Interested in buying Bitcoins, Litecoins or any other cryptocurrency in particular? In this article, we analyze what we consider to be the best cryptocurrency exchange sites of today. If you want to buy cryptoactives with fiat money or change your Bitcoins to another popular cryptocurrency, this guide of the main Exchanges will be of help when choosing the one that best suits your needs.

What is an Exchange of Cryptocurrencies?

cryptocurrency exchange platform is a website where you can buy, sell or exchange cryptocurrencies for another digital currency or fiduciary money (USD, EUR, etc.). Depending on the exchange, they can operate as a stock exchange or as a currency exchange house.

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In general, there are the following types of exchanges:

  • “Traditional” cryptocurrency exchanges: these are exchanges that are like traditional stock exchanges where buyers and sellers trade based on the current market price of cryptocurrencies (with the exchange playing the role of intermediary). This type of trading platform usually takes a fee from each transaction. Some of these exchange types also allow users to convert fiduciary currency (such as the dollar) into cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin at the market price. GDAX (subsidiary of Coinbase) is an example of this type of exchange, like Kraken. Shapeshift provides a similar service at no cost.
  • Direct trading exchanges: these platforms offer direct trade between buyers and sellers. Direct trading exchanges do not use a fixed market price. The sellers establish their own exchange rate.
  • Cryptocurrency brokers (Brokers): these are exchanges based on websites that operate like currency exchange bureaus. They allow customers to buy and sell cryptocurrencies at a price set by the intermediary (usually at the market price plus a small premium). Coinbase is an example of this type of exchange.

The purchase of Bitcoins is the initial step to trade with cryptocurrency. Like the trade of an action, the exchanges charge transaction fees, which range between 0 and 1%. In order to exchange Bitcoin in an exchange, the user must have an account and perform a series of steps to be verified. Remember that Bitcoin and alternative cryptocurrencies are completely digital currencies, and there are no physical Bitcoins.

With more than 4,000 cryptocurrencies available in the market, it is key to determine which currencies you want to exchange and then compare the type of admitted transaction that occurs in each exchange site. For example, Ethereum mining has recently become popular, but not all exchanges support this alternative cryptocurrency.

Pay close attention to the fees collected. While all of these exchange sites charge transaction fees (after all, they are businesses looking to make a profit), as a user, obviously it is better to find one with the lowest costs to maximize your own benefits.

It is also advisable to opt for a secure trading platform that has robust security measures.  Desirable security features include two-factor authentication, alerts by SMS or email, encrypted emails and wallet monitoring. A smartphone application can also be very useful in terms of access and monitoring of funds.

Finally, look for an exchange site that is making a good trading volume, in other words, one with a high number of trading pairs and high liquidity.

Now that we know the characteristics that we should look for in the best cryptocurrency exchanges , let’s continue to choose our favorites in particular.

1. Coinbase

This is an exchange site based in the USA. UU which was founded in 2012 and supports more than 32 countries. Coinbase exchanges Bitcoins and the alternative cryptocurrencies Ethereum and Litecoin, and is the largest of all the Exchanges, claiming $ 20 billion (£ 15 billion) in foreign exchange. In 2014, Coinbase created GDAX, the Global Digital Asset Exchange, developed for professionals with high trading volumes.

The firm offers a free mobile wallet , offline storage and insurance protection for the currency stored in their servers. Coinbase supports several fiduciary currencies: pounds sterling, US dollars, euros, Canadian dollars, Australian dollars and Singapore dollars.

The Coinbase exchange has a flat rate of 1% for each purchase, while cryptocurrency deposits and withdrawals are made without any fees. A simplified user interface that is ideal for novice traders and quick exchanges makes Coinbase a popular exchange among merchants.

Official site:  https://www.coinbase.com/

2. Bittrex

Bittrex is a regulated stock exchange based in the USA. UU which offers the trading of many established cryptocurrencies and tokens, as well as emerging currencies. In fact, they admit more than 190 cryptocurrencies to date. They also perform compliance audits on new cryptocurrencies, so that operators can be sure they are operating safely and legally.

They offer quick transactions and great stability, so many experienced investors frequent this exchange.

