Cryptocurrency exchange platforms are the websites where you can buy, sell or exchange Bitcoin, Ether or any other altcoin to another digital currency or the traditional fiat currencies such as the Euro or US dollar.
The total number of cryptocurrencies already exceeds 2,000, according to Coinmarketmap stats. For wise investors who want to diversify their portfolio and buy different cryptocurrencies instead of relying solely on Bitcoin, many different cryptocurrency trading platforms have been created with a different set of supported altcoins and different requirements for verification. In this article, we are going to review the best cryptocurrency exchanges mentioning both their pros and cons in order to help you choose the platform that would best suit your needs.
5 tips to find a trustworthy cryptocurrency exchange
When estimating bitcoin trading sites you should pay specific attention to the following five aspects.
Before you entrust your funds to the third-party platform you should always check its reputation. The best way to estimate the reliability of a given bitcoin trading platform is to find what users say about it on the internet. Look through such popular platforms as Reddit, Bitcointalk or Quora, read the users’ comments in the existing threads or ask your own questions.
Most of the largest bitcoin exchanges require to upload some documents to give you the full access to their features. As users are aplenty, you may have to wait for several days or even weeks for your account to be approved, but it’s worth waiting. This is the best way for a platform to protect itself against scam and money laundering, and the longer verification takes, the higher is reliability.
Typically, bitcoin exchange platforms work in a limited number of countries, so check the list of supported regions before you sign up.
If you are a newbie in cryptocurrency trading most likely you will have many questions about how these platforms work. Make sure that on the platform of your choice there is a real human to answer your questions in the live chat or a convenient knowledge base.
Most bitcoin trading websites display the fees they take per transaction. Check if the amount is reasonable.
Now that you know what aspects are most important, check the following digital currency exchanges.
This cryptocurrency exchange platform works best for those who are keen on crypto-to-crypto trading. Launched in 2017, Binance has quickly gained popularity and now keeps stable positions at the top of Coinmarketcap with $1 billion daily trading volume and more than 130 supported altcoins. Initially based in China, the platform had to move to Malta when new local regulations were released.
Apart from multiple altcoins, Binance also offers its own token, Binancecoin (BNB). If you hold a decent amount of BNB coins on your wallets you can get a discount for transaction fees. Also, every month, Binance lists one new project for free and motivates users to vote for their favorites with BNB.
Pros: low transaction fees, available worldwide, own token, relatively simple verification procedure.
Cons: limited payment options, no fiat trading.
Launched in 2012, Coinbase is one of the eldest and most reputable bitcoin exchange sites. Apart from a crypto exchange platform, Coinbase also provides a set of crypto payment tools for merchants, a cryptocurrency wallet and one of the easiest way to buy bitcoin for end-users. The purchase fees are reasonable, 1.49%-3.99% for buying crypto. Coinbase is justly regarded the best site to buy bitcoins.
The main disadvantages of this platform is the limited geographical coverage. It works in the US and in most of the European countries and buys orders are available in Singapore, Australia and Canada. All other countries are still out of reach.
Pros: reputable platform, additional services, user-friendly, accepts fiat, funds’ security is backed by Coinbase insurance.
Cons: limited support and payment options, a small number of supported currencies.
Kraken is also one of the most reputable cryptocurrency trading sites famous for its high security level. It may be really hard to pass full verification, and the whole procedure may take up to several weeks or even months, but your efforts won’t go wasted. Once you are in, you get access to the advanced trading tools, super-fast transactions with very low fees (0-0.26%) and the possibility to buy bitcoin online not only for USD and EUR (via wire transfer), but also for Japanese Yen and Canadian dollar.
Kraken supports around 20 cryptocurrency pairs, including EOS, Monero and Zcash and it works in almost all countries.
Pros: good reputation, very low transaction fees, rich functionality, customer support, security, no geographical limits.
Cons: complex interface for beginners, long verification.
This digital currency exchange platform offers its users not only an online edition, but also a cross-platform tool that you can access from your mobile device. Although CEX.io suffered a small hack in summer 2017, the security breaches are already fixed and you may no longer worry for your funds.
Cex offers a set of tools for professional traders as well as brokerage services for those who only start to investigate this area. The maker-taker fees are relatively low and there are also special conditions for huge amounts.
Pros: multiple payment options, beginner friendly, decent fees, works worldwide.
Cons: limited support options, strict verification.
