Bitcoin-only exchanges are platforms where people can buy or sell bitcoins using fiat currencies or stablecoins.
For more information on joining an exchange, you can refer to our guide on How to Buy Bitcoin. However, to start buying bitcoins you usually need to register with some basic personal information and transfer fiat or cryptocurrency to the platform.
Learning about Bitcoin is an important step you should follow before investing. So be sure to read our Bitcoin guide to fully understand what you’re getting and why it’s so important to keep your bitcoin safe.
Why only use Bitcoin exchanges?
Once people understand Bitcoin, they usually like to stay away from the noise of countless cryptocurrencies and focus only on Bitcoin.
Only bitcoin exchanges exist because they recognize the value of bitcoin as sound money; they protect the Bitcoin community and ecosystem from the distraction of low-value coins and the negative effects that can come with them.
Which bitcoin exchange is the safest?
No-holds-barred, peer-to-peer exchanges are usually more secure because custody of the bitcoin is in your hands. Most exchanges provide a high standard of security, but cannot be 100% secure against the threat of hacking. It is always recommended that you transfer your bitcoin to a hardware wallet after purchase to avoid the risk of losing your assets.
Top 10 Bitcoin Exchanges
1. River is a US-based bitcoin-only exchange that claims to be very easy to use and secure, while offering plenty of good educational material for understanding Bitcoin.
River charges a fee based on how many bitcoins you buy, starting at 1.20%, but offers no commission for recurring purchases. River stores all bitcoins offline in secure cold storage and also offers customers to purchase bitcoin miners.
2. It is Swan River’s main competitor in the US and claims to be the safest platform to buy bitcoin. Swan offers similar services to River, the main difference being the fees: Swan’s 0.99%, River’s start at 1.2%. They offer recurring daily, weekly or monthly purchases, which is attractive thanks to the very competitive USD/BTC conversion rate.
3. CoinCorner is a Bitcoin exchange based in the Isle of Man, UK. They have over 2 million users in over 45 countries they serve. Deposits and withdrawals are only possible in pounds and euros. They have fixed transaction fees based on the amount processed.
Deposits are free in the UK and Europe; however, they have a flat fee of £25 for every other region. Withdrawals are 1 GBP and 1 EUR depending on the currency used. There are no commissions for depositing or withdrawing Bitcoin.
4. Bull Bitcoin is a long-standing bitcoin-only exchange established in 2013 and looks like a simple service to use from the get-go. There are no gimmicks on the landing page, and every important piece of information you need to know about the service is immediately displayed. You can also use Bull Bitcoin to pay your bills online with bitcoin.
They are widely regarded for their efficient customer support and have tiered transaction fees starting at 0.5% for CAD$100 up to CA$1,000 and up to 1.25% for amounts over CA$10,000.
5. Robosats is a peer-to-peer Bitcoin exchange because it is easy and fast to use. It does not require KYC as it is based on pseudonymous avatars allowing customers to trade bitcoins over the Lightning Network using only the TOR browser.
Users can also easily exchange on-chain Bitcoin for Lightning liquidity. Launched in early 2022, the no-holds-barred exchange has plenty of room for improvement, but it’s poised to launch a prototype bitcoin-only exchange focused on privacy and security.
6. Hodl Hodl is another peer-to-peer Bitcoin exchange that offers peer-to-peer lending services. It is a no-holds-barred platform that does not require any KYC or AML procedures. The exchange accepts almost all fiat currencies and many payment methods, including in-person cash and bank transfers, to start trading.
The way it works is simple: a contract is created and Hodl Hodl creates a unique multisig escrow. The seller deposits bitcoin directly from the wallet and agrees the payment method with the buyer. The seller releases the bitcoin directly from the multisig deposit to the buyer’s wallet.
7. Paxful is a Bitcoin exchange and digital wallet where customers can also use various digital currencies like Tether, ether and monero to buy bitcoins. Aside from typical bank transfers, Paxful offers a wide variety of payment methods, including gift cards and airline tickets.
8. Relai is based in Switzerland and is Europe’s most accessible bitcoin-only investment app. It enables instant bitcoin purchases via SEPA payment integration, and customers can set up a weekly or monthly savings plan of EUR 10. Bitcoiners appreciate it because it does not require any deposit, registration or strict KYC procedure. This is the perfect app for beginners who want to buy HODL bitcoin and HODL because it is easy to use and offers a hassle-free experience.
9. Bisq is a decentralized peer-to-peer bitcoin exchange that allows anyone to buy and sell bitcoins for fiat currencies and other cryptocurrencies. It’s not a company, it’s free software that doesn’t need centrally managed servers and has no single point of failure.
Bisq does not require personal information or a linked bank account to use the platform, making it a perfect choice for those who want to maintain their privacy.
10. Cash App deserves a special mention, even though it’s not technically an exchange, it’s a peer-to-peer payment system that allows users to buy and sell only bitcoins, along with stocks.
The platform allows investors to transfer bitcoins to a wallet, although withdrawals are limited to $2,000 daily or $5,000 every seven days. Cash App sets a fee based on price volatility and market trading volume disclosed at the time of purchase.
Frequently asked questions
What is the best exchange for Bitcoin?
There is no best, but you should be able to find a platform that meets your needs. Whether you’re looking for ease of use, better privacy, or enhanced security with jail-free service, you’ll find just the right bitcoin exchange for you. Just follow us guide above to have the best indication.
Which Bitcoin exchanges are the most reliable?
Not only bitcoin exchanges, P2P platforms and proof-of-reserve exchanges are generally more reliable than centralized exchanges.
Which Bitcoin exchange has the lowest fees?
Usually, payment apps like CashApp or Relai have the most competitive fees and are the easiest to use. However, fees vary greatly, whether for withdrawals or trading, so it’s best to pay attention to the exchange’s T&C to avoid surprises.
New exchanges appear regularly and become more and more secure and easy to use, so we always keep an eye on the latest additions.
It is always recommended to use decentralized P2P platforms, especially in light of the dramatic events of 2022 with the collapse of many cryptocurrency services – notably FTX, Three Arrows Capital and Celsius.
Regardless of the service you use, withdrawing coins from exchanges immediately after a significant trade has occurred is something that even exchanges have recommended for years and is never emphasized enough. Such a simple transfer from an exchange to a personal wallet would have prevented huge losses in the past.