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Compare the best altcoin exchanges in 2022
Altcoins have become a huge part of the cryptocurrency market over the last few years. Many crypto exchanges now let you buy and sell hundreds of different coins. Our experts have picked out the best altcoin exchanges for each different type of investor and compared their best features.
What are the best altcoin exchanges?
Top altcoin exchanges
1. Best overall – Coinbase
Coinbase is our best overall exchange thanks to its security and the number of altcoins you can trade. Coinbase performed extremely well when we considered factors that rated most highly in our ranking algorithm, such as payment method, security, and the range of coins.
The only area it falls short is in the cost of trading, as the fees (which can be as high as 1.9%) are some of the highest around. However, the full package more than makes up for the extra cost. The interface and trading experience is excellent and if cost is a serious issue, then the Coinbase Pro exchange offers better rates for high volume traders.
- Huge range of altcoins available
- Schedule purchases to reduce risk
- Store coins in the secure Coinbase wallet
- High volume means there’s liquidity for every coin
2. Best for beginners – Kraken
Kraken is an excellent place for beginners to get started with altcoins. It offers tailored advice and educational material based on what you hope to achieve and how you want to trade. When it comes to the trading itself, it’s simple to use the exchange and cheap to deposit money into your account.
The fees overall are low compared to other exchanges and Kraken has been at the leading edge of transparency. It also offers some nice features for more advanced traders, such as margin and leveraged trading. The drawback for the amount of security it offers is that we have experienced a slow account verification process, which might be frustrating if you want to start trading straight away.
- Low trading fees
- Lots of educational material
- Cheap and easy to deposit money
- Margin and leveraged trading features
3. Best for low fee trading – Binance
Binance is a great exchange to you if low fees are your priority. The fees are just 0.1% of the trade value, significantly lower than other leading exchanges, and you can access a further 25% discount if you pay the trading fees using Binance’s own cryptocurrency, BNB.
Binance is also the largest crypto exchange in the world, which means there is plenty of liquidity on every coin. You’re unlikely to get stuck with no one to take the other side of the trade, which is good news if you plan on trading altcoins that have a small market cap.
- Very low trading fees
- 25% discount if you pay fees in BNB
- Enormous range of coins and swaps available
- Extremely high trading volume is good for liquidity
4. Best for diversification – Bitpanda
Bitpanda is the best exchange if you want to find a way to invest in the whole altcoin market. It offers three crypto indices, where you can buy the index and get exposure to all the coins inside it, rather than having to buy and sell each one individually.
There are lots of other exciting features on Bitpanda that let you broaden your revenue streams as well. There are staking mechanisms that let you earn interest on your altcoins and you can spend them with the Bitpanda card. Our only criticism was over the fee structure, which is not as transparent as other crypto exchanges.
- Lets you buy crypto indices
- Spend altcoins with a Bitpanda card
- Earn staking rewards on your crypto
- Great exchange for EU users
5. Best for social trading – eToro
eToro is an excellent broker and exchange platform if you want to copy other people’s moves and learn from them. Its CopyTrader feature works just like any social trading platform, where you can see what the pros are trading and the reasoning behind their decision.
eToro has a smaller range of coins than other exchanges on this list, but the number has grown rapidly over the past year and most large and mid-cap coins are now available. It offers free trading and now has a dedicated crypto wallet as well to store the coins you own.
68% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money
- CopyTrader feature is great for social trading
- Zero fee trading
- Trade other financial assets as well as altcoin
- Dedicated wallet to store your crypto
What is an altcoin exchange?
An altcoin exchange is a place where you can invest in cryptocurrencies other than Bitcoin. It’s a marketplace that lets you buy and sell crypto from other people in exchange for fiat currency (like GBP or USD) or for other cryptocurrencies.
The term ‘altcoin’ refers to any cryptocurrency that isn’t Bitcoin. There are some exchanges that only allow you to buy and sell Bitcoin but nowadays the vast majority offer at least some altcoins and the top ones can offer thousands in total. Ethereum is the largest and most popular altcoin, any exchange that offers ETH or any other coin qualifies as an altcoin exchange.
