Where to buy and trade cryptocurrencies?
Many people out there would like to start trading cryptocurrencies but they have no clue where to start. If you are one of them and would like to start trading cryptocurrencies, then we are sure that this guide will help you find the best cryptocurrency exchanges.
What is a cryptocurrency exchange?
Cryptocurrency exchanges are websites where anyone can buy, sell, trade, or exchange cryptocurrencies for other digital assets or traditional fiat currencies such as the United States Dollar, British Pound, or Euro. For users who would like to take up professional cryptocurrency trading and speculating, we recommend that you gain access to some higher end platforms and trading tools. More likely than not you will have to verify your identity with either your passport or driver’s license to launch an account. However, if you fancy making the occasional generic crypto trade, then there are a lot of easy to use platforms that do not require complicated sign up processes or even an account!
Types of exchanges
- Trading Platforms- These are exchange platforms that take a fee for each trade or exchange for connecting buyers with sellers.
- Direct Trading – These platforms offer direct peer to peer trading and exchanges for individuals located in different parts of the globe. An added bonus of direct trading platforms is that the currencies don’t follow a fixed market price, instead, individual traders set their own competitive exchange rates for digital currencies.
- Brokers – Operate on publicly available website and can be used by anyone to buy cryptocurrencies at a price and commission established by the brokerage. These types of website frequently operate in a similar fashion to foreign exchange dealers.
What to look out for before joining an exchange
It’s crucial to always do a little homework and research before you dive into trading. Here are a few things and tips to consider before choosing a platform and making your first successful trade!
- Consider the Exchanges Reputation – Do some research pertaining to the exchange you are interested in. Check out reviews online from individual users as well as pertinent websites. Don’t hesitate to ask questions on helpful forums and message boards like Reddit or BitcoinTalk. Picking an exchange with a solid reputation is key to successful long-term trading.
- Decent Exchange Rate – Exchange rates can vary from platform to platform. It helps to shop around and be a little picky, you may be surprised as to how much you end up saving with a generous exchange rate. It isn’t rare for certain rates to go up to or over 10% per transaction!
- Make Sure You Are Okay with The Fees – Before joining any exchange, always check out their fees to make sure they aren’t too draconian and that you are comfortable with them. Most exchanges should have this information easily accessible on their sites. Read up about their transaction, deposit, and withdrawal fees. Charges from exchange to exchange can differ greatly depending on who you go with. Make a choice you are comfortable with.
- Payment Methods – It’s very important to make sure that your desired exchange supports your preferred method of payment. Does it only support debit and credit cards? Wire transfers like Western Union? PayPal? If an exchange is limited in its payment options, it might be a good idea to pass it up. It should be noted that purchasing digital assets with a credit or debit card will require some form of identity proof as well as variating transaction fees depending on your bank of choice. Purchasing cryptocurrencies via a wire transfer usually takes quite a bit of time due to the bank needing to confirm and authenticate the transaction.
- Verification Requirements – Almost all of the cryptocurrency exchanges in the United States, United Kingdom, and most of Europe require some form of identity verification in order to conduct any trades on their platforms. However, certain exchanges allow their users to remain anonymous. Although verification processes can be annoying, invasive, and take up a few days, they are well worth it in order to protect yourself from hacks, fraud, scams, and as proof that you are laundering money.
- Geographical Restrictions – Though almost all exchanges can be accessed via any web browser from most countries. Certain ones restrict the features that are available to certain users in varying countries. For example, Coinbase doesn’t allow citizens living in Russia to buy digital assets on its platform. Make sure that the exchange you commit to grants full access to all of the platforms capabilities based on the country you inhabit.
The Best Cryptocurrency Exchanges
There are tons of great exchanges to choose from. However, not all of them are equal in their benefits and capabilities. The list that we provide you here with is based on user reviews, fees, safety, ease of use, reputation, and accessibility. So, here’s a list of the 10 best cryptocurrency exchanges that you should consider trading on.
Bitfinex is the leading cryptocurrency exchange and the world’s largest exchange by volume for trading bitcoin against the US Dollar (USD). Several unrivaled products fuel Bitfinex’s market dominance. At the heart of Bitfinex are central limit order books for cryptocurrencies. BitFinex is a Hong Kong based Bitcoin exchange and is backed by a huge market liquidity. Users can trade a wide range of digital currencies such as NEO, IOTA, OmiseGo etc.
- Pros: Many cryptocurrencies are available and the system is highly secured with a great authentication process customers can use as an option. 3 different wallets available, also a specific IOTA wallet.
