Best Crypto Trading Platforms 2023
If you’re interested in trading cryptocurrencies, finding the best crypto trading platforms can help you to maximize profits while reducing fees and staying safe and secure.
We’ve tested and reviewed the best cryptocurrency trading platforms so you can make an informed choice.
Top-Rated Crypto Trading Platforms
How to Choose a Crypto Trading Platform
The latest data from Coinmarketcap shows that there are over 300 crypto platforms. These range from crypto exchanges where you can buy and sell crypto to more sophisticated brokerages and trading platforms where you can try crypto margin trading and crypto leveraged trading.
Deciding which crypto trading platform to use doesn’t have to be a difficult decision. If you consider a few basic criteria you can quickly narrow down your search. These are the main things we consider when we review the top crypto trading platforms.
Regulation and Security
Many trading platforms for crypto are unregulated and unlicensed. This can be a problem for crypto traders as you can never be sure that your money is safe. It’s easy to be tempted by low fees offered by some crypto trading platforms. But you should be aware that you’ll have no protection or safety net if the exchange is compromised in some way.
Seasoned financial traders and crypto margin traders may be prepared to take calculated risks – especially when it comes to using decentralized exchanges. For beginners we recommend checking what licenses a platform holds. Regulatory bodies include the FCA, CySEC and ASIC, while FINRA regulates brokers and trading platforms for American users.
Crypto asset trading platforms give you the opportunity to trade fiat currencies to crypto and trade crypto coins and tokens against one another. However, the offerings from the different platforms for trading crypto vary a lot. Some simple exchanges such as Coinmama only support a handful of cryptocurrencies, while others such as Kraken offer over 100 coins and over 400 markets.
If you want to trade altcoins and cryptocurrencies it’s worth looking at the options before creating an account. KuCoin exchange could be a good platform as it offers trading on over 600 cryptos. There is nothing more frustrating than having to move capital from one crypto trading platform to another just to make a trade on a particular altcoin you have researched. Another good platform for variety of coins is Huobi which supports over 500 cryptos.
It’s important to pay attention to fees as they can quickly eat away at your profit margins if you are not careful. The best crypto trading platforms have a variety of fees that are usually set on a sliding scale depending on the type of order you are placing and the volume of your trading.
Platforms for trading crypto fundamentally work in the same way as traditional stock and forex trading platforms. The crypto platform provider charges a commission fee for facilitating the trading environment.
If you are using pro crypto trading platforms such as Kraken Pro or Coinbase Pro you’ll find that the fees are significantly lower than standard crypto exchange fees. Coinbase Pro fees start at a maximum of 0.5%, while Kraken Pro fees start at a maximum of 0.26%. The more you trade and the higher your trading volume, the more the fees are reduced.
Deposit and Withdrawal Fees
Before you can start trading cryptocurrency you’ll need to fund your trading account, and there are often excessive fees. Even the top platforms for crypto trading charge high fees for deposits by debit or credit card. You should factor this into your trading profit and loss as in some cases, you may need to make a profitable trade just to break even on fees.
For example, Coinbase charges up to 3.99% for debit and credit card transactions, while Binance charges up to 4.5%.
Check out other deposit methods such as bank wire transfers as the fees are often significantly lower. If you have no other option than to use a card, try to make fewer deposits and withdrawals. You will only lose out on fees if you move money back and forward. It’s better to make one large deposit or withdrawal than to make many small ones.
There are other fees and costs to consider that can also affect your overall profit margin. Some platforms for crypto trading charge a mark-up fee – an additional percentage fee above the wholesale rate the exchange receives.
Now that you are trading crypto you also need to take into account the spreads. This is the difference between the ask and the bid prices for a particular market pair. It’s especially important to look at the spread if you are trading a crypto pair with low liquidity as the risk of slippage is greater.
Finally, you can also consider crypto margin trading fees. If you are going to trade crypto with leverage then you will pay interest on the amount you used for leverage in the form of margin fees.
Crypto Trading Platform Tools and Features
One of the biggest advantages of using the top crypto trading platforms is the number of technical analysis tools and extra features you will have access to. Check out these trading tips to learn more.
These features include support for trading bots which can place market and limit orders on your behalf. Copy trading tools which enable you to follow and automatically copy the trades of successful traders. And leverage trading and short-selling so you can increase the size of your trades with leverage and speculate on the cryptos going down in value by taking a short position.
There are also hundreds of different technical analysis tools that you can use to analyze and predict the movement of crypto markets. There are too many to cover in detail in this article. As an example TradingView offers over 100 pre-built indicators, over 50 intelligent drawing tools, and multi-timeframe analysis.
The amount of liquidity on a crypto trading platform is also something to study carefully. Less well-known and smaller platforms for trading crypto are more likely to have low liquidity and this can make it much more difficult to enter or exit a trade in a given market.
