Cryptocurrencies are all the rage right now, and for good reason. Bitcoin and ether have performed exceptionally well over the past decade, outperforming major asset classes with an annualised return of 230% – more than 10 times the Nasdaq-100, 20 times the S&P 500 and almost 30 times the MSCI World Index. This surge in price has made bitcoin one of the top 10 most valuable assets in the world, with a market capitalisation of over $1 trillion, and has attracted significant interest from retail and institutional investors such as Visa, PayPal and Tesla.
If you are ready to join the crypto craze, with all its promised volatility, buying bitcoin, ether and other cryptocurrencies as a European is surprisingly easy. There are plenty of good bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchanges in Europe, but why not look abroad to get the best possible deal? Below you’ll find the best crypto exchanges available in Europe, offering secure transactions and low fees. These exchanges accept euro deposits via SEPA or credit/debit cards, making it easy to get started quickly.
Best crypto exchanges and platforms available in Europe
Here are the best places to buy Bitcoin and crypto for Europeans, based on years of research:
- Best overall and best for beginners: Coinbase
- Best for stocks and crypto: eToro
- Best for low fees and active trading: Kraken
- Best European exchange: Bitpanda
- Best for self-custody: Ledger
Cryptoasset investing is highly volatile and unregulated in some EU countries. No consumer protection. Tax on profits may apply.
Coinbase: Best overall and best for beginners
Coinbase is the best-known cryptocurrency trading platform among Europeans and a recommended starting place for beginners thanks to its extremely intuitive interface. Coinbase is one of the safest places to buy Bitcoin and other major coins due to its strong security history—it has never been hacked—and safety features like two-factor authentication, whitelisting, offline storage of user funds, and insurance policy.
Special offer: Earn up to 6% in staking rewards on Coinbase.
You can easily deposit or withdraw EUR via SEPA through your bank or with a debit card, or send your newly purchased cryptocoins into cold storage for more secure safekeeping. Coinbase offers several popular trading pairs with the Euro, including BTC-EUR and ETH-EUR, and your purchase is instantly sent to your Coinbase wallet.
While buying Bitcoin for the first time can be perplexing, Coinbase removes the obstacles to entry through its simple trading platform. However, once you get familiar with the platform, you can move your activity to Coinbase Pro for free to get significantly lower fees and more advanced trading options.
eToro: Best for stocks and crypto
eToro is one largest financial brokerages in the world with over 15 million registered users. It offers an easy-to-use mobile platform for cryptocurrency trading that’s well-suited for beginners due to its simple graphic interface, quick sign-up process, and simple order placement system.
US residents please note: This content is not intended for residents or citizens of the US.
- $100,000 demo trading account
- Supports the top cryptocurrencies
- Social trading experience
- Copytrading feature to automatically copy popular traders
- Easily transfer coins from the trading platform to eToro Wallet
Things to keep in mind
- $5 fee for fiat withdrawals
- Non-USD deposits are subject to a conversion fee
- Fluctuating trading fees with a variable spread
The eToro app is remarkably easy to navigate and offers newcomers a $100,000 virtual trading account to explore cryptocurrency trading risk-free. You can buy all the top cryptocurrencies in the intuitive trading interface, accompanied by a lively social discussion feed for each coin and the ability to copy-trade other traders in real-time through the popular CopyTrader feature.
Cryptoasset investing is highly volatile and unregulated in some EU countries. No consumer protection. Tax on profits may apply.
In terms of security, eToro complies with European regulators, the Cyprus Securities Exchange Commission (CySEC), and the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). In addition to the trading platform, eToro offers a personal crypto wallet, with multiple security features, including private keys, multi-signature facilities, DDoS protection, and ISO 27001/27032 protocols.
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. 77% 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. Trading history presented is less than 5 complete years and may not suffice as basis for investment decision.
Copy trading is a portfolio management service, provided by eToro (Europe) Ltd., which is authorised and regulated by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission.
Cryptoassets are highly volatile and unregulated in the UK. No consumer protection. Tax on profits may apply.
eToro USA LLC does not offer CFDs and makes no representation and assumes no liability as to the accuracy or completeness of the content of this publication, which has been prepared by our partner utilizing publicly available non-entity specific information about eToro.
Your capital is at risk. Other fees apply. For more information, visit etoro.com/trading/fees.
Kraken: Best for low fees and active trading
U.S.-based Kraken is one of the oldest, largest, and most trusted crypto exchanges in the world with a strong foothold in the European market. It’s a great place for intermediate users to trade between crypto and traditional fiat because of its large selection of trading pairs with the Euro, but also one of the best places for margin trading as investors can get up to 50x leverage.