- Cons: In April 2017, Bitfinex announced that it was no longer able to let users withdraw their funds in USD. Support is not really fast regardless how much you invested.
Coinbase is a highly-trusted exchange platform, backed by many high-profile investors, it serves millions of users globally. It’s also one of the most popular and reputable exchanges in the world. It is very easy to buy, store, use, and trade currencies via Coinbase. Users are allowed to purchase a variety of digital currencies, such as the bitcoin, Litecoin, and Ether. Coinbase offers users the option to conduct exchanges and transactions through a digital wallet available for Iphones and Androids. Or directly with other traders on Coinbases Global Digital Asset Exchange (GDAX) subsidiary. Available in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Europe, and Singapore. What’s great about the GDAX, is that it does not charge transfer fees for moving funds between your GDAX and Coinbase accounts. Though, the list of tradable currencies depends on the country in which you live.
- Pros: Established reputation, highly secure, reasonably low fees, interface is beginner friendly. Stored currencies are covered by Coinbases insurance policy, which is great!
- Cons: Not the best customer support, only accepts a limited amount of payment methods, not very many supported countries, GDAX is really only great for technical and experienced traders.
Bittrex is one of the larger crypto to crypto exchanges based and fully regulated in the USA and offering a large number of trading pairs into bitcoin. Also offered on Bittrex are NeuCoin and Ethereum. In terms of security, Bittrex provides great functions to keep your account save with the option ofa two factor authentication. The fees are 0.25% for trades with no reductions. Withdrawals are free and subject only to the transaction fee specified in the blockchain of the particular crypto currency.
Kraken is definitely the largest BTC exchange in volume and liquidity. Going back as far as 2011, Kraken is also partnered with the world’s first cryptocurrency bank. What’s great about Kraken is that it allows users to buy and sell BTC easily as well as trade it between Euros, Dollars, CAD, Pounds, and Japanese Yen. The platform also supports other digital currencies such as Ether, Ether Classic, Monero, Augur REP tokens, ICONOMI, Litecoin, Dogecoin, Ripple, Zcash, and Lumens/Stellar, wow! For the more experienced crypto aficionados, Kraken supports margin trades as well as a host of other advanced features. This platform is a superb choice for the more experienced traders out there. For more information, refer to Kraken’s FAQ.
- Pros: Pretty reputable, kind exchange fees, reasonably low transaction fees, low deposit fees, has a ton of cool features, offers great customer support, safe, available worldwide.
- Cons: Not very beginner friendly, slightly confusing UI, supports a limited amount of payment methods.
This platform provides a plethora of services for bitcoins and other digital currencies. Users can easily trade their fiat currencies for other digital assets back and forth. Cex.io offers users the ability to make personalized trading dashboards as well as margin trading, great for professional bitcoin traders. Cex.io also has a brokerage service for newbie traders, as well as a really easy way to purchase bitcoins at costs that are comparable to the standard market rates. All in all, it’s a secure website that’s user friendly and supports cold storage methods for cryptocurrency security. For more info on Cex.io, we suggest to check out their FAQ.
- Pros: Established reputation, mobile support, caters to credit cards, very beginner friendly, kind exchange rates, worldwide support.
- Cons: Customer support leaves a bit to be desired, long and strenuous verification process, high fees for deposits.
Shapeshift is a quality exchange platform that supports a ton of different of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Zcash, Ethereum, Monero, Dogecoin, Dash, and a few others. Perfect for those users interested in conducting straightforward crypto operations without wanting to sign up for an exchange account and don’t require the platform to hold their assets. However, what sucks about ShapeShift is that it doesn’t let users buy digital currencies with credit cards, debit cards, or other payment systems. ShapeShift does not support fiat currencies at all, in fact it only allows trades and exchanges between BTC and other crypto’s that the platform supports. To find out more, check out ShapeShift’s FAQ.
- Pros: Good reputation in the crypto community, rather friendly towards beginners, supports a lot of cryptocurrencies, fast, reasonable rates.
- Cons: Mobile app is kind of meh, doesn’t support cryptocurrencies, severely limited payment support.
Established in 2015, Poloniex known as one of the best cryptocurrency exchanges out there. Offering a secure trading ecosystem with more than 100 different Bitcoin cryptocurrency pairings and data analytics tools available for users. Fees depend on whether you are a buyer or a seller. For makers, they can go from 0 to 0.15%, for takers, the fee is usually from 0.10 to 0.25%.
