What’s the easiest way to buy crypto? The answer may depend on what your goals or needs are when you’re moving into the world of Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other virtual currencies. Most new investors learn fairly quickly that you need to use a cryptocurrency exchange when you want to buy and sell Bitcoin or any other virtual currency.
And there are a LOT of exchanges. As a new investor or as one who has stepped away for a time, which are the easiest places to buy crypto?
This platform offers a variety of virtual currency including Bitcoin and Ethereum, but also stablecoins such as Binance’s own BNB.
If you want to trade in volume using Binance you will (at press time) be charged lower fees for your trading but be advised that the threshold for this volume discount? You must exceed $50K in cryptocurrency holdings first.
Some reviewers have noted that, at press time, Binance does NOT support the practice of margin trading, which is a risky venture in the best of times for those who aren’t experienced with such transactions.
With margin trading, you are basically borrowing money to continue investing but the risk of loss is increased greatly for reasons too complicated to explain here.
Suffice it to say, the LACK of margin trading may be considered a negative by experienced traders but for the beginner, this could actually be viewed as a safety feature.
If you need a combination of banking and crypto investing, BlockFi might be the one for you. This company offers commission-free trading (apart from “spread rates” which may apply) plus no minimum account size requirement. You are permitted one fee-free crypto withdrawal per month and one fee-free stablecoin withdrawal per month. There is also an option (at press time) for users to apply for interest-bearing crypto accounts.
New York residents take note; interest-bearing accounts at BlockFi are not offered in New York State. Don’t assume that any traditional banking or trading protections apply to your cryptocurrency activities with BlockFi.
Crypto investments are NOT covered by the FDIC or other types of insurance. BlockFi offers crypto-based loans, but be sure you fully understand the risks of taking out such a loan before you commit.
Many reviewers cite Coinbase as a great place for beginners to start their journey into crypto investing. Coinbase is, in an ecosystem fraught with scams and the potential for fraud, a trusted resource with literally millions of users and investors.
But the reputation of Coinbase also includes a few reminders about the dangers of crypto trading. Most review sites discuss Coinbase as an exchange that features reasonable transaction fees. But the fee structure here is more complicated for those who seek the lower end of the pricing system.
This is because there is a Coinbase and a Coinbase Pro. There is a more simplified fee system on Coinbase which seems to work well for beginner investors. The more complex fee system is on Coinbase Pro.
You may want to avoid going pro until you fully understand how the fee structure works in both types. You should also know that there may be elevated fees for debit cards or other “conveniences”.
Crypto trading and investing logically leads those in the space to wonder about banking options for cryptocurrency. The Celsius Network is described as a “borrowing and lending” cryptocurrency platform offering a return on crypto holdings.
This site is not just mobile-friendly, it’s mobile-centric. You can use an app to manage your investments online, and there are even offers of loans for stablecoin currencies. These transactions actually use crypto as collateral to secure the loan. At press time there is NO support for interest-bearing accounts using real-world money.
Long known for its online and mobile payment systems, Paypal branched out into crypto to allow U.S. citizens the ability to purchase and use Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Cash. Paypal owns the Venmo app, and that can also be used to buy and sell crypto.
No special accounts are required and you can start with a minimum one-dollar purchase. But there IS something to be aware of here–this is NOT your typical crypto exchange. Why? Because Paypal reserves the right to manage your crypto wallets.
Paypal holds your private crypto keys, not you. That’s not typical. Paypal terms of service for crypto also mention the fact that you, under Paypal rules current at press time, are NOT permitted to transfer crypto funds to other accounts “on or off Paypal”.
That is likely not to sit well with some interested in investing in cryptocurrency or for those who want a “typical experience” with Bitcoin, etc.
Robinhood offers much more than cryptocurrency investing, but for our purposes here the main draw is the fact that there is no fee charged to trade.
This is a platform touted as a great one for new investors who want to learn the ropes of investing in Bitcoin and other digital commodities without paying a lot of fees in the meantime.
That said, Robinhood doesn’t offer support for as many currencies as other platforms or exchanges. Robinhood has a reputation for not comparing as well with other crypto exchanges and the company has gotten some unwanted regulatory attention in the past.
Robinhood can be used to buy crypto–in some cases, you may be able to do so from other accounts on the platform such as stock trading, and still for free (at press time).
But there is one little catch–you don’t have the ability to send your crypto coins to another person or third party and you can’t accept coins from someone else either. You can use your Bitcoins or other digital investments to buy and sell those investments in U.S. dollars ONLY.
This is a brokerage that offers support for cryptocurrency investing. Webull has a reputation for having lower fees than others and appeals to those who are mobile-investment savvy.
This is priced for beginners but there isn’t as much educational info and if you are trying to learn as you go this may not be the most informative brokerage to use but in terms of cost and support for the 11 cryptocurrencies Webull currently advertises it supports for trading you could do worse.
Webull gets good marks for user-friendliness but this broker has no interest payments on funds you have not invested, so if you’re looking for returns like those you may need to look elsewhere. Those mostly interested in crypto may not consider that a major issue but if you want to diversify, review Webull carefully first to make sure the features you need are supported.
Things To Remember About Investing In Crypto
Cryptocurrency has no real-world value, unless you are interested in stablecoins which are backed by fiat currency (real-world money). The value of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum are conferred by investor enthusiasm and as such they should be considered highly volatile, risky investments subject to sudden loss of value.
If you are planning to invest in cryptocurrency, it’s crucial to follow the tried-and-true advice of financial planners everywhere–maintain a diverse investment portfolio, do not over-invest in any one type of financial instrument, transaction, stock, bond, or currency.
Those who over-leverage themselves in investments in general risk substantial loss of investment funds. Do not assume the same safety protocols that exist for certain types of stock trading apply for cryptocurrency. Your experience may vary.
If you are new to investing in crypto currency, it may be a smart idea to look for a credit card account that offers rewards in crypto or another more “harmless” approach to digital currency before you go all-in on buying Bitcoin or some other type.
Joe Wallace has covered real estate and financial topics, including crypto and NFTs since 1995. His work has appeared on Veteran.com, The Pentagon Channel, ABC and many print and online publications. Joe is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter for Air Force Television News.