It’s all about reputation, currency support and transaction fees (By )
But what is a Bitcoin exchange, and how can you be sure you sign up to the best Bitcoin exchange? Well, think of Bitcoin exchanges as digital marketplaces for people to buy and sell Bitcoins using different currencies. The Bitcoin can be exchanged for either fiat money (legal tender) or other alternative cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum. The exchange serves as the middleman for traders of the cryptocurrency.
However, before plunging in with both feet, users should be aware of what to look for in choosing a Bitcoin exchange for their cryptocurrency transactions. This is analogous to the issues and potential pitfalls in making a choice of where to do your banking, or open an online brokerage account. Furthermore, bear in mind that unlike banks and stock trading, Bitcoin trading is largely unregulated by most countries, although this is changing as its popularity increases.
Next look at the country that is hosting the Bitcoin exchange. Some are in less regulated countries, and there may be additional problems if something goes awry. This can include time differences, international long distance costs, and language barriers. In general, it’s preferable to find an exchange that speaks your language.
Additionally, pay close attention to the fees levied. While all these exchanges charge transaction fees – after all, they are businesses looking to make a profit – as the user, it is obviously best to find one with the lowest costs in order to maximize your own profits.
Now that we know the features to look for in the best Bitcoin exchanges, let’s move on to pick out our particular favorities. (I personally use and recommend Coinbase).
This is a US-based exchange which was founded in 2012, and it supports over 32 countries. Coinbase exchanges Bitcoin and the alternative cryptocurrencies of Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum and Litecoin, and it’s the largest of the exchanges, claiming $150 billion (£112 billion) in currency exchanged. In 2014 Coinbase created GDAX, the Global Digital Asset Exchange which was developed for professionals with high volumes of trading. Since June 29th, GDAX is now Coinbase Pro with some improvements, and visiting GDAX site will redirect you to Coinbase Pro.
The firm offers a mobile wallet, offline storage, and insurance protection for currency stored on its servers. Coinbase supports several fiat currencies: British Pounds, US Dollars, Euros, Canadian Dollars, Australian Dollars and Singapore Dollars.
The Coinbase exchange has a 1% flat fee for each purchase, while cryptocurrency deposits and withdrawals are done without any fees. A streamlined user interface which is ideal for novice traders – and fast trades – makes Coinbase a popular exchange with traders.
Gemini Exchange is another US-based outfit founded by the Winklevoss twins – the pair who sued Mark Zuckerberg over social networking, and were awarded $65 million (£48 million), which they put to use as venture capitalists. This exchange is based in New York, and is available in 49 US states, as well as the Puerto Rico, Canada, UK, Singapore, South Korea and Hong Kong.
Another advantage of Gemini is that it’s a New York state limited liability trust company, and is regulated by New York’s Department of Financial Services. Close proximity to the Wall Street financial markets allows the company to easily provide a bridge from more traditional investments to newer cryptocurrency markets, for both individual and institutional investors.
Gemini is also notable in that it accepts ACH transfers for fast access to money for trades. A potential downside is that the interface is not particularly novice-friendly. In September 2018, Gemini launched a stablecoin called Gemini Dollar, which you can convert to US Dollars and vice versa in your Gemini account.
Changelly is a cryptocurrency exchange with support for many more virtual currencies than most, including Monero, Dash, Bytecoin, and DigitalNote among others. If you are mining a less popular currency, chances are that Changelly can exchange it for you.
This exchange comes from the popular mining platform MinerGate which provides a merged mining pool across Windows, Mac, Linux and Android operating systems. While Changelly focuses on exchanges between different cryptocurrencies, users can also purchase cryptocurrency with US Dollars or Euros.
Note that this exchange has a shorter track record, as it only entered the market in 2016. Exchange fees are 0.5% on transactions.
Cryptopia was founded in 2014, aiming to be a comprehensive exchange that focuses on the user experience, with integration of additional services including a marketplace and wallet. It is based in Christchurch, New Zealand. Cryptopia is notable in that the first level of verification happens very quickly, and only requires an email address for initial verification.
While Cryptopia does not support fiat money trading, it does support a ridiculously large number of cryptocurrencies: over 400 to date, with more being added all the time. The trading fee is also a low 0.20% per transaction, which compares favorably with many competitors. The website is quite large and sprawling, meaning that new users might find their first experiences with the site a little daunting.
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