Official site:  https://bittrex.com/

3. Binance

Binance is one of the newest exchanges in the industry. The Hong Kong-based company raised about $ 15 million in an ICO in July (2017) and immediately acquired 20,000 registered users as part of the collection. Changpeng Zhao, CEO of Binance, has an impressive resume with years of experience in cryptocurrencies. He was Director of Development at Blockchain, Cofounder and Director of Technology at OKCoin, and Founder and CEO of BijieTech before working at Binance. From its ICO to date, Binance has grown enormously and is now in the top 10 cryptocurrency exchanges in the world. Currently it has more than 140 altcoins listed on it, and the number increases as the days go by.

Binance’s tariff structure is unique. For starters, they have a 0.1% standard trading rate, which is already quite lower than other pairs. If you pay using your own token ( BNB ), you currently receive a 50% discount on the negotiation rate, which drops to 0.05%. With this discount, Binance easily has the lowest rates in the industry.

Official site:  https://www.binance.com/

4. Kraken

Founded in 2011, Kraken is the largest Bitcoin exchange in volume and liquidity in euros and is a partner in the first cryptocurrency bank. Kraken allows you to buy and sell bitcoins and trade between bitcoins and euros, US dollars, Canadian dollars, pounds sterling and Japanese yen. It is also possible to exchange digital currencies other than Bitcoin such as Ethereum, Monero, Ethereum Classic, Augur REP tokens, ICONOMI, Zcash, Litecoin, Dogecoin, Ripple and Stellar / Lumens.

Kraken is the favorite Bitcoin Exchange for many professional operators. They provide all the tools and reliability necessary to make expert decisions about the cryptocurrency exchange. They offer a high security environment with reliable cold storage, legal compliance and advanced types of orders, such as stop-loss orders.

Official site:  https://www.kraken.com/

5. LocalBitcoins

LocalBitcoins has an interesting exchange method that is very different from other Exchanges. This is a P2P exchange site that allows users to find quick buy and sell offers among local people, something like a Bitcoin Craigslist. It is compatible with markets around the world, which means you can buy Bitcoins with your local currency. LocalBitcoins receives a commission of 1% of each transaction in exchange for providing the platform, a resolution system and also a rating system to help determine the reliability of the person with whom it is operating.

Anyone can post a quick purchase or quick sale ad on LocalBitcoins. This exchange site is especially useful if you live in a part of the world where this is the only way to buy Bitcoins successfully, and offers a variety of payment methods, which makes it one of the best cryptocurrency exchanges for the trade between pairs.

Official site:  https://localbitcoins.com/

6. Poloniex

It is impossible to analyze the commercial altcoins and not use the Poloniex exchange these days. Although Poloniex does not list all the existing altcoins, it does include the ones with the highest circulation and therefore they are the main exchange when it comes to trading with alternative cryptocurrencies. Poloniex was also one of the first platforms to support the Ethereum Classic after the Ethereum fork.

Among the main currencies listed in Poloniex are Monero, Ethereum Classic, Ripple, Litecoin, Factom and Maidsafe, to name a few. The platform generates a large amount of Bitcoin trading volume every day. In addition, some of the “main altcoins” even reach Poloniex’s loan and trading margin markets, allowing them to gain even more exposure over time.

Official site:  https://poloniex.com/

7. Cex.io

Cex.io provides a wide range of services to use bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The platform allows users to easily exchange fiduciary money with cryptocurrencies and, conversely, cryptocurrencies for fiduciary money. For those looking to exchange bitcoins professionally, the platform offers easy-to-use custom trading boards and margin trading. Alternatively, CEX also offers a brokerage service that offers beginning traders an extremely simple way to buy bitcoin at prices that are more or less in line with the market rate. The Cex.io website is safe and intuitive and cryptocurrencies can be stored in a secure storage vault.

Official site:  https://cex.io/

8. Bitstamp

Bitstamp is a bitcoin exchange market based in the European Union and whose foundation dates back to 2011. The platform is one of the first generation bitcoin Exchanges that has generated a base of loyal customers. Bitstamp is well known and reliable throughout the bitcoin community as a fairly secure platform. It offers advanced security features, such as two-step authentication, multisig technology for your wallet and fully secured cold storage. Bitstamp has 24/7 support, has a multilingual user interface and starting to operate from its platform is relatively easy. After opening a free account and making a first deposit, users can start exchanging bitcoins immediately.

Official site:  https://www.bitstamp.net/

9. Changelly

Changelly is a cryptocurrency exchange site with support for many more virtual currencies than most