How does an altcoin exchange work?
It works by matching buyers with sell orders in order to facilitate trades. Whenever someone submits a bid to buy an altcoin, it looks for a seller willing to accept a bid at that price. When it does, the transaction goes through. If there is no seller at that price then the bid remains ‘open’ until someone takes the offer.
How should I choose an altcoin exchange platform?
The most important thing to consider is which coins you can trade on the platform. You may have an idea of the altcoins you’re interested in, or you might want the widest selection to choose from. Below are some other factors that influenced how we ranked these exchanges.
- Trading fees. Exchanges tend to have low trading fees but how they charge users can vary. The most you should expect to pay is a 0.5% commission on each trade, but many platforms are lower and the average is between 0.2% and 0.3%.
- Fee discounts. Platforms that boast their own cryptocurrency often offer lower fees to those who hold it. A good example of this is BNB (Binance coin) on the Binance exchange. Similarly, there are often trading discounts for high volume traders, although you might need to trade more than $100,000 worth in order to access them.
- Range of coins available. Some exchanges offer a limited number of coins, while others offer thousands. If your priority is access to the leading altcoins, then a smaller selection is fine. If you want to look at more ‘lottery tickets’, then prioritise a broad range.
- Payment methods. You can normally pay with a bank transfer or credit/debit card on an altcoin exchange, but alternative payment methods can be more hit and miss. If you want to use a method like PayPal then it’s important to check that it’s available before you sign up.
- Security. You want to be able to trust any financial platform that handles your money. Look for regulatory approval from financial bodies and check the customer reviews to see how other people experienced the service.
- Fiat deposits and withdrawals. Some exchanges require you to own cryptocurrency in order to sign up. This is normally the case for decentralised exchanges like Uniswap where you have to connect your crypto wallet in order to make any trades.
- Additional features. Many exchanges offer advanced charting analysis tools to help you make the right buy and sell decisions. Others offer other ways to make money from your crypto, such as staking. If those are important to you then the platform your choose can make a big difference to the bottom line.
Should I use an altcoin exchange?
It’s the best way to buy and sell most cryptocurrencies. Exchanges offer you the best prices and much lower trading fees than standard brokers, and many crypto exchanges now offer thousands of different coins and tokens.
Altcoin investing can be risky but exchanges provide the most flexibility to swap between them as well as alternative ways to make money beyond straight buying and selling. Nowadays you can trade options and futures on leading altcoins like Ethereum, or stake different DeFi coins in order to earn some extra interest.
Lots of exchanges have made a big effort to appeal to beginners over the last couple of years. There’s often plenty of extra learning material or a slimmed down interface to make it more accessible. You aren’t restricted to one exchange either; many people create accounts with multiple platforms in order to shop around for the best price.
Pros and cons of altcoin exchanges
To help you decide if an altcoin exchange is for you we’ve pulled together a list of the pros and cons in the table below.
- Can buy or sell any cryptocurrency, even those with very small market cap
- Minimum deposits can be as small as $1
- Most altcoin exchanges have a mobile app for convenience
- Many platforms offer leveraged or margin trading on altcoins
- Some exchanges offer a demo account that you can use to practice
What are the fees for altcoin exchanges?
The trading fees range from a commission of 0.1% to as high as 1% or 1.5% on every trade. There is no fee to create an account unless you use a premium service like Coinbase Pro. You may have to pay for deposits and (more commonly) withdrawals.
Binance offers lower fees, while Coinbase provides a more intuitive trading experience. Which one is better depends on which of those factors is more important to you, but Binance is comfortably the most popular at the moment and experiences more than ten times as much trading volume.
Binance, FTX, and Coinbase are the top exchanges by trading volume. Binance is by far the most popular exchange, with around $50 billion traded every day. FTX has a little over $10 billion, and Coinbase around $7 billion.
Fact-checking & references
Our editors fact-check all content to ensure compliance with our strict editorial policy. The information in this article is supported by the following reliable sources.
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