You’ve heard friends brag about their cryptocurrency winnings. You’ve seen prices go up (and down) by hundreds of percent. You’re genuinely interested in the crypto space.
No matter what your reason is, if you’re thinking about getting into crypto, the first thing you have to do is buy some. And the easiest way to do that is through an app…but how do you choose the right one?
Before we reveal our choice for the best app for buying crypto (and a runner up), here’s a couple of things you need to know.
First, we’ve only considered apps that actually allow you to access the private keys of your cryptocurrencies. Revolut, for example, gives you access to cryptocurrencies, but if you buy bitcoins there, you cannot send them to another address. This may be alright with some users (or even preferable as it’s really simple), but there’s a saying in crypto: Not your keys, not your coins.
It means that unless you control the private key for your crypto — a long string of characters that lets you send your crypto to another address — then you don’t really own it. Equally as important, actually controlling the private key lets you participate in the crypto space by using various blockchain apps. (By the way, never give your private key to anyone, and store it in a safe location.)
Second, you should know that there’s no one perfect app that will fit everyone’s needs. An app that’s popular in the U.S. could be inaccessible or even banned in another country, and vice versa. Your bank might not allow transactions to a certain service. An app or service may have a limited set of features in one market compared to another market. In other words, you will have to do some research regarding what’s best for you, locally.
Our top app for buying cryptocurrencies
There are no surprises here; the best app for buying cryptocurrencies is Coinbase. It is available in more than one hundred countries (note, however, that it doesn’t allow buying or selling crypto in all of these markets), it’s been around for a decade, without notable security incidents in the past couple of years, and it has more than 73 million verified users. You can get it on the Google Play Store Android or on the Apple App Store iOS.
On top of all that, the app is well designed, simple to use, and covers most major coins, including Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Dogecoin, stablecoins such as USDC, Tether, and DAI, and decentralized finance platforms including Ethereum, Avalanche, and Solana, among others.
Buying crypto with the Coinbase app is simple: You fund your fiat currency (USD, EUR, etc) wallet by transferring funds from your credit or debit card. Then, you can use that cash to buy the coins that Coinbase supports.
Buying crypto on Coinbase in three steps: First, fund your cash wallet. Then, choose the coin you want to buy. Finally, enter the amount of cash you want to spend and hit “buy”.
Additional perks include the “learn and earn” lessons which allow you to earn small amounts of crypto after completing a few tasks, the ability to earn returns on certain crypto holdings, and Coinbase Card, a debit card that lets you spend cryptocurrencies from your Coinbase wallet.
Coinbase isn’t the best platform to actively trade crypto; for that, you have Coinbase’s own Coinbase Pro, as well as Binance, FTX, and many others. You may also find other platforms with lower fees. But for getting into the world of cryptocurrencies, Coinbase will do fine.
For a far more advanced – but also a lot more complex – crypto experience, try Binance’s mobile app. Binance is a massive crypto exchange that supports hundreds of cryptocurrencies and has nearly every feature under the sun, including margin trading, a debit card, various promotions, coin staking, gift cards, and many more.
This is just a part of what Binance has to offer.
One big advantage over Coinbase is that Binance is a lot more agile when it comes to introducing new cryptos into the mix, so if you want to trade something that’s fairly fresh, chances are you’ll find it on Binance weeks or months before it comes to Coinbase.
The downside is that Binance might be a bit overwhelming to an inexperienced user who just wants to step into the world of cryptocurrencies. Furthermore, Binance isn’t offering a fully unified experience in all markets; for example, users in the U.S. will get a different app (Binance.US) than users in other markets.
Good to know
Cryptocurrencies are a highly speculative investment. Many of them are extremely volatile, with prices sometimes going hundreds of percent up before plummeting down to near-zero (and vice versa). Be careful, do your research before you buy anything, and never spend an amount that you aren’t ready to lose.