Best Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Exchanges of 2018
- July 31, 2018
- Posted by: Jeff Gitlen
- Category: Personal Finance
If you’re new to the world of Bitcoin and want to invest with one of the best Bitcoin exchanges, it’s crucial to learn the basics before you dive in – but it’s also important to choose the right platform to buy and sell.
Bitcoin is a type of cryptocurrency or digital currency that is “mined” by computers by solving cryptographic mathematical problems. Many kinds of cryptocurrencies exist, but Bitcoin is the most well-known – because it was the first decentralized cryptocurrency, but also because it was created in limited supply.
The developer promised to only ever create around 21 million Bitcoins. And as more people invest in Bitcoin, they drive up the price. It is also famously volatile. In 2017, the price of a Bitcoin ranged from $967 to $13,860.
A cryptocurrency exchange is like a stock market in that it allows you to buy and sell Bitcoin by matching you with other people who will either buy your coins or sell you some of their own.
Which cryptocurrency exchange is right for you will depend on things like your personal needs, the fees, where you live, and what kinds of market data and analytics you need. To help you choose the right cryptocurrency exchange, we’ve reviewed your options, including the best Bitcoin exchanges specifically. We also cover some of the basics on avoiding scams.
Compare 7 of the Best Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Exchanges
18 Best Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Exchanges
The reviews are sorted by the best exchanges overall, European exchanges, peer-to-peer exchanges, and Indian exchanges. Click on an option below to drop to that section to find the best Bitcoin exchange for you.
- Top Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Exchanges
- Top European Exchanges
- Top Peer-to-Peer Exchanges
- Top Indian Exchanges
Top Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Exchanges
Coinbase is considered to be one of the most popular and most trusted digital currency exchanges. Founded in 2012, it has over 20 million users and has traded over $150 billion in digital currency. It is based in San Francisco and is backed by many big Silicon Valley investors like the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz and the startup accelerator Y Combinator.
This institutional backing has made many users more likely to trust Coinbase – particularly in an industry that has experienced a fair amount of hacking and digital currency thefts. The company uses payment industry best practices, which the website details clearly. Also, all digital currency that Coinbase holds online is insured for losses from breaches of the platform’s security or by employee theft.
Coinbase is currently available in 32 countries, including the U.S. It allows you to deposit money in order to buy digital currencies using bank transfers, deposits, and debit cards. You can then buy currencies like Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Litecoin.
You can later withdraw funds via a bank account or wire transfer. While debit card deposits can occur instantly, wire transfers require one to three days processing time, and bank account transfers require four to five days processing time. You can also send your digital currency to your Coinbase wallet. Coinbase used to support credit card payments but no longer does.
When you purchase bitcoins, Coinbase charges a base rate of 4% on all transactions. It also charges a 1.49% fee for conversions to digital currencies from a U.S. bank account and a 1.49% fee for conversion from a USD wallet. It charges an additional 3.99% when using a debit card. When you are selling and withdrawing bitcoins, it charges 1.49% for a U.S. bank account, 1.49% for a Coinbase USD wallet, and 3.99% for PayPal. It charges an additional $10 for accepting wire transfers and $25 for outgoing wire transfers.
However, you can keep your coins in your Coinbase wallet. The company also keeps a significant amount of the reserves stored offsite to protect from hacking.
Coinbase has account limits, but these vary depending on how much information you’ve provided for verification purposes and your activity on the exchange. The higher volume you trade, the more Coinbase is likely to increase your limits over time. For level 2 users, the company recently increased buy limits to $50,000 per day and buy/sell limits for level 1 users to $3,000 per day.
To get started, you need to provide your personal and tax information, address, address verification, and a copy of an official ID. You must also provide a selfie to recover your account if you lose your two-factor authentication device or if you need additional security.
There is an online site, and the mobile app is available in the App Store and Google Play that you can use for most functionalities. The user interfaces are well-designed and easy to use. Although reviews are mixed about its customer service, there is a thorough online help section on the website, and it offers email and phone support.
Coinbase’s rigorous security measures and insurance might give users some peace of mind. The downside to Coinbase is that its many fees add up, which makes it more expensive than many other exchanges.
Gemini is a digital asset exchange platform aimed at high-volume traders and institutions or organizations looking to trade or purchase moderate amounts of digital currencies. It also provides safe storage for large amounts of digital currencies. It was founded by the Winklevoss brothers, the entrepreneurs who are known for – among other things – getting a settlement from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.
The company is based in New York and sells Bitcoins, Ethereum, and Zcash in USD only. However, it is open to customers in 48 states and countries like Canada, Singapore, and South Korea.
Gemini only allows you to use bank transfers to add funds to your account. It does not accept credit cards or cash payments. In order to withdraw money, you can either send it to a different digital wallet outside their site, or you can send it to a bank account.
It has deposit limits for both individual and institutional accounts. Individual accounts have a $500 daily bank transfer deposit limit and a $15,000 monthly deposit limit. You can withdraw up to $100,000 per day.
Institutional accounts have a $10,000 daily bank transfer deposit limit, a $300,000 monthly deposit limit, and a daily withdrawal limit of $100,000. There are no limits on wire transfers or transfers of Bitcoin or Ether. Bank transfers typically take four to five business days to fully clear.
Gemini charges a dynamic rate depending on your 30-day trading volume and whether you are the maker or taker of the transaction. It charges at most 1% for both the maker and the taker when you trade below five Bitcoins or Ethereum per month. If you trade over 2,000 Bitcoins or 20,000 Ethereum per month, the taker will pay just 0.10% and the maker will pay nothing.
