Coinbase is one of the most well-known cryptocurrency exchanges on the market, but it’s not the only safe and reliable place to buy crypto. A growing list of Coinbase alternatives offer more competitive rates, better features, and some that might even be better than Coinbase.
Quick overview of Coinbase
Coinbase, launched in 2012, is a centralized cryptocurrency exchange, meaning they secure assets between the buyer and seller. They are one of the world’s largest exchanges with over $455 billion in total volume traded on the platform.
Coinbase users have access to over 50 different cryptocurrencies, and there are two Coinbase trading platforms, regular and Pro, both are free. Pro lets users make advanced orders and make crypto-to-crypto transactions.
Besides access to Coinbase Pro, Coinbase also offers a free decentralized crypto wallet — you don’t need a trading account to store your crypto in the wallet. And there’s Coinbase Earn, which is a series of video lessons and quizzes that reward you with crypto.
Coinbase offers a lot of options, but the major downside is the cost. You will incur costly and confusing fees trading on the regular Coinbase platform. Coinbase Pro has easier to understand and less expensive fees — you pay a percentage as a maker or taker based on your order’s volume or liquidity.
5 Best Coinbase alternatives for 2021
Binance.US is the American arm of Binance, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges. Binance.US is newer than its parent subsidiary, but it’s already made it into the top 10 largest cryptocurrency exchanges by volume, according to CoinMarketCap.
Users can access over 50 different cryptocurrencies on Binance.US, and they offer crypto-to-crypto trading with Bitcoin and eight other currencies: Cardano (ADA), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Binance Coin (BNB(, Ethereum (ETH), Chainlink (LINK), Litecoin (LTC), Uniswap (UNI), VeChain (VET), and Tezos (XTZ).
BinanceUS’s platform is the same as the global Binance platform and includes three different trading platforms. There’s Basic, which has enough tools to satisfy beginner to experienced traders, like spot price, 24-hour price performance, and trading volume. Advanced goes above and beyond with real-time order books, charting, and trade histories. There’s also OTC for peer-to-peer trading.
When it comes to Binance vs. Coinbase for fees, Binance wins hands down. Both Binance and Binance.US have highly competitive pricing — a 0.1% spot trading fee. For faster trades, Binance.US charges a 0.5% Instant Buy/Sell fee.
Paying with a debit card transfer will cost you an additional 4.5% fee, but there are no fees for cash deposits or withdrawals by ACH bank transfer.
One downside to Binance.US is that it’s not available in seven U.S. states: Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Louisiana, New York, Texas, and Vermont. This isn’t incredibly uncommon, but you will obviously want an exchange that can operate where you live.
Best for: Peer-to-peer trading, beginner to advanced crypto traders, cost-conscious traders
Gemini, a U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchange founded in 2014, is regulated by the New York State Department of Financial Services. There aren’t many exchanges that the U.S. regulates, and that may be a selling point for some crypto-traders.
Gemini has nearly 40 coins, including its own currency called Gemini dollars (GUSD). They have over 30 different GUSD trading pairs offered on the platform and 19 digital asset trading pairs. There are two different Gemini trading platforms, regular and ActiveTrader, which has multiple order types, auctions, advanced charting, and block trading.
The fees on Gemini depend on which platform you trade through. Gemini’s standard platform charges a transaction fee based on your order amount:
$10 or less
$10.01 - $25.00
$25.01 - $50.00
$50.01 - $200.00
More than $200
1.49% of your order value
The ActiveTrader platform charges a maker or taker fee based on the liquidity and order volume for the past 30 days:
30 day trading volume
Gemini offers institutional cold storage through Gemini Custody. There’s also Gemini Pay, an app made in partnership with Flexa, where you can spend crypto at retailers like Whole Foods, Home Depot, Nordstrom, and more.
Gemini Earn is another unique feature that makes this a good Coinbase alternative. Earn allows users to lend their crypto to institutions and earn interest on their balances. Rates change, but you can earn up to 7.40% interest depending on the coin.
Best for: New cryptocurrency investors, advanced traders, anyone interested in a 1-stop-shop crypto experience
Kraken is another behemoth in Coinbase alternatives, offering multiple trading platforms for beginners through advanced users. Kraken has been around since 2011, making it one of the oldest cryptocurrency exchanges, and its list of features has continued to grow. Users can do margin trading, trade cryptocurrency futures, access robust indices, do OTC trading, and more.
There are currently over 50 coins available on Kraken, futures trading on five major cryptocurrency and options pairs, and up to 50x leverage when trading crypto futures on Kraken.
One of Kraken’s most unique features is Cryptowatch. This allows users to make trades on crypto markets via multiple exchanges from one single platform.
Kraken also does something called staking, which allows you to earn returns on crypto or fiat currencies you hold in your account — up to 12% in yearly rewards. Like Tezos (XTZ) or Polkadot (DOT), some types of crypto can be bought directly from Kraken and immediately staked and earning rewards on a weekly or biweekly basis.
