Getting Started With Crypto

 Coinbase, the name you probably hear the most when you hear people talking about where to start with crypto investing. In this article, I will cover Coinbase along with other crypto exchanges to clear up some fog around the fees and eligibility of each exchange covered. Crypto exchanges want your money, and to do that they might try to breeze over the legalities and rates they charge to get more customers. By the end of this article, you should feel comfortable about the exchange you decide to go with along with getting started in trading crypto. 

 

Before I get into the different exchanges I will outline the steps that I recommend to get your exchange started and set up along with some key facts to keep in mind.

 

Getting Started…

  1. Set up a Coinbase Pro Account.
    1. I recommend you do this first, and regardless of your trading exchange. Coinbase is one of the safest and easiest to use platforms for beginners. You also have free bank transfers so no pesky fees to get your money in and out of the crypto space. You can use my referral code to get us both $10 in bitcoin when you buy your first $100 of crypto. coinbase.com/join/recio_m5
    2. Don’t forget 2fa! 2-step verification is indispensable, Stay safe out there! For those who don’t know what 2fa is here is a short video on it. https://youtu.be/ds_TANz4n3U You may have seen the app “Google Authenticator” this is that.
  2. Determine which exchange best fits you and set up an account with them.
    1. The rest of the article will help you determine which exchange is best for you.
  3. Fund your account.
    1. Most exchanges allow you to deposit crypto fee-free, so I recommend going to coinbase, attaching your bank account, buying some bitcoin, and then transferring that to your trading exchange.
    2. From there, you can sell bitcoin for USD and then trade normally. Reversing the process to withdraw money.

 

Things to keep in mind!

 

  1. You can not trade margin in the US unless you have an agreement with your exchange and meet very specific criteria (like having a certain amount of assets). So to avoid confusion, I am not recommending that you trade margin. However,  I have dug through the Terms and Conditions and pulled out the section outlining the ability to trade margin in the US if the exchange offers it to US customers.
  1. What is the Maker-Taker Fee Structure?
  • You are the Maker when your orders are not immediately marketable.
  • You are the Taker when your orders ARE immediately marketable.

You will see this fee structure on most if not all exchanges.

  1. When looking at fee structure, they are based on 30-day trading volume. So this does not mean you are required to have the listed amount in your account, your total transactions just need to amount to that. If you place 10 trades in 30 days and each trade has a total value of 10k, your trading volume would be 100k.

 

Coinbase 

The most beginner-friendly crypto exchange there is. It is very safe, and easy to use. Their mobile app is fluid and you can get crypto rewards for doing 3 question quizzes about new cryptos. There are 2 different versions of Coinbase, Coinbase.com and Coinbase Pro, I recommend getting both! Coinbase.com will allow you to send and receive cryptocurrency, and Crypto Pro will allow you to avoid a lot of the fees Coinbase.com imposes.

 

If I want to buy $100 of BTC on Coinbase.com I will be charged a fee of about $4 which is equal to 4% of the total value of what I was trying to buy. That’s Insane! If I go through Coinbase Pro, my buying fee is 0.5% or $0.50! From there I can withdraw my bitcoin to my Coinbase.com account, and from there send it to an exchange, or choose to pay with it, or whatever I please.

Coinbase pro Trading Fees

Maker fee of 0.5% for volume under 10k

Taker fee of 0.5% for volume under 10k

Maker fee of 0.35% for volume 10k – 50k

Taker fee of 0.35% for volume 10k – 50k

Maker fee of 0.15% for volume 50k – 100k

Taker fee of 0.25% for volume 50k – 100k

 

Refer to this link for the full documentation on Coinbase Pro fees.

https://help.coinbase.com/en/pro/trading-and-funding/trading-rules-and-fees/fees

 

-Available in every state except Hawaii. 

-Free bank transfers (ACH) up to 35k a day

 

Binance.US

Binance is the industry standard when it comes to Crypto Trading, If you are not restricted by location, I recommend attempting to open an account with them and going through the whole verification process since it will be well worth your time when trading. They have a wide range of coins and are trusted by many crypto enthusiasts.

 

Binance.US Trading Fees

Maker fee of 0.1% for volume under 50k

Taker fee of 0.1% for volume under 50k

Maker fee of 0.09% for volume 50k – 100k* 

Taker fee of 0.09% for volume 50k – 100k*

*while keeping a balance of at least 50BNB tokens

 

Refer to this link for the full documentation on Binance.US fees.

https://www.binance.us/en/fee/schedule

Here is the list of restricted states from using Binance.US, If you are a resident of any of these then you are restricted from trading(legally) on Binance.US.

-Connecticut (CT)

-Hawaii (HI)

-Idaho (ID)

-Louisiana (LA)

-New York (NY)

-Texas (TX)

-Vermont (VT)

 

By signing up with binance.us you are also agreeing to this class action waiver.

Here is the link to the full Binance.US terms and conditions.

https://www.binance.us/en/terms-of-use

 

Gemini (Active Trader)

Gemini is good but somewhat deceptive with their fees. You really are paying for some convenience. See below for fee specifics.

They have a wide enough selection of coins to choose from, although they do not currently support Cosmos(ATOM) or Icon(ICX).

Gemini has integration with Tradingview! Trade crypto from your charts?! 

They also have a large index of documentation of crypto education!

 

Gemini Trading Fees

Gemini has different fee structures for the different platforms you access their exchange on.