Liquidity refers to the amount of capital on an exchange or trading platform for a particular currency pair. If there is a large amount of liquidity as you see with the top crypto platforms for trading, then it means the platform benefits from larger trading volumes. This means the spreads are likely to be tighter so you suffer less risk of slippage. It also means that you are far more likely to have your orders met when you plan to exit a trading position.
User Experience and Mobile App
Your user experience is also an important factor. As cryptocurrency has become more mainstream, the best crypto trading platforms have greatly improved on the interface and usability of their software and apps. Newer entrants to the market have focused heavily on product development and user experience to become popular very quickly.
It should be easy for you to search for the coins and pairs that you want to trade. The functionality for placing market orders, limit orders, and stop limits should be simple and seamless. And the top platforms for crypto trading make it easy for you to track your portfolio and the performance of your trades. The more complex the platform, the easier it is to make the wrong moves or costly mistakes.
While it is difficult to reproduce the quality and detail of a desktop crypto trading platform on mobile devices, many of the best platforms have apps available on iOS and Android. The best crypto trading platforms provide apps that offer all the same tools and features as you would find on desktop, and make it easy to buy and sell crypto on the small screen.
When we review crypto trading platforms we always check the functionality of the app and the trading experience. We have found some apps can be laggy and prone to crashing and this is the last thing you need when you are trying to complete a trade.
The payment methods accepted by a crypto trading platform are also worth checking. The options available to you will depend on what country you are in. We already mentioned potentially high deposit and withdrawal fees, so it’s ideal to see which payment options offer you the lowest fees and choose a good crypto trading platform that will enable you to deposit and withdraw quickly, easily, and with the lowest fees.
When we compare crypto platforms for trading we check the company, where it is registered, it’s licensing, and it’s history. Customer support hasn’t always been good in the crypto space but this is something we’ve seen changing over recent years. Our top list of crypto trading platforms provides you with a choice of places to trade cryptocurrency that have all been vetted for their response times and quality of service.
In short, if you are investing a lot of money into trading, it’s reassuring to know that you have a reliable point of contact if there are any problems with your account, the platform, or the trading environment.
How to Trade on Crypto Trading Platforms
Now that you know how to find the best crypto trading platforms, let’s look at the basics of how to trade cryptocurrency.
Altcoins are highly volatile but can also offer a very high upside. Lots of traders allocate a small part of their funds to altcoins with the potential for huge growth and lucrative returns. Bear in mind risk-tolerance here. Those investments are highly attractive but could also become worthless if the price goes the wrong way.
If you wish to learn more about strategies there are lots of resources on this site to help you learn more. Read our buying guides for more about buying, storing and spending crypto. We also recommend learning from expert crypto advisors to get a better understanding.
How do Crypto Trading Platforms Work?
In the most simple terms, crypto trading platforms and exchanges enable you to trade cryptocurrencies at the current market rates. This could be by a fiat-to-crypto exchange where you swap dollars for Bitcoin, for example. Or crypto-to-crypto exchanges where you swap Tether (USDT) for Ethereum (ETH).
Everyone participating on an exchange is basically placing an order on an order book. This is a list of the orders for a given trading pair such as USD/BTC or USDT/ETH. Orders are placed as market orders or limit orders. Market orders ‘fill’ the limit orders on the order book. If you place a market order you are taking liquidity and known as a ‘taker’, if you place a limit order you are creating liquidity and are known as a ‘maker’.
Trading platforms provide a variety of different currency pairs that you can trade. And the best crypto trading platforms also offer a number of tools and options for you to profit from the movement in price between two cryptocurrency pairs.
To understand more about how you can benefit from using trading platforms to trade crypto let’s look at how orders work and at some of the different ways to trade on the markets.
What are Limit Orders and Market Orders?
The basic types of trade you’ll use when trading cryptocurrency are market, limit, and stop orders.
A market order is the most simple trade to make. When you place a market order to buy or sell a cryptocurrency you are essentially buying or selling at the current market price (plus fees). Your order is matched with limit orders from other buyers or sellers by the exchange until your order is completed at, or close to, the current market price.
In most cases your order will be filled at roughly the current market price, but beware of volatile and unsteady markets as you could end up buying or selling at a higher or lower price than expected. If there are lots of buyers and sellers in a market and very little spread (the difference between bids and asks) then you are less likely to see what is known as ‘slippage’ – the difference between your market order price and the actual buy or sell price of the trade.
Limit orders are not subject to slippage as you can set the price you are prepared to buy or sell at. When you place a limit order it is added to the order book and will be filled when a buyer or seller places a market order to match your limit order.
In basic terms, you are setting the price at which you are happy to trade your cryptocurrency. Most likely this will be based on the amount of profit you aim to make from the trade. To place a limit order you need to set your buying price higher, or your selling price lower than the current market rates (otherwise it is just a market order). If the market moves in your favour, your limit order will be automatically filled by market orders placed by other users on the exchange.
