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Best Bitcoin Exchanges for 2024: Which Wins & What to Know

With so many Bitcoin exchanges to choose from, how do you know which is right one for you? We are here to help choose between three of the best Bitcoin exchanges in 2024: Swan Bitcoin, Coinbase and Binance.

Drew
Drew
Apr 14, 2024April 14, 202416 min read16 minutes read

Choosing the best Bitcoin exchange is essential. The following review breaks down two of the most popular exchanges Coinbase, Binance, and Swan Bitcoin, a Bitcoin-only exchange in the United States.

Let’s get started…

Swan Bitcoin

Account Minimum: No minimum balance requirements
Investment Options: Bitcoin-only
Fees: 0.99%*
Custody Provider: BitGo Trust Company
Trustpilot Rating: 4.4/5 from 1,033k reviews
Apple Store App: 4.8/5 from +1.2k reviews
Google Play Store: 4.1/5 from 530 reviews, +50,000 downloads

Binance

Most Popular International Bitcoin Exchange 

Coinbase 

Most Popular U.S. Bitcoin Exchange

Account Minimum: $2
Investment Options: +150 alternative cryptocurrencies
Fees: 0.5% to 4.5%
Custody Provider: Coinbase Custody Trust
Trustpilot Rating: 1.7/5 from 9,189 reviews
Apple Store App4.7/5 from +1.7M reviews (#18 in Finance)
Google Play Store4.4/5 from +826k reviews, +10M downloads

Bitcoin-only Exchanges vs. Cryptocurrency Exchanges

Cryptocurrency exchanges are online platforms that facilitate the buying, selling, and trading Bitcoin, altcoins, stablecoins and other digital assets.

Exchanges serve as intermediaries, connecting buyers and sellers and providing a marketplace for individuals to exchange their fiat currency (U.S. dollars, Euros, etc.) for Bitcoin and vice versa.

Altcoins refer to ANY cryptocurrency other than Bitcoin. These alternative digital assets are often funded through pre-sale token agreements and usually do not have clear legal definitions. Many of these ICO-launched networks are Ponzi-like and one-hit wonders.

Several types of exchanges exist for different investors, making choosing the best Bitcoin exchange even more challenging.

Swan Bitcoin

Founded in 2019 and headquartered in Los Angeles, California, Swan Bitcoin has made buying and owning Bitcoin a breeze.

Swan removes the complexity and confusion surrounding Bitcoin IRA investing and is accessible to a broader audience for low fees and offers investors free withdrawals into self-custody of purchased Bitcoin with a secure, non-custodial wallet.

This gives investors complete control over their digital assets and an added layer of security.

Swan Bitcoin Homepage

Key Features

  1. Enhanced knowledge base: Swan’s knowledge base includes comprehensive educational resources, in-depth market analysis, and up-to-date information on Bitcoin.

  2. Unparalleled expertise in Bitcoin: Whether understanding technical aspects, market trends, or potential risks, Swan’s experts work round the clock to guide you every step of the way.

  3. Advisor services: Besides its expert team, Swan now offers Swan Advisor Services to help financial advisors integrate Bitcoin into their clients' investment portfolio’s seamlessly.

  4. Personalized consultation: Investors get advice and strategic recommendations tailored to their financial goals and risk tolerance, ensuring Bitcoin becomes an accessible and beneficial asset.

  5. Reliable self-custody options: Swan’s Specter Labs offers a range of safe and easy-to-use self-custody options for Bitcoiners who prefer to be in direct control of their wealth.

One of Swan’s key features that makes it easy for newcomers is the ease of setting up automate recurring Bitcoin purchases (with private key ownership) at regular intervals, helping create a disciplined, low-time preference investment strategy to build wealth over time.

Coinbase offers this feature, BUT the exchange maintains control over the private keys.

Swan Education

Welcome to Bitcoin 101 Series: What You’ll Learn

Swan Bitcoin IRA

Swan Bitcoin IRA offers a tax-deferred or tax-free solution to incorporating Bitcoin into a retirement portfolio. Swan offers self-managed Traditional or Roth IRAs, with Bitcoin held in a legal, regulated trust account maintained by a qualified and authorized custodian.

What to know: The best Bitcoin exchanges provide unique products and services like an IRA product to help them differentiate themselves from major competitors. Neither Binance nor Coinbase offer a tax-free IRA product.