Web-Based fees are as follows

Maker fee of 0.25% for volume under 500k

Taker fee of 0.35% for volume under 500k

For trading with Gemini from your phone, you will be paying

1.49% for trades over $200

$3 for trades $50 – $200 (5.8% to 1.5%)

$2 for trades  $25 – $50 (7.6% to 4%)

$1.50 for trades  $10 – $25 (13.6% to 6.2%)

$1 for trades $0 – $10 (100% to 11%)

Trading via API has a way better Maker fee, however, the taker is the same as web-based.

Maker fee of 0.1% for volume under 1Mil

Taker fee of 0.35% for volume under 1Mil

 

Refer to these links for the full documentation on Gemini fees. (Web, API, Mobile)

https://www.gemini.com/fees/activetrader-fee-schedule#section-active-trader-fee-schedule

https://www.gemini.com/fees/api-fee-schedule

https://www.gemini.com/fees/mobile-fee-schedule 

 

Gemini is available in all 50 US states along with Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico.

https://www.gemini.com/areas-of-availability 

 

KuCoin

I do not recommend trading on KuCoin, it is tempting based on their 0.1% trading fees and wide selection of coins to trade, and most of all, leveraged trading. This is all accessible with an unverified account,  practically welcoming illegal activity on the platform. While it’s possible to trade on KuCoin without verifying your id, you will be limited until you do. If you live in the US you will not be able to KYC verify your account since KuCoin is not licensed to operate in the US. Along with all this, KuCoin has recently been hacked on Sept.25, 2020, and they do not provide support to unlicensed accounts for theft, fraud, or hacks.

Kraken

I recommend Kraken as the runner-up to Binance.US, If you are outside of the eligible range for Binance.US then I believe Kraken is for you. They have a decent selection of coins to trade and offer margin trading to clients who meet the asset requirement. Kraken prides itself on its low fees and high security. All this being said, they are also known for their not so easy to use interface. However, this can be somewhat negligible when you are using a different platform to chart on.

 

Kraken Trading Fees

Maker fee of 0.16% for volume under 50k

Taker fee of 0.26% for volume under 50k

Maker fee of 0.14% for volume 50k – 100k

Taker fee of 0.24% for volume 50k – 100k

Refer to this link for the full documentation on Kraken fees.

https://www.kraken.com/features/fee-schedule/#kraken-pro

 

Kraken margin eligibility

“You are required to have more than $10 million in assets invested on a discretionary basis.”

https://support.kraken.com/hc/en-us/articles/360061972272

 

Not available in Washington and New York.

 

Crypto.com

DO NOT TRADE ON Crypto.com, They are burying information deep to keep you from figuring out what you’re actually paying, additionally I’ve seen their dumb youtube commercial too many times. Their coin selection is about on par with the other US exchanges, I would put it right above Kraken for coin selection. Their fees are not as high as Coinbase Pro but not less than Gemini.  However, they do offer discounts on fees when you stake their exchange token CRO. If you care, you can get 100% off fees when you stake 50,000,000 CRO (about $10Mil). They offer margin trading however in all of their terms and conditions they do not specifically define the restricted trading areas(for margin and regular accounts). I think they are trying to put the risk on you for knowing your own state legislation, but if you sign up for an account and try to trade margin they’ll most likely see your  IP and probably restrict you from the service. So I’d say don’t count on it. More details are below.

 

Crypto.com Trading Fees

Maker fee of 0.4% for volume under 25k

Taker fee of 0.4% for volume under 25k

Maker fee of 0.35% for volume 25k – 50k

Taker fee of 0.35% for volume 25k- 50k

Maker fee of 0.15% for volume 50k – 100k

Taker fee of 0.25% for volume 50k – 100k

Refer to this link for the full documentation on Crypto.com fees.

https://crypto.com/exchange/document/fees-limits

 

Account Eligibility

In Crypto.com’s terms and conditions, they say you must be within the “Available Jurisdiction” 

To use their platform. However, they define “Available Jurisdiction” as – “a jurisdiction which is stated here, where the Exchange is available for service.”

They use this wording in both their general terms and conditions along with their margin trading terms and conditions. From this, without having made an account, I think it’s safe to assume that if you are in the states where you can’t trade Binance.US you can’t trade Crypto.com, and to recap, those states are:

Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Louisiana, New York, Texas, or Vermont.

 

Crypto.com’s Terms and Conditions

https://crypto.com/exchange/document/tnc 

 

FTX

FTX is OK. They do not trade nearly as many pairs as other exchanges, but some might see past that for their lower requirements for trading margin. Their fees are the same as Gemini’s API fees, so not bad but not great. 

FTX Trading Fees

Maker fee of 0.1% for volume under 100k

Taker fee of 0.4% for volume under 100k

 

Refer to this link for the full documentation on FTX fees.

https://help.ftx.us/hc/en-us/articles/360043579273-Fees

 

FTX margin trading

If you have 100k on FTX then you’re game to apply for margin trading on FTX.

Their links are very straight forward however I have snipped the requirements for margin trading here.

https://help.ftx.us/hc/en-us/articles/360046850054

 

FTX is available in all US states except New york.

Some Info To help you on your way…

Ponzi Schemes with Crypto Currencies

https://www.sec.gov/investor/alerts/ia_virtualcurrencies.pdf

Crypto Tax Guide 

https://taxbit.com/cryptocurrency-tax-guide