The Top 5 U.S.-Based Bitcoin Exchanges

There is no shortage of bitcoin exchanges. How do you decide which one to use? Here’s a quick overview of the best bitcoin exchanges for 2018.

What Is a Bitcoin Exchange?

A bitcoin exchange lets you trade bitcoin for other cryptocurrencies.

Some bitcoin exchanges also allow you to buy and sell bitcoin in exchange for fiat currencies (such as U.S. dollars or Euros).

Choosing a Bitcoin Exchange

The main differences between bitcoin exchanges involve how many cryptocurrencies they support and which payment methods they allow for purchasing bitcoin with fiat currencies. The best bitcoin exchanges offer the broadest range of options in both of these respects.

The fees that exchanges charge in order to trade bitcoin can also vary. Getting the most bang for your buck requires choosing a low-cost bitcoin exchange.

Top Bitcoin Exchanges

The best bitcoin exchanges currently available include:

  1. Coinbase. By most measures, Coinbase is the most widely used bitcoin exchange. It supports bitcoin buying and selling in exchange for U.S. dollars, Euros and British pounds. In addition to bitcoin, Coinbase also supports litecoin, ether and bitcoin cash. Bitcoin purchases can be made using credit cards or a bank account, and funds can be withdrawn to a bank account or Paypal. To date, Coinbase has made a point of complying with local laws and operating transparently, which makes it an attractive bitcoin exchange option if you value openness and compliance.
  2. Kraken. Kraken is another popular bitcoin exchange. It supports a broader range of fiat currencies than Coinbase, such as Canadian and Japanese currency. It also supports more cryptocurrencies, including Dash, Gnosis and more. Kraken is an excellent choice if you want to maximize the number of fiat and cryptocurrencies that you can trade.
  3. LocalBitcoins. If you want to buy or sell bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies for cash, LocalBitcoins is your best solution. The site matches bitcoin buyers and sellers with people in their local area so that they can meet and exchange cash for bitcoin. A limited list of other cryptocurrency is supported as well. LocalBitcoins also offers online bitcoin trading, but the advantage of the cash-based option is that it provides more anonymity because there is no digital trail proving that a purchase took place.
  4. Paxful. Launched in 2015, Paxful is a relatively new bitcoin exchange. Like LocalBitcoins, it enables direct peer-to-peer transactions. Its main advantage as a bitcoin exchange is that it supports more than 300 payment options for purchasing bitcoin. Most other bitcoin exchanges allow purchases using only bank accounts, credit cards and sometimes gift cards.
  5. CoinMama. CoinMama caters to users who want to buy bitcoin using credit cards. It supports bitcoin and ethereum, and it works in 188 countries. That sets it apart from most other mainstream bitcoin exchanges, which are not available in as wide a range of geographic areas.

Whether your goal is to maximize payment options, supported cryptocurrencies, privacy or something else, there’s a bitcoin exchange for 2019 to meet your needs.

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