Before we get into exchanges, let’s refresh our minds about what cryptocurrency is. The concept behind cryptocurrencies is relatively simple, while the math and technology are not. Essentially, a cryptocurrency is a virtual or digital currency that utilizes cryptography as a means for protection and security.
Cryptography is also used to regulate the creation of additional units, so as to not drive the overall digital currency market wild. One of the greatest appeals of cryptocurrencies is that they are not regulated by any government agencies. The most popular digital asset is the bitcoin, followed by ethereum.
What Are Cryptocurrency Exchanges?
Cryptocurrencies can be traded through cryptocurrency exchanges. These cryptocurrency exchanges are platforms through which you can purchase or sell digital currencies for dollars, euros, and pounds, as well as other digital assets. For example, you can sell bitcoins and purchase dollars with the sold bitcoins, or you could exchange bitcoins for ether. These exchanges are a vital part of the virtual currency expansion rate.
There are private exchanges, which are exclusive and operate by invite only, as well as those available for the public. Local exchanges also exist. Some are easier to use than others are; certain exchanges are so flexible that digital assets can be traded directly through the built-in chat features of specific popular messengers, like Telegram.
What to Consider When Picking the Best Cryptocurrency Exchanges
Here are a few things you will want to consider before picking the best cryptocurrency exchange suited for your trading and speculative needs.
Fees – Almost all exchanges charge fees for you to do business on their platforms. Make sure that when you are signing up or committing yourself to a specific exchange that you know everything about its fees.
Verification Requirements and Security – These are vital to understand before starting out on an exchange. Most exchanges require some sort of identity verification in the form of a passport, driver’s license, proof of residence, or other similar document before joining. The more complex the verification process, the safer the exchange platform.
Exchange Rates – Exchange rates are also important, as you don’t want to join a cryptocurrency exchange that charges draconian fees for transactions and exchanges. That just wouldn’t be fair to you or financially savvy.
Reputation – The best cryptocurrency exchanges always have ups and downs. However, the general opinion of the top ones is positive. The best exchanges have a solid reputation and are well trusted by traders.
Region – It’s also important to find an exchange that supports your geographic region. Some exchanges may support all of the countries in South America, while not supporting any of the countries in Asia, and vice versa. If you are living in Russia, for example, make sure you pick the best exchange platform that supports your region.
Now, let’s take a look at some of the best cryptocurrency exchanges out there.
CEX.IO is one of the oldest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world. However, despite being referred to as a cryptocurrency exchange, CEX.IO can only be used with bitcoins and ethereum which are the main two trading pairs for alt-coins. If you want to purchase other currencies, you can use CEX and then a service named Changelly to convert them to many other cryptos.
The platform is registered with the FINCEN and applies KYC and AML principles. In other words, users have to completely verify their identity before they can get involved in any trades with this platform. Currently, the platform supports purchases with credit cards, wire transfers, or SEPA transfers for European residents.
Once you enter a trade, the platform automatically calculates the price of the transaction and freezes the exchange rate for 120 seconds, which is quite convenient. However, many users note that there are occasional hidden fees. CEX.IO has a flat fee of 7 percent for anything involving fiat currencies. For example, if you acquire $100 in bitcoins, you will only receive $93 in coins.
Coinbase is one of the, if not the, most trusted cryptocurrency exchange platforms in the world. It is also the largest digital asset exchange platform in the world. The platform supports more than 32 countries and has more than 4 million active users. Traders are allowed to acquire and sell bitcoins using their bank account, credit card, PayPal, and other payment methods, as well. In order to begin trading on Coinbase, you will have to set up an e-wallet for buying and selling cryptocurrencies. Furthermore, users have to be able to link a valid bank account in order to purchase bitcoins.
Currently, fully verified U.S. residents are only allowed to hold up to 50,000 bitcoins per day. Overall, Coinbase has a great reputation and is highly respected in the trader community. Most transactions through Coinbase only have a 1 percent transaction fee in addition to any fees that your selected payment method may carry.
As with CEX, you can only purchase a few currencies: Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin. You would then need to use Changelly to convert these to other crypto currencies.
Another benefit of registering with Coinbase is the fact you are then able to use the GDAX exchange which is owed by the same company. GDAX allows to more advanced trading features such as margin trading and Market, Limit, & Stop Orders. GDAX also has lower fees than Coinbase.
LocalBitcoins is a peer-to-peer cryptocurrency exchange used in most big cities around the world. The general principle behind this exchange is that you can find people who live in your area or city and meet with them in person to conduct an exchange. The platform also offers options for purchasing digital currencies via PayPal, Square, direct-to-bank transfers, and many other payment-processing methods. The platform charges a small fee of 1 percent per transaction in cases where sellers apply their own exchange rate.
Similar to the way Uber passengers and drivers are rated, LocalBitcoins applies a rating to each trader that uses the platform, and this rating is publicly displayed. Trades first have to undergo an escrow process to ensure that nobody will be scammed by using the platform. Once everything is verified, the funds and cryptocurrencies transfer between traders. LocalBitcoins takes a commission of 1 percent from sellers.
Picking the ideal cryptocurrency exchange platform for your specific needs may be a difficult and time-consuming process. Remember to pay attention to the fees, reputation, security, verification processes, and geographical services an exchange platform has to offer. Remember that you are not limited to using only one cryptocurrency exchange. Hopefully, the information provided will assist you in deciding which exchange platform to use.
We have selected 3 Cryptocurrency exchanges here which are trustworthy and easy to use for beginners to get started building their investment portfolios.