In this article, we compare the top 5 crypto exchanges available for US customers. We list
Exchanges face issues when US market is in question in terms of strict regulations. Thus, not many platforms are able to operate under the US soil.
Cryptocurrency exchanges are websites where you can purchase, sell, or trade digital currencies for other digital currency or real-world currency like dollars or euros. Today there are many platforms to choose from, with new ones popping up every day.
To date, there are over 200 cryptocurrency exchanges that support active trading. However, only few are serving the US market. The following are the top 5 crypto exchanges available for US consumers.
Why Many Bitcoin Exchanges have problems with US customers
It is widely known that many bitcoin exchanges have problems with US customers. There are serious barriers for crypto platforms to operate within the U.S. soil in terms of necessary licenses. Namely, each state has its own set of regulations for digital trade and currency exchanges. Most of them employ BitLicense, which requires full business details and carry massive fees.
BitLicence is not the only regulation that crypto exchanges face. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) classified cryptos as commodities, requiring similar regulations that other financial companies follow. Many global players, like Binance, had to leave the U.S. market and open a separate business that would follow U.S. regulations.
To summarize regulations, here are bullet points on how exchanges could operate within the U.S. soil:
· Register crypto exchange business with SEC and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN)
· Apply for and acquire BitLicence in States that require them
· Create anti-money laundering (AML) and know-your-customer (KYC) programs
Top 5 Exchanges that Offer Services for US Customers
When picking top 5 exchanges that offer services for US customers, we look at several factors. Important factors that each exchange should have are:
- Supply volume for both purchase and sale of cryptocurrencies
- Regulated business with a long history of success
- Impenetrable security system
- Availability of multiple deposit and withdrawal methods
- Serves majority of States
Each of these 5 top exchanges meets the criteria and are known globally, not just in the U.S. Market support in terms of available volume for purchase or sale is important for crypto trading. Price volatility is high for digital coins, meaning that the ability to act swiftly is crucial for investors. Moreover, security and business regulations are functions that ensure fair business practices.
Having a good safety system in place and a face to see in the court if anything goes awry ensures your balance is protected. Lastly, many exchanges often opt for a few States only. Those that really mean the business would try to obtain licenses for as many States as possible.
1. Coinbase – The Best Exchange for US customers
Image text: When you are logged into your Coinbase account you see your total balance in USD and a time graph over the selected currency. Also, you can easily browse between all supported cryptocurrencies as you see in the list below the graph (not all currencies are visible in our screenshot).
Taking into account all factors, we deem Coinbase to be the best exchange for US customers. The exchange has more than 30 million of served users. In fact, Coinbase had to close new registrations at one point in 2017 due to huge traffic that was threatening their system. Since then, the company continuously grew its portfolio of services. Eventually, it opened up Coinbase Pro extension as a substitute for a trading platform called GDAX in 2018.
On the side of trade/exchange, Coinbase boasts of $341 million of daily trade (Coinbase pro), according to the CoinMarketCap. The online platform is very user-friendly as it makes selling and buying cryptocurrencies extremely easy. It offers mobile apps for android and iOS. Coinbase offers several cryptocurrencies for exchange and trade, including:
- Bitcoin (BTC)
- Ethereum (ETH)
- Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
- Litecoin (LTC)
- Ripple (XRP)
- 10 more cryptocurrencies
The platform has not suffered any security breaches in the past and it is one of the few exchanges that offer insurance on the cryptocurrency and fiat deposits. Coinbase is considered to be one of the best crypto exchanges for US customers. The company is even part of the lobbyist group within the U.S. Congress and continually invests efforts in the general adoption of cryptos.
– Huge trade and exchange daily volumes
– Regulated and licensed US business
– Regularly adds more altcoins through its lab platform
– offers PayPal and credit cards as payment methods
– ID verification is necessary
– Altcoins with low support can get delisted
Read more about this Bitcoin exchange in our Coinbase review.
2. Kraken – 2nd Best Exchange for US customers
Kraken exchange, based in US is one of the oldest players in the market, starting out operations in 2011. Since then, it included both trading and exchange services globally, US included. It offers 19 cryptos within its marketplace, as well as 5 fiat currencies. Although it is possible to trade digital coins without going through full identity verification, limitations are not small.
Additionally, its support is on the slow side, taking weeks for accounts to reach the next levels of profile verification.
– Possibility to buy and trade a small amount of cryptos with an unverified account
– Lots of cryptos and fiats to choose from
– Good market volume supply for crypto purchasing
– Verification can take weeks to finalize
– Only bank transfers are available as a deposit method
3. CEX IO – 3d Best Exchange For US Customers
CEX IO is one of the most popular cryptocurrency platforms and is 3rd best exchange for US customers in our guide. The platform allows users to purchase bitcoin, Ethereum and other altcoins with credit or debit cards. More specifically, CEX IO offers ACH transfers and credit cards for the purchase of:
- 6 more digital coins
CEX IO also boasts one of the lowest transaction fees for credit card bitcoin purchases, which stand at 2.99%. ACH transfers are done completely free, no matter if deposits or withdrawals are in question.
It is registered with the FinCEN in the US. Its user-friendly interface is ideal for newbies and it offers a quick and easy entrance into the cryptocurrency space. As a regulated business, CEX.io operates in the U.S. through its subsidiary company called CEX.IO Corp. So far, CEX managed to secure crypto-related licenses in 30 States. For the other 20, the company already submitted approval requests.
