Given that the USA is home to some of the largest Bitcoin exchanges in the world, it comes as no surprise that buying and selling bitcoins is so easy and can be done using almost any available method, including bank transfer, credit card or cash.
Below, we give you a comprehensive list of the top USA bitcoin exchanges – divided into Most Popular and Rising Stars categories – you could consider next time you need to exchange fiat money for bitcoins and, of course, vice versa.
Top 8 Most Popular Bitcoin Exchanges in The USA
For those of you in search of a trusted US bitcoin exchange to buy the digital currency fast and without too much hassle, Coinbase will probably tick all your boxes. An easy 4-step process allows you to buy the digital coin almost instantly, especially if you are using your credit or debit card as the preferred payment method. If you are willing to pay the price (Coinbase charges 3.99% fees for credit/debit card purchases), then you will enjoy impressively fast transactions. However, you may also opt for PayPal or bank wire deposits and withdrawals. Finally, a payment option available only for US customers is using a connected bank account (1.49% fees). For a more in-depth look, read our Coinbase Review.
Low transaction fees for purchases made with bank transfer.
High buying limits.
High volume of activity in the market.
Easy for first-timers to get bitcoins fast.
Option to buy bitcoins instantly using credit/debit card.
Lots of payment options.
Customer funds are safely stored.
It could take up to 5 days to complete purchases made with bank transfer.
Coinbase may track how your bitcoins are spent (and where).
Users don’t control their wallets, which makes them less secure.
The US-based digital asset exchange is actually Coinbase’s exchange and makes it easy for traders to deposit funds with wire transfer, bank transfer, SEPA, digital currency, or Coinbase wallet. As for the fees on GDAX, maker orders (orders that provide liquidity) come cheaper than taker orders (orders that take liquidity) considering that maker orders come with 0% fee (in all markets) while Bitcoin (BTC) taker orders have a fee of 0.25%, which is also one of the lowest available for US customers at the moment. On the downside, the rather confusing user interface could make it a bit difficult for newcomers to navigate through the website, at least, for a short while, until they get the hang of it.
You could see your account closed permanently if you send bitcoins to any non-regulated site.
Coinmama is a solid platform to buy your cryptocurrency using your credit card and a bitcoin exchange that boasts over 200,000 customers. Their main focus is bitcoin; however, you may also buy Ethereum, which is the second most popular virtual currency, provided you have completed the identity verification process. If the overall worth of the purchased bitcoins does not exceed $150, though, then you won’t need to verify your identity. This gives you the chance to enjoy easy and fast (yet, small) purchases. Finally, if you need to sell your bitcoin or ether, you will have to use a different service as you won’t be able to sell your cryptocurrency through the site.
You can buy fractions of a bitcoin.
Works in nearly all countries.
No need to use middleman – you can buy directly from Coinmama.
Live pricing in both USD and EUR.
Very high charges per purchase using a credit card (almost 6%).
You may only buy bitcoin; not sell it through the site.
Only accepts payments via Visa, MasterCard, and Cash (through Western Union transfer); no PayPal, Discover, or American Express.
If you prefer to buy bitcoins using cash deposits, then BitQuick will please you greatly. The company operates in all US states except for New York, due to BitLicense, and can deliver bitcoins to buyers within an hour of payment. When it comes to fees, sellers are not charged any fees while a 2% fee weighs on buyers, which is a tad high for cash purchases of bitcoin. However, if you consider that you get your BTC so quickly, the scales probably balance nicely.
Traders can often sell bitcoins for higher-than-market rates.
No seller fees.
Very fast way to buy BTC.
The BTC buyer pays the seller by making a cash deposit into the seller’s bank account, which makes it a more (physically) secure payment method than others.
Cash trading with 2% fees for buyers is quite high.
Markup on BTC price can be much higher than the current BTC price at times.
Founded in 2011, Kraken is the largest bitcoin exchange in USA and Europe, based on its daily average trading volume and liquidity, and one of the oldest Bitcoin exchanges on the market. Besides bitcoin, the highly-respected digital currency exchange also offers a wide range of altcoins to traders almost all around the world. Kraken’s platform was clearly designed with the serious and sophisticated trader in mind and provides a plethora of much-appreciated features, such as deep liquidity, fast execution speed, and margin trading. Plus, the crypto investor has a unique ability to trade BTC against fiat currency, including USD, CAD, GBP, EUR, and JPY (Japanese Yen).
Low taker trade (0.25%), which can fall down to o.10% with larger trading volume.
Low maker fee that can drop to 0% with large trading volume.
Highly respected cryptocurrency exchange.
Highly professional trading platform.
Large-volume buyers enjoy deep liquidity in European markets.
Narrow variety of payment options (only bank wire, SEPA, and SWIFT).
No user-friendly interface for beginners.
Not private as it requires ID verification.
Wall of Coins
Wall of Coins is another US-based peer-to-peer digital currency exchange that offers low fees and helps its customers trade BTC for cash via a unique SMS system that walks traders through the entire process of buying BTC. That alone makes Wall of Coins a great choice for first-time buyers interested in purchasing BTC with cash deposits. It operates in 12 countries, including the USA, and has a good customer support service, featuring a live chat box ready to assist with any issues that may arise during the buying process.
No buying limits
Allows purchases as little as $5 worth of BTC.
