Are you thinking about trading cryptocurrencies? If so, check out this guide to the top cryptocurrency exchange sites in the world.
Before we begin, let’s review the basics:
A cryptocurrency exchange is a website that allows an individual to buy, sell or exchange cryptocurrencies for other digital currency or conventional currency like US dollars or Euro. If you are looking to trade professionally and have access to a number of trading tools, you will likely be required to use an exchange that asks for you to verify your ID and open an account. However, if you are looking to make the occasional trade, there are platforms that you can use that do not require you to open up an account.
What are the 3 types of exchanges?
- Brokers: These are websites that anyone can visit to purchase cryptocurrencies at a designated price set by the broker.
- Direct Trading: These platforms offer person to person trading. What does this mean? An individual will be able to exchange currencies with people from different counties. Keep in mind direct trading exchanges do not have a fixed market price; each seller decides what their own exchange rate will be.
- Trading Platforms: These are websites that link buyers and sellers to one another and take a fee for each transaction
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What should you look for before joining a cryptocurrency exchange?
Similar to most things, it is crucial that you do a little research before you start trading on an exchange. Here are a few things you should check out before diving into the world of cryptocurrency trading.
- Fees: Generally speaking, most exchanges have fee-related information available on their websites. Before one joins the site, make you sure feel comfortable dealing with transaction, deposit, and withdrawal fees.
- Reputation: If you want to learn more about a particular exchange, the best way to search through reviews from individual users as well as trustworthy industry websites.
- Payment: Different exchanges will ask for different methods of payment. For instance, some offer credit & debit card payment options, while others offer PayPal and wire transfers.
Think you’ve got the basics covered? Great! Let’s move onto what we’ve all been waiting for.
The Top 7 Cryptocurrency Exchange Sites in the World
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Kraken, founded in 2011, is the largest Bitcoin exchange in liquidity and euro volume. Not only that, Kraken is also a partner in the first cryptocurrency bank. Essentially, Kraken allows an individual to purchase and sell bitcoins and trade between bitcoins and Euros, Canadian Dollars, US Dollars, Japanese Yen, and British Pounds.
If you are a more experienced user, Kraken offers margin trading as well as a number of other trading features.
Pros: Kraken has a good reputation and low transaction fees. The site also has great user support and decent exchange rates.
Cons: There are limited payment methods and it is targeted at more experienced traders.
ShapeShift is a leading exchange due to the fact that it supports several cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum, Bitcoin, Zcash, and Monero. It is important to mention ShapeShift does not allow individuals to buy crypto’s with credit cards, debit cards, or any other payment system.
If you are looking to make instant trades without having to set up an account, this is the ideal exchange site for you!
Pros: ShapeShift, like Kraken, has a good reputation. There are several cryptos available, and it is beginner friendly.
Cons: There are no fiat currencies and payment options are extremely limited.
There’s a good chance you have already heard of this exchange site since Coinbase is one of the most popular trading platforms in the world. Why? Because Coinbase makes it easy for an individual to purchase, use, store and trade digital currency.
Pros: Beginner friendly site with a fantastic reputation
Cons: Payment options are limited and limited countries are supported
Poloniex, founded in 2014, offers a secure trading environment with over 100 different Bitcoin cryptocurrency pairings. Poloniex is one of the most popular trading platforms as it has the highest trading volumes, therefore users will always be able to close a trade position.
Pros: The site is feature-rich and user-friendly. Poloniex also offers low trading fees and open API.
Cons: The site lacks customer service and there is no fiat support.
Founded in 2011, Bitstamp is a European Union based bitcoin marketplace. One of the great things about Bitstamp is that the platform is one of the first generation bitcoin exchanges that has built an extremely loyal customer base.
The site offers 24/7 support and highly advanced security features such as two-step authentication and fully insured cold storage.
Pros: High-level security and good for large transactions
Cons: The site is not beginner friendly and payment options are limited
Veteran broker CoinMama is a platform that anyone can visit to purchase Bitcoin or Ether using their credit card or cash via MoneyGram and the Western Union.
If you are looking to make instant purchases of digital currency using your local currency, this is the exchange site for you. Keep in mind some countries might not be able to use all of the functions of the site.
Pros: CoinMama has a good reputation and a great user interface. Additionally, there is a good range of payment options and fast transaction time.
Cons: CoinMama has high exchange rates and average user support.
One of the reasons this site is so popular is because it is a P2P Bitcoin exchange with buyers and sellers in thousands of cities around the globe. If you are using LocalBitcoin, you can meet up with people that are in your designated area and purchase or sell bitcoins in cash or you can send the money via PayPal.
Pros: You will not be required to verify your ID when setting up an account. LocalBitcoin is available around the world and offers instant transfers.
Cons: LocalBitcoin makes it difficult to purchase large amounts of bitcoin and it tends to have high exchange rates.
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