To sign up, register for an account and provide information including your Social Security number, address, copies of identity documents, and verification of your address.
Gemini also allows you to store your funds on its platform with digital wallets or cold storage. It offers a proprietary “cold storage system” that stores all funds on the exchange free of charge. However, this is done in a pooled account. If you want your funds stored separately, you can do so for large amounts with annual fees of 0.964% or a $100,000 minimum in annual fees. However, you don’t need to store your digital currencies on the platform and can move them offline to your own digital wallet if you would prefer.
Gemini does not currently offer a mobile app for trading, but its website is mobile friendly, and the interface is easy to use. However, it is more focused on the serious investor or trader than someone just starting to learn about cryptocurrencies. Its customer support section on the website isn’t the clearest or most helpful, but it does offer online support.
Gemini offers FDIC insurance for cash stored on its exchange up to $250,000 per account and has insurance coverage to cover cryptocurrency that you store in an account.
Some benefits of Gemini include low fees for trades compared to some competitors. However, the downside is that it only offers three types of digital currencies, and some other exchanges charge less to low-volume traders.
Coinmama is a well-known financial platform that allows you to buy digital currencies almost anywhere in the world, with people in 188 countries – and in 23 states in the U.S. – eligible to trade on Coinmama.
Coinmama allows you to buy popular digital currencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Cardano. It accepts all currencies, but the rates are displayed in either USD or EUR, so your bank might charge you an exchange fee when you purchase bitcoins on your credit card in another currency.
It charges 5.9% on top of market rates for digital currencies, and the rate displayed on its website for digital currencies includes that fee. It allows you to deposit money with credit and debit cards, charging 5% on all transactions. It only accepts Visa and Mastercard payments from cards that have your name on them.
After you purchase your digital currencies, you can send them to your digital wallet. One of the downsides of Coinmama is that it doesn’t allow you to sell digital currencies or withdraw your funds in fiat currencies – aka legal tender. You will need to find another exchange or platform on which to sell your cryptocurrencies or withdraw your cash.
When it comes to its top-tier customers, Coinmama has a daily purchase limit of $5,000 and a monthly limit of $20,000.
To sign up, you have to submit identity documents, including a copy of an ID document, passport, or driver’s license. You’ll also need to verify your address with something like a utility bill or bank statements and fill out a short form. Coinmama says it processes these documents in one hour so you don’t have to wait too long to start trading.
It has an easy-to-use user interface and a helpful customer support section, but it doesn’t offer phone support. It does not offer an app either, but the website is user-friendly.
Some benefits of using Coinmama include quick access to begin buying Bitcoin and other digital currencies with your credit card. It offers a variety of cryptocurrency options, which is better than some exchanges.
However, it charges a very high price for both credit card transactions and digital currency purchases. In addition, it won’t allow you to sell your digital currencies or give you the option to withdraw them in cash. That said, Coinmama does have plans to enable an option to sell Bitcoin in the future.
CEX.IO was originally established as a cloud mining provider but has since become a cryptocurrency exchange with over one million customers. It provides service to 99 percent of countries in the world, including U.S. customers in 24 states.
You can use CEX.IO via app (available in the App Store and Google Play) or on its website to buy and sell digital currencies via a simple and easy-to-use interface. Despite the simplicity, the platform also has the capacity for complex analysis of market trends through graphs and other data manipulation that enable you to make better buying and selling decisions. For this reason, it’s a better fit for more sophisticated investors, those who have been trading cryptocurrencies for a while, or those who do so in high volumes. The service allows you to buy Bitcoin, Ethereum, DASH, Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin Gold, Ripple, Lumens, and Zcash.
You can buy or sell bitcoins quickly if you use your Visa or Mastercard to deposit money into your account, but this will cost you 3.5%. You can also transfer digital currency from your cryptocurrency wallet or via bank transfer for no fee. While the availability of these payment processing options is different for certain countries, all these options are available in the U.S. Credit card payments are limited to three per month, and bank transfers can take up to 14 banking days to process.
The amount CEX.IO charges for purchasing and selling Bitcoin and other digital currencies depends on your 30-day trading volume. The most you’ll pay is 0.25% as a taker of an offer and 0.16% as a maker of an offer if you trade less than five bitcoins per month. If you trade more than 6,000 Bitcoins per month, you will pay 0.1% as a taker and nothing as a maker.
In order to get started, you need to verify your identity. This includes sharing a photo of an ID document like your passport or driver’s license. You’ll also have to share your personal information and address and provide proof of residency.
When you’re ready to withdraw your funds, you can transfer your Bitcoins to another digital wallet or transfer fiat currency to your Visa, Mastercard, or account via Swift or SEPA bank transfer.
CEX.IO also offers 24/7 support and a comprehensive help section on its website.
Kraken is an exchange and trading platform based in San Francisco that allows you to buy and sell Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. It is one of the highest-volume Bitcoin exchanges and it trades in a number of currencies and countries.
It currently allows trading in U.S. dollars, Canadian dollars, EUR, Japanese yen, and other cryptocurrencies. They allow you to trade Bitcoin, Ethereum, Gnosis, Dash, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum Classic, Iconomi, Litecoin, Melon, Augur, Dogecoin, Stellar Lumens, Monero, Ripple, Zcash, and others.
The fee schedule is based on volume, which is measured in trades over the last 30 days. Fees can vary depending on the currency being purchased and the currency that you are using to make the purchase. The cost also varies depending on if you are the maker of an offer or the taker of the offer. If you do less than $50,000 in trades, the maker will pay 0.16% and the taker will pay 0.26%. However, this can go to as low as zero for a maker and 0.10% for a taker if you do over $10 million in trades.