Coins are usually delivered within 15 minutes after the buyer confirms the payment.
Quite low fees (around 1%).
No verification required – only phone number. So, fairly private way to buy BTC.
Easy to use.
Not available worldwide.
Speed of delivery varies and depends on when the seller confirms the payment so it might take a while (at times).
Difficult to find sellers willing to sell a large amount of BTC.
Fees are included in the buy price rather than being publicly displayed.
VirWox is a centralised digital convertible currency exchange based in Austria. It was founded in 2007 and was originally designed to provide SSLs (SecondLife Lindens), be it L$, Linden Dollars, or SSL, rather than an exchange per se. Nevertheless, it allows people to purchase cryptocurrency, Bitcoin included, after depositing a certain amount of fiat money, mainly for online gaming purposes.
The only way to buy BTC with Skrill or PayPal.
No maximum or minimum BTC deposit requirements.
No lockout time for new accounts.
Several options for withdrawals and deposits.
Simple, fast, and smooth trading process.
Offers a unique way to trade fiat currency for BTC and vice versa.
10% fee to purchase with PayPal.
First BTC withdrawal can take up to 2 days.
Red flag policy is rather overzealous.
USA Bitcoin Exchanges: The Rising Stars
The 3 bitcoin exchanges listed below are following their most popular relatives very closely and we expect them to gain even more popularity soon.
Gemini is a New York-based, licensed bitcoin exchange that operates a total of three order matching engines – one per trading pair offered (BTC/USD, ETH/BTC, and ETH/USD). It has customers in 49 US states while it is also open to residents of Canada and Singapore, among others.
Satisfactory funding methods (wire transfer, ACH transfer, and SEPA).
Regulated and trustworthy exchange.
Low fees (some of the lowest in both Canada and the USA).
Allows you to buy coins quickly via the Instant Deposit.
Doesn’t allow to withdraw coins via Instant Deposit.
Confusing interface – not suitable for new buyers.
Not available throughout America.
Bitstamp is a very well-known Bitcoin exchange in the USA and across the world. It is licensed by Luxembourg’s Ministry of Finance and is a good option for traders that are purchasing large amounts of BTC. You can make deposits through international bank wire, bank transfer, credit cards, and SEPA transfer.
Low fee (0.25%) that can drop down to 0.10% with large trading volume.
Nice array of withdrawal and deposit options.
Wide range of altcoins.
Requires extensive verification.
High fee on small credit card buys (8%) that can drop to 5% with larger trading volume.
Was hacked in the past – users should better avoid storing funds on the exchange.
A bit confusing for first-time buyers.
Non US Place to Buy Bitcoin
For those that aren’t based in the US we would recommend using a broker to invest in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The main reason is because they’re regulated, which means you are protected against any chance of insolvency that the broker or company may come across. There are various that now offer cryptocurrencies but we would recommend you check out eToro.
The majority of trading platforms give you the option to trade USD fiat currency against bitcoin, which makes selling BTC for USD and exchanging USD to BTC very easy on the cryptocurrency market. You can use your USD balance (be it of your bank account or credit card) to buy bitcoins, but it is also possible to use your PayPal account for the same reason. Other payment methods that allow you to sell bitcoins for USD or fund your account with USD are Neteller, Skrill, and OKPay.
Is Bitcoin Regulated in the United States?
Compared to other countries, the United States falls a bit behind in the regulation of bitcoin, mainly because the US government only stated their position on bitcoin a short while ago (in 2014). In the past, bitcoin was considered a currency used by criminals. All that has changed now and the positions of 13 states in regards to the cryptocurrency and the blockchain industry have been clearly defined. However, the money transmitting regulation is still much stricter in the US rather than other countries, which limits the capabilities of bitcoin service providers significantly.
What is the Taxation of Bitcoin like in the United States?
Bitcoin regulation and taxation vary across states. For example, it is explicitly required to have a money transmitting license in New Mexico and Hawaii if you want to trade with cryptocurrencies. On the other hand, of the 3 bitcoin-friendly states (Tennessee, Kansas, and Texas), Texas officially stated that selling bitcoin doesn’t require a money transmitting license. Montana and South Carolina have no regulation or money transmitting laws on bitcoin. The IRS considers cryptocurrencies as digital currencies, so they are treated as property. For that reason, they need to be taxed for gains and losses.
What if I don’t want to use an exchange? Is there another way to trade bitcoins?
You could consider an escrow service like LocalBitcoins, which matches bitcoin sellers and buyers. Cash deposit is the typical method of payment; however, you may advertise trades for whichever payment method suits you best. You can purchase bitcoins via a one-on-one meeting secured by LocalBitcoins.
What is the difference between a bitcoin exchange and a forex broker?
A cryptocurrency exchange allows you to buy and sell actual digital currency. A forex broker only lets you trade a Bitcoin Contract for Difference (CDF), which is basically a contract between a spread-betting firm or an investment bank and an investor. At the end of the contract, both parties involved exchange the difference between the closing and opening prices of commodities, shares or other financial instruments. Generally, online forex brokers are a great option if you want to have the same leverage offered when trading with forex market and, instead of putting down the whole amount of the trade, you require a fraction of the entire value of the trade. Bitcoin exchanges, on the other hand, have a lower trading cost and you can choose the particular exchange you would like to use for the trade.