Stop orders are often known as ‘buy-stop’ or ‘stop-loss’ orders. When you place a stop order on a crypto trade you are setting a higher price for selling or a lower price for buying. A market order will be triggered if the market rates move in the right direction. This is a good method of protecting losses from a trade or to take advantage of a positive run-up in a market. For example, a stop order could help you trigger a sale of a cryptocurrency if the price drops by 20% and exit a trade, protecting you from losing more of your investment if the price continued to drop further.
There is a risk to stop orders, particularly in volatile markets such as cryptocurrencies. If the price of a crypto were to drop significantly and then recover, your stop orders may have been automatically filled at the lower price. Stop orders are recommended as they are a good way to stay within the limits of acceptable profit and loss that you have set beforehand. Just be aware that crypto markets with low volumes and high volatility can see prices change very sharply.
What is Crypto Spot Trading
Spot trading is captured in most of what we have discussed to this point. It involves buying or selling a cryptocurrency directly on the spot market created by the exchange or trading platform. You can only trade with currencies you own as there is no margin or leverage trading.
It’s the most simple form of trading cryptocurrencies as you simply buy a currency at the current market rate and the crypto is transferred to your account. From here you can hold on to the crypto as an investment. If the price of the asset increases you can make a profit by selling the crypto on the spot market at the new, higher price.
On the other hand, you can also take a ‘short’ position with spot trading. Some crypto traders use this method by selling their assets at a given price, and then buying them back at a lower price when it has dropped in value.
What is Crypto Margin Trading
Margin trading is not for beginners and you should be aware of the dangers and risks of crypto trading with leverage before you consider investing.
Put simply, margin trading with cryptocurrency allows you to borrow money either from the exchange, a brokerage or other traders, to ‘leverage’ your position and increase your buying power.
You can take a long position or a short position with crypto margin trading. A long position is a bet on the price of a crypto asset rising, and a short position is a bet on the price of a crypto asset falling.
For example: You have $100 and leverage at 4:1 to buy $400 of Bitcoin. You have borrowed $300 which must be paid back along with any relevant fees and interest. You have taken a ‘long’ position (essentially, a bet that the price of Bitcoin will rise).
If the price of Bitcoin doubles you could sell for $800, repay the $300 plus fees, and be left with roughly $500 in profit. However, if the price of Bitcoin falls you could quickly lose your money. This is because trading platforms ensure that the borrowed money will be returned, no matter whether you win or lose your ‘bet’. The platform will ‘call in’ or ‘liquidate’ your margin trade as soon as the price reaches a point where you could lose the borrowed money.
Margin trading risks
In our basic example, the price of Bitcoin would only need to fall by around 25% for your $400 trade to only be worth $300. At this point you and your $100 would be liquidated and the money you borrowed would be returned.
You could avoid a margin call by putting more money into the position you have taken but this is a dangerous trap for inexperienced traders and there are many stories of people going deeper and deeper into a position until they lost everything.
Crypto margin trading allows you to vastly increase the size of your trades, and potentially make much larger profits. On the other side of the coin, it also exposes you to a lot of risk. Crypto trading platforms offer a range of leverage options from 2:1 up to 100:1 in some cases.
Responsible Crypto Trading
The best crypto trading platforms enable you to buy, sell and trade cryptocurrencies with ease. However, crypto trading is not something to jump straight into and we strongly recommend that you do plenty of research on the potential risks before you consider it. To sum up, here are some tips on crypto margin trading and how to avoid risks.
Always start with small amounts
If you’re new to crypto trading start with small amounts of money that you are prepared to lose. This way you can learn how things work without taking any serious financial risks.
Set layered price positions
If you take a long or short position on a given crypto, you can set different price layers to reduce risk. By dividing your position into a number of price points you allow for staggered entry or exit of the position.
Calculate fees and risk of liquidation
Before entering a position you should know what type of fees you’ll pay and what the cost is. For overall profit these need to be factored into the decision-making process. You should also be crystal clear on the liquidation price point of any trade before entering a position.
It’s sensible to set clear rules for yourself about the amount of risk you are prepared to take. Be prepared to lose all of the money you invest into trading positions. It could happen, and if this makes you uncomfortable it is likely that you are risking more than you are prepared to lose. Never a good strategy. Always invest within your means.
Volatility and price manipulations
Crypto trading markets are typically very volatile and that can easily catch out leverage traders. If prices move in the ‘wrong’ direction your position could be liquidated, especially if you are using high leverage and the liquidation position is relatively close.
Price manipulations have also been seen in unregulated markets such as crypto. Where there are a lot of short or long positions, a market mover could potentially make money by creating an opposing price move and forcing those positions to be liquidated.
Research and external influences
If you do your own research you can be much more confident about the cryptocurrencies you want to trade and the types of trade you want to make. Getting an understanding of the latest technological developments in crypto will help you learn which projects are worth backing.
Following trends in the crypto space and the outside world can also help to inform your trading strategy. Many traders rely on technical analysis tools alone to read the charts, but it’s good to be aware of how global events and regulatory changes can also have a significant impact.