Are you a seasoned crypto trader? Are you a stock investor ready to diversify with your risk-tolerant capital into the wild world of digital currencies? No matter where you're coming from, there's one universal truth when it comes to choosing a cryptocurrency platform: There's no such thing as a "one size fits all" solution.
You may very well have just one brokerage for your entire stock portfolio, but there are too many crypto platforms with unique strengths to settle on a single solution. A slick trading interface may not have the best rates or the ideal way to generate interest income on your cryptocurrency or digital currencies by generating interest income.
The Ascent's list of the best cryptocurrency apps and exchanges offers some great ideas to start your journey. Let's go over some of my top recommendations for new or experienced crypto investors.
We may as well start with the top dog, Coinbase (COIN 12.35%). With 7.4 million monthly transacting users and $255 billion in assets on the platform at the end of September, it's the largest and best-known marketplace. There's a lot to like when it comes to Coinbase. It has an intuitive user interface that's easy to navigate through a browser or its namesake app.
Coinbase offers a wide array of roughly 120 digital currencies to trade, more than most of the leading exchanges. There's also the win-win Learn promotional program where accounts can earn $3 to $10 in crypto of select denominations in exchange for watching short video tutorials. There's also a Coinbase debit card for users to earn as much as 4% back in Stellar Lumens on purchases.
Coinbase isn't perfect, but the same can be said about all exchanges. Its trading rates are on the high end, and it offers interest on just six of the digital currencies on its platform.
Coinbase does offer more competitive rates on its Coinbase Pro platform, but it's tricky to navigate for beginners. Coinbase Pro also doesn't offer Learn or interest-generating rewards, and funds or crypto must be transferred from one Coinbase exchange to the other.
Another exchange with a slick interface that works well on browsers and in app form is Gemini. Started by Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss -- yes, those Winklevoss twins from Facebook fame -- Gemini is a strong entry with slightly better rates than you'll typically find on Coinbase.
Gemini only has 56 digital currencies currently available for trading, but it lets users earn interest on 42 of them through the Gemini Earn program. The earning rates are competitive with other interest-generating programs that pay you for the right to lend, pledge, or otherwise use your crypto. Its proprietary stablecoin -- Gemini dollar (GUSD -0.79%) -- which is pegged to the U.S. dollar by Gemini on a one-to-one basis, currently pays 8.05% in annualized interest.
It also has a more bare-boned trading interface called Gemini Active Trader with lower rates than Coinbase Pro. Another bonus is that the assets don't need to be transferred from one platform to the other the way traders have to do on Coinbase. Traders can switch from Gemini to Gemini Active Trader within the Settings dropdown menu, and all of their assets will follow.
3. Celsius Network
Celsius Network is a fast-growing app that isn't actually a trading exchange itself. It's a platform where crypto investors can transfer over their digital currencies to earn as much as 14% in annual interest. There are now more than a million users with over $28 billion in assets on the platform. It will also let you put up your crypto as collateral for loans with interest rates as low as 1%.
Celsius Network covers all network and gas fees when it's time to transfer your crypto back to your trading marketplace of choice, but you'll be on the hook for those same fees when you're transferring crypto into the platform. Some exchanges, like Gemini and BlockFi, offer a limited number of free monthly transfers out of their apps, but most (like Coinbase) pass on the cost to the user.
High rates are the appeal at Celsius. The Gemini dollar that can earn 8.05% on its home exchange is currently earning 10.02% at Celsius Network.
There'll always be new platforms and new promotions that draw you to new or old possibilities. Apps tend to have unique sign-up bonuses, so it could be financially rewarding to join a couple of the platforms that best suit your needs over time. The Ascent's list of the best cryptocurrency apps and exchanges is updated monthly with some of the latest promos, so it's a great place to start.
Once you start, you probably won't stop. There are seemingly as many platforms as there are types of cryptocurrencies, and time is always on your side in the expanding universe of digital currencies.