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The Best Cryptocurrency Exchange Websites Of 2018

crypto exchange

Cryptocurrency exchange websites take on a number of different forms.

Some exchanges allow you to use flat currency to trade in Bitcoin while others enable you to use your existing virtual currency to buy and sell a range of altcoins.

You use these exchanges to buy, sell or pair trade in a broad spectrum of cryptocurrencies. Purchase normally takes place by bank transfer or credit card. With crypto-to-crypto platforms, you’ll need to buy in using virtual coins.

It’s even possible to buy Bitcoin with cash or PayPal.

These digital marketplaces vary in the way they’re regulated, and have wildly differing levels of security. Some exchanges are beginner-friendly while others are targeted firmly at experienced crypto investors and serious volume traders.

Whether you’re hoping to trade Bitcoin for your USD or to pair trade in niche altcoins, whether you’re looking to invest a few bucks or throw in millions of dollars, finding the best exchange can be fraught with risk.

Since so much confusion abounds, we’re here to clarify things and guide you towards the best crypto currency platform for your investment needs.

To give you a general overview, we dug deep into the leading crypto exchanges using a number of criteria from security and choice of altcoins through to ease of use and cost of trading. In today’s article, we’ll take all the guesswork out of your preliminary investment decision and allows you to compare platforms at a glance.

We’ll laser in on the 10 leading crypto currency websites with brief summaries of their advantages and drawbacks.

Before that, though, here’s an easily scannable chart highlighting all the main players in the crypto trading marketplace:

Crypto Currency Price24H Changes
Bitcoin (BTC)
3297.25411612
-4.04%
XRP (XRP)
0.2950668479
-3.06%
Ethereum (ETH)
86.2946210739
-4.71%
Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
84.2112761903
-13.64%
Litecoin (LTC)
23.4755913769
-2.96%
Cardano (ADA)
0.0288292835
-5.65%
Monero (XMR)
42.0957877991
-2.05%
IOTA (MIOTA)
0.2148477873
-5.41%
NEM (XEM)
0.0639277213
-6.58%
Dash (DASH)
60.6217821741
-6.1%

Safe Trading: Are these Digital Crypto Exchanges Legit?

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When you’re trading in digital assets, security should always be a leading concern.

Many crypto newbies ask whether these exchanges are legit or scams. The answer is simple: you can find both.

This is why conducting plenty of research is absolutely key if you want to invest some of your hard-earned cash in the hope of profiting on the spikes in crypto currency.

Safe trading kicks off by making sure you select a legitimate platform. We’ll break down a wide array of reputable crypto exchanges below so you can more easily navigate the often murky waters of Bitcoin websites.

When you are examining exchanges for security, don’t fixate on whether or not the platform has been hacked or otherwise breached. Given the terrain of crypto trading, this is almost inevitable. What’s far more important is the way in which any security issues are dealt with by the company in question.

Check up on whether investors lost any coins and look into the manner in which the incursion was patched.

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Don’t consider the requirement to provide plenty of ID and verification as a negative. Seek out exchanges that are fully compliant with financial regulations.

When it comes to reading user reviews and feedback, bear firmly in mind that much negative press comes from disgruntled customers who may have stepped out of line but can freely vent their anger on forums and elsewhere online. That said, there’s generally no smoke without fire so if you see repeated threads on poor customer service and issues with withdrawals, tread carefully to avoid being burned.

As an absolute rule, never leave more crypto coins on an exchange than you can comfortably afford to lose. This is not pessimism but realism. Use a secure wallet and only put your virtual currency onto the platform when you want to trade. In this way, you can minimize your risks with very little effort.

Before we analyze a handful of the most reliable and effective cryptocurrency exchanges, we’ll take a brief look into how you can buy Bitcoin or altcoins using these virtual trading platforms.

How and Where To Buy Cryptocurrencies on an Altcoin Exchange Platform

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Crypto exchanges differ subtly in so many key areas that it’s impractical to produce a one-size-fits-all guide to buying, selling and trading.

Once you’ve assembled a shortlist of prospective exchanges - we’ll help you out with this below - probe further into the interface. Double down on the nuts and bolts of transacting your cryptocoins to see which website best gels with your investment requirements.

We’ll give you an insight now into the basic premise of trading in Bitcoin and altcoins so you can see just how straightforward it really is. If you strip away the fat, the principles of using crypto platforms are surprisingly simple, even if you’re just starting out.

Think about trading crypto in terms of 3 broad areas:

  • Buying In
  • Trading
  • Withdrawal

We’ll present a concise overview of each to simplify things for you…

Step 1: Buying In

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Type of Currency

Decide what currency you want to use to gain access to a trading platform. Some exchanges allow you to purchase your Bitcoin with real-world cash. If you want to use USD, Euro or any other fiat currency, look first for a website that allows this.