There’s solid educational content on Kraken to help beginners. Users can read through Krypto guides, watch video lessons, or listen to podcasts.
Kraken has a variable fee schedule based on which platform you use, assets traded, number of trades you make per month, which assets you trade, and amount of margin you utilize. So, a little confusing.
To give you an idea of Kraken’s fees, here’s a quick explanation:
Kraken Pro users pay a variable maker-taker fee. Maker fees range from 0% - 0.16%, and taker fees range from 0.10% - 0.26%
Kraken Instant Buy charges a fee of 3.75% of total trade, plus a 1.7% + $0.10 processing fee
Additional margin fees of 0.01% - 0.02%
Futures maker fees of 0% - 0.02%, and taker fees of 0.01% - 0.05%
Kraken is a comprehensive trading platform, and even though the fees look confusing, they are lower overall.
Best for: Traders who want a wide selection of coins, futures traders, beginners through advanced level traders
Founded in 2011, Bitstamp is the oldest Coinbase alternatives — it’s the first global crypto exchange.
Bitstamp is a highly regarded exchange, and it’s one of the best if you're in the EU and want to trade Bitcoin, Ehtereum, Ripple, Litecoin, or Bitcoin Cash. However, trading on Bitstamp is available in over 50 countries outside of the EU, including the U.S.
You aren’t going to find dozens of crypto assets on Bitstamp. They take a quality over quantity approach offering only: Bitcoin, Ripple, Ethereum, Chainlink, Litecoin, OMG Network, Bitcoin Cash, Stellar Lumens, Kyber Network, Ox, Maker, USD Coin, DAI, Paxos Standard, and Gemini Dollar.
Bitstamp has a transparent and easy-to-understand fee schedule. Fees are based on your trading volume over the past 30 days, starting at 0.50% for volume under $10,000. Fees drop all the way down to 0% for a monthly volume of $20 billion. Bitstamp automatically moves you to a new tier once you reach the volume requirement.
Bitstamp has a robust advanced trading platform offering market, limit, stop, and instant trades.
Best for: EU traders, intermediate to advanced traders, high-volume cryptocurrency traders
Voyager is another top Coinbase alternative, and it’s most well-known for its $0 commission and fee trading platform. You pay the quoted price you see when executing orders, nothing else.
Voyager’s commission-free trades rely on a feature called Smart Order Routing. It’s similar to what high-frequency brokers use to process large numbers of stock market trades. Voyager quotes you a price, but if they’re able to find a better price (from the 12 exchanges they connect with), they take profits from the spread. This is a fraction of difference, and it’s not taken from the trader’s profits.
There is a $10 minimum to opening an account on Voyager, plus a $10 minimum on trades. New users are limited to $10,000 deposits daily, but there’s no limit on crypto deposits.
Voyager offers more than 50 coins, like Bitcoin, DeFi coins, stablecoins, plus a wide variety of altcoins. The platform and app are intuitive, and you get strong educational content — a company blog with beginner-focused articles, a crypto newsfeed, and an integrated profit and loss calculator.
Like a few other Coinbase alternatives, users can earn interest on their cryptocurrency with Voyager. All users are automatically enrolled in the program, but you can opt out at any time. Rates currently range from 1% - 9%, and there are varying minimum balance requirements to start earning.
Best for: Crypto traders who are interested in earning interest, U.S.-based customers, beginner level traders
What to consider when choosing a Coinbase alternative
Despite slightly higher-than-average fees, there is a reason so many people use Coinbase. They have a growing list of altcoins, high liquidity, and a reputation for being one of the most legit and mainstream cryptocurrency exchanges available. Keeping all of that in mind, here’s what you should look for when choosing a Coinbase alternative.
Offers services where you are
The exchange needs to operate in the state or country you live in, and some U.S. states (like New York) have stricter regulations.
Liquidity is your ability to quickly and easily convert your coins into cash or other coins. Because cryptocurrency is more volatile than other assets, this is something you want to pay attention to.
If you’re a new crypto trader, then you want an exchange that’s easy to use. Coinbase is user-friendly, so we only looked at Coinbase alternatives that provided the same user experience.
There have been several high-profile crypto exchange hacks in the recent past, so look for an exchange that utilizes multi-factor authentication.
Cost is a major factor in choosing an exchange. Coinbase has a complicated fee structure, so we looked for exchanges with simpler fees. But because sometimes exchanges with complicated fees can save you money, we included a couple. Bottom line: cost fees save you money so you can put those savings to better use.
The final word on Coinbase alternatives
As cryptocurrency becomes more mainstream, you can expect to see even more reputable Coinbase alternatives hitting the market. This is exciting news, but don’t forget that cryptocurrency is still a volatile asset.
New traders should pay attention to exchanges that have strong educational content — Kraken is a winner here. Advanced traders should look for features like advanced charting and multiple order types like Binance.US and Bitstamp.