With the rapid increase in cryptocurrency throughout the world, cryptocurrency exchange has been a vital subject matter for the users of cryptocurrency. People have a lot of questions regarding crypto investment and cryptocurrency exchanges. The following article provides the detailed description of some of the matters related to cryptocurrency exchange and showcases the best Cryptocurrency exchanges at present.
Top 10 Cryptocurrency Exchanges
Coinbase - Good for beginners.
BitMEX - Leading crypto trading platform.
Bittrex - High-quality exchange with a lot of coins.
Kraken - Best for worldwide exchange.
Poloniex - One of the biggest cryptocurrency exchanges.
Coinmama - Fast coin delivery.
Bitpanda - European broker.
Changelly - Swap coins securely.
Cryptopia - Exchange for small & cheap coins.
What is Cryptocurrency Exchange?
Cryptocurrency exchanges which are also known as digital currency exchanges are online businesses where you can exchange one cryptocurrency for another cryptocurrency, or from one cryptocurrency to a fiat currency. These businesses are the market makers in the world of cryptocurrency.
They take bid/ask spread as transaction commission for every service that they provide. These are the platforms through which the trade of the cryptocurrency takes place. Thus, the customers can easily trade cryptocurrency from these platforms who then transfer it into or out of the customer’s cryptocurrency exchange account.
There are a few terms that you must understand before you get to know more about cryptocurrency exchange:
1. Traditional Cryptocurrency Exchange
Here the buyers and sellers trade the cryptocurrency based on its current market price. They charge a fee for each of the transaction services that they provide.
These business platforms allow exchanges only in cryptocurrency or also in other fiat currency. Coinbase’s GDAX and Kraken are some of these types of exchanges.
Some exchanges are run by the third party where there is a middleman, some are decentralized exchanges, and others are peer to peer exchanges which operate without an intermediary.
2. Cryptocurrency Brokers
these websites based exchanges allow customers to trade the cryptocurrencies at a price which is set by the broker. The broker sets the price at the market price including a small premium.
Shapeshift, and Coinbase is some of its kinds. Although you will have to pay a slightly higher price than on the other exchanges, the process of trading is straightforward and easy.
3. Direct Trading Platforms
These trading platforms access direct peer to peer trading between buyer and seller without an intermediary but do not use an exchange platform.
They do not use a fixed market price, but the seller sets the exchange rate and the buyers will find the seller through platforms and perform Over the Counter (OTC) exchange or will set a standard that they are willing to buy the cryptocurrency at from the seller.
The platform is somewhat tricky since there might be some trust issues, so you have to do some research on this platform. To see that you are not buying at a fixed market price, you must also check the market price of the cryptocurrency, preferably on Coinmarketcap.
4. Cryptocurrency funds
These are pools of cryptocurrency assets which are professionally managed. They allow the public to buy and hold cryptocurrency through funds. An example of such fund might be GBTC. You will not have to purchase or store the cryptocurrency, instead will have to invest in these funds.
In all of these cases, you will have to use an exchange or a broker, so if your options are limited, you are suggested to use the direct trading platform. If you want to use cryptocurrency funds, GBTC might be a correct option.
There have been some cases where these platforms have fallen under regulatory issues. Like when three Australian cryptocurrency exchanges were shut down after the Australian Securities and Investments Commission investigated and asked them to get an Australian Financial Services License.
Since these companies did not have the license and did not want the hassle of having one, they voluntarily shut down. The license and regulatory issues have been emerging for the cryptocurrency exchange businesses all over the world. However, many such platforms have found a way to either follow these rules or overcome them to provide regular services to its customers.
Best Cryptocurrency Exchanges
Binance is one of the most desirable and prominent cryptocurrency exchange which has come into view on the crypto-to-crypto trading arena due to its remarkable coin offerings and wildly low trading fees. It has not been longer than a few months that this company emerged through ICO. It has already been called out as an alternative to Bittrex.
