If you are looking to buy, sell, and trade cryptocurrencies on your smartphone, you’ll be pleased to know that there are heaps of options in the market. But, with so much choice, this can make it difficult to know which trading app to go with.
For example, are you looking to focus on an app that offers industry-leading fees, or are you more concerned about trading a specific pair? Either way, you need to perform in-depth research before taking the plunge.
Here are my top suggestions right away:
- eToro – Best all-round crypto trading app
- Coinbase – Best crypto trading app for beginners
- Binance – Best range of tradable pairs
- YouHodler – Best app for earning interest and borrowing
- NSBroker – Best advanced app for crypto CFDs
To help point you in the right direction, here I discuss my top-rated cryptocurrency apps of 2021. On top of this, I also explain some of the key metrics that you need to look out for prior to selecting a provider.
Choosing a Suitable Platform
Before I delve into the best crypto trading apps of 2021, it is worth me quickly outlining what you need to look out when searching for a broker/exchange that meets your needs.
In my view, the most important metrics are as follows:
Ownership or CFDs?
First and foremost, you need to assess what your short or long-term objective is. For example, are you looking to buy leading cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin or Ethereum, and then hold on to the coins for several months or years? If so, you might be better suited for a cryptocurrency broker that accepts everyday payment methods.
Alternatively, if you are looking to actively trade cryptocurrencies to make frequent profits from every-changing price movements, you might be more suited for a CFD trading platform. This is because CFD providers typically allow you to trade cryptocurrencies without paying any commissions. As such, it’s only the spread that you need to take into account.
Note: CFDs (Contracts-for-Differences) track the market price of an asset. This allows you to speculate on cryptocurrencies without you owning the coins. Instead, you are speculating on the future price of the cryptocurrency.
Regulation is a bit of a grey area in the cryptocurrency trading space. If using a CFD provider, then it is all-but-certain that the platform will be heavily regulated.
For example, the likes of eToro, IG, and Plus500 all hold licenses with the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). Other reputable license issuers include the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).
At the other end of the spectrum, conventional cryptocurrency trading exchanges like Binance still operate largely unregulated. This is somewhat surprising when you consider the billions of dollars worth of trading activity that goes through its books each and every day.
However, I would argue that Binance is still worth considering, as it has industry-leading security practices.
Supported Pairs and Financial Instruments
The term ‘Cryptocurrency Trading’ is somewhat of a broad one, not least because it can refer to several financial products. For example, if you’re looking to trade cryptocurrencies against the US dollar, you need to ensure your chosen app supports fiat-to-crypto pairs.
Alternatively, you might be looking to trade crypto-cross pairs. These are currency pairs that contain two digital assets. This might include BTC/ETH or XRP/ETH. If you’re a seasoned crypto trader looking to take things to the next level, then you’ll want to look out for things like margin trading, leverage, and short-selling facilities.
1. eToro – Best All-Round Crypto Trading App
So now that you know what factors you should be looking out for when selecting a crypto trading app, I am now going to discuss my number one pick – eToro. Launched in 2007, eToro is home to over 12 million traders around the world. You will have the option of trading via its main desktop site, or through a fully-fledged mobile app. The latter is available on iOS and Android devices.
eToro offers traditional assets as well as CFDs, which gives you ample flexibility.
- If you want to invest in cryptocurrencies, you can do this at eToro and retain 100% ownership. You can’t, however, withdraw the coins to a private wallet. As such, they will remain on the eToro platform until you decide to cash them out.
- If you want to apply leverage or short-sell cryptocurrencies, this is facilitated via CFDs.
- If you want to trade crypto-cross pairs, this is facilitated via CFDs.
See also: My crypto predictions for 2021
In total, eToro allows you to buy and sell 16 different cryptocurrencies in the traditional sense. This includes Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Bitcoin Cash, EOS, and more.
You can also trade cryptocurrency pairs – including both crypto-fiat and crypto-crypto. For example, you can trade cryptocurrencies against the USD, GBP, JPY, and EUR. You can also trade cross-pairs like EOS/XLM or BTC/EOS.
