When Elon Musk provides #Bitcoin to his Twitter bio, you understand shopping for bitcoin is in vogue once more. 

The cryptocurrency is pumping, maybe not-too-coincidentally, as investing app Robinhood faces criticism for censoring inventory and crypto buying and selling in response to the Wall Avenue Bets saga. 

With Robinhood taking warmth, Coinbase is basking within the glow.

Coinbase’s reputation has climbed to its highest level since 2017, and it’s now the ninth-most downloaded utility on Apple’s (AAPL) U.S. app retailer as properly.

The centralized change is likely one of the oldest within the sport and has traditionally been the U.S.’ go-to choice for getting bitcoin and its cohort of altcoins. As a result of shopping for on Coinbase is easy and it’s been round for thus many market cycles, the service has sturdy model recognition and community results, making it a routine referral to newcomers seeking to purchase bitcoin. 

As evidenced by the inflow of recent customers, Coinbase is fairly widespread. However lots has modified since Bitcoin’s final market craze, and there are many choices for first-timers to purchase their first bitcoin apart from Coinbase, a few of which provide decrease charges besides.

Keep in mind, all exchanges are vulnerable to outages when volumes spike. None of those exchanges are essentially any higher than Coinbase. That is only a sampling of some various choices.

US-based bitcoin-only brokers

Beneath are venues to purchase bitcoin which can be unique to the U.S. and which provide bitcoin shopping for and promoting solely. Their charges are similar to or decrease than Coinbase’s personal and so they typically have higher uptime, even in occasions of excessive market volatility. 

These platforms act as brokers, shopping for and promoting bitcoin for his or her purchasers, as an alternative of true exchanges the place customers can commerce with one another.

Money App

For U.S. customers, Sq.’s (SQ) Money App might be the best and quickest place to purchase bitcoin. You’ll be able to hook up your checking account, which might take a number of days to onboard, or use your debit card, which can be utilized to begin shopping for bitcoin immediately. 

Obtainable on cell and net, Money App means that you can buy as much as $100,000 per week in bitcoin, in addition to withdraw $2,000 day by day and $5,000 every week.

Money App additionally gives automated recurring buys and has a debit card which provides holders bitcoin-back rewards. Buying charges fluctuate from roughly 1%-3% relying on the order dimension (the bigger the order, the cheaper the price). Money App doesn’t tack on a price to withdraw.

Learn extra: Bitcoin Buying and selling Charges on PayPal, Robinhood, Money App and Coinbase: What to Know

River Monetary

U.S.-exclusive River Monetary is a comparatively new, bitcoin-only dealer that focuses on bringing a full suite of bitcoin-related shopper providers to their clients. It’s not as simple as downloading Money App, however River’s monetary suite gives plenty of providers that make it a standout amongst bitcoin exchanges.

River permits, as an example, Lightning Community deposits and withdrawals, which implies you may deposit or take your bitcoin out of River immediately for zero (or close to zero) community prices. You can even combine your {hardware} pockets(s), which lets you observe the bitcoin you retain in chilly storage in your River account. Like Money App, you may set auto-recurring bitcoin buys. 

River is constructed for bigger purchases, because the minimal purchase is $100, and it solely permits for purchases utilizing a U.S. checking account. River doesn’t have a withdrawal price and it costs anyplace from 1%-3% for buys, relying on dimension.

Swan Bitcoin

Swan Bitcoin shouldn’t be your conventional bitcoin on ramp. 

The bitcoin-only service has turn out to be widespread amongst bitcoiners as a result of it permits its customers to set each day recurring auto-buys to as little as $10. Swan customers may designate a pockets for auto-withdrawals. It’s designed for bitcoiners who wish to set a each day or weekly common purchase, and it gives a few of (if not the) lowest charges for spot bitcoin purchases within the U.S.

Weekly purchases of $50 or extra are topic to a 1.19% price, until the client prepays their charges by means of an annual financial savings plan, by which case charges are 0.99%. Swan doesn’t cost withdrawal charges and solely hyperlinks to a checking account.

Worldwide Bitcoin Exchanges

Whether or not you might be inside or outdoors the U.S., listed here are a number of centralized exchanges that service a world clientele. 