Some of the critical information about Binance are:
- It is a company based in Shinbuya-Ku, Tokyo
- It is a mobile app
- The company was launched in 2017
- It is crypto to the crypto trading platform only which means that the deposits are cryptocurrency and the withdrawal is also cryptocurrency
- The fees are extremely low, and the customer support is good
Binance is a recently forme exchange platform which has been taking over the cryptocurrency market and is often regarded as an excellent alternative to Bittrex.
Binance was established in July 2017 after it raised $ 15 million in an ICO. It did not take long before the company had 20000 registered users. The CEO of Binance is Changpeng Zhao who has been in the cryptocurrency market for long.
Before he began the idea of Binance, he was the founder and CEO of BijieTech, Head of Development at Blockchain, co-founder, and CTO of OKCoin. Thus it can be said that your trust is in great hands. At present Binance is at the top three exchange list on CoinMarketCap regarding volume.
How does Binance work?
There are two trading platforms on Binance which are Basic and Advances. The Basic platform is pretty much similar to the advanced platform. However, the advanced platform has a more detailed technical analysis.
The main dashboard has numerous charts and graphs which includes order books, a candlestick chart, and a trade history. Thus it is not for a casual investor. You can also view the depth chart of the orders if you like.
The trading process begins when you fund your account. To fund your account, you need o click on the Deposits Withdrawals link which can be found under the “Funds” tab.
Once you enter the “Deposits and withdrawal” page, there are various options of cryptocurrency to fund. You have to choose the one you want to fund your account with and press “Deposit.” Binance facilitates you with a public wallet address to send your funds. You can fund your account using Bitcoin or Ethereum due to greater flexibility in trading.
Now that your account has some funds, you can start investing. To do this, you must go back to the exchange dashboard. Click “Basic” which is under the “Exchange” tab located on the upper left-hand corner. Only limit and market orders are available to be made on Binance.
- Trading Fees
At present, Binance charges a flat 0.1% fees on each of the transaction made which is relatively cheaper. Moreover, you will be charged 0.05% only when you use their token (BNB) after which you will receive a 50% discount.
- Available cryptocurrencies
Binance offers various coins often not listed on other exchange platforms which are why many investors prefer it. Some of the coins provided by Binance are Ark, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Dash, Ethereum, EOS, Otsego, Litecoin, Bitcoin gold, and 36 other coins.
- Transfer Limits
Binance is a cryptocurrency to cryptocurrency exchange and is limited to only that. There isn’t any limit to the amount that you can deposit and also that these deposits require no fees.
The verification tier determines the amount that you can withdraw you can withdraw up to 2 BTC cryptocurrency a day at Level 1 when you have not submitted any verification detail. For level 2 you need to enable two-factor authentication or Google Authenticator.
In the two factor authentication, only Chinese numbers are supported at present. Your first name, last name, gender, country, passport ID, passport photo, and a selfie with the passport for the level 2 verification is needed. With it, you will be able to withdraw up to 100 BTC.
- Customer Support
There might be a few grammatical errors in the website on customer support section since it was translated from Chinese to English. There are a few lists of FAQs, but not so clear answers are attained from it.
Binance at present provides support in 7 languages. Although it is impressive that Binance already supports multiple languages. If you want help, you can also submit a support ticket through an online form and receive a response email.
Binance has been having various initiatives for its users like Community Coin Per Month, Various giveaways, Claim NeoGAS on Binance, Free Airdrops, Community Coin Per month, Binance API Coding Competition, Lamborghini Giveaway, and more.
If you are looking for an exchange platform for the only cryptocurrency to cryptocurrency, then this might be the best option for you. With low trading fees and the vast amount of coins available, Binance is indeed one of the best exchange platforms at present.
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Coinbase is another well-known online exchange platform for digital trading currency.
