the individual taxable account.
- Commission free stock trading
- No account minimum needed
- Great mobile and web trading portals
- Available only for US and Australian citizens
- Limited asset portfolio
- Mediocre customer support
- Limited eductaional material
eToro comes as one of the most respectable and top cryptocurrency brokers in the market which offers a wide range of excellent features for traders. The platform offers competitive spreads and if you use no leverage, you will not get charged an overnight fee for buying positions on digital coins. Besides the dollar, eToro lets traders trade cryptocurrencies against other fiat currencies such as the GBP, EUR and JPY.
Besides, cryptocurrencies, eToro allows investments in standard trading instruments such as fiat currencies, ETFs, indices, stocks and commodities. This top cryptocurrency broker is popular especially with novice traders who are seeking to follow the moves made by more experienced and top performing investors on the exchange. It is also a favorite with investors wishing to hold their digital coins for a long time.
Fees and commissions
In terms of fees and commissions, eToro charges a 0.0005 unit cryptocurrency transfer fee when withdrawing Bitcoins and 0.006 for Ethereum withdrawals. There are also various conversion fees included depending on the size of the transaction. In addition, the platform requires a $200 minimum deposit.
Users can deposit or withdraw funds from eToro via a wide range of services, including Skrill, bank account transfer, PayPal, NETELLER etc. To place trades, users can choose either the user-friendly web platform or the bespoke mobile app which is useful especially for less experienced traders.
What to improve
Despite the fact that eToro offers users unique educational resources for social trading, its market research tools are mediocre and not of much help. Furthermore, given the relatively high cost of transactions, eToro may not be the ideal choice for high-volume or active investors.
- Free stock and ETF trading for EU clients
- Seamless account opening
- Social trading experience
- Supports major alt coins
- Poor customer service
- Unstable trading platforms
- Limited educational resources
Founded in 2012, Coinbase is one of the original and top cryptocurrency brokers and it still stands as a popular option among investors. In fact, it is the largest crypto exchange with over 20 million subscribers. It comes with an efficient trading platform and a wide range of cryptocurrency options. As of writing this review, Coinbase has over 15 digital coins for users to buy and sell, including popular choices such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash and XRP.
Trading platform and fees
Coinbase allows users to store coins in a vault protected with time-delayed withdrawals for maximum security through two great features: Coinbase Wallet and Coinbase Pro. Wallet creates a centralized storage for all your digital currencies and provides access to Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and new developments in digital currency tech. The Pro is a premium service providing one of the most secure trading options in the markets.
Coinbase offers two trading platforms, that is, a web-based dashboard for investors and the more advanced web-based platform for traders – the Coinbase Pro. The main dashboard has the standard features for creating basic market orders to trade in cryptocurrencies.
The Coinbase Pro portal is meant for seasoned users who want more versatility such as placing pending orders, including entry stop and entry limits, besides other types of orders. The Pro support level-two pricing and depth of book, therefore, investors can explore prices and available liquidity accurately. The system combines API tools to create an automated and complete trading experience.
What to improve
Generally, Coinbase charges steep commissions, with a spread mark-up of around 0.5% plus a transaction fee that is based on the funding source and size of transaction. For instance, they charge a commission of 1.49% when buying cryptocurrency from a linked ACH account and 0.5% if you are buying Bitcoin using a digital coin that is already in your wallet.
- Solid liquidity and high buying limits
- Intuitive user interface
- Offers cryptocurrency insurance
- Offers instant buy with credit card as backup
- Limited payment methods
- Not anonymous
- Does not offer margin trading
Read our indeept Review of Coinbase.
5. Plus 500
Plus500 is a Contracts for Difference (CFDs) broker offering leveraged trading on more than 2700 financial assets, including cryptocurrencies, forex, indices, commodities, options and stocks. Based in the U.K, it is a highly popular trading platform especially with experienced traders considering CFDs are not the most suitable investment product for novice investors.
By using CFDs instead of buying cryptocurrencies directly, investors are able to reduce security risks since they do not need to have or use a digital wallet. When it comes to risk management, the platform offers clients various tools, including risk warning. Novice traders can also use the demo trading account for as long as they wish to get acquainted with CFDs trading without any risks.
Trading platform and fees
Investors can trade on Plus500 using the desktop or mobile platforms. The web-based platform is very user-friendly both for beginners and pros. Nonetheless, it lacks the more sophisticated tools preferred by seasoned investors such as in-depth research and varying market analysis tools. The platform comes with both an iOS, Android and Windows mobile app that incorporates all the main features of the standard web platform. It makes it easy to trade on the go for those who do not need news feeds and research data.