Many crypto-to-crypto exchanges require you to buy in using Bitcoin or Ethereum in order to pair trade against other crypto and altcoins. Don’t waste time on these exchanges unless you already have Bitcoin or you intend to purchase some to trade with.

Method of Payment

Once you’ve decided what you want to pay with, you need to consider how you plan to pay.

The majority of exchanges that accept fiat currency permit wire transfers. An increasing number of sites now also take credit and debit card payments. If you choose to invest using a card, check closely for all associated fees before committing to purchase. Alternative payment methods include cash and PayPal.

For crypto-only exchanges, you’ll need to pay by transferring your stash of Bitcoin or Ether into a wallet on the trading platform.

There is such a disparity in terms of payment methods that you’ll need to investigate the platform you have in mind for specifics.

Once you’ve bought in, it’s time to trade…

Step 2: Trading

holding a coin

All exchanges have slight differences in terms of UI and trading platforms but the underlying idea of trading in crypto is remarkably basic.

Whether you’re using fiat currency to buy crypto or you opt to buy altcoins with Bitcoin, buying and selling is a breeze if you choose a simple order.

Head to the Trading area of the site you’re using and choose the currencies you’d like to trade.

Enter the amount of currency you want to buy or sell. Cryptocoins are divisible so you can buy less than 1 unit if a single coin is beyond your budget.

Hit the button to Buy or Sell, confirm the transaction and you’re all done.

The procedure for limit orders enables you to set highest prices and lowest asks, but this is best avoided unless you’re savvy enough not to need our basic instructions.

Now it’s time to withdraw your funds…

Step 3: Withdrawal

android phone

When you’re checking out potential platforms to trade on, keep an eye peeled for complaints about difficulties withdrawing your profits. Many less reputable exchanges are variations on an exit scam. That is, all seems super-smooth until it’s time to cash out.

With most trustworthy crypto web sites, you’ll have no such problems.

Again, exchanges are split between those that pay out in fiat currencies and those that will load you up in virtual cash. In either instance, head on over to the Withdraw section of the site first.

If you want to be paid in fiat, you can have the money sent to your bank account without too much hassle. Follow the procedure outlined on your platform of choice and enjoy the fruits of your crypto trading in a matter of days.

For crypto withdrawals, you’ll have to generate a wallet address for your coins to be sent to and then follow simple instructions. The transaction will need to be verified through the blockchain community but your funds will be with you not long after clicking on the verification link emailed to you.

The Best Place to Buy, Sell and Trade Crypto Currency Coins on Exchange Sites in 2018

We’ll now give you a brief snapshot of 10 leading platforms for all your crypto exchange needs with a frank appraisal of where they stand and fall.

Coinbase

If you’re a crypto first-timer, Coinbase makes a superb point of entry into virtual currency exchange. You’ll be restricted to buying Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum but you can use your credit card which is a prime attractor for many investors looking for ease of use on an exchange. With online wallets up for grabs, Coinbase is wildly popular throughout the US and Europe.

PROS

CONS

  •  You can buy coins with your credit card.
  • Trade at set price based on market value for rapid exchanges.
  • Very user-friendly and suitable for beginners.
  • Coins limited to Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum.​​​​
  •  Signing up and verification process rather taxing.​​​​
  • Fairly high fees especially with credit cards.

Kraken

Kraken, while enduringly popular, has suffered a loss in fortunes due to significant biteback about problematic customer care, and a glut of software issues. If you want to buy your crypto directly with USD, Euro or other fiat, you can trade against a worthwhile selection of altcoins. The platform has a solid focus on security and cryptography, and was the first Bitcoin exchange with trading price and volume on Bloomberg.

PROS

CONS

  •  Excellent rates across the board.
  •  Combination of simplicity for beginners and advanced trading for experts.
  •  Decent choice of fiat and crypto pairs.
  •  Trading software needs some serious improvement.
  •  Some trading features are disabled without warning or explanation.
  •  Many complaints about weak, unresponsive customer service.

Bitfinex

If you’re a savvy crypto investor looking for a digital exchange that allows you to buy Bitcoin with USD or Euro, Bitfinex offers a wide spectrum of trading options. The website is intuitive and user-friendly despite its advanced functionality. Bitfinex has been hacked on several occasions but made good on customer losses retaining goodwill and trust in spite of these incidents.

PROS

CONS

  • Highly sophisticated trading platform ideal for advanced users.
  •  You can buy your crypto coins with USD or Euro.
  •  Largest exchange by volume for trading Bitcoin against USD.
  •  Reduction in fees doesn’t kick in until $500,000.
  •  Not a smart choice for any crypto beginners.

