Best Cryptocurrency Exchanges: The Ultimate Guide

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So you want to start trading cryptocurrencies? Check out this guide to the best cryptocurrency exchanges.

What is a cryptocurrency exchange?

Cryptocurrency exchanges are websites where you can buy, sell or exchange cryptocurrencies for other digital currency or traditional currency like US dollars or Euro. For those that want to trade professionally and have access to fancy trading tools, you will likely need to use an exchange that requires you to verify your ID and open an account. If you just want to make the occasional, straightforward trade, there are also platforms that you can use that do not require an account.

The Ultimate Guide To The Best Cryptocurrency Exchanges

Types of exchanges

  • Trading Platforms – These are websites that connect buyers and sellers and take a fee from each transaction.
  • Direct Trading – These platforms offer direct person to person trading where individuals from different countries can exchange currency. Direct trading exchanges don’t have a fixed market price, instead, each seller sets their own exchange rate.
  • Brokers – These are websites that anyone can visit to buy cryptocurrencies at a price set by the broker. Cryptocurrency brokers are similar to foreign exchange dealers.

 

What to look out for before joining an exchange

It’s important to do a little homework before you start trading. Here are a few things you should check before making your first trade.

  • Reputation – The best way to find out about an exchange is to search through reviews from individual users and well-known industry websites. You can ask any questions you might have on forums like BitcoinTalk or Reddit.
  • Fees – Most exchanges should have fee-related information on their websites. Before joining, make sure you understand deposit, transaction and withdrawal fees. Fees can differ substantially depending on the exchange you use.
  • Payment Methods – What payment methods are available on the exchange? Credit & debit card? wire transfer? PayPal? If an exchange has limited payment options then it may not be convenient for you to use it. Remember that purchasing cryptocurrencies with a credit card will always require identity verification and come with a premium price as there is a higher risk of fraud and higher transaction and processing fees. Purchasing cryptocurrency via wire transfer will take significantly longer as it takes time for banks to process.
  • Verification Requirements – The vast majority of the Bitcoin trading platforms both in the US and the UK require some sort of ID verification in order to make deposits & withdrawals. Some exchanges will allow you to remain anonymous. Although verification, which can take up to a few days, might seem like a pain, it protects the exchange against all kinds of scams and money laundering.
  • Geographical Restrictions – Some specific user functions offered by exchanges are only accessible from certain countries. Make sure the exchange you want to join allows full access to all platform tools and functions in the country you currently live in.
  • Exchange Rate – Different exchanges have different rates. You will be surprised how much you can save if you shop around. It’s not uncommon for rates to fluctuate up to 10% and even higher in some instances.

 

The Best Cryptocurrency Exchanges

Today there are a host of platforms to choose from, but not all exchanges are created equal. This list is based on user reviews as well as a host of other criteria such as user-friendliness, accessibility, fees, and security. Here are ten of the best crypto exchanges in no specific order.

 

Coinbase

Backed by trusted investors and used by millions of customers globally, Coinbase is one of the most popular and well-known brokers and trading platforms in the world. The Coinbase platform makes it easy to securely buy, use, store and trade digital currency. Users can purchase bitcoins, Ether and now Litecoin from Coinbase through a digital wallet available on Android & iPhone or through trading with other users on the company’s Global Digital Asset Exchange (GDAX) subsidiary. GDAX currently operates in the US, Europe, UK, Canada, Australia, and Singapore. GDAX does not currently charge any transfer fees for moving funds between your Coinbase account and GDAX account. For now, the selection of tradable currencies will, however, depend on the country you live in. Check out the Coinbase FAQ and GDAX FAQ

 

  • Pros: Good reputation, security, reasonable fees, beginner friendly, stored currency is covered by Coinbase insurance.
  • Cons: Customer support, limited payment methods, limited countries supported, non-uniform rollout of services worldwide, GDAX suitable for technical traders only.