Swan Support: Best in Industry Customer Support

Exceptional customer service

Swan uses a chatbot feature and instantly connects users to a Swan representative. This functionality allows users to engage in real-time conversations, enabling swift access to assistance and support. 

Swan Support is rated the best in the industry by many. If you ever have any problems, you can usually reach a Swan Support customer service representative in 10 minutes or less.

What to know: For U.S. citizens, this is not possible on Coinbase. The best Bitcoin exchanges offer exceptional levels of customer service.

Swan Private

If you’re a high net-worth individual, family office, or corporation looking to buy $100,000 or more worth of Bitcoin, you can sign up with Swan Private for customized services. The Swan Private team produces a monthly research report to keep you updated and educated about the latest Bitcoin developments and the broader financial world.

Swan Force

Swan Force is another Swan entity to earn Bitcoin by helping other users and businesses engage with the Bitcoin ecosystem.

Swan Bitcoin-only Trust

On September 14th, 2024, Swan revealed plans for the first Bitcoin-only trust company in the United States.

BitGo Swan Partnership Announcement

This strategic partnership aims to meet the increasing demand for Bitcoin-specific solutions while addressing the crucial security and custody needs within the Bitcoin ecosystem. BitGo has been safeguarding Swan users' Bitcoin in cold storage custody since June, 2023 — a practice that will continue. 

Swan Vault

On October 5, Swan Bitcoin and Blockstream announced Swan Vault. With Blockstream Jade’s support, Swan Vault provides Bitcoin investors with robust and user-friendly solutions to the complex challenges of secure and safe Bitcoin custody.

The Daily Bitcoiner

One curated piece of Bitcoin content, a job listing in the Bitcoin industry, thought provoking quote and Bitcoin-only event — published every weekday. Only the highest quality articles, podcasts, and videos make the cut.

Employee Bitcoin Benefit Plan

The Bitcoin Benefit Plan makes it easy to give your team Bitcoin. Swan will automatically deposit a set amount of Bitcoin into your team’s accounts every month.

Fees

Swan charges ZERO on your next or first $10k purchase — only a 0.99% fee on all Bitcoin buys thereafter; that’s all. No deposit fees, no withdrawal fees, no hidden fees.

Low and transparent fees

Swan’s exclusive focus on Bitcoin allows it to cut costs and pass on the savings in lower fees, making it a great Coinbase alternative for users who prioritize low fees and wish to focus on Bitcoin-only.

The best Bitcoin exchanges offer low fees and don’t charge their customers hidden fees like spread fees.

Swan does not charge a spread to its customers. This dramatically reduces the hardware, software, and staff costs required to support multiple coins. There are no inactivity fees, withdrawal fees, overdraft fees, custody fees** or fiat withdrawal fees involved. 

Let’s take a look at the two leading alternative cryptocurrency exchanges: Binance and Coinbase.

Binance

Founded by Changpeng Zhao (CZ) in 2017, Binance is a pioneering cryptocurrency exchange, considered by many to be the best Bitcoin exchange that has quickly grown into one of the industry’s largest and most influential platforms since its launch.

Key Features

Binance boasts a variety of key features that have contributed to its popularity:

  1. Wide range of cryptocurrencies: Binance provides access to an extensive list of cryptocurrencies for trading, allowing users to diversify their portfolio.

  2. Binance Launchpad: A platform within Binance that hosts token sales for new projects, enabling users to invest in promising blockchain startups.

  3. Binance Smart Chain: A parallel blockchain network that supports decentralized applications (DApps) and smart contracts, offering an alternative to Ethereum.

  4. Binance Earn:service allowing users to earn interest or rewards by participating in cryptocurrency-related activities, such as staking or lending.

  5. Binance Visa Card: A cryptocurrency debit card that allows users to spend their cryptocurrencies at merchants that accept Visa.

Fees

Binance operates with a competitive fee structure, offering some of the lowest trading fees in the industry, making it attractive for retail and institutional traders.

  • Binance charges different fees based on trading volume and whether users hold its native cryptocurrency, Binance Coin (BNB).

  • By using BNB to pay trading fees, users can enjoy additional discounts. 

  • You’ll incur 0.1% trading fee, and Instant buy/sell will incur a 0.5% fee.

Binance has a number of hidden fees such as different withdrawal fees for every type of currency.

  • For BTC this fee is 0.0001 — 0.0005 of the amount you are withdrawing.  

The fees start to get more complex and higher once you start trading odd altcoins and cryptocurrencies.

