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Cryptocurrencies are all the rage right now, and for a good reason. Bitcoin has outperformed all other major asset classes over the past decade with an annualised return of 230%—over 10 times higher than the Nasdaq-100, 20 times higher than the SP500, and almost 30 times the MSCI World Index.
To the surprise of most people, this surge in price puts Bitcoin among the top 10 most valuable global assets with a trillion-plus-dollar market cap. Needless to say interest in crypto among private and institutional investors has gone through the roof, with big names like Visa, PayPal, and Tesla fighting to get a foot in the market.
If you are prepared to join the crypto craze with all its promised volatility, buying Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other coins as a European is surprisingly easy. There are plenty of good Bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchanges available in Europe, but why not look abroad to get the best possible deal?
In this article, I’ve listed the best crypto exchanges for Europeans, where you can buy Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in a safe manner with the lowest possible fees. These exchanges all accept Euro deposits via SEPA or credit/debit card which makes it easy to get started fairly quickly.
Best crypto exchanges and platforms available in Europe
Here are the best places to buy Bitcoin and crypto for Europeans:
- Best overall and best for beginners: Coinbase
- Best for earning interest: BlockFi
- Best for trust: Kraken
- Best European exchange: Bitpanda
- Best for derivatives and tokenised stocks: FTX
🔒 Use a hardware wallet to keep your crypto safe: Consider moving your coins away from exchanges to a hardware wallet like the Ledger Naxo X. Hardware wallets store your private keys offline and make you sign all transaction with a separate device. They can’t be hacked unless you share your secret seed phrase.
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.
BlockFi: Best for earning interest
If you already purchased cryptocurrency on an exchange and want to put it to good use, you should look into BlockFi. BlockFi is the world’s largest provider of crypto interest-earning accounts where you can earn up to 8.6% per year on your digital assets without selling. If it sounds too good to be true, don’t be fooled by appearances: the platform is backed by $450 million in venture capital and manages more than $15 billion in user assets.
Special offer: Get a free BlockFi sign up bonus worth up $250 in BTC with our partner link.
While it’s usually recommended to keep your crypto in cold storage, this strategy doesn’t let you compound your holdings over time. With the BlockFi interest account, you can earn monthly interest on BTC, ETH, plus a range of different stablecoins with close to zero effort involved. While you can’t deposit EUR (yet), you can send your coins over from an exchange like Coinbase and start accumulating interest right away.
In terms of trust, BlockFi has a solid team behind it and boasts high levels of transparency. More importantly, BlockFi is regulated in most US states and uses NYDFS-regulated Gemini for storing clients assets under strict banking laws, which makes it one of the most trusted providers in the crypto space.
Read More: Full review of BlockFi.
Kraken: Best for trust and security
U.S.-based Kraken is one of the oldest, largest, and most trusted crypto exchange 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.
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 every 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.
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 their 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 debit card or SEPA Direct Debit, and Bitpanda will automatically make recurring buys on your behalf.
FTX: Best for derivatives and tokenised stocks
Aimed at more sophisticated users, FTX is one of the largest platforms for trading derivatives like futures and tokenised stocks.
Clients on the platform can trade a variety of contracts against their crypto, including synthetic versions of stock shares from publicly traded firms like Tesla, Apple, or Facebook, or purchase ETFs like an S&P 500 with a SPY ETF. Tokenised stocks are one of the newest digital assets that allow investors to own whole or fractional shares of a company.
Special offer: Get a free 5% lifetime fee discount on all your trades.
Although you quickly become familiarised with FTX’s platform, it’s primarily geared towards more experienced traders seeking higher risks with high rewards to match. If you have the stomach to try it out, onboarding on FTX is straightforward with few hurdles to getting started. You can deposit crypto or load up your account with EUR through a SEPA transfer and get started right away.
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 only a few years ago. One of the simplest ways to buy Bitcoin in Europe is through a cryptocurrency exchange, and you can easily deposit and trade Euros into 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 like BlockFi.
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 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|
|BlockFi||Best for earning interest|
|Kraken||Best for trust|
|Bitpanda||Best European exchange|
|FTX||Best for derivatives and tokenised stocks|
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:
Is Bitcoin legal in Europe?
The European Union has not yet passed any specific legislation to the status of Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. There does not appear to be any country in Europe, within or outside the EU, that has banned the use of Bitcoin.
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?
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.
If your bank is friendly towards crypto-related transactions, you can cash out crypto into Euros on all the exchanges mentioned in this articles. However, if your bank is crypto-hostile, you can explore alternatives such as a crypto debit card or open an account with a self-proclaimed crypto-friendly bank like Bitwala (Germany) or Fidor (Germany), or for larger amounts you can look into Bank Frick (Liechtenstein), or SEBA (Switzerland).