When you get started, you have to verify your account in order to prevent fraud. Kraken offers different levels of verification, known as tiers. Tier 0 is the stage you’re at when you register your account and confirm your email. At this point, you’re able to access the platform, but you’re unable to deposit, withdraw, or make trades.
If you’re in tier 1, you have to provide your full name, date of birth, country, and phone number and you’ll be able to deposit and withdraw digital currencies. You’ll also be able to trade both digital and regular currencies.
By adding information like your physical address and proof of that physical address, you reach tier 2, where you can deposit money via a bank transfer. If you include identity and proof of residency documents, your funding limits are much higher.
Finally, if you send in a signed application form and KYC documentation, you have access to high-valued trading as an individual or institution. It can take up to five days to get fully verified after submitting your information.
You need to deposit funds via a bank transfer or wire transfer in order to use Kraken, as it won’t allow credit cards or other kinds of deposits. There are various fees for transfers depending on your currency. For a U.S. domestic wire transfer, the fee is $5. There is also a $5 fee to withdraw cash from your account via a transfer. There are no fees for transferring money to another digital wallet outside Kraken’s network.
Kraken has great customer service with a very comprehensive help and support section on its website that answers almost any question you might have. It also offers online support. It does not offer phone support, which might be a turn-off for some investors or buyers. The user interface is easy to use and intuitive, and there is a trading platform with graphs and other ways to analyze the market as well as an app that you can get from the App Store or Google Play.
The exchange is known for having robust security and it provides a two-factor authentication process. In the past, accounts had been hacked on Kraken’s site that did not enable two-factor authentication. Money was stolen from these accounts.
Despite the fact that Kraken accounts were hacked, the problem does not seem to be with Kraken’s security but rather with account users’ choice not to use all of the security options. Kraken provides low fees on transactions, which is likely attractive to many large-scale investors or traders. It also provides a number of levels of information verification. The downside is that you can only buy digital currencies using a bank transfer, which can take several days to complete. Despite this, Kraken is a good option for people who want to trade large volumes of cryptocurrencies.
BitQuick is an exchange platform that allows individual investors to buy and sell Bitcoins quickly and conveniently. It can be a good site for those who are new to Bitcoin or those who want to buy it in their own currency and without giving up too much personal information. It is only open to people in the U.S., and you need to be able to access a local credit union or Bank of America branch. They only host exchanges for Bitcoins and have served over 80,000 customers and sold over 56 million Bitcoins in the company’s history.
In order to buy digital currencies with BitQuick, you have to deposit the money in cash into an account by going into a local branch of the seller’s bank and depositing the cash with a deposit slip. You then upload the receipt, and within three hours, you will typically get your Bitcoins after the transaction has been confirmed by the seller.
Unfortunately, credit cards, bank transfers, and other forms of payment are not accepted. That’s because cash is easy for banks to quickly process and can’t be charged back.
If you want to sell digital currencies, you will have to place a certain Bitcoin amount in an escrow address to create an order. After that, you advertise your offer on BitQuick, and then you can receive cash deposits from buyers. Once you confirm that these deposits were made, you let BitQuick know and it transfers over the Bitcoins.
In this way, it’s a little bit like peer-to-peer exchange LocalBitcoins (which we review below), except you don’t have the option to meet a stranger in order to give them cash—you just go into their bank. This provides more safety for the transaction and doesn’t put you personally at risk of being robbed or scammed.
The benefit of BitQuick for the seller is that you can sometimes get higher than market rates for your Bitcoins from those who want to buy them with cash. The benefit for the buyer is that you don’t have to give over too much personal information, and you can get your Bitcoins quickly. This is particularly attractive for buyers who need Bitcoins quickly in order to buy something or pay someone.
BitQuick charges 2% to buy Bitcoins and 0% to sell Bitcoins. You don’t need a bank account or a credit card in order to buy them. Since they don’t function as a Bitcoin wallet, there isn’t a way to withdraw your Bitcoins using the service. You send your Bitcoins to your digital wallet and need to find another way to withdraw your coins. If you sell your coins, you get cash transferred to your account.
In terms of safety, the service doesn’t try to function as a Bitcoin wallet but rather stores the Bitcoins in escrow before they are sent along to your own wallet. That said, BitQuick was hacked in March 2017 but nothing was stolen.
As for customer service, if you have a problem, the only way to contact the company is by email. There is no phone number to call.
Ultimately, BitQuick provides an opportunity to get Bitcoins quickly and without big fees. However, you’re likely to pay more for Bitcoins on its site since some sellers will sell at a premium. Also, you need to be able to find and go into a bank branch to pay for your Bitcoins in cash. While you’ll be able to access your Bitcoins more quickly, the process of buying Bitcoins will take up more time. Also, you won’t likely be able to buy large amounts of Bitcoin at any one time.
itBit is a financial services company that is based in New York City. It provides services to institutions, active traders, and people who trade Bitcoins professionally. Unlike other exchanges that are focused on new cryptocurrency investors or buyers, itBit provides premium services and superior customer support. Traders on the platform have their assets guaranteed and protected against loss. The company maintains strict regulatory oversight and stores 100 percent of its Bitcoins offline to ensure security.
itBit provides services to U.S. customers as well as global customers. However, some of the services are not offered to small-scale consumer traders since it has trading minimums. itBit only trades Bitcoins at present and does not deal in other digital currencies.