Some of the critical information about Coinbase are:
- It is considered the world’s largest Bitcoin broker
- There are many payment methods like SEPA transfer, Interac Online, through a bank account, and more
- It has users from more than 33 countries and serves more than 59 million customers
- There is immediate buy available with a credit card as a backup
- Company Trust
Coinbase is based in San Fransisco. The company has trusted investors. The CEO of Coinbase is Brian Armstrong. The company raised $ 100 million from its investors in August. The company is valued at $ 1.6 billion. The team behind Coinbase is very strong which is why you can feel safe about your cryptocurrency.
Coinbase holds a license in all districts that it operates and is also backed by many US investor which might add to its security. You can link your bank account safely.
- Country Support
Coinbase has a wide range of customers coming from 33 countries at present. It provides its services in the following countries:
Unites States, United Kingdom, Canada, Singapore, Bulgaria, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and Greece. Also, it provides services in Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Austria, Belgium, and Bulgaria.
The users will have to provide their full identification, personal details along with a picture of your driver’s license or passport while purchasing with a credit card. However, there have been a few privacy issues regarding the fact that Coinbase tracks how its users spend the Bitcoins. Some of the details that a user must provide are the name, phone number, and email.
You can also be contacted by Coinbase through either your identity or your IP address. The KYC norms are followed by Coinbase since it has buy/sell features. It prevents other users from connecting Bitcoin addresses by using a new address at each payment request. The Open Bitcoin Privacy Project’s Spring 2015 report scored Coinbase 11 out of 100 which is not as promising as alternative exchange platforms.
- Trading limit
The limits to trading have been set very high by Coinbase. After a full verification, you will be able to buy up to $ 50000 worth of bitcoins on a daily basis if you are a US citizen. Meanwhile, if you are a European customer, you must have a maximum of 30000 euro at all times in your account if you are a European customer.
- Coinbase buying process
You as a user can immediately and quickly buy bitcoins using your credit or debit card with the following easy step:
- Account Creation: First of all you must create an account in Coinbase. For this, you will have to provide your details and log in. Coinbase may also ask you to upload a scan of ID among other things.
- Account Settings: After you have logged in to your newly created account, you must go to the top right corner of the account and click on your name. You must click the “settings” button from the drop-down menu that appears. Click the “payment method” tab located on the menu at the top. Then click “Add Payment Method” located in the right corner.
- Credit/Debit Card: After that, you must click the “Credit/debit card” to buy digital currency.
- You must then enter your Credit/ Debit Card information. It asks you to enter your Name on the card, Card Number, Expiry date, CVC number and ZIP Code.
- Confirmation: A green confirmation sign then appears showing that your Credit/Debit Card is added.
- Buy Bitcoins: After the confirmation, you can buy bitcoins. For this, you must go to the buy page where you must enter the Amount in BTC and select which method you will be using, and where you want the cryptocurrency to be deposited. Finally, you must click “Buy Bitcoin Instantly” button which also shows you the total cost including the fees. The cryptocurrency coins will now be delivered to your Coinbase wallet.
Coinbase Bitcoin Wallet Security
Coinbase Bitcoin wallet controls all of your private keys to keep your bitcoins safe. However, it should not be used to store fund unless you are using the Multisignature Vault. Three kinds of wallets are available with Coinbase:
- Coinbase Vault
It helps you to secure vast amounts of your bitcoins by protecting your vault account with multiple approvers. Before it is processed, both the users must conform to the withdrawal as valid in case two approvers are added.
It takes two days to process the withdrawals from these vaults. This seems to be a safety net since the withdrawal can be canceled if you think you did not make the withdrawal request. Coinbase can shut down your Vault account at any time.
- Coinbase Bitcoin wallet
Coinnbase controls your bitcoins and keeps it safe using CoinbaseBitcoin wallet. It is essential that you keep your Coinbase login and account password safe. It is known to have a strong security setup so you can put your trust in Coinbase. However, keep in mind that Coinbase can shut down your account and block access to your funds at any time.
