Your first step into the cryptocurrency world will most likely occur through an exchange. There are two main types of exchanges that we will discuss in this guide.
The first type of exchange, is what most people call a fiat exchange. This an exchange that allows the direct transfer of US Dollars, Euros and most government backed currencies to be traded for cryptocurrency.
The second type of exchange are cryptocurrency to cryptocurrency exchanges, that allow cryptocurrencies to be traded with each other. The most common pairings on these exchanges are Bitcoin and Ethereum.
Depending on what cryptocurrency you want, you will need to use certain exchanges. To get most cryptocurrencies, you will need to use both types of exchanges. This is because laws and regulations around certain cryptocurrencies make it difficult for fiat exchanges to sell them.
Each exchange has different pros and cons, so the best exchange for one person, might not be the best for another.
You should consider a number of things when determining the
best Bitcoin/cryptocurrency exchange for YOU:
- How safe is the website and server? Secure exchanges are better.
- How is the liquidity? The higher the exchanges volume, the better.
- What are the exchanges fees? The lower the better.
- How is the exchanges customer support?
- What trading pairs are available?
- How many different payment options does it have?
- Is the exchange beginner friendly?
Here’s some information on some of the most popular fiat cryptocurrency exchanges.
Coinbase (review) is considered by many as the most beginner friendly exchange. Its headquarters are in San Francisco, California. Coinbase allows its users to make recurring purchases when investing in various cryptocurrencies. Coinbase charges 1.49% fees on bank purchases and 3.99% fees on credit and debit purchases. If you sign up to Coinbase using the above link, you will recieve $10 in FREE Bitcoin on your first $100 order.
Coinmama is also pretty beginner friendly and focuses on credit and debit card purchases. They have instant delivery and are able to sell Bitcoin and Ethereum to almost all US States, and most countries. Coinmama’s fees are a bit on the higher end at 5.5%.
Bitpanda is a European based exchange that sells a Bitcoin, BCash, Dash, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Ripple for Euros. It has several payment methods such as bank transfers, credit cards, debit cards, Skrill, Neteller and more. Bitpanda has 5% fees on credit and debit card purchases.
Kraken (review) is one of the best Bitcoin/ cryptocurrency exchanges. It provides reliability, high-security environment, some legal compliance, and advanced order types like stop-loss orders. It also offers high liquidity, low fees, fast funding, margin trading, etc. It has uptime problems occasionally. It was founded in 2011. It is headquartered in San Francisco, California.
CEX.IO offers security, high liquidity, and cross-platform trading. It also offers lower fees, margin trading, almost 100% uptime, etc. It is headquartered in London, UK. It was affected by a small hack long back but has had no issues for a while. It has a large number of accounts possibly due to its beautiful interface.
LocalBitcoins offers a peer-to-peer (P2P) exchange. It allows users to trade among themselves individually. It offers lower fees. It also offers a resolution system, a rating system for traders, etc. It allows users to post a quick buy or quick sell ad on the exchange platform. It is one of the best cryptocurrency exchanges for peer to peer trading.
Bitstamp is a Bitcoin/cryptocurrency exchange with very high trading volume which gives you more liquidity. It was founded in 2011 and has its headquarters in Luxembourg. Expect .25% when buying and trading on Bitstamp.
You’ll find the foregone analysis quite useful. But, it’s better that you do your own research before undertaking any transactions and judge the suitability of the exchange taking into account your individual needs and characteristics like your risk appetite, fees, security, etc.
Gemini Exchange is an exchange based in New York, US. It only trades three currencies: US dollars, Bitcoin and Ethereum. It has low fees of 1%. It offers high security and compliance, top of the line cold storage system that stores information offline, access controls, and multi-factor authentication.
Crypto to Crypto Exchanges
Here’s some information on some of the most popular crypto to crypto exchanges.
Binance (review) is one of the newer exchanges but has impressed its customers on several occasions. They have some of the highest trading volumes on several of their trading pairs, and an enormous amount of coins available for purchase. It is based in Hong Kong, with offices located in several other countries such as Japan and China. It is available to all countries and US states.
Bittrex (review) is a Seattle, U.S. based and regulated exchange. It offers several trading pairs and supports more than 190 cryptocurrencies. It offers speedy transactions, high stability, and follows some risk management practices. Bittrex’s fees are .25%. Their customer support is pretty good, and uses Slack, Twitter and Email.
Cryptopia is a New Zealand based exchange that has an enormous amount of cryptocurrencies available. It features Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Tether trading pairs. Cryptopia’s serves all countries and has trading fees of .2%.
BitFinex is one of the larger cryptocurrency in terms of volume and users. It is based in Hong Kong and has trading fees of .1% for makers, and .2% for takers. It is important to note that BitFinex does not allow US users to sign up for their exchange.
Kucoin (review) is also a relatively new cryptocurrency exchange based in Korea, that has a wide variety of cryptocurrencies for sale. It has its own token similar to Binance known as Kucoin shares, that award its holders a percentage of the exchanges total trading fees. Kucoin’s trading fee is .1%.
Poloniex is a U.S. based exchange available in all countries and states. It was recently purchased by Circle and has a great selection of cryptocurrencies. Poloniex has .15% fees for makers and .25% fees for takers.