It also offers trading APIs that can be used by institutions and active traders. It offers the ability to trade OTC (over-the-counter), which means you can trade off traditional exchanges. This helps you get fast settlements and means you only pay flat fees per transaction in order to save money. OTC trading isn’t accessible to everyone, since you must start with a minimum of 25 Bitcoins in order to trade. They also have a crypto-asset security vault that you can deposit your cryptocurrencies into.
While the exchange is open to smaller traders, it offers personalized services for those trading over 2,500 Bitcoins per 30 days. There is a simple fee structure where the taker fee is 0.20% and the maker fee is 0%.
In order to open an account, if you’re a U.S.-based individual, you need to submit information like your name, address, and Social Security number. itBit then has a knowledge-based authentication system that helps with the verification process and makes it automated, though some people might have to submit additional information. Typically, it takes one to three business days to complete verification.
If you aren’t from the U.S., you have to sign up and submit the required verification documents, including things like a government-issued ID and proof of residency or address. Once verified, you can begin trading. Institutional investors have to submit proof of the owner’s identity and residence, as well as business information.
To fund your account, you can use a wire transfer, which will be processed in one day. These deposits must be connected to accounts in the individual’s or institution’s name. You can also deposit Bitcoins. To withdraw your funds, simply transfer cash to your bank account or move your Bitcoins to another wallet.
Its customer service agents are available via phone or email at any hour of the day. At publishing time, it has not had a hack that has resulted in money being stolen.
itBit is a great choice for individuals or businesses that trade large volumes of Bitcoin and are looking to do so safely and at low cost. If you are doing a lot of trading, you can save significant amounts of money with the low-percentage fees and flat-fee OTC trading options. This can help you reduce your costs in trading and make more money.
However, since it has high minimums, itBit is not designed for small-scale consumer investors or buyers.
Changelly is a digital currency exchange that has over 1.5 million users and currently processes 15,000 transactions per day. It allows you to buy and sell over 90 types of altcoins and claims to offer the best market rates for crypto-to-crypto exchanges. Changelly only accepts USD and EUR, but it allows people to purchase in the U.S., Canada, Australia, the EU, and certain other countries.
Changelly is known for having transparent and simple fees. It charges 0.5% on all transactions, with no other fees. It offers no deposit storage and so hasn’t faced some of the scandals that other exchanges have where money was stolen. It protects each account with two-factor authentication.
In order to set up an account, you need to share your email and set up a two-factor authentication method. You also need to set up a digital wallet outside Changelly and provide a wallet address when you make a trade so you can receive your currency.
It offers more than 35 cryptocurrencies, and you can purchase currency using bank cards or credit cards in USD or EUR. But Changelly doesn’t allow you to sell your Bitcoin or digital currencies in order to cash out since it doesn’t actually store your funds on the site.
It will take between five and 30 minutes to process the transaction before you see the money in your digital wallet. There are no limits to how much you can trade, although there are limits on how much you can transfer into your account via bank cards in the first few weeks to the first month after you get your account. You can trade as much as you want.
However, the safety of the site, the wide variety of digital currencies, and the fact that your money stays in your own digital wallet has made the platform attractive to some traders. They are willing to pay more than they might on another exchange in order to have more options and feel secure in their trading. The fact that the site provides you with good exchange rates compared to market rates also helps reduce the actual cost of using Changelly.
Changelly clients have been hacked in the past, with one client losing $30 million in Ethereum that was traded through Changelly after a hacker exploited a vulnerability in the wallet.
Changelly is an exchange that offers a wide assortment of digital currencies to choose from. For that reason, it’s best for those who know a lot about digital currencies or who are active traders and understand the relative value of different cryptocurrencies.
The cost of trading on the platform is slightly higher than other exchanges, but you can use your bank card to do so, which might make it more convenient for some. The fact that it doesn’t limit the amount you can trade after an initial period is also a bonus.
Robinhood is an exchange platform that allows you to trade in stocks, options, ETFs, and cryptocurrencies without any trading fees or commissions. It is based in the U.S. and accepts U.S. customers. It is currently in the process of expanding its services to other countries, which will allow customers to trade in the stocks of both U.S. companies and companies that are based in other countries.
Robinhood is primarily app-based and recently expanded into cryptocurrencies. The app allows customers to quickly and easily trade different types of assets through an easy-to-use and intuitive user interface.
Its cryptocurrency service—called Robinhood Crypto—is currently only available in 17 U.S. states, but the company is working to expand it. If you’re already a member of Robinhood, it will send you an in-app card when this functionality is made available in your state. It currently only allows you to buy and sell Bitcoins and Ethereum, but it also provides real-time data for other cryptocurrencies and might offer them in the future.
The innovative thing about Robinhood is that its trades are commission-free. It doesn’t actually process the orders, but rather connects to exchanges that do. You don’t get charged an additional commission or trading fee on top of the execution price that they list.
Robinhood earns money by encouraging its clients to upgrade to Robinhood Gold, which allows those who trade stocks to borrow money to invest and earn access to after-hours trading. This service costs $6 per month, but it doesn’t provide any additional benefits if you’re only interested in using the service to trade cryptocurrencies. It also makes money by earning interest on any cash deposits you have in your account.
When you sign up for a Robinhood Crypto account, you can use up to $1,000 that you have in your regular Robinhood account right away or transfer that much into it for immediate use. Any other amounts will require four to five business days to appear in your account. You can only use a bank account to transfer funds into your account.
It doesn’t currently support the ability to withdraw Bitcoins or transfer them to digital wallets, but it might do so in the near future. You can withdraw your funds at any time to a bank account, although there might be a holding period after trades.