  • Trade fees start at a 0.6% taker and 0.4% maker fee for trading non Bitcoin crypto worth less than $10,000 in a 30-day period. 

You can check out the complete fee schedule on their website.

Customer Service

  • Comprehensive and fast customer support.

  • Extensive FAQ section, a ticketing system for specific inquiries.

  • Live chat feature for real-time assistance.

What to know: The best Bitcoin exchanges include a live chat feature for their customer base. 

Binance Trustpilot Reviews

  • Only a 2.1 / 5 stars +4.37 k reviews.

  • 80% of reviews resulting in 1-star ratings.

  • 86% of reviews resulted in a negative 1 or 2-star ratings.

Binance Trustpilot Rating

Trustpilot

Custody

Binance offers a range of custody solutions for institutional clients and high-net-worth individuals who require secure storage for their digital assets. Binance Custody became Ceffu in February of 2023.

Regulatory Clarity

A significant portion of the cryptocurrency industry operates in a regulatory gray area in many jurisdictions. Binance has faced scrutiny from regulatory authorities in different countries. Recently, the SEC filed lawsuits against Binance. In the suit, the SEC names at least (67) alternative cryptocurrencies it believes are unregistered securities.

Coinbase 

Founded in 2012 by Brian Armstrong and Fred Ehrsam, Coinbase emerged as a response to the need for a secure and user-friendly platform for buying, selling, and storing cryptocurrencies. Coinbase provides a straightforward interface and services catering to individual retail investors and institutional clients.

Many consider Coinbase the best Bitcoin exchange for U.S. citizens. 

Why Coinbase is So Popular

Key Features

Coinbase Wallet

digital wallet for securely storing cryptocurrencies. 

Coinbase Pro 

platform designed to cater to experienced traders who require more sophisticated trading tools than what is offered on Coinbase’s basic platform.

  • Advanced order types

  • Real-time market data

  • Charting tools

  • High liquidity 

Coinbase Custody

  • Offers secure storage solutions for institutional investors and high-net-worth individuals.

  • Designed to meet clients' needs, requiring a highly safe and reliable custodial solution for their digital assets.

Fees

Coinbase fees are considered much higher than other exchanges, like Swan. Still, Coinbase’s ease of use makes it an attractive option for users looking for a reliable onboarding experience and most new retail investors don’t pay close attention to the fee difference.

Coinbase Security Measures

Coinbase has implemented several security protocols and practices to protect user funds and safeguard against hacking attempts and cybersecurity threats. 

Two-factor authentication (2FA)

Coinbase encourages users to enable 2FA, which adds an extra layer of security by requiring a unique code generated on a mobile device and a password. 

Third-party audits

Coinbase undergoes regular security audits conducted by reputable third-party firms.

What to know: The best Bitcoin exchanges conduct multiple audits annually. 

Coinbase Issues with User Funds Protection 

Offline storage (cold storage)

Coinbase employs multiple layers of security to store and secure user funds. The majority of customer funds held by Coinbase are stored in offline, cold storage wallets.

What to know: The best Bitcoin exchanges hold their customers' funds in cold storage wallets.

Multi-signature technology

Coinbase previously offered a multi-signature mechanism for its wallets. However, it no longer provides this service. 

Insurance

In case of a security breach or loss of funds, Coinbase has specific options available to users. It provides insurance coverage for cryptocurrency holdings stored in its custody provider. 

Coinbase carries crime insurance that protects a portion of digital assets held across our storage systems against losses from theft, including cybersecurity breaches.

However, its policy DOES NOT cover any losses resulting from unauthorized access to your personal Coinbase or Coinbase Pro account (s) due to a breach or loss of your credentials.

It is your responsibility to use a strong password and maintain control of all login credentials you use to access Coinbase and Coinbase Pro. 

  • Cryptocurrency is not legal tender and is not backed by the government.

  • Coinbase is NOT an FDIC-insured bank.

  • Cryptocurrency is NOT insured or guaranteed by or subject to the protections of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”) or Securities Investor Protection Corporation (”SIPC“), and may lose value.

Account recovery

Coinbase has account recovery procedures in place to help users regain access to their accounts in case of unauthorized access or loss of account credentials. Users can follow the account recovery process, which typically involves identity verification and account ownership confirmation.

Coinbase Customer Service: Problematic, At Best

Coinbase has a notorious reputation for its poor customer service. Many users have reported issues with frozen or suspended accounts without explanation and no ability to receive personalized responses.