 

Kraken

Founded in 2011, Kraken is the largest Bitcoin exchange in euro volume and liquidity and is a partner in the first cryptocurrency bank. Kraken lets you buy and sell bitcoins and trade between bitcoins and euros, US Dollars, Canadian Dollars, British Pounds and Japanese Yen. It’s also possible to trade digital currencies other than Bitcoin like Ethereum, Monero, Ethereum Classic, Augur REP tokens, ICONOMI, Zcash, Litecoin, Dogecoin, Ripple and Stellar/Lumens. For more experienced users, Kraken offers margin trading and a host of other trading features. Kraken is a great choice for more experienced traders. Check out the Kraken FAQ

 

  • Pros: Good reputation, decent exchange rates, low transaction fees, minimal deposit fees, feature rich, great user support, secure, supported worldwide.
  • Cons: Limited payment methods, not suitable for beginners, unintuitive user interface.

 

The Ultimate Guide To The Best Cryptocurrency Exchanges

 

Cex.io

Cex.io provides a wide range of services for using bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The platform lets users easily trade fiat money with cryptocurrencies and conversely cryptocurrencies for fiat money. For those looking to trade bitcoins professionally, the platform offers personalized and user-friendly trading dashboards and margin trading. Alternatively, CEX also offers a brokerage service which provides novice traders an extremely simple way to buy bitcoin at prices that are more or less in line with the market rate. The Cex.io website is secure and intuitive and cryptocurrencies can be stored in safe cold storage. Check out the Cex.io FAQ

 

  • Pros: Good reputation, good mobile product, supports credit cards, beginner friendly, decent exchange rate, supported worldwide.
  • Cons: Average customer support, drawn out verification process, depositing is expensive.

 

The Ultimate Guide To The Best Cryptocurrency Exchanges

 

ShapeShift

ShapeShift is the leading exchange that supports a variety of cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Monero, Zcash, Dash, Dogecoin and many others. Shapeshift is great for those who want to make instant straightforward trades without signing up to an account or relying on a platform to hold their funds. ShapeShift does not allow users to purchase crypto’s with debit cards, credit cards or any other payment system. The platform has a no fiat policy and only allows for the exchange between bitcoin and the other supported cryptocurrencies. Visit the Shapeshift FAQ

 

  • Pros: Good reputation, beginner friendly, Dozens of Crypto’s available for exchange, fast, reasonable prices.
  • Cons: Average mobile app, no fiat currencies, limited payment options and tools.

 

Poloniex

Founded in 2014, Poloniex is one of the world’s leading cryptocurrency exchanges. The exchange offers a secure trading environment with more than 100 different Bitcoin cryptocurrency pairings and advanced tools and data analysis for advanced traders. As one of the most popular trading platforms with the highest trading volumes, users will always be able to close a trade position. Poloniex employs a volume-tiered, maker-taker fee schedule for all trades so fees are different depending on if you are the maker or the taker. For makers, fees range from 0 to 0.15%, depending on the amount traded.

For takers, fees range from 0.10 to 0.25%. There are no fees for withdrawals beyond the transaction fee required by the network. One of the unique tools on the Poloniex platform is the chat box which is constantly filled with user help and just about everything. Any user can write almost anything but inappropriate comments are eventually deleted by moderators. It can sometimes be hard to distinguish the good advice from the bad, but the Chatbox is a great tool that will keep you engaged.

 

  • Pros: fast account creation, feature rich, BTC lending, high-volume trading, user-friendly, low trading fees, open API.
  • Cons: Slow customer service, no fiat support.

 

The Ultimate Guide To The Best Cryptocurrency Exchanges

 

 

Bitstamp

Bitstamp is a European Union based bitcoin marketplace founded in 2011. The platform is one of the first generation bitcoin exchanges that has built up a loyal customer base. Bitstamp is well known and trusted throughout the bitcoin community as a safe platform. It offers advanced security features such as two-step authentication, multisig technology for its wallet and fully insured cold storage. Bitstamp has 24/7 support and a multilingual user interface and getting started is relatively easy. After opening a free account and making a deposit, users can start trading immediately. Check out the Bitstamp FAQ and the Fee Schedule

 

  • Pros: Good reputation, high-level security, worldwide availability, low transaction fees, good for large transactions.
  • Cons: Not beginner friendly, limited payment methods, high deposit fees, user interface.