In order to open an account, you need to provide personal, financial, and tax information to Robinhood and verify your identity.
Robinhood has good security on its regular app and stores cryptocurrencies in both online and offline storage. However, it is new to digital currency trading, so it remains to be seen how safe their system is.
If you’re looking to invest in cryptocurrencies as part of your financial plan, then Robinhood could help you integrate your investments in one app without expensive commissions. However, since you can’t transfer your Bitcoins to a digital wallet, you can’t use them to buy things or use another exchange to sell them later. Currently, your Bitcoins are stuck in Robinhood’s accounts.
Bitstamp is a digital currency exchange headquartered in New York City, with its exchange in the UK. It accepts U.S. customers.
It trades Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, Ripple XRP, Ethereum, and others. It doesn’t have as many digital currencies available on its platform like some other exchanges.
Bitstamp is focused on high-volume trading and has a fee schedule that reflects that focus. It charges more per trade if you don’t trade as much. For example, if you trade under $20,000 USD over 30 days, you will pay 0.25% of your trades in commissions. But if you trade between $600,000 to $1 million per 30 days, you will pay just 0.14% in commission. If you trade over $20 million, you will pay just 0.10% in commission. The full fee schedule includes all commission amounts based on your trading volume.
You can buy digital currencies using a debit card, credit card, or international wire transfer. You’ll pay $10 for transferring $1,000 into your account from a debit card and a 2% fee for transferring more than that, and you’ll pay a 5% fee for a credit card purchase. SEPA bank transfers are free of charge, and there is a 0.05% wire transfer deposit fee.
If you want to withdraw your funds via wire transfer, you’ll be charged 0.09% with a minimum fee of $15. You’ll be charged just 0.90 EUR for a SEPA withdrawal. It charges nothing for a Bitcoin deposit or transfer. Bank deposits take between one and five days depending on the type of transfer.
You can set up either a personal or business account on Bitstamp and trade in either USD or EUR. To register, you need to provide verification documents, which will help process your deposits and withdrawals faster. The same thing applies if you are setting up a corporate account.
You can use your account to put in complex orders like a limit order, trailing stop order, or buy stop order, allowing you the same functionalities as other trading exchanges like stock exchanges.
Bitstamp touts safety. The company was hacked and reportedly lost $5 million in the past due to phishing attacks against its employees. Bitstamp has since put a lot of thought into its security, now offering multi-signatory technology on its wallets and keeping most of its cryptocurrencies stored offline to protect them from hacking.
Bitstamp is a good platform for serious traders who are looking to get access to the same kinds of trades that they might execute in the stock market. These complex trades allow them more flexibility and control.
Bitstamp also has great analytics that help active or professional traders make more informed trades. Despite these benefits, it does charge high fees for debit and credit card purchases. But it’s important to also note that its trading fees and transfer fees are relatively low, making Bitstamp a better option if you use bank transfers to fund your account.
Bitfinex, based in Hong Kong, is a digital asset and cryptocurrency trading platform that offers access to several dozen digital currencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Ripple, NEO, and Monero. Bitfinex is a well-respected exchange that currently has a high trading volume. Bitfinex is available to U.S. customers.
It has low fees, as it is focused on high-volume trades. Traders who take orders pay 0.20% on their trades, and those who place trades pay 0.10%. It waives maker fees for accounts that trade over $7.5 million and reduce taker fees in half for active traders.
To start buying digital currencies with Bitfinex, you have to fund your account via bank transfer. This is a slow process and requires identity verification. However, if you transfer Bitcoin to Bitfinex, that requires no identity verification. Withdrawals, however, only take place via bank transfer.
When it comes to trading digital assets and currencies, Bitfinex is a site that aims to replicate the experience, user interface, and analytics of other currency and stock trading sites. Its customers are likely more sophisticated traders and investors who understand how to analyze market data. For those who are beginning, Bitfinex might offer more data than needed, which could become confusing. It also offers things like margin trading, margin funding, and other types of trades.
Users can customize the interface by changing the layout, choosing themes, setting up data preferences, and creating notifications. It has advance chart tools to allow you to visualize your orders and positions and set up price alerts. It offers desktop and mobile options available from the App Store and Google Play.
In 2016, Bitfinex was hacked, and 120,000 Bitcoins, or around $66 million, was stolen. Bitfinex spread the loss over its accounts and told users that it would pay them back eventually (and did). Its customer service is considered to be responsive, but it only offers online support. However, its online help section is very extensive.
Bitfinex could be a good choice if you’re looking to trade a higher volume of digital currencies and if you’re a sophisticated trader. It charges reasonable rates and also provides both an online site and an app for making trades. While it has had breaches in the past, Bitfinex repaid customers for the amount that had been stolen from them.
Top European Exchanges
Coinhouse is a cryptocurrency exchange that is based in Paris, France. It allows you to buy digital currencies with either a credit card or Neosurf prepaid cards. To sign up, you have to verify your identity by providing personal information, a selfie, a photo of your ID, and proof of address. You must have a European credit card and be an EU resident to buy Bitcoin from Coinhouse.
The downside of Coinhouse is that it has high fees. It charges these fees in EUR and requires 6% to 10% when you pay for digital currencies with credit or debit cards and 17% when you pay with a Neosurf card. How much you’re charged will depend on the volume of your trades. The more you trade, the less you’ll pay per trade. If you are buying up to $500 EUR, then you will pay 10%, but if you are buying more than $10,000 EUR, you will pay 6%.