Plus500 does not charge direct commissions on individual trades, instead, they make money from the spreads they offer. Although the spreads are more competitive compared to many other brokers in the industry, Plus500 is still expensive compared to platforms such as eToro. It is also prudent to keep in mind that the platform charges a £10 fee if the account stays inactive for over 3 months. Moreover, if you wish to withdraw less than the minimum withdrawal amount, you will be charged a $10 fee unless you are using a debit or credit card.
Plus500 stipulates a minimum deposit of $100 and is regulated by Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission, ASIC and the Financial Conduct Authority. Deposits to the platform can be carried out in multiple ways such as PayPal, Skrill, bank transfer and credit cards.
- Interactive trading platform with 20+ languages supported
- Low spreads
- Apps available for major mobile OSs
- Unlimited demo mode
- Charges an inactivity fee
- Not available in U.S., Canada among others
- Minimal research tools
TD Ameritrade is a well-rounded online broker that caters to both experienced and novice traders. It offers a wide range of features typical of any good full-service online broker and does a good job meeting most of investors’ requirements.
On top of offering access to traditional products such as bonds, stocks, options, mutual funds, ETFs and forex, this platform allows indirect trading in cryptocurrency through futures trading. While you cannot trade in digital coins e.g. Bitcoin directly, the platform is actively exploring that option after investing in ErisX a registered cryptocurrency exchange.
Trading platform and fees
TD Ameritrade offers a trade ticket so that can clients can make orders quickly and execute trades. Additionally, the platform offers two high-caliber platforms that can achieve much more. The classic web-based platform does all the basics like trading shares, ETFs, options, mutual funds and bonds. The Thinkorswim platform takes things to another level with the addition of more tradable securities such as forex, futures and futures options. These securities can be traded any day, any time. Users can also access these services via their corresponding apps either in Android or iOS.
Beginners love this platform because of its rich educational and research material, including how-to guides, news, over 400 technical studies and live webcasts on any topics related to major markets. Newbies can also take advantage of the free trading simulator which utilizes the Thinkorswim platform and enables users to finetune their trading strategies.
Even if you are an advanced investor, you will find rich resources to help you make the most of your investments, including charting and advanced analytics tools.
While TD Ameritrade refrains from charging an inactivity fee, they impose a $75 transfer-out fees, but there are no charges for partial transfers. Furthermore, the broker does not levy fee for trading most ETFs but charges a short-term trading fee of $50 if you do not keep the fund for at least 30 days.
- Free stock, ETF and options trading
- High-caliber trading platforms.
- No account minimum
- Good customer support
- Large asset selection
- High short-term ETF trading fee.
- High trading fees
- Only US markets covered
IG is one of the oldest and most reputable names in the brokerage industry. IG was founded in 1974 and is publicly traded with its headquarters in the U.K. Today, the platform is most popular among less-experienced traders thanks to its low-cost, industry-leading education and a user-friendly trading platform and app.
IG is best known for its forex and CFD trading as well as other traditional instruments such as indices, options and shares. The platform offers access to over 16,000 markets and serves traders in virtually all countries besides Belgium and the U.S. Though investors cannot buy or sell cryptocurrencies directly from the platform, they can do so using cryptocurrency CFDs which include the most popular coins such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Ripple and Bitcoin Cash. Trading CFDs eliminates the need to have a cryptocurrency wallet for storing assets securely.
Trading platform and fees
Investors can trade using a variety of platforms available including a web-based platform as well as downloadable platforms for both iOS and Android. IG is also compatible with the popular MetaTrader 4 (MT4) tool. These platforms offer customizable layouts in addition to a wide range of features including DMA access, ProRealTime charts, full market depth and real time Reuters news. Professional investors will also find the over 100 technical indicators quite useful.
IG does a good job staying transparent about all its fees, commissions and margins. Share CFDs are charged commissions while non-share CFDs are subject to spreads. Investors can take either a long or short position on cryptocurrency CFDs and other securities. Long positions are subjected to a 2.5% charge above the interbank rate while short positions are charged the interbank rate less 2.5%.
- Interactive and intuitive web trading platform
- Great customer service
- Great deposit and withdrawal tools
- Besides forex, fees in other CFDs trading are relatively high
- Small product portfolio
- Limited research tools