Since Satoshi Nakamoto first mined the genesis block of Bitcoin in January 2009, cryptocurrency has swept across the globe, spawning heavyweights such as Ethereum and Bitcoin as well as scrappy underdogs like Dogecoin. Despite at times being a fragile market, one thing is clear about cryptocurrency; this digital revolution is here to stay. As more users access digital currency, more competition for customers will arise. With that in mind, we count down the top five user-friendly apps that will make crypto accessible to the masses.
History: Founded in 2011 by Brian Armstrong and later co-founded by Fred Ehrsam in 2012, United States
Operates in: US
With an exceptionally clear interface, a reward scheme available for all users and offering a learning platform for beginners, Coinbase is our most accessible crypto app. Although the platform charges slightly higher fees than some competitors (ranging from $0.99 to $2.99) the extra payment is worth it. Coinbase provides an easy-to-use exchange across currencies, which is often a barrier to new users.
Moreover, Coinbase provides an upgrade for their clients who have (or gain) more experience through using their app. Coinbase Pro offers more chart and indicator options for their fee structure at no extra charge. Finally, a major benefit of this application, and adding to Coinbase’s user friendliness, is their wallet insurance, protecting against data breaches. Overall, Coinbase is making a clear effort to be customer-facing and friendly to all users.
History: Founded in the US in 2014 by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss
Operates in: Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, the UK, and the US
Gemini, the Latin for “twins” is an apt name for our second place, having been created by the Winklevosses. With 26 different coins available to access in the app and a variety of platform interface choices ranging from complete novice to Active Trader, Gemini is aiming to cater for a large market.
Our number two choice takes only minutes to sign-up to, demonstrating the ease of the platform for users. Gemini offers the ability to buy, sell, and store crypto in insured hot wallets, protecting investors from theft and hacking. Unfortunately, one of Gemini’s detractions is on the fee front; it charges a commission and a convenience fee, whether a user is on the desktop or mobile application. However, with trading available in Bitcoin, Ether Trading, and Zcash, along with all the aforementioned benefits, Gemini is gunning for the number one spot as most accessible crypto app with its vast array of options on offer.
03: Cash App
History: Developed by Square, Inc. and launched in 2013
Operates in: the UK and the US
Cash App definitely receives points for the most dynamically designed interface and has branded itself for a younger, newer audience. It is the only peer-to-peer (P2P) crypto app that also allows the user to invest in cryptocurrency and withdraw cryptocurrency. This sets Cash App apart from other P2P apps like Venmo or investment apps like Robinhood, the latter not allowing users to withdraw. Perhaps the only major downside of Cash App, which is what pushed them to number three in our list, is that it limits investment to Bitcoin, no other cryptocurrencies. However, a particularly enticing feature of Cash App is that the user can invest as little as $1, making it accessible to those wanting to casually experiment in the crypto industry.
Overall, although Cash App is unable to offer as many avenues for those wanting to invest in numerous cryptocurrencies, its aesthetically pleasing and easy-to-use interface makes it a user friendly app worth paying attention to.
History: Founded by David Ring and brothers Yoni and Ronen Assia in Israel, 2007.
Operates in: Globally, with offices registered in Australia, Cyprus, Israel, the UK, and the US
Coming in at number four is eToro; a globally recognised competitor with over 17 million users from around 100 countries worldwide. This large client base offers an excellent social trading platform and opportunity for more inexperienced users to observe and imitate advanced investors. A slight caveat is that users will likely need some knowledge of forex and a basic understanding of cryptocurrency trading to engage with the application.
Furthermore, eToro requires a minimum purchase of $25 for each cryptocurrency, meaning investors may find it difficult to spread their cryptocurrency around if they’re only wanting to dabble in the industry. Similarly, despite headquarters being in Israel, there is a distinctly US-centric element to eToro. For example, while US-based users can open an account with as little as $50, Algerian customers must part with $5k to get started.
Overall, eToro has a strong reputation for filling a niche within the crypto application market. Its platform is set up for social trading, both the web and mobile interfaces match up seamlessly, and 15 languages are offered to users, making global networking effortless. Perhaps eToro isn’t perfect for a beginner, but it is definitely a user friendly app.
01: Robinhood crypto
History: Founded by Vladimir Tenev and Baiju Bhatt in 2013, California.
Operates in: Globally, with headquarters in the US
Showing off an instinctive and sleek interface, Robinhood lands in our top five. The platform offers handy explanations of its features to make the application accessible for complete beginners. Similarly, Robinhood, staying true to its name, requires no minimum fee for a standard account, allowing users to open an account with US$0. Additionally, an account takes minutes to activate and all essential documents, from account statements to tax documents, are easily available. So, you might ask, why isn’t Robinhood further up the list?
For a start, due to the target audience being beginners, users will quickly outgrow the limited trading options available. Also, there is little in the way of customer service support; users have no way to contact the broker directly and are left to submit a complaint through an online form. Another caveat to Robinhood’s overall accessibility is that users cannot withdraw cryptocurrency, perhaps a barrier to those users who are tentatively entering that particular investment world. However, considering the intuitive mobile and web applications, as well as extensive educational assets, Robinhood still offers a highly user-friendly crypto app.