How much you can trade, deposit, and withdraw depends on how you’ve verified your account and what kind of documents you have provided. If you are fully verified, you may buy up to $2,000 EUR per day and $10,000 EUR per month.
The service was created by traders for traders and says it offers better charts than its competitors. For that reason, the service is likely better suited to those interested in trading digital currencies frequently or for day traders.
Coinhouse recently announced it had security leak that resulted in coins being stolen. The company made a pledge to pay back the stolen coins within a year. Since trading volume has decreased due to this issue, it is unclear if it will be able to keep its word.
It is not currently clear which coins are still listed on the exchange, as it has delisted some digital currencies, according to a recent tweet.
BitPanda is Europe’s most popular digital currency exchange platform and is based in Austria. You can buy and sell Bitcoins, DASH, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Ripple on its site. Currently, you can sell digital currencies and get payouts on Skrill or NETELLER from anywhere in the world, but you can only buy on Bitpanda if you live in a European country in a SEPA area. To see if you can buy from BitPanda, you need to provide your phone number.
In order to start buying and selling on Bitpanda, you need to verify your account. There are multiple levels of verification that give you different funding and trading limits. When you first start trading, you will have a 2,500 EUR limit that will be lifted after your verification payment is cleared. This can take up to three days to complete. Full verification involves providing BitPanda with information like your email address, a phone number, your personal data, identity and address documents, your passport, and other pieces of information to help identify you.
You can fund your account using online payments, credit cards, bank transfers, vouchers, Bitpanda To Go, and Euro Wallet. Each type of payment has different buy and sell limits and charges different prices. It also includes a markup in its listed prices that it doesn’t publicly disclose. You can withdraw funds using Euro Wallet bank transfers, Skrill, Amazon.de voucher codes, and NETELLER. While it does have certain limits for trading or buying based on your account verification level, you can also get in touch with them to request custom trading limits.
Trading fees are digital currency-specific and are flat fees. For example, if you’re depositing Bitcoins into your wallet, you will pay 0.0001 Bitcoins for that transaction.
Bitpanda is known for having good security since its entire digital reserve is kept in cold storage offline. It hasn’t had a major hack or leak.
Bitpanda’s customer service is quite good, but it does not have a phone number to call. You create a support ticket online and a representative will contact you. The website does have a comprehensive help section.
BitPanda is a good option if you’re thinking about buying digital currencies and live in Europe. However, since you can’t buy cryptocurrencies from elsewhere in the world, it is likely not a good choice for you if you live outside of Europe. However, given the high level of security and great customer support, it seems to be an overall good exchange option.
Bitit is a digital currency e-commerce interface that is based in Europe. It is not an exchange or a marketplace but rather offers cryptocurrency purchases directly. It allows you to buy cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, Ripple, Litecoin, and Dash.
It is based in France but provides digital currency deliveries globally. You can get payments from your account or pay with local currencies and payment methods. It has high limits and liquidity, and the service is available to U.S. customers. Users can buy up to 500 EUR of Bitcoins per week.
You can pay for digital currencies using a number of methods, including bank transfer, credit card, cash, e-wallet, or wire transfer. It accepts Maestro, Mastercard, Visa, TrustPay, Cashlib, Bitit, and Neosurf.
The fees are quite high, as it charges 6.9% when you purchase digital currencies with credit or debit cards and 5.9% to 11.99% when you purchase digital currencies with cash vouchers from places like Cashlib, Neosurf, and Bitit. For those who use TrustPay for direct banking, there is a 3% commission on your purchases.
Bitit provides top-notch support with an accounts team that is available 24/7, but there is no phone number. The user interface is easy-to-use and intuitive.
Because you’re not trading but rather purchasing digital currencies, it is slightly easier to sign up. You don’t need to be verified to buy less than 150 EUR worth of digital currencies. If you want to buy more, you have to answer a few questions online and then fill out your profile and verify it with backup documentation to access additional funds.
Bitit sets different buying limits on your account based on how you’re purchasing digital currencies. For example, you can get a 2,500 EUR limit with TrustPay but just a 700 EUR limit if you buy with a credit card. You can only withdraw your digital currencies from Bitit, as it does not allow you to sell your currencies on their site.
After you sign up, you can buy instantly through the platform, which is known for being safe. Bitit has not experienced an extreme hack.
If you are interested in buying digital currencies and you don’t know much about them, Bitit is an easy way to start buying. However, because it charges such high processing fees and because you cannot sell your coins on their platform, you’re likely better off using another exchange or buying service.
Top Peer-to-Peer Exchanges
LocalBitcoins is a person-to-person Bitcoin trading site that currently allows you to trade Bitcoin in 16,171 cities and 248 countries. LocalBitcoins allows users to post advertisements for Bitcoins, and you can agree to meet to buy the Bitcoins with cash in person or trade online via online banking. In the latter case, LocalBitcoins holds the Bitcoins in its own digital wallet, and you can buy the Bitcoins directly. The process of getting Bitcoins is relatively simple, although the price might vary from the current market price since individuals are offering up Bitcoins and setting their own prices for them.
LocalBitcoins is located in Finland, but it’s available in many countries around the world, including the U.S. People who post ads to sell Bitcoins are charged 1% of the total amount after a trade is confirmed. It also charges a 0.5% fee for invoice servicing and a fee if you’re sending the money to a Bitcoin wallet that is outside the LocalBitcoins network. In that case, the fee varies depending on the usage rate of the Bitcoin blockchain at the time you send it.