The Ultimate Guide To The Best Cryptocurrency Exchanges

CoinMama

CoinMama is a veteran broker platform that anyone can visit to buy bitcoin or Ether using your credit card or cash via MoneyGram and the Western Union. CoinMama is great for those who want to make instant straightforward purchases of digital currency using their local currency. Although the CoinMama service is available worldwide, users should be aware that some countries may not be able to use all the functions of the site. CoinMama is available in English, German, French, Italian and Russian. Check out the CoinMama FAQ

 

  • Pros: Good reputation, beginner friendly, great user interface, good range of payment options, available worldwide, fast transaction time.
  • Cons: High exchange rates, a premium fee for credit card, no bitcoin sell function, average user support.

 

Bitsquare

Bitsquare is a user-friendly peer to peer exchange that allows you to buy and sell bitcoins in exchange for fiat currencies or cryptocurrencies. Bitsquare markets itself as a truly decentralized and peer to peer exchange that is instantly accessible and requires no need for registration or reliance on a central authority. Bitsquare never holds user funds and no one except trading partners exchange personal data. The platform offers great security with multisig addresses, security deposits and purpose-built arbitrator system in case of trade disputes. If you want to remain anonymous and don’t trust anyone, Bitsquare is the perfect platform for you. Check out the Bitsquare FAQ

 

  • Pros: Good reputation, secure & private, a vast amount of cryptocurrencies available, no sign-up, decent fees, open source, available worldwide, good for advanced traders.
  • Cons: Limited payment options, average customer support, not beginner friendly.

 

The Ultimate Guide To The Best Cryptocurrency Exchanges

LocalBitcoin

LocalBitcoin is a P2P Bitcoin exchange with buyers and sellers in thousands of cities around the world. With LocalBitcoins, you can meet up with people in your local area and buy or sell bitcoins in cash, send money through PayPal, Skrill or Dwolla or arrange to deposit cash at a bank branch. LocalBitcoins only take a commission of 1% from the sellers who set their own exchange rates. To ensure trading is secure, LocalBitcoins takes a number of precautions. To start, the platform rates each trader with a reputation rank and publicly displays past activities. Also, once a trade is requested, the money is held on LocalBitcoins’ escrow service. After the seller confirms the trade is completed the funds are released. If something does happen to go wrong, LocalBitcoins has a support and conflict resolution team to resolve conflicts between buyers and sellers. Check out LocalBitcoins FAQ

 

  • Pros: No ID required, beginner friendly, usually free, instant transfers, available worldwide.
  • Cons: Hard to buy large amounts of bitcoin, high exchanges rates.

 

Gemini

Co-founded by Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, Gemini is a fully regulated licensed US Bitcoin and Ether exchange. That means Gemini’s capital requirements and regulatory standards are similar to a bank. Also, all US dollar deposits are held at a FDIC-insured bank and the majority of digital currency is held in cold storage. Gemini trades in three currencies, US dollars, bitcoin, and ether, so the platform does not serve traders of the plethora of other cryptocurrencies. The exchange operates via a maker-taker fee schedule with discounts available for high volume traders. All deposits and withdrawals are free of charge. The platform is only fully available to customers in 42 US states, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and the UK.

Check out Gemini’s FAQ

 

  • Pros: Security & Compliance, slick/minimalistic and user-friendly design, great analytics, high liquidity.
  • Cons: Limited currencies, small community, average customer support, limited worldwide availability, no margin trading.

The Ultimate Guide To The Best Cryptocurrency Exchanges

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    Where the hell am I? A topic like this provokes just one comment? In two weeks? o_O
    And no mention of Bittrex? Where’s the real crypto forum?
    Edited on July 23, 2017
    FYI, not only is BTC-e.com seized by Homeland Security (I realize you didn’t mention them here)

    BUT CEX is only allowed to operate in 44 states and my state of Georgia is one of the 6 that have not opened up to CEX yet.

    That is how I have interpreted the notice that said my account has been declined because the service is not offered in my state yet.
    SO , before you waste your time, check that first.
    and yes, @Aboctok, that was funny and so true.
    just crickets around here for a week or more. 🙂

    Try CoinSwitch.co , they aggregate all major exchanges like Changelly/Bittrex/Shapeshift etc so they provide the best rates without charging any extra fee.
    They support 5000+ cryptocurrency pairs.
    Edited on August 05, 2017
    BITSANE.COM – new exchange of crypto-currencies

    Bitsane presents the most technologically advanced platform in the industry to date.