Gemini

The Winklevoss twins famously sued Mark Zuckerberg claiming he stole their idea for Facebook. After winning huge damages in court, they ploughed a chunk of these funds into Bitcoin before building the Gemini crypto exchange. You’ll enjoy low fees and a novice-friendly platform. Dollar accounts are insured, digital assets held in cold storage, and all online assets are hosted by Amazon Web Services for maximum security.

PROS

CONS

  •  Basic interface works swiftly and easily with instant updates on all key data.
  •  You can buy coins with fiat currency.
  • Fully compliant with financial and digital asset regulations.
  •  Limited methods of deposit.
  • Narrow choice of crypto currencies to trade in.

GDAX

Global Digital Asset Exchange (GDAX) is Coinbase’s sister company pitched at professional traders and knowledgeable crypto enthusiasts. Setting up an account can be intrusive but once up and running, you’ll be able to buy in with USD, GBP or Euro and trade against Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Ethereum. Fees are highly competitive and public opinion largely positive.

PROS

CONS

  • Shares Coinbase’s reputation and you can use your Coinbase account to log in.
  •  Solid coverage of fiat currencies and major cryptocoins.
  • Low fees and trading rates.
  •  Exchange is not available worldwide.
  •  Support is relatively limited.

Poloniex

Poloniex is a crypto-to-crypto exchange that surged to the head of this space following the 2016 collapse of Cryptsy and a spike in the popularity of altcoins in 2017. With a slick trading interface and the ability to leverage your crypto coins through margin trading, you can pair trade all major altcoins in significant volume on this exchange.

PROS

CONS

  • Unbeatable selection of altcoins you can trade against Bitcoin, Monero, Ethereum and Tether.
  •  Great for volume trading with sliding scale fees on maker-taker model.
  • Margin trading and lending available unlike on many exchanges.
  • Significant body of complaints about withdrawal issues combined with sluggish customer service.
  • Not possible to buy in using fiat currencies.

Bitstamp

Started way back in 2011, Bitstamp works well for US and European residents looking to buy crypto coins with fiat currency. You’ll be able to deposit funds by bank transfer or credit card with surprisingly low fees. If you want to trade in larger volumes on a secure platform offering plenty of variety, Bitstamp is a wise bet.

PROS

CONS

  •  Simple buy-in with fiat currencies using cards or bank transfer.
  •  Well established and trusted dating back to 2011.
  •  Sound spread of major cryptocurrencies.
  •  Only available in the US and Eurozone.
  • Less than ideal for beginners to crypto trading.

LocalBitcoins

LocalBitcoins, as the name suggests, offers you a P2P way of buying Bitcoin using cash or PayPal. For anyone just getting started down the crypto route, this peer-to-peer exchange can be rewarding if you exercise due diligence. Prices tend to be slightly high and there are risks involved so make sure not to rush recklessly into this decentralized exchange.

PROS

CONS

  •  No buying or selling limits in place and highly private.
  •  Ability to pay in cash or with PayPal.
  • Supported in almost all countries.
  •  Rife with scam artists so tread with extreme caution.
  •  Prices of crypto coins are higher than main exchanges.

Bitrex

Founded in 2014 by a team of security professionals, Bittrex is another non-fiat crypto exchange which allows for volume trading in altcoins at a flat fee. You can pair trade in over 250 alt coins against Bitcoin, Litecoin or Ethereum. There’s a temporary hiatus on the opening of new accounts so watch this space for updates.

PROS

CONS

  •  High trust factor with a heavy focus on security.
  •  0.25% flat fees for maximum transparency.
  •  Broad spread of 250+ altcoins to pair trade your crypto against.
  •  Invasive verification processes for a crypto exchange.
  •  New account registrations currently closed.

Coinmama

If you want to buy BTC or ETH and you’re finding things tough in your country, Coinmama accepts credit card purchases from most locations worldwide. You will need your own wallet and you can only buy coins not sell or trade them. Fees are slightly high but in return you’ll be able to confidently buy your virtual currency from a secure platform with ease.

PROS

CONS

  • Buy coins from most countries using credit card.
  • No known security breaches.
  • A decent training ground if you’re a crypto beginner.
  • You cannot trade in cryptocurrency or sell coins on this exchange.
  • No online wallet service is provided.

Wrapping Up

We trust you’ve found plenty of useful nuggets in this investor’s review of the best cryptocurrency exchange websites of 2018.

Things change so rapidly in the crypto landscape that you need to monitor for any shifts in security or service and stay fully abreast of any platform you plan to invest on.

Choose any of the legit crypto exchanges listed above and enter the exciting field of trading in crypto without worrying about being scammed.