Special offer: Stake your coins on Kraken and earn interest up to 7% on Ethereum and up to 6% on Cardano.
Kraken’s web interface can be slightly confusing at first, and I recommend their mobile app for a far more intuitive experience. In terms of saving on fees, Kraken is potentially the best place to buy and sell Bitcoin and crypto in Europe because of its extremely competitive tiered schedule.
Getting EUR into your account or cashing out to your bank, including large amounts, can be done cheaply by SEPA transfers, and Kraken users local European banks for handling transactions.
Like Coinbase, Kraken has never been hacked and offers some of the best overall safety features for investors. It keeps 95% of its coins in offline, air-gapped, cold storage cages under 24/7 surveillance by armed guards.
Kraken is also the first ever crypto company to receive a real US banking license and plans to become a global crypto bank for all its customers in the coming years. Kraken is also licensed in Europe by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the UK’s primary financial regulatory watchdog.
Gemini: Best for trust and dollar cost averaging
Gemini is the brainchild of Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss — the twins (gemini in Latin) who famously sued Mark Zuckerberg over the invention of Facebook. The Gemini exchange was launched in 2015 with an aim to become a fully compliant crypto company with banking-like standards. As we watch the crypto sphere becoming increasingly regulated, many view Gemini as a platform ready for the future of government scrutiny.
Special offer: Trade on a fully regulated and insured exchange that has never been hacked:
Gemini is a good starting point if you’re a new investor and don’t like Coinbase. Gemini supports around 40 coins, from large ones to small altcoin tokens. It has one of the simplest interfaces in this lineup of exchanges that makes the whole buying and selling process a whole lot simpler. If you’re an active day trader, Gemini also has a more techy trading platform called ActiveTrader.
A major selling point for trading with Gemini is its insurance coverage for digital assets and legal segregation of customers’ fiat funds from the company’s own. You can deposit EUR via SWIFT wire or SEPA transfer and set up a single or recurring buy of your favorite coin over time at set intervals.
Bitpanda: Best European crypto exchange
Bitpanda is an Austrian multi-asset trading platform that offers cryptocurrency, stock, ETF, and commodities trading to users in Europe exclusively. The company was founded in 2014 and has become one of the fastest-growing exchanges in Europe with over 2,000,000 users.
If you want a local European crypto exchange with a great reputation, Bitpanda is one of the best places to buy Bitcoin and other digital assets.
What I find most interesting about Bitpanda is its expansion into other products besides crypto. You can trade tokenised digital assets like fractional stocks and ETFs with as low as € 1 per share, zero commissions, and the unique option of 24/7 access to investing.
If you ever wanted to cash out your positions, you can spend them as EUR with the free Bitpanda Visa Card and earn BTC cashback in return with every purchase made.
If your plan is to stay in crypto, Bitpanda offers a simple Savings Plan which lets you
Dollar Euro-cost average into Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies over time in an effort to reduce the impact of volatility. You can set up a savings plan using a debit card or SEPA Direct Debit, and Bitpanda will automatically make recurring buys on your behalf.
How to buy Bitcoin and crypto in Europe: Easy 5-step guide
Investing in bitcoin, ether and other popular coins and tokens has become surprisingly easy compared to just a few years ago. One of the easiest ways to buy bitcoin in Europe is through a cryptocurrency exchange, and you can easily deposit and exchange Euros for the digital asset of your choice.
If you’re looking to buy Bitcoin in Europe, follow these 5 simple steps to get started:
- Pick a reputable exchange: The first step is to pick a trustworthy place to buy your crypto. The easiest way to start is to choose an exchange from the list above, as these exchanges are the most trustworthy, accept European clients, and have a long track record of excellent security.
- Open an account: When you’ve found your favorite exchange, you need to supply some personal information and pass a required KYC check. This involves submitting a copy of your passport or driving licence, a selfie, and a recent utility bill. You can always switch to a decentralised exchange afterwards for better anonymity, but most new investors will onboard through a traditional exchange.
- Fund your account: Crypto exchanges today accept a number of fiat currencies (USD, EUR, GBP, etc.), and you can fund your account through a number of popular payment methods. SEPA transfers are usually free to receive and will take 0-3 days, while credit/debit card purchases are instant but involves a higher fee.
- Buy crypto: Now that you’ve chosen an exchange and deposit funds into your account, you can buy Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Exchanges offer both market and limit orders which you might be familiar with from stock brokerages. If you have no experience whatsoever, a beginner-friendly platform like Coinbase will make the process much easier, as they offer some great solutions for newbie investors.