What’s important to note about Poloniex, is that the platform doesn’t charge withdrawal fees beyond the transaction fee setup by the network. Another awesome feature of Poloniex is the chat box that they have implement. Its constantly full with user help, guides, tips, socialization, and just about everything else. Inappropriate comments are monitored by a moderator. A truly great tool to keep users engage with one another on the platform.
- Pros: Account creation is a breeze, tons of features, you can lend BTC, allows for high-volume trading, very user-friendly, low fees, open API.
- Cons: Sluggish customer support, doesn’t accept fiat currencies.
Bitstamp is a European Union based BTC marketplace created back in 2011. It sports one of the most loyal customer bases in the cryptocurrency exchange market. Well known and trusted among traders to be a safe exchange platform. Sports two factor authentication, multisignature technology for it’s cold storage method and wallet. Bitstamp also has around the clock customer support and a multilingual interface. The sign-up process is also quick. After launching a free account and putting in a deposit, anyone can start trading. To find out more, refer to the Bitstamp FAQ and the Fee Schedule.
- Pros: Solid reputation, good security, available around the globe, meager transaction fees, perfect for large transactions.
- Cons: Difficult for beginners to get into, not a lot of payment methods, large deposit fee, user interface leaves a little bit to be desired.
What’s great about Gemini is that it is a fully regulated and licensed by the United States to allow Bitcoin and Ether exchanges. Therefore, Gemini operates in ways and complies to regulatory standards similar to that of a bank. The bank allows for cold storage of cryptocurrencies and dollar deposits are held at an FDIC-insured bank. Gemini accepts three different currencies, bitcoin, ether, and the dollar. Exchange rates are determined by a maker and taker fee schedule. Discounts are provided for high volume trading. The platform has made withdrawals and deposits free. Currently, Gemini is available in 42 US states, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, United Kingdom, and Canada. For more info, take a look at their FAQ
- Pros: Great security, minimalistic interface that’s friendly to users, analytics tools, high liquidity.
- Cons: Accepts a limited amount of currencies, isn’t very popular, customer support is alright, not available worldwide, doesn’t allow for margin trading.
CoinMama is a well-established platform that can be used by anyone to but bitcoins or ether via credit card, MoneyGram, or Western Union. The perfect platform for users who want to easily buy digital assets using their local fiat currency. Despite being available to access worldwide, CoinMama, doesn’t allow some countries to utilize all of the functions of the platform. CoinMama is available in German, English, French, Italian, and Russian. For more information on the exchange, take a look at their FAQ.
- Pros: Good reputation, great for new joiners, easy to understand user interface, wide range of payment options available, fast processing of transactions.
- Cons: Exchange rates are pretty high, extra fee for credit card payments, bitcoin sell option not available, user support could be improved.
Bitsquare offers users an easy to use peer to peer exchange system that allows anyone to buy and sell crypto or exchange it for fiats or other digital currencies. Seen by many as a truly decentralized P2P exchange system that has no requirement for registration and does not rely on any central authority. Only trading partners are required to exchange their personal data with the platform. The platform also does not hold any user funds. In return for this it promises top of the line multisig security, an arbitrator system in case of trade disputes opening up. If you want your identity to remain anonymous, then Bitsquare is perfect for that. We recommend to read a little bit on their FAQ page.
- Pros: Established reputation, offers great privacy and security, a lot of different cryptocurrencies available for trade, doesn’t have sign up fees, decent costs, open source software, available around the glove, perfect for advanced traders.
- Cons: Doesn’t support a whole lot of payment options, customer support is okay, not really friendly towards beginners.
LocalBitcoin is a really popular P2P Bitcoin exchange that sellers and buyers use all around the world. The platform allows you to physically meet up with someone in your area and buy or sell bitcoins for fiat, PayPal, Skrill, Dwolla, or bank deposits and transfer. LocalBitcoin is very fair in its commission policy, taking only 1% from sellers that establish their own crypto exchange rates. To ensure safe trading, LocalBitcoins assigned a rating system to each trader, users get to rate their trade experience with traders. LocalBitcoins also has an escrow service implemented, once crypto or money is requested, it is first placed in escrow. If something goes wrong with the trade, the platform offers a conflict resolution service to resolve issues between traders, buyers, and sellers. To find out more about this great platform, check out their FAQ
- Pros: No Identity Verification required, very friendly towards beginners, practically free, works instantaneously, can be used worldwide.
- Cons: Buying large amounts of bitcoin can be tricky, can harbor high exchange rates.