Alternative coins, also known as altcoins, is a term that refers to any cryptocurrency besides Bitcoin. Popular altcoins include Ethereum, Cardano, and Polkadot, and there are thousands more that are currently available. Some of these altcoins end up fizzling out and failing, but many seem like they may be here to stay—over the past year, altcoins like Ethereum, Solana, and Dogecoin have experienced astronomical gains.
In order to trade altcoins, you will need to find the right exchange. Some coins are only available through certain exchanges, while fees and staking abilities will vary between each platform. Choosing the right exchange is important as it will not only save you money, but reduce the headaches of having multiple exchanges that you are constantly monitoring.
Check out our selection below for five of the best exchanges for altcoins for 2022.
KuCoin is a Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency exchange that has supported over $500 billion in trade volume since their inception. Crypto deposits into KuCoin are free, and trade fees are only 0.1% for most transactions.
Seeing as they aren’t as established as some other exchanges, the trading volume is sometimes low for less-popular trading pairs. However, the user interface is clean and modern, and KuCoin currently supports over 400 different coins and tokens. This includes the standards like Bitcoin and Ethereum, but also an endless supply of altcoins, such as Loopring, Harmony, Algorand, and many others.
KuCoin does not require KYC verification for low-volume traders, so anonymity can be preserved if desired. If you want to deposit or withdraw fiat currency, then you will need to pass their KYC verification. For advanced traders, Kucoin also offers margin and futures markets for many trading pairs. Crypto lending is also available, allowing users to earn interest on a variety of altcoins.
New users on KuCoin have access to up to 500 USDT in bonuses, and with an account minimum of only $1, anyone can start trading immediately.
Kraken was one of the original crypto marketplaces, having formed in 2013 when they were simply known as a “Bitcoin exchange.” Since then, they have expanded their offerings to over 60 coins and tokens. This includes popular altcoins like Ethereum, Polygon, and Solana, as well as coins with smaller market caps like Nano, Kusama, and TRON.
Kraken operates on a maker and taker fee model. Maker orders (those that are not matched with an existing order, which increases liquidity) have a fee of 0.16% if your monthly trading volume is below $50,000. Taker orders (those that are immediately matched with an existing order, which decreases liquidity) carry a fee of 0.26%.
If you pass Kraken’s credit and income check, you can gain access to margin for some trading pairs. This is a risky investment strategy that involves borrowing funds from Kraken. Margin can increase both the risk and the reward, so proceed with caution!
Kraken currently provides staking services for a dozen blockchains, including altcoins like Cardano, Ethereum, and Cosmos. Yearly rewards range from 0.25% for Bitcoin up to 20% for smaller projects like Kava.
Binance was founded in 2017 and is now the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world. As of December 2021, the company was handling around 4 times more volume than the next biggest exchange, Coinbase.
Binance offers competitive trading fees that average around 0.1%. While Bitcoin is known for being bought and held, altcoins experience more volatility and are often traded at a more frequent rate. In the long run, the low fees offered by Binance will save you money if you are looking to trade consistently.
Binance allows users to trade a large variety of cryptocurrencies and is known for supporting altcoins with small market caps. If you’re looking to invest in unknown and brand new projects, Binance may be the right altcoin exchange for you. The company offers all of the extra features you would expect from a top-tier exchange, such as derivatives, peer-to-peer trading, and Binance Earn, a program for earning interest on your assets. By staking altcoins like AXS, DOT, or BNB, you can earn an APY of 25%, 11.51%, and 6.53%, respectively.
The company participates in charity projects and has raised over $100 million for various organizations around the world. Some features are only available to residents of certain countries, so users in the USA may have some limitations.
Coinbase is one of the few exchanges based in the USA, although it is available to residents of over 100 countries. The company supports two exchanges: Coinbase, for basic trading, and Coinbase Pro, a full-featured exchange with lower fees. As a whole, Coinbase handles the 2nd highest daily trading volume, trailing only behind Binance.
In general, Coinbase Pro will list altcoins after the smaller exchanges already have. You may miss out on some micro-cap coins, but Coinbase still provides access to dozens of altcoins including Uniswap, Link, and Shiba Inu. For newcomers to the world of crypto, the company offers their Coinbase Earn program where users can receive small payments to learn about cryptocurrency.
Coinbase Pro deposits are FDIC insured like banks (up to $250,000), so there’s no worry of losing your funds. For bigger clients, Coinbase also offers a Coinbase Custody service for cold storage of large amounts of cryptocurrency. These enhanced security measures lead to fees that are a bit higher than other exchanges. For traders with less than $10k monthly volume, both the maker and takers fees are 0.5%. This is 2-3x the amount of similar exchanges like Kraken.
Gemini offers a host of services for all types of traders, including an easy-to-use app, an advanced exchange, and a peer-to-peer platform. Their exchange is available to residents of all 50 U.S. states, as well as over 60 other countries. Their platform supports over 50 cryptocurrencies, including popular altcoins like Fantom, Loopring, and Decentraland.
Users can earn interest by storing crypto assets with the Gemini Earn platform. This is not the same as staking, and instead involves lending your assets to institutional borrowers. Interest rates are as high as 8% APY and the program is open for over 3 dozen altcoins, including Tezos, Terra, Litecoin, and many more.
If you choose to trade with Gemini’s basic platform, the fees can get a little out of hand. For instance, a $10 trade carries a fee of $0.99, which is an outrageous 10%. However, when using their ActiveTrader platform (similar to Coinbase Pro), fees are much lower. For traders with monthly volumes lower than $500k, maker fees are currently at 0.25% and taker fees are 0.35%.
Just a decade ago, Bitcoin was the only cryptocurrency worth investing in. In just a few short years, altcoins like Ethereum, Binance Coin, and Cardano have been making names for themselves. While there is an inherent risk when investing in smaller projects, the rewards can also be greater. For instance, in just over a year, the value of Ethereum rose from $500 to over $4000, which is a massive return on investment.
If you want to start investing in altcoins, any of the exchanges mentioned above should do the trick for you. Gemini, Coinbase, and Kraken offer trusted, easy-to-use platforms, while Binance and KuCoin will allow you to access hundreds of smaller-cap coins. The choice is yours!