Founded in 2014, Poloniex is one of the most popular cryptocurrency markets as it offers its services all over the world and has around 100 trading pairs for altcoin exchange. Based in the US, it was recently boxed into a corner by the government and purchased by Circle, but this act didn’t have any effect on the platform as it continues to work just as it used to.
Poloniex provides its users with a set of professional trading tools including bitcoin price graph compared to other altcoins, market depth chart, the price history and many other features. The fees vary from 0 to 0.15% for makers and from 0.1 to 0.25% for takers. To withdraw your funds, you only need to pay the network fee.
Pros: easy KYC procedure, many trading pairs, low fees, high-volume trading.
Cons: slow support, no fiat.
Coinmama is one of the best sites to buy bitcoins for beginners as it has a very user-friendly interface and allows to buy cryptocurrency with a credit card. Unlike Coinbase, this platform doesn’t provide you with cryptocurrency wallets, so you will have to get them yourself. At Coinmama, you can buy Bitcoin, Ethereum, Cardano, Qtum, XRP, Litecoin, BCash and Ethereum Classic. It works with almost all countries including the US (check if your state is in the coverage area) and the fees for buying crypto with a card are only 5.5% which is lower than the market average. There’s no way to switch crypto back to fiat, though.
Pros: you can buy bitcoin with a card and with a bank transfer, relatively simple verification, good reputation, user-friendly, available all over the world.
Cons: not the best rates, no way to sell bitcoin, the average level of user support.
7. Local Bitcoins
Local Bitcoins is an ideal platform for those who want to buy cryptocurrency without revealing their identity. This is a peer-to-peer bitcoin exchange where you can find people in your country and even in your city and buy bitcoin for cash, deposit funds to their bank account or pay via PayPal, Dwolla or Skrill. To make sure that users don’t cheat, the platform provides the escrow service, rates the reputation of its participants and publicly displays their previous deals.
Pros: possibility to buy bitcoins with cash, escrow service, privacy, user-friendly, available all over the world.
Cons: not the best rates, difficult to buy large amounts of crypto.
The abbreviation that is used in the name of this cryptocurrency trading platform stands for the Bitcoin Mercantile Exchange. The target audience of Bitmex consists of dedicated traders rather than cryptocurrency investors as the platform offers leveraged contracts and provides the users with much higher profits (or losses) per contract. There is no fiat currency support as all orders are made using bitcoin. There is no verification procedure as well. All you need to do to sign up is to provide your name, email address and the country of your residence. The maker/taker fees vary from 0.05 to 0.25% per contract.
Pros: high liquidity, easy verification, low fees, margin trading.
Cons: not suited for beginners, higher risks, no fiat support.
This is also one of the best cryptocurrency trading platforms with high trading volumes and maker-taker fees as low as 0-0.2%. Based in Hong Kong, this cryptocurrency exchange doesn’t allow US citizens to use the service.
In the past, Bitfinex had some security issues. In 2016, it was compromised by hackers’ attacks and lost more than $70 in bitcoin and it was accused of speculations a year after that. However, now all the security breaches seem to be disposed of as the platform maintains the reputation of a secure tool for cryptocurrency traders.
Pros: a huge variety of trading pairs, low fees, easy verification procedure, a wide range of trading tools.
Cons: security issues in the past, doesn’t work in the US.
Initially founded in China in 2013, Huobi is now headquartered in Singapore and has offices in the US, Korea, Japan and Hong Kong. The US citizens are not allowed to sign up on it. The maker-taker fees make up 0-0.2% and the verification procedure is relatively easy.
Huobi has a built-in interface of a famous service TradingView which provides cryptocurrency fans with a huge variety of trading tools. Also, Huobi was one of the first cryptocurrency exchanges to declare the support of EOS-based projects. If you hold your EOS tokens on Huobi, you will receive the airdrops of all new EOS-based ICOs directly to your Huobi account.
Pros: low fees, simple verification, advanced tools for traders, a wide range of supported altcoins, 24/7 customer support.
Cons: no US support, withdrawal limits, accused of falsifying trading volumes in the past.
Conclusion on best cryptocurrency exchanges
The cryptocurrency boom in the last few years has drastically increased the demand for bitcoin exchange websites with different tools for cryptocurrency traders. We have reviewed top bitcoin exchanges to help you make the right choice. Whether you want to become a professional cryptocurrency investor or make money on the short-term trading you can find the tools that will suit your requirements no matter what is your country of residence.