Signing up and buying Bitcoins is easy. All you need to do is register and you’ll get a free Bitcoin wallet. You can then search the company’s online offers in your area that align with your preferred payment method. When you’re ready to buy, you hit “buy” and your payment method will come up.
If you want to pay in cash, you might need to meet the seller. When selling Bitcoin, you can also search through ads for people wanting to buy Bitcoin. You can then find one with the payment type you’re looking for and contact them to offer your Bitcoins. Then you wait for the buyer to pay and release the funds from the LocalBitcoins escrow account if exchanging online, or you will have to meet up with them. Online transactions can take between 10 minutes and an hour.
While you don’t need to verify your identity to buy and sell Bitcoins on LocalBitcoins, doing so will give you access to more advertisements and better prices.
Whether or not LocalBitcoins is safe is a subject that is up for debate. Online trades are protected via LocalBitcoins’ escrow function, but this is not available for local trades where you meet someone in person. In those cases, there’s a higher risk of getting scammed than if you used a traditional exchange.
When it comes to payment methods, you have more options with LocalBitcoins. Some sellers will accept cash, credit cards, gift cards, bank transfers, or even PayPal. However, some of these methods offer more risk to sellers, since they could face a chargeback scenario where the card or account holder claims that the account was breached and someone fraudulently bought Bitcoins with it. For this reason, those who accept these payment methods will often charge a premium to do so.
LocalBitcoins operates on a simple online interface. It does not have a mobile app. Because it facilitates a peer-to-peer selling service, the site has the same problems that you might find on any other peer-to-peer site.
Despite that, LocalBitcoins is a great option for a lot of reasons. People often use peer-to-peer Bitcoin exchanges to pay for their Bitcoins in cash. Others don’t want to share their personal identification documents, or they don’t have the documents needed to get verified. Some want to get access to the Bitcoins more quickly, don’t want to pay high fees, or want to buy Bitcoins in their own currency. LocalBitcoins can be considered a good option among peer-to-peer exchanges, but be sure to proceed with caution if buying or selling in person.
Wall of Coins
Wall of Coins is a peer-to-peer Bitcoin exchange that is based in Florida. It connects people in order to sell Bitcoins to buyers who want to pay cash. However, Wall of Coins does not allow users to buy digital currencies online from each other or meet up to exchange coins like LocalBitcoins does.
The only accepted payment option involves going into a bank branch and depositing cash in an account. This process requires that the seller put the coins in an escrow account and that the buyer find a bank in their area. After you deposit your cash, you must then send a text message to Wall of Coins confirming your deposit. The seller then checks that they have indeed received the funds and then lets Wall of Coins know. Wall of Coins then releases your Bitcoins to you.
Wall of Coins is available to customers in the U.S. and other places around the world. However, the availability of Bitcoins at any time will depend on the sellers in your area. One benefit of Wall of Coins is that you can purchase Bitcoins in your local currency and can buy as little as $5 in Bitcoins. The downside is that the sales are generally for smaller amounts.
In order to purchase Bitcoins, you do not need to provide a significant amount of personal data or get verified. You do need to provide your phone number, and you also need to either provide a ZIP code or let them know which banking branch you would like to go to in order to complete the transaction. This provides less red tape, more privacy, and allows you to get access to Bitcoins much more quickly.
After you’ve deposited the funds and had your transaction verified, you can often get access to the funds within as few as five to 15 minutes after your transaction has been verified by the seller. They send the Bitcoins to your digital wallet address. How quickly this happens will depend on how quickly the seller confirms payment.
The fees tend to be between 1% to 2% but are not displayed publicly and are instead included in the price of the Bitcoins. When it comes to customer service, Wall of Coins offers both phone and online customer support. Because it doesn’t host your Bitcoins except when they’re in escrow, it can be considered a relatively safe exchange network.
If you’re looking for a peer-to-peer exchange network and want to pay for your Bitcoins in cash, Wall of Coins can be a worthwhile option with low fees. Paying for your Bitcoins at a bank might allow you to get your Bitcoins more quickly, but you will have to spend more time and energy to get them.
Unocoin is a digital currency exchange platform based in India. In order to buy or sell Bitcoins and other currencies on the platform, you will need to register and verify your email address. You’ll also need to provide a PAN card for identification, with an address on it and a phone number, to become completely verified. Those without PAN cards cannot trade on the exchange, thus limiting it to people who live in India and have PAN cards.
Unocoin offers a number of currencies for sale on the site, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Gold. Unocoin charges 0.7% whenever you buy or sell Bitcoins. If you trade in significant volumes, you will be upgraded to a Gold Membership account, and the transaction fee will drop to 0.5%. If you would like to use their net banking or PayU Money payment modes, it charges an additional 1.9% in transaction fees.
When you send Bitcoins to or receive Bitcoins from a Unocoin user, there is no fee. However, when you send Bitcoins to a Bitcoin wallet address that’s not on their exchange, Unocoin charges 0.0005 to 0.0009 BTC as a flat fee. This fee covers the cost of the mining network that validates and secures your transaction. There is no fee for storing Bitcoins in your Bitcoin wallet on Unocoin.
It limits the number of Bitcoins you can buy to 10 and the amount you can sell to two Bitcoins per day. After you’ve been selling for 60 days, you might be able to get Gold Member status, which increases your buying and selling amounts.
It offers access to your account on both a website and mobile apps for Android and iOS that are easy to use. To ensure your security, Unocoin provides you with the option to have two-factor authentication using the Google authenticator that gives you a unique five-digit code. You can also create a paper wallet, which allows you to print out your Bitcoin wallet address, and notifications will alert you of activity on your account.