In August, 2021 CNBC wrote a highly shared article about Coinbase customer support problems.

CNBC Article Key Points

Customers regularly complain about this on Twitter, Trustpilot, and forums like Reddit. Coinbase offers no live chat feature other than a bot with limited capabilities. 

Many users have to wait several days for answers if they receive them at all.

Coinbase Trustpilot Reviews

  • Only a 1.6 / 5 stars from +9.16k reviews.

  • 78% reviews received a 1-star rating.

  • 85% of reviews resulted in a negative 1 or 2-star ratings.

It has a near-worst possible score of 1.06 stars of 5-star rating from BBB.

Furthermore, the following ⚠️ CURRENT ALERTS FOR THIS BUSINESS message can be found on the company BBB page:

Outages and technical issues

Coinbase regularly experiences:

especially during periods of high volatility, making taking advantage of market volatility a massive pain point for investors. 

Recent examples

In 2021, hackers stole crypto assets and user information from at least 6,000 Coinbase customers. 

On February 28th, 2024 Coinbase suffered another glitch that left many users seeing a zero balance in their account.

Frozen and suspended accounts

Coinbase has sometimes frozen or suspended user accounts due to suspected fraudulent or suspicious activity. Many users have expressed frustration over account freezes, citing difficulties in resolving such issues.

Help center

  • Coinbase provides a ‘Help Center’ on its website.

  • Offers customer support through email and a ticketing system.

  • Many Coinbase customers complain about the poor service and response time they receive from the Help Center. 

If you are looking for a Binance or Coinbase alternative, Bitcoin-only Swan Bitcoin might be right for you.

Regulatory clarity

A significant portion of the cryptocurrency industry operates in a regulatory gray area in many jurisdictions.

  • Recently, the SEC filed lawsuits against Coinbase.

  • In the suit, the SEC names at least (67) alternative cryptocurrencies it believes are unregistered securities.

  • Coinbase platforms and markets many of the tokens included in the lawsuit.

  • Some of these tokens are included in Coinbase education rewards for watching videos and answering questions correctly.

Altcoins are highly speculative and carry numerous unique risks.

When investing in a non-Bitcoin crypto IRA, understand that the development team typically retains a guaranteed token stake at launch, similar to how an initial public offering (IPO) operates in the traditional stock market. 

Swan Bitcoin Advantages > Binance and Coinbase

Using Swan and buying only Bitcoin has several advantages:

Clear blue regulatory skies 

The SEC has publicly stated that Bitcoin isn’t a security and doesn’t fall under the SEC’s regulatory mandate. Swan Bitcoin focuses on recurring Bitcoin purchases for long-term investments, emphasizing simplicity and regulatory clarity.

What to know: The best Bitcoin exchanges are completely transparent about their regulatory standing and avoid cryptocurrencies that could present significant legal problems.

Bitcoin-only is better

Being a Bitcoin-only company, Swan avoids the risks of volatile altcoins.

Fewer account restrictions

Unlike Binance and Coinbase, Swan has a few account restrictions and a transparent framework openly available to the public

Let’s Wrap Up  

So, what is the best Bitcoin exchange for you? 

A Bitcoin-only exchange. Bitcoin is a fully decentralized, legally recognized commodity with no central authority, issuer, or single point of failure.

Swan is a leading Bitcoin financial services company with more than 120,000 clients and 170 employees, operating globally. Established in 2019, Swan helps individuals and institutions to understand and invest in Bitcoin. The Swan app simplifies Bitcoin purchases with instant and recurring buys. Swan IRA provides a tax-advantaged solution for saving Bitcoin in retirement accounts.

For HNWIs and businesses, Swan Private provides white-glove service for large purchases, treasury solutions, and employee Bitcoin benefits. With Swan Vault, clients can easily custody their own Bitcoin with peace of mind. Financial advisors trust Swan Advisor for client Bitcoin allocations, backed by world-class custody and educational content.

Swan Managed Mining provides clients with fully segregated and dedicated mining operations, catering to their unique requirements, opportunities, and strategic advantages. Swan prides itself on exceptional client service, making Bitcoin accessible to all. For more information, please visit swan.com.

Drew

Drew

Drew, a class of 2013 Bitcoiner, is a Research Analyst for Swan Bitcoin.

He has worked in institutional VC/PE, FinTech, and DLT consulting for over six years. He also brings over twelve years of experience working with national nonprofits and start-ups in education and software development in several leadership roles.

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