Are you looking to trade bitcoins or other cryto currencies?
Most trading platforms trade BTC-Altcoin pairs. BTC stands for bitcoin and Altcoin stands for alternative coin such as Ripple, Dodgecoin, ADA, Monera, Potcoin etc…
Currently there are over 1000 different crypto currencies. Not all of them are ready for trading. You can go to the bitcoin market cap website to see the complete and up to date list of different coins
Things You Should Consider or Compare Before joining a Crypto Currency Exchange Platform
Please do you 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.
Here are 20 most popular exchanges you can use to buy and sell bitcoins.
All of these options accept US Dollars, and may accept other currencies and/or cryptocurrencies. Most of these options require user verification before bitcoin purchase or withdrawal, in line with KYC/AML regulations (Know Your Customer/Anti Money Laundering).
One of the most reputable bitcoin exchanges available, Coinbase is popular among fans of the ‘dollar cost averaging’ method, where users can automate bitcoin purchase every week or month. It is a no-fuss platform for just bitcoin buying and selling.
Best for: Reputation as a dependable bitcoin exchange
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.
You 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.
- 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.
- Limited to buying and selling 4-5 different coins only. You can not trade the other 400 more altcoins
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.
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
Best for: Traders
- Pros: Good reputation, decent exchange rates, low transaction fees, minimal deposit fees, feature rich, great user support, secure, supported worldwide.
- For bitcoin traders as you can leverage and even short on the platform.
- Cons: Limited payment methods, not suitable for beginners, unintuitive user interface.
This bitcoin exchange recently celebrated 5 years of operations and is the first licensed operator. BitStamp is a favorite due to its ability to accept bitcoin purchase with credit or debit cards. Users can also withdraw bitcoins as physical gold — a novelty not offered by any other bitcoin exchanges in this list.
Best for: Reputation as a dependable bitcoin exchange
Choose another exchange if: You perform dubious activities. This company monitors transactions for suspicious activities and may close accounts anytime.
ShapeShift is the leading exchange that supports a variety of cryptocurrenciesincluding 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.
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.
This Hong Kong-headquartered bitcoin exchange is appealing for both traders and investors. The website is less flashy than the rest but practical. OKCoin is best for experienced traders with high familiarity with trading tools and platforms.
Best for: Traders
Choose another exchange if: You are not a trader.
This is another platform that recently celebrated its 5th anniversary. BTC-e platform is very transparent — you can see a live tracker with the current bitcoin price and the most recent transactions in the platform from the trade history. The chatbox sometimes has interesting discussions, offering insight of buyer/seller sentiment.
Best for: Transparency
Choose another exchange if: You prefer a nicer-looking platform.
Another trading-oriented bitcoin exchange in this list, ItBit offers reasonable rates for bitcoins but bear in mind there is a small fee on top of it. They offer ‘boutique service’ for large bitcoin trades over 100BTC.
Best for: Full-service, premium bitcoin trading services.
Choose another exchange if: You want small amounts of bitcoins.
As the name suggests, BitQuick is all about speed. How it operates is similar to LocalBitcoins where you buy and sell from other individuals. Buying bitcoins will incur 2% fee. However selling bitcoins are free.
Best for: Fast transactions
Choose another exchange if: Speed isn’t a factor.
Circle is a pretty-looking platform and suitable for light to casual bitcoin users. Marketed first as a user-friendly payment platform with chat integration, you can link debit card, credit card or bank account to send money via Bitcoin’s blockchain to friends and family.
Best for: New bitcoin users who need funds transfer solution rather than holding bitcoin
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.
- Broker platform that allows anyone to buy bitcoin or Ether using their credit card or cash via MoneyGram and the Western Union.
- Cons: High exchange rates, a premium fee for credit card, no bitcoin sell function, average user support.
This bitcoin service provider is known better as one of the top bitcoin debit card providers. E-Coin is included in this list as they allow indirect bitcoin purchase with PayPal, which is rare. You can also buy bitcoins with PayPal with other services such as Paxful or VirWox — both options incur higher fees.
Best for: Buying bitcoins with Paypal (by topping up the virtual debit card with funds from PayPal)
LocalBitcoins can be described as less of an exchange and more as a platform where individual bitcoin buyers and sellers from all over the world can find each other. You will be directed to a country-specific page and will be able to pick who you want to buy/sell bitcoins from. The in-built escrow system will protect both parties until the seller releases it after confirmation of payment.
Best for: Trading directly from individuals