    Bitsane offers a minimalistic, user-friendly interface for maximum usability. Our platform provides super-fast execution of trade transactions for major currency pairs, such as Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, Ethereum, Dash, Iconomi, Ripple to traditional currencies USD and EUR. The number of trading instruments is constantly expanding. In addition to the aforementioned crypto currencies, deposits and withdrawals are available via SWIFT (in dollars) and SEPA (in Euros), OKPay and AdvCash payment systems.

    With the hacks and security breaches encountered by many cryptocurrency platforms in recent years, we take the platform’s security very seriously. Our developers have created a state-of-the-art security which has network protection, network backup, a strong, modern infrastructure, cold storage and advanced monitoring.

    These extra measures of security ensure that our customers’ funds and stored data are protected and secure at all times.

    At any point of time, a qualified and experienced customer support service is at your disposal.

    Not only do we provide web-based training and an exchange platform, we also enable access to mobile users. The platform can be accessed from any mobile device, allowing you to execute trades from anywhere in the world with the Internet connection.

    We provide a strong investment platform, enabling users to participate in margin trading and margin lending while receiving automated trading assistance. Our developers are currently working on enhancing Bitsane’s investment features.

    The platform is constantly evolving and we will be grateful for all thoughts, error messages, wishes and comments on the work of our exchange.

    Sincerely,
    Bitsane Team

    Edited on August 14, 2017
    I prefer dealing with decentralized exchanges (an exchange without the regulatory hurdle) like bitshares.org’s DEX. The wallets are supported and hosted by several programs like Openledger, Cryptonomex, Compumatrix and other sites from various countries worldwide.
    Bitfinex is definitely best platform for daily trading right now. If you don’t have account yet, here is the link for almost zero fees in first month bitly.com/2xl1c6h
    Edited on August 21, 2017
    Dear friends!

    We are happy to announce that FREE AdvCash and OkPay USD deposits are now available! Fund your account with AdvCash and OkPay for 0% fee!

    Sincerely, 
    Bitsane Team

    Dear friends!
    We are happy to introduce our new Anybits.com project. It is a crypto-to-crypto exchange with 15 most popular cryptocurrencies available for trading.

    You can log in using your Bitsane login and password. 

    Sincerely, 
    Bitsane Team

    Edited on November 21, 2017
    Introducing ANYBITS.COM

    We are happy to introduce our new project Anybits.com!

    What is Anybits?

    Anybits is a new platform for altcoin exchange, launched at the Blockchain and Bitcoin conference. The platform offers a great new tool for cryptocurrency users and traders to instantly trade between various cryptocurrencies and digital tokens.

    The exchange platform, powered and managed by established and reputable crypto-to-fiat exchange, Bitsane.com, supports buying and selling of some of the most widely used cryptocurrencies in the market today. We took the best from Bitsane and polished it, giving you the most fast and secure platform available.

    Please note that Bitsane users can log in into Anybits using their Bitsane login and password as well.

    AnyBits Features

    Anybits offers extremely fast execution of trade, secure wallets and a solid security protocol by holding a majority of user funds in cold storage. The interface is very user-friendly and customer support is available 24/7.
    You can also earn money through an affiliate program by inviting friends to the platform with up to 50% referral commission. Developers of cryptocurrency trading platforms are also offered ready access to API solutions.
    Furthermore, Anybits boasts a platform highly compatible for use on a mobile device allowing users to trade on the go without hassle. Investment options such as margin trading and portfolio diversifying investment will be shortly available for more experienced traders and investors.

    Supported crypto assets

    As of now, Anybits supports a total of 15 different currencies and tokens including Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Bitcoin Gold, Dash, Ripple, Litecoin, Dogecoin, Iconomi and CLAM. We expand a list of supported currencies on a weekly basis. Stay updated!

    How to Get Started With AnyBits?

    Registration is free with a valid E-mail address at https://anybits.com/signup
    No credit card or user information is required
    Making a deposit, trading and withdrawal can be made instantly with just one click.

    Anybits offers free trading with no transaction fees (0%) till the end of Year 2017. To take advantage of this offer, use the following promotion code at the time of registration: H9F27D1V

    We welcome any feedback or comments that you may have about the system and its functionality.

    At any point, if a customer needs help with anything on the platform, quick professional support is always within reach on Anybits.

    Yours,
    ANYBITS Team

    Edited on December 01, 2017