Fees and Commissions
On top of its vast offering of tradable cryptocurrency products, the eToro app stands out in the fee department.
- Deposits: You can deposit funds with a traditional debit/credit card, e-wallet, or bank account without paying any fees. The only cost that is associated with financing your account is a 0.5% currency conversion charge for all non-USD deposits. In comparison to the likes of Coinbase – which charges 3.99% on debit card deposits, this is very competitive.
- 0% Commission: Whether you are buying cryptocurrencies or trading CFDs, you will not pay any commissions at eToro. You will, however, need to factor in overnight financing fees if trading CFDs. This is industry standard in the CFD space, and the charge will kick in for each day that you keep your position open past market hours.
- Competitive Spreads: Although not industry-leading, the spreads at eToro can be competitive – especially if you are investing in the long-run. You should expect to pay a wider spread when trading less liquid cryptocurrency pairs.
- Withdrawals: Getting your money out of the eToro crypto app and back onto your payment method is seamless. Best of all, the platform charges just $5 per withdrawal.
All in all, I think that eToro is very strong when it comes to trading fees and commissions.
Safety and Regulation
When it comes to the safety of your funds, eToro is regulated on three fronts. This includes the FCA, ASIC and CySEC. These three licensing bodies have an excellent reputation in the online brokerage space. They all have strict demands on the brokers and trading platforms that they regulate, such as:
- Requiring platforms to keep client funds in segregated bank accounts
- Performing regular auditors on the provider
- Asking platforms to request ID from all traders
- Clearly add warnings on the risks of trading financial instruments like cryptocurrencies
See also: Should you buy Bitcoin in 2021?
Other Notable Features
In addition to low fees and a strong regulatory standing, the eToro crypto trading app offers several other features that are worth a quick mention.
eToro allows you to trade crypto CFDs with leverage. As per the regulations installed by ESMA, UK and European residents will be capped at 1:2. This means that a $500 account balance would permit a crypto trade worth $1,000. The only exception here is if you are classed as a professional trader. If you are, you’ll get significantly more.
If you are based outside of the UK/Europe, then it’s likely that you will get much higher limits when trading crypto. The specific amount will likely depend on where you are based.
The eToro app offers an innovative feature known as ‘Copy Trading’. Put simply, this allows you to browse the eToro platform looking for a cryptocurrency trader that you like the look of. Then, once you find a suitable trader, you get to mirror their portfolio like-for-like.
Not only this, but you can elect to copy all ongoing trades. As a result, you get to trade cryptocurrencies without lifting a finger. This is great if you have little to no experience of buying and selling digital currencies, or you simply don’t have the time to actively trade.
Other Asset Classes
I should also note that the eToro app is suitable for those of you that wish to diversify into other asset classes. For example, you can invest in ETFs and over 800+ stocks while retaining full ownership.
If it’s hard-core trading you’re after, you will also have access to indices, forex, hard metals, energies, government bonds, and more. These all come in the form of CFDs, so leverage and short-selling facilities are available.
You can read my full eToro review to learn more about the platform.
eToro is a multi-asset platform which offers both investing in stocks and cryptoassets, as well as trading CFDs.
Please note that CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 67% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work, and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
Past performance is not an indication of future results.
Cryptoassets are volatile instruments which can fluctuate widely in a very short timeframe and therefore are not appropriate for all investors. Other than via CFDs, trading cryptoassets is unregulated and therefore is not supervised by any EU regulatory framework.
2. Coinbase – Best Crypto Trading App for Beginners
Although Coinbase won’t be the right crypto trading app for some of you, it likely will be if you are an absolute beginner. The reason that I say this is that the app is one of the easiest to use. In fact, even if you have little to no experience in trading cryptocurrencies, you should be fine with Coinbase.
So, the main Coinbase application allows you to buy and sell 22 different cryptocurrencies.
All of the above digital currencies can be purchased in the traditional sense, meaning that you retain 100% ownership. Unlike eToro, however, the Coinbase trading app allows you to withdraw your cryptocurrencies out to your private wallet. This is much more in line with the crypto ethos of practicing self-custody of your coins.
