Cryptocurrency has now become a mainstream household topic, and you want in on the action. So how do you get started? Find out the best cryptocurrency exchange platforms of 2018.
How does Cryptocurrency Work?
Like the stock market, cryptocurrency offers a way to buy, sell, and trade portions of a certain coin (stock). The difference being that the cypto-market is decentralized, independent, and still well in its infancy. This means you have many cryptocurrency investment options, not only in what coins you buy but also in how you buy them; some are safer and more reliable than others.
What to Consider When Buying Cryptocurrency?
With new cyptocurrency exchanges and wallets popping up overnight, it is important to take certain precautions when choosing where to put your money. Not only are some exchanges vulnerable to hacking, newer ones can disappear without a trace if they legitimately go bankrupt or if they were a quick scam. Other factors can play into your decision as well. Here is a list of characteristics to think about before choosing your exchange:
- Longevity– How long has the exchange been in operation? The longer they have been around, the more of a reputation they will have in the crypto community. Check out Reddit and Bitcoin forums to see what other users are saying.
- Verification process– Obviously more verification means more security. This is most important when loading your wallet with fiat currencies because you enter credit/debit card or bank information. Once you have your crypto coins you can trade with much ease. The verification process can take days depending on the company, but this initial set up is worth your security in my opinion.
- Coin options– If you are looking to buy a certain coin, especially smaller altcoins, then you want to make sure the exchange offers it. You can simply use com to see which markets offer which coin.
- Buying options– Exchanges with wallets offering PayPal, debit/credit cards, and bank transfer make buying coins easy, plus when you withdraw you do not have to go through hoops of third party platforms. Do remember to look at transfer fees for credit cards and processing times for bank transfers. This can affect your convenience when trying to make quick and cheap transactions.
- Trading Options– Once you buy your preferred coin, how easy is it to trade with other coins? Many exchanges are starting to widen their trading options, so that you do not have to convert your coins into Bitcoin or another expensive coin in order to purchase a cheaper coin. This comes in handy when avoiding fees and exchange rates.
Here are some of the top cryptocurrency exchanges based on popularity, usability, and reliability.
Top Cryptocurrency Exchanges
This platform has been the go-to for many new crypto users with over 10 million customers in 32 countries. It provides an easy-to-use interface that buys you Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Ethereum using your debit/credit card or bank account. Coinbase acts as a secure wallet rather than a market exchange, so it provides extra verification and ID proofs to complete your account. This makes it a secure place to store your higher coin currencies when you are not trading.
- All deposits are ensured
- Uses multiple fiat currencies
- Has a user-friendly mobile app
- Can withdraw directly to your bank account
- Can link credit cards to your wallet using Shift Card to make commercial purchases
- Only supports 4 large cryptocurrencies
- You must transfer to other exchanges to purchase altcoins
- Large fees especially for Bitcoin transfers
- Long wait times for verification
- Corporately financed and heavy on flagging users for “suspicious activity”
Supporting over 190 cryptocurrencies, Bittrex ensures each new coin entered into the market is verified first. This is just one of many security measures taken by the exchange; they also provide a 2-step authentication process for API functions and withdrawals, a google authentication feature, an add IP address option if you use multiple IPs, an address whitelist to ensure withdrawals are secure, and the whole site is SSL protected.
- Basic and enhanced verification options: enhanced requires more information and allows larger withdrawal amounts
- Lab section offers tests of new features for user feedback
- Advanced security makes 80%-90% transactions offline
- Quick transaction processing
- Only offers spot trading
- Higher fees: .25% commission for all exchanges
- Can only buy and sell altcoins with Bitcoin (or USDT with enhanced verification and large deposit requirement)
- Customer support is slow and often overloaded
With this exchange, you have the option of making completely anonymous trades using just your email address to create an account. The downside to this choice is less security. Plus, there is little to no information about the company or how it is regulated. Although this may seem like a deal breaker for some, the fact is you do not deal with fiat at all, only cryptocurrency. And with the nearly 400 and counting altcoins on this platform, you get trading options for new coins before anyone else.
- Offer the widest range of coins to trade
- Coins can be purchased using Litecoin, Bitcoin, Dogecoin, Ethereum and Ethereum Classic
- A low flat trading fee of .15%
- Completely anonymous exchanges
- Option to add google 2-step authentication
- No advanced trading market
- Minimum deposit amounts
- No company information provided
- No way to deposit fiat currency
- High withdraw fees
With several new upgrades and a surge of new crypto users, Poloniex has increased its traffic significantly in the past year. Although this shows their potential, it has clogged up the verification process to several weeks. Getting a new account is not so easy right now. When you do get registered, you will notice many cool features like margin trading and a live chat. Their reliability has also been tested after a large cyber-attack in 2014 where 12% of stolen Bitcoin was reimbursed to users. They now claim that deposits are kept offline, and they offer 2-step verification and other security recognition software.
- New user-friendly interface including a great mobile version
- Offers margin trading
- Uses a maker-taker fee model that depends on a 30-day day market volume, which keeps fees low
- Can lend your own coins for interest rate profits
- Offers a range of crypto-currencies
- Does not offer fiat deposits
- Long authentication waiting time
- Company information is missing from web site
- Customer support has been lacking in the past
Similar to Bittrex, this platform offers a 2-step verification option, but with 3-levels of authentication offering higher deposit amounts. It also includes margin trading and two market interfaces: one basic and the other advanced for more experienced users. The Chinese-based exchange also has lower transaction fees depending on the coin and minimum deposits. The company led by Changpeng Zhao, a reputable cypto and wall street visionary, is capable of processing 1.4 million orders per second making transactions quick.
- Fair fees based on individual coins
- Fast transaction times
- Supports multiple languages
- Offers margin trading
- Can trade, sell, and buy using Ethereum or Bitcoin
- Lab and Launch Pad sections for testing and showcasing innovative ideas
- Interface is a little overwhelming for new users
- No fiat deposits
- Still a fairly new exchange
- Chinese regulations unclear