- Decide where to store your coins: You might have heard the saying ‘not your keys, not your crypto’, which still holds true today. For long-term cryptocurrency holdings, consider ‘moving’ your crypto to into a hardware wallet for maximum safety. This gives you ultimate control of your funds and greatly reduces the risk of losing money. To grow your wealth over time, there is also the option to earn interest on your Bitcoin through a crypto savings account.
How to choose a safe Bitcoin exchange
Here are some important factors to consider when choosing your crypto exchange:
- Security: Cryptocurrency exchanges are are much safer today than they were a few years ago and rarely get hacked anymore. Almost all respected places offer the latest security standards to protect your assets from theft. This may include two-factor authentication (2FA), address whitelisting, anti-phishing codes, and mandatory use of strong passwords.
- Investor vs trader profile: The largest cryptocurrency exchanges have interfaces that cater to beginners and experienced users. Your select platform should be easy to use for beginners, but at the same time provide more tools and options as you advance in your understanding of the markets.
- Fees: Frequent traders know the importance of low trading fees and tiered fee systems, however long-term investors should not ignore the impact of fees on investment returns. If an exchange promises zero-fees or no commissions, they will charge a higher spread, which evens out the appearance of saved costs. In other words, look out for high fees, but don’t dwell too much on it if you plan to hold for a long time.
Best places to buy Bitcoin in Europe: Final words
Europeans looking to buy and sell cryptocurrency are spoiled with safe and reputable exchanges to choose from. I’ve listed the best crypto exchanges and platforms for Europeans with different types of investors and traders in mind, but ultimately you should pick the one that best suits your needs.
For each exchange, pay attention to online reputation, fees, payment methods, and a number of supported cryptocurrencies and fiat pairs. Here is a summary of the best crypto exchanges and platforms available in Europe:
|Coinbase||Best overall and best for beginners|
|Kraken||Best for trust|
|Bitpanda||Best European exchange|
What is the best crypto trading app in Europe?
Most of the exchanges on the list above offer mobile apps for both iOS and Android. These are great for keeping up with the markets and doing trades on the go.
The most popular crypto trading apps for Europeans are:
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some frequently asked questions about the best cryptocurrency exchanges in Europe:
Is Bitcoin legal in Europe?
As of today, Bitcoin is legal in all European countries, in and outside the EU. Iceland had a ban on cryptocurrencies from 2014 until it was lifted in 2017. The European Union has not yet passed any specific legislation on the status of Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies.
Are cryptocurrency exchanges regulated in Europe?
Most cryptocurrency exchanges accessible to European residents are not regulated, but they are still required to play by regulatory standards. The UK is one of the first countries to regulate locally-based exchanges, and more countries are expected to follow soon.
How do I cash out of crypto in Europe?
If your bank is friendly towards crypto-related transactions, you can cash out crypto into euros on most of the exchanges mentioned in this article. If your local bank is crypto-hostile, you can explore an internet bank like Nuri (Germany) or Fidor (Germany), or for larger amounts, you can look into private banking options.
Are European banks crypto-friendly?
One of the biggest problems facing crypto investors is converting into fiat and withdrawing funds to your bank account. Banks must follow a ton of KYC and AML rules, and they can easily feel uncomfortable accepting crypto-related transactions. This makes even paying taxes an obstacle for many investors, but with the increasing level of interest in cryptocurrencies and forthcoming regulations, we can only hope banks will be forced to soften their stance.
Which European countries are the most crypto-friendly?
For individual investors, the most crypto-friendly countries in Europe include Portugal, Switzerland, Slovenia, Malta, France, and Germany. See this post for the full explanation.
What is the digital euro and where can I learn more about it?
The European Union plans to make the digital euro the CBDC of the Eurozone. The digital euro will function as a synthetic version of the physical euro but as cryptocurrency on a blockchain. The digital euro will be issued by the ECB and have legal value. Most importantly, it will remove the need for banks to act as an intermediary, allowing for P2P transactions. Privacy is the biggest concern of the digital euro as the ECB will be able to track all use and spending.
How is cryptocurrency taxed in Europe?
Across Europe, policies and regulations regarding the taxation of cryptocurrencies vary from country to country. In most countries, cryptocurrencies are subject to capital gains tax or other income tax. However, there are many countries where gains are tax-free. However, more and more countries are moving towards adapting specific tax laws or including cryptocurrencies in existing laws. This is a slow process, perhaps due to a lack of political will and understanding.