– Operates in 30 States, pending approvals in other 20
– Fast and cheap credit card purchases of cryptocurrencies
– Numerous altcoins available for trade/exchange
– Verification of your identity is a must
– Registration within 20 States might take time
Read more about this crypto exchange in our CEX IO review.
4. LocalBitcoins US customers can buy Bitcoin privately Here
US customers can buy Bitcoins privately with LocalBitcoins since the platform offers a unique kind of cryptocurrency exchange. The platform works as an open marketplace with people in the same location as you. It acts as a P2P marketplace, where US traders can use escrow services while dealing with fellow investors.
If you want to trade cryptocurrencies, you create an account, find interested buyers or sellers and then finalize the transaction. The website is not an exchange platform but it is one of the most popular places to get bitcoins. LocalBitcoins also does not require users to verify their identities with documents. Instead, it leaves it up to sellers and buyers themselves, with plenty of ads that do not require full verification of your profile.
– Good place to buy bitcoins without verification
– Possible to buy Bitcoin with PayPal
-Possible to buy Bitcoin with Neteller
– Lots of BTC ads to choose from
– Over 100 payment methods available
– A lot of scam offers have been reported
– Price can go quite high for some payment methods, like PayPal
– Only Bitcoin is available for exchange
5. Coinmama – 2nd Best Exchange for US customers
Coinmama cryptocurrency exchange was founded in 2013 and is 2nd best exchange for US customers in our list. While the company is registered in Slovakia, it is owned by New Bit Ventures Limited that is based in Israel. It is one of the few platforms that allow users to buy bitcoin and ether using credit or debit cards. Additionally, in 2019, the company finally added more payment methods, which now include:
- Credit/Debit cards
- Bank Transfers (SEPA and SWIFT)
Currently, it serves 40 States while working to acquire necessary licenses for the other 10. Another important improvement is the sell option, which was not available in pre-2019. However, the feature is available only for those clients that have accounts in European banks (through SEPA transfers). Due to the number of payment options and steady volume supply, it can be considered as the 2nd best crypto exchange for US customers, after Coinbase.
– Stable supply of bitcoins for purchase
– Ability to buy digital coins very easily and instantly
– Fair exchange rate of 5% between buy and sell values of BTC
– High fees for credit card purchases
– Sell option still not available for US clients
– Verification of identity is a must-do
Read more about this Bitcoin exchange in our Coinmama review.
Other Great Crypto Exchanges for US Customers
There are also other great crypto exchanges for US investors that offer crypto services apart from our top 5 list. Several factors are barring these exchanges from reaching the top, such as lack of multiple deposit options, a small number of crypto coins, and lack of support for traders. Nevertheless, they are still good exchange sources. These are:
Bittrex is a Great Crypto-only Exchange for US customers
There is a lot to gain from the crypto-to-crypto trade, since Bittrex is a great crypto-only exchange for US customers. Just recently, the platform was crypto-oriented only and did not have any fiats. However, in 2018, the company decided to add USD and wire transfers as well, making it easy to purchase coins. Be warned that verification is necessary if you wish to engage in fiat transactions.
Unfortunately, Bittrex sized to operate within Connecticut, New York, and Hawaii in July 2019. Licensing issues came up, barring the company from offering services in these States.
– Many cryptocurrencies to buy and trade
– Most of the US is covered
– Fiat transactions require full identity verification
– Platform seized to operate in the three States
– Only Wire transfer available as a deposit option
Use Bitstamp Bitcoin Exchange for US Credit Cards
For instant bitcoin purchases, use Bitstamp bitcoin exchange for us credit cards. By that, we mean that the platform offers bank transfers and bank cards as means of deposit. You do need a verified account at Slovenian platform, through ID and utility bill scans.
On the side of security, Bitstamp had a serious of hiccups in the past. Namely, the company was hacked in 2014 and then again in 2015, with over 19,000 bitcoins stolen.
– Credit cards available as a deposit method
– Users can purchase and sell multiple cryptos
– Was hacked two times in the past
– Identity verification is necessary
Based in US, Gemini has its Own Stablecoin
Based in US, Gemini has its Own Stablecoin, created by twin brothers Winklevoss. They were one of the earliest BTC investors, eventually creating their own crypto platform. The exchange is an epitome of stability, with GUSD newest addition to the crypto market (Gemini USD Stablecoin). Currently, only verified users can exchange digital coins and only with bank transfers. The platform is available in 49 States, with the only exception being Hawaii due to licensing problems.
– Numerous cryptos available for sale
– Offering its own Stablecoin called GUSD
– Verified users are the only ones allowed to trade/exchange cryptos
– Only bank transfers are accepted as funding methods
P2P Bitcoin Exchange Paxful is available for US customers
As a P2P platform, Bitcoin Exchange Paxful is available for US customers. The site is quite similar to LocalBitcoins. However, it is only a bit less popular than its direct competitor is. At the same time, much the same options are available at Paxful, including over 300 payment getaways (PayPal included).
It is possible to buy Bitcoins privately but be aware of scams in the market. Paxful has practically the same pros and cons as LocalBitcoins.
U.S. traders do have several choices, as shown by top 5 crypto exchanges. All five of these offer traders a way to buy BTC and altcoins instantly and/or without ID verification. With Binance creating its own US platform, the future does look bright for U.S. investors, even with strict regulations and policies by lawmakers.
However, most of them do not operate in all States. Thus, it is important to keep up with updates on when your State will become available for crypto exchange.