- Multisig Vault
Through this wallet, Coinbase has one key, while another key is shared and the third key is kept with the account holder. This way it can be assured that the users have complete control over their funds. Two keys allow the spending of funds. So in unlikely cases that Coinbase goes down, you will have a shared key and your key. Since the shared key is encrypted with your password, the funds cannot be held.
- Payment Methods and Fees
The payment method of Coinbase depends on the country that it supports. The actual deposit of currencies into your Coinbase account is free after which Coinbase charges 1.49% fee for every purchase made. For a backup payment, the US citizens may add a Visa or Mastercard credit card.
Through this, you will enable up to $1000 worth of bitcoin per week at “instant buy.” The fees are relatively higher than most other alternative exchange platforms. Following shows that payment method and fees for some of the countries that Coinbase supports:
- USA: the payment method can be through bank transfer with fees of 1.49% in USD. It can also be through Credit/Debit Card with fees of 3.99% at EUR with funds available instantly.
- Canada: the payment can be made through Credit/Debit Card with fees of 3.99% at CAD with funds available immediately.
- Europe: SEPA Transfer can be done at EUR with 1.49%, funds available within 1 to 3 days or Credit/ Debit card can be used at EUR with fees of 3.99% and funds available instantly.
- UK: Credit/Debit Card can be used for instant funds with fees of 3.99% at GBP
- Singapore: Xfers transfer can be done for instant funds at SGD with fees of 1.49%
- Australia: Credit/Debit Card can be used for payment for instant funds at AUD at fees of 3.99%
Coinbase provides high liquidity and buying limits and is an easy way for new users to buy bitcoin. Ther is also a facility to instantly buy coins using credit/debit card as backup. However, there are limited payment methods, and there have also been issues regarding privacy.
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Bittrex is a cryptocurrency exchange platform which was established in 2014 in the United States. It is one of the most prominent Altcoin Market exchange platform at present. It is regulated in the USA but has users from around the world. It is often compared to Poloniex and is regarded as a better option than it. It has a variety of listed cryptocurrency pairs.
At present Bittrex holds Steem’s biggest market. It has a huge trade volume with many clients actively trading on Bittrex. There is a likely case that almost all of the users who earn Steem have an account at Bittrex. Bittrex is the best exchange platform if you want to buy some cheap Steem.
- Company Trust
The company is run by an exceptional team which consists of three young computer scientists. Bill Shihara, who is the co-founder and CEO of Bittrex, works for BlackBerry as the Manager of Security Threat Analysis and Security Engineering.
He is also known to have worked with Microsoft for 11 years previously. Rami Kawach who is the co-founder of Bittrex works at Qualys as the Director of engineering who is proficient at malware detection system.
Richie Lai who is also a co-founder is working for Amazon as the manager of Amazon Security Operation Center. He is also known to have worked in Microsoft for 12 years previously. Thus looking at the experience of the team, it is safe to say that your coins are in good hands.
- Trading Fees
Bittrex has set its trading fees at only 0.25% on every buy or sell order which is relatively lesser than other exchange platforms. It charges the network fee imposed by a Blockchain Protocol. There is no deposit fee imposed by Bittrex.
The multi-stage wallet plan is used by Bittrex for maintaining security thus ensuring that 70-90 % of the currency can be kept offline.
The security has not been compromised by Bittrex since it follows a strict authentication procedure and uses high-end technology with a custom trading engine relying on elastic computing technology.
Bittrex makes updates on security time and again to keep the customer funds more secure. The two-factor authentication proves to keep the funds safe.
There is not much delay in trades through Bittrex, unlike other exchange platforms. It also offers more than hundred Cryptocurrency pairing with Bitcoin and Etherum which is why it has gained so much fame in the Altcoin Hubs. However, it does not offer fiat trading pairs. It does offer USDT which facilitates users to trade Bitcoins to a favorite Altcoin in the market. You have to spend some time with Bittrex to get a hand of it.