In fact, if you want to start trading straight away, you can deposit funds with a debit card. Unfortunately, this will cost 3.99%, which is even more than Binance. Alternatively, bank transfers are typically free, although this will depend on your location. You will also need to wait a few days for the bank transfer to settle.
See also: Should you buy Ethereum in 2021?
Once you have a fully funded account, you can start buying and selling cryptocurrencies. You will be trading each cryptocurrency against the US dollar.
When it comes to trading fees, Coinbase has a standard buy/sell rate of 1.5%.
- If you bought $1,000 worth of Bitcoin, this would translate into a commission of $15
- If you sold $10,000 worth of Bitcoin back to US dollars, you would pay $150
Admittedly, this isn’t as competitive as the other crypto trading apps I have discussed thus far. As a result, if you’re a complete newbie, you might need to trade in cost for convenience and user-friendliness.
Safety and Regulation
Coinbase has an excellent reputation with regulators in the US. It is registered with FinCEN as a Money Service Business, which means that it must comply with US regulations. At the forefront of this is the anti-money laundering laws surrounding KYC. Put simply, all Coinbase customers are required to identify themselves.
Coinbase is also in the processing of getting the green light from the SEC for a brokerage license. Outside of the US, Coinbase is also registered with the FCA. Internal security is also top-notch at Coinbase. For example, you’ll benefit from 98%+ of client funds being held in cold storage, as well as 2FA.
US-dollar accounts also benefit from FDIC Insurance, meaning the first $250,000 is covered. The Vault is also a handy security feature that you will find on the app, which puts a 48-hour time lock on all withdrawal requests.
You can read my full Coinbase review here.
3. Binance – Best Crypto Trading App for Tradable Pairs
Binance needs no introduction in the cryptocurrency exchange circle – not least because it is responsible for some of the largest trading volumes globally. For example, in the last 24 hours alone Binance has facilitated over $9 billion in trading volume (as per CoinMarketCap).
While most traders will buy and sell pairs through the main Binance website, the provider also offers a trading app. This is available to download free of charge, and it’s compatible with iOS and Android devices. Much like in the case of eToro, you will have one central account that you can use across all devices.
One of the stand-out features of Binance is that it offers a significant number of cryptocurrency pairs. In fact, this stands at well over 600 pairs at the time of writing.
This means that you will have access to cryptocurrencies of all shapes and sizes. For example, if you’re looking to trade the likes of Bitcoin, Ethereum, or Bitcoin Cash – you will benefit from heaps of pairs at your fingertips. Alternatively, if you want to access less liquid projects like Troy, Polymath, or Status, Binance also has you covered.
Binance does not offer CFD products. On the contrary, you will be buying and selling cryptocurrencies in the traditional sense. You will, however, still be trading pairs.
- You wish to trade Bitcoin against Ethereum. As such, you will need to trade ETH/BTC.
- We’ll then say that the pair is priced at 0.0348. This means that for every 1 ETH, you get 0.0348 BTC.
- Much like real-world currencies, the value of ETH/BTC will go up and down on a second-by-second basis.
- You then need to stipulate whether you think the price of the pair will go up (buy order) or down (sell order).
Once you place an order via the Binance trading app, the position will remain open until you decide to close it. Once you do, your profit or loss will be determined by whether you speculated correctly, and by how much.
On top of spot trading pairs, the Binance app also gives you access to more sophisticated products. This includes the platform’s Perpetual Futures Contracts, which allows you to apply leverage.
As the structure of the derivatives offered by Binance falls outside of traditional trading regulations, it is able to offer leverage of up to 1:125. This means that a $200 account balance would permit a maximum trade value of $25,000.
Fees and Commissions
In terms of trading fees at Binance, the platform is largely very competitive.
- The highest trading commission charged by the Binance app is 0.1%. This is charged at both ends of the trade. For example, let’s say that you trade $500 worth of BTC/XRP. This would cost you just $0.50 in commission. if you then sold the pair when it was valued at $550, you would pay $0.55 in commission. This is extremely competitive.