Every change featured beneath gives a cell app (for Android and iOS) to handle your account on the go and permits fiat foreign money deposits by means of financial institution switch or credit score/debit playing cards. Additionally they have Bitcoin’s Lightning Community enabled (or plan to take action within the close to future), which means purchasers can use this community to keep away from excessive on-chain charges when withdrawing to self-custody.

Buying and selling charges on these bitcoin change platforms are decrease than these of Coinbase and different brokers, normally roughly 0.1%-0.5% per commerce. However the expertise of shopping for bitcoin will not be as simple for newcomers as a result of these exchanges, which embody a great deal of altcoins, are actually arrange as buying and selling venues earlier than the rest. Consequently, these unaccustomed to cryptocurrency change layouts might discover them tougher to navigate than different choices.


A global change that is likely one of the oldest within the business, Bitfinex helps buying and selling in U.S. {dollars}, euros, British kilos, Japanese yens, China’s yuan and all main stablecoins. 

As a plus for energy customers, Bitfinex additionally gives deposits and withdrawals utilizing Bitcoin’s Lightning Community and Blockstream’s Liquid sidechain. 

Bitfinex’s withdrawal charges for bitcoin are static at 0.0004 BTC.


Kraken is likely one of the oldest U.S.-based exchanges and gives each spot buying and selling for bitcoin and altcoins in addition to leveraged buying and selling. The change helps deposits in USD, EUR, CAD, AUD, GBP, CHF, JPY and main stablecoins.

Withdrawal charges for bitcoin are set at 0.00015 BTC.

Kraken Trade informed CoinDesk on the finish of 2020 that it plans to combine the Bitcoin Lightning Community for deposits and withdrawals this 12 months. 


OKCoin is a world change that accepts USD, EUR and Singapore greenback (SGD) deposits and main stablecoins. The change is within the means of integrating the Lightning Community, which ought to go dwell in February.

As with different exchanges proper now, OKCoin’s Bitcoin withdrawal charges are 0.0004 BTC.

Decentralized Bitcoin Exchanges

These bitcoin exchanges don’t require know-your-customer (KYC) id verification and permit customers to commerce straight with one another with out relinquishing their non-public keys to a 3rd social gathering (not like the centralized exchanges explored above). Since you by no means relinquish your non-public keys to the change, no third social gathering can freeze your funds on these providers. 

Non-KYC exchanges enable clients to purchase bitcoin underneath the radar such that they don’t reveal delicate private data to a 3rd social gathering. As evidenced within the Ledger and BlockFi safety breaches, not each hack ends in a lack of funds; exchanges and providers that retailer KYC data are a honeypot for hackers, who promote stolen private data like emails and bodily addresses on the darkish net.

You’ll bounce by means of extra hoops when you purchase bitcoin this fashion and it is going to be harder than the standard route, however the bitcoin will likely be “extra non-public” consequently (although this usually comes at a excessive premium value).

Hodl Hodl

Hodl Hodl is a worldwide, peer-to-peer bitcoin change that makes use of multisignature wallets to escrow trades between customers. 

The Hodl Hodl market provides merchants the choice to assist whichever cost technique they need (Zelle, PayPal, financial institution wire, altcoins, SWIFT, bank cards and present playing cards). As soon as cost for a commerce is full, both social gathering indicators their finish of the multisig pockets to launch funds. Within the occasion that there’s a disagreement, Hodl Hodl’s workforce arbitrates.

As a result of Hodl Hodl doesn’t require KYC, bitcoin usually sells at a premium in comparison with different exchanges, anyplace from 5% up.

Buying and selling charges are break up between the client and vendor, 0.3% of every commerce.


Like Hodl Hodl, Bisq is a peer-to-peer bitcoin change, however it’s not web-hosted.

Bisq is Bitcoin’s solely self-hosted decentralized change. Because of this every Bisq person should obtain the change’s software program and run a Bisq node to commerce on the service. A multisignature pockets is used to escrow trades.

The change gives bitcoin and monero (XMR) buying and selling with limits that vary from 0.25 to 2 BTC for every commerce, relying on the cost technique (that are just like Hodl Hodl’s). Market maker charges are 0.1% and taker charges are 0.7%; if customers pay charges in BSQ, a bitcoin-colored coin that acts as Bisq’s change token, they’re 0.05% for makers and 0.35% for takers.

Disclosure: CoinDesk is a subsidiary of Digital Forex Group, which has an possession stake in Kraken.


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