- Supporting Tokens
A lot of tokens or Cryptocurrencies is supported by Bittrex. Bittrexx has been catching up with any new cryptocurrency that falls into the market. There is a massive trading volume on Bittrex. At present, it supports currencies like Bitcoin, Ripple, Cardano, Siaoin, Ethereum, Stellar, bitcoin cash, ReddCoin, Golem, Propy, NEM, Bitcoin Gold, Matchpool, Monero, WAX, Stratis, and more.
Bittrex doesn’t have a mobile app at present, but this development may happen in time. Bittrex is considered a more open and transparent way of trade of cryptocurrency. Also, it is a safer alternative than most exchanges. The liquidity and variability of Altcoins in Bittrex seem also to be one of the reasons for making it so popular. It is a growing platform and is quite user-friendly as well.
Kraken is one of the largest Bitcoin exchange platforms regarding euro volume and liquidity in the present arena. It boasts to be the first Bitcoin exchange to have a trading price and volume which is displayed in the Bloomberg Terminal. It is the first exchange to pass the cryptographically verifiable proof-of-reserves audit.
Some of the important information about Kraken is given below:
- It does not have a mobile app
- It uses bank transfer as deposit and withdrawal method
- It supports more than 18 currencies at present
- It has a very low fees
- It accepts fiat currencies as well
- Company Trust
Kraken is a Sanfransisco based exchange platform which was launched in 2011. It was founded by Jesse Powell who is currently the CEO of the company.
Powell is himself a tech genius who is known to have worked as a board member for Verge enter for the Arts, worked as a CEO of Interne Ventures & Holdings, was a CEO of Lewt, Inc and is highly concerned about security.
- Currency Support
SEPA, SWIFT, and wire transfers help the deposit and withdrawal of fiat currencies. It might take from 1 to 5 days. The deposit of fiat currency is free mostly. However, ban wire transfers may cost somewhere from $ 5 to $ 10.
Kraken accepts fiat currencies like Euro, USD, British Pound, Japanese Yen, and Canadian dollar. Kraken currently supports 18 coins such as Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, EOS, Dash, Ethereum Classic, Ethereum, Litecoin, Tether, Augur, Dogecoin, Stellar Lumens, Ripple, Z cash, and more.
- Country Support
Kraken is available over the world and supports all countries. However, it only facilitates two language options on their websites, i.e., English and Japanese. Although available on the iOS app, due to many bugs it has not received good reviews.
- Customer Support
The website has a good customer support system. It facilitates an extensive support guide. A support ticket can be submitted if you are in a need of detailed support. However, the customer support can be slow at times and the responses can take up to some days. Also, the live chat option is not available.
The two-factor authentication feature makes Kraken a secure site. This facility is available on account login, trading and funding processes. This extra layer of security is what makes Kraken attractive to users. A global settings lock to help prevent account information from being tampered in case of attack is found on enhanced security feature.
Kraken has the lowest fees from among other exchanges. The fee depends on the tier of the account which means that if the tier is higher, then you will be able to trade more volume with your account and the lesser the fees you are charged. Both buyer and seller are charged a fee for each transaction. It can range from 0% to 0.26% based on the account tier.
- Account Types
After you have opened the account, you can see the verification section where there are five different account types from 0 to 4. The fee depends upon the tier of your account.
Also, the verification tiers show the volume of deposit and withdraw in fiat and cryptocurrencies. As the account level increases, the deposit and withdrawal amount also increases.
Tier 0 account does not allow you to make deposits and withdraws. To reach Tier 2, you must provide basic information like full name, date of birth, country, and phone number.
Through Tier 2 you can deposit $ 2000 fiat per day, and in a month you can deposit $ 10000. For Tier 3, you will require an ID and a proof of your address. And in Tier 4 you will require contact with the support team. These accounts are corporate and high-value accounts. It is pretty easy to verify up to Tier 2. However, to upgrade to Tier 3 takes a few days.