To buy Bitcoins, you must first deposit money into your account from a registered bank account. This transaction is usually processed within three to four working days. When you’re ready to withdraw cash from your Unocoin account, you enter the amount you want and withdraw it to your bank account.
When it comes to customer support, Unocoin offers the option to call them from 7:00 to 11:00 pm India Standard Time, Monday to Saturday. You can also email them if you have a problem, and a representative will get back to you.
If you live in India, Unocoin offers you the opportunity to buy digital currencies at a reasonable rate. While some exchanges offer lower rates, not all of them are available to residents of India.
Zebpay is a digital currency exchange platform that operates in India. It currently allows you to buy and sell a number of digital currencies, including Bitcoin, Ether, Litecoin, Ripple, Bitcoin Cash, EOS, OmiseGo, Tron, 0x, and Augur. Zebpay is currently only available to residents of India.
To start trading on the platform, you need to provide your personal information and confirm your identity and address. If you want further verification to access higher withdrawal or deposit limits, you will also need to provide things like income tax returns and bank statements.
To get funds into your Zebpay account in order to buy Bitcoins, you need to do a bank deposit. The site will provide the information you need to do a bank transfer. If you need to withdraw money, the cost will be Rs 25. There are no fees to deposit currencies, but it does charge different amounts when you withdraw. For example, you will pay 0.01 ETH when you withdraw Ether currencies. These fees are all set fees and not percentages.
Zebpay has limits to how much you can exchange per transaction and per day. At the first verification level, the minimum per transaction is 0.002 Bitcoins and the maximum is 50. At the secondary verification level, you can exchange up to 100 Bitcoins per transaction. There are also per-day limits of 100 Bitcoins (or 200 Bitcoins after further verification) and monthly limits of 500 Bitcoins per month (or 1,000 Bitcoins after further verification). The site provides a chart of withdrawal limits.
When it comes to fees, there are none to have a Zebpay account or holding money in it. However, there are a number of fees depending on what kinds of transactions you’re conducting. When you are the one initiating the transaction, you pay 0.20% in commission, and when you’re taking the transaction, you’ll pay 0.25% in commission. There will also be an 18% government sales tax (GST) charged on top of that. If you buy and sell Bitcoins on the same day, then you will also be charged an extra 0.1% on the transactions.
When it comes to customer service, you can call or email them for support. They are known to be responsive to questions and concerns. Zebpay is known for being a relatively safe site, and it allows you to trade on both its mobile app and its online site. It also offers a mobile wallet that is on your phone for easy access.
While Zebpay is only accessible to residents of India, it does offer a number of payment options and digital currencies. However, its fees and commissions can add up, and you might be able to find a cheaper exchange.
Avoiding Scams When Using the Top Bitcoin Exchanges
The problem with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is that they’re perfect for scammers. That’s because when you send someone Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency, there is no way to trace back where that money went or came from. It’s gone.
Because Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies have become popular and many people are looking to start buying, using, and investing in Bitcoin, this aspect of digital currencies has attracted the attention of scammers. You’ve likely gotten emails telling you that the sender will help you get rich quick off Bitcoin. You might have even thought they were legitimate. But be warned—there are a number of scam sites that have been set up to take your money. On top of that, there are exchanges that don’t have proper security and insurance in place in case your money is stolen.
If you’ve been following cryptocurrency for a while, you’ll know that the industry has had its share of scams, hacks, and illegal activity. In fact, there are big controversies in which tens of millions of dollars were stolen from cryptocurrency exchanges that were previously thought to be safe and legitimate. That’s enough to give many people pause before investing in the sector.
The good news is that there are a number of sites that have not experienced fraud, are backed by professional and credible investors, have great security, and have insured their crypto deposits. Search out these types of exchanges and digital storage options to protect your coins.
Here are some common scams to watch out for.
One of the biggest cryptocurrency scams being run involves fake exchanges. They often advertise very low fees or the ability to buy Bitcoin for less than the current market value or without identity verification. Sounds too good to be true? That’s because it is.
They often use URLs or names that are very similar to the URLs or names of existing reputable exchanges. Many of these fake exchanges are looking to sell you Bitcoin via PayPal or are trying to get you to disclose your digital wallet information. Often, the sites take your money and then disappear soon after. It’s important to note that very few reputable exchanges use PayPal or even credit cards as payment methods anymore.
Another scam to watch out for is fake digital wallets. Digital wallets are places where you can store your money safely, but these wallets store malware on your machine to access your passwords and privacy keys to steal your cryptocurrencies right out of your wallet.
Make sure to use a wallet provider that is well known, install good anti-virus software, and closely check URLs, because companies will try to fool you by creating sites that are similar in name and looks to existing digital wallet purveyors.
Another way scammers try to steal your digital currencies is by sending you emails or fake advertisements. Sometimes they will make it look like the email is coming from a cryptocurrency exchange or wallet provider that you’re already using, and other times they’ll pretend to be a different site and try to entice you with a fake offer.
They’re often hoping you’ll open their site and click on hyperlinks or attachments that will install viruses on your computer and allow them to get access to your financial information to steal your digital currency.
While many people exchange their cryptocurrencies or Bitcoins on established exchanges, some try to avoid the fees that such services charge by selling their digital currencies on other platforms. You might advertise them online on Craigslist or on a peer-to-peer exchange service.
Unfortunately, this is one way that scammers can get you to hand over your digital currencies or cash and leave you with nothing. If you want to exchange money peer-to-peer, you should use well-known sites that offer escrow options to protect you whether you’re buying or selling.