- You can get your trading fees down to even lower percentage rates if you make use of the BNB Coin. This is Binance’s native cryptocurrency token.
- If you’re keen to trade Perpetual Futures Contracts via the Binance app, this starts at just 0.02%.
With that being said, if you plan to deposit fiat currency into Binance with your credit card, this can be costly. This comes out at the higher of 3.5% per transaction or 10 USD.
On the other hand, if you are able to deposit funds with a cryptocurrency, then no fees are charged by Binance. In terms of withdrawing cryptocurrencies, you will pay a charge that is similar to the blockchain mining fee for the respective coin or token.
Safety and Regulation
Binance is not regulated by any single government entity or national regulator. This means that you can never be 100% sure just how safe your money is. On the flip side, Binance does have an excellent reputation in the space and crucially – is responsible for billions of dollars worth of trading volume each and every day.
Although it operates without a license, there are several safeguards in place to ensure your account remains secure. This includes everything from 2FA (Two-Factor Authentication), address whitelisting, cold storage, anti-phishing tools, and ‘SAFU’.
The last safeguard is Binance’s Secure Asset Fund for Users. This is a reserve pot that grows over time. If the unfortunate happens and Binance is hacked, the pot will be used to compensate victims.
You can read my full Binance review to learn more about this platform.
4. YouHodler – Best Crypto App for Earning Interest and Loans
Although not uniquely a trading app, YouHodler is an interesting platform that offers a full range of cryptocurrency-based products. At the forefront of this is the ability to earn interest on your cryptocurrency holdings that otherwise – would be sat idle in your private wallet.
The way it works is as follows. You deposit your chosen cryptocurrency into your unique YouHodler wallet. You can do this directly from within the mobile app. Then, depending on the digital currency you deposit and the length of time you keep the coins locked away, you could earn up to 12% in interest per year.
Bitcoin yields a maximum of 4.8%, albeit, this is still competitive. In addition to being able to earn interest, the YouHodler app also supports cryptocurrency loans. In fact, you can get an LTV (Loan to Value) of up to 90% on the digital currency you deposit, with the proceeds being paid in fiat money.
See also: My in-depth YouHodler review
This might suit those of you that wish to release some of the funds you have tied up in cryptocurrency, without being forced to cash out. In turn, if the value of the coin you deposit goes up while the loan is outstanding, you will still benefit from the upside.
You can also use YouHodler to buy cryptocurrencies directly from your account using fiat currencies (EUR, USD, GBP etc).
5. NSBroker – Best Advanced Trading App for Crypto CFDs
If you like the sound of trading cryptocurrencies in the shape of CFDs, it’s well worth checking out NSBroker. The platform gives you access to five digital currencies – namely Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Ripple, and Bitcoin Cash. Each of these five cryptocurrencies can be traded against the US dollar at a commission rate of just 0.5% per slide.
This means that you will pay this fee when you open your crypto CFD position and again when you close it. For those of you seeking leverage, NSBroker offers 1:2 on its cryptocurrency trading markets.
See also: My NSBroker review
Outside of cryptocurrencies, the mobile app also offers markets on forex, precious metals, energies, and indices. Licensed by the MFSA in Malta, NSBroker allows you to deposit funds with a debit/credit card, Skrill, Neteller, or bank wire. Finally, all trades are facilitated vias the MT5 app – which comes jam-packed with tools and features.
In summary, there are many crypto trading apps to choose from. No-two apps are the same, so you need to spend some time exploring what you are looking to prioritize. As I have discussed in this article, certain crypto trading apps are suited for certain requirements.
For example, if you’re looking for an app that hosts hundreds of crypto trading pairs, then you might be best suited for Binance.
With the rise of crypto interest platforms like YouHodler and BlockFi, you can also hold on to your purchased Bitcoin and earn interest on that crypto. If you haven’t come across these platforms, I would highly recommend you look into them.
Staking is another option for those who have significant crypto assets and want to hold them but at the same time accrue more value.