There was an issue in 2017 where users were getting error messages and were facing difficulty using the exchange. Powell apologized and shared that it was due to the high demand for the cryptocurrency. The company has upgraded their services since then. Due to the enhanced security feature and low trade fees, Kraken is a nice alternative to other exchanges.
Poloniex is a growing exchange platform also dubbed as Polo which boasts the highest trading volumes for Altcoins at present. Polo provides a wide range of Altcoin trading pairs. It is known to be bet for more experienced users rather than beginners.
Some of the key information of Poloniex is given below:
- It does not have a mobile app
- It deposits and withdraws on cryptocurrency basis
- It has more than 90 trading pairs
- Fees are very low
- Company Trust
Poloniex is a Delaware, United States based company launched in 2014 by Tristan D’Agosta. Not much is known about the team of Polo.
- Currency Support
Polo is known mostly for having a wide range of Altcoin support available for trading. Deposits must be made in cryptocurrency, and there is also no support for bank transfer or credit card transaction. It is the only crypto to crypto trading. After the fund is deposited, you can store value in USDT which is a cryptocurrency representing US dollar.
It does not support any fiat currency but supports a wide range of Altcoins. Some of the cryptocurrencies that it supports are Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Dash, Litecoin, Stellar, Ripple, Dogecoin, NXT, BitShares, Stratis, NEM, Siacoin, Bytecoin, DigiByte, and more.
- Country Support
Polo is based in the United States but supports users from all the countries in the word. It is also because the company is the only crypto to crypto trading, so all geographic regions are supported. Since there are no geographical boundaries, it is an ideal platform for many cryptocurrency investors.
- Customer Support
One of the cons of Polo is its customer support issues. Polo customers have been seeing this issues lately. Many of the users have had a bad experience with Polo regarding customer support. Some have reported having waited more than 90 days to simply get a response.
The customer support team has been getting a bad name. It is advised not to send a support ticket at present since it may stay in the store for more than a month. The company has not been handling customer support properly.
- Margin trading Features
One of the fascinating features that set Polo aside from all the other exchanges is the margin trading feature. With this feature, users can efficiently and promptly use a peer to peer functions to borrow funds and start margin trading like stocks.
You can take benefit of the lending features and work with other traders in the market. This is profitable to both the lender and borrower when the market is trending upwards.
- Buying Cryptocurrencies
You must begin by depositing cryptocurrency. First, you must click “Balances” where you should click the deposits & Withdrawals tab. There you should locate the wallet that you want to deposit into. You will then send your cryptocurrency to that address.
After the cryptocurrency enters your account, you must go to the exchange page. You will have the options to trade the currency for Bitcoin, Etherum, Monero or USDT or any other Altcoin.
On the right-hand side of the page, you will see the pair you want to trade. After that, set your trade price and the amount you want to purchase. Thus your buy order is placed. If other Polo users are willing to sell their crypto at the price you quoted, then you order will be filled.
Poloniex is known for its lowest fees for trade. The highest taker fee is 0.25% under 600 BTC, and the maker fee at it is 0.15%. This is lower than any other exchanges. Ads the trade volume increases the trade fees can be minimized.
At trade volume more than or equals to 120000 BTC, the maker fee is 0% while the taker fee is only 0.05%. However, the downside is that you are not able to withdraw more than $ 2000 a day through Polo.
The funds are stored offline in cold storage. The funds are also stored online but only to the amount that is needed at a minimum. Not much is known about Poloniex’s security operation. The users are facilitated with the two-factor authentication. Thus hackers cannot hack your account with just a single password.
Poloniex has been facing a lot of customer support issues lately which has caused its name to go down. However, the company has been putting on the effort to overcome this. Also, there are no fiat withdrawal options provided by Poloniex which can be a downside.
However, the low fees, a wide range of trading pairs and the facility of margin trading and lending makes it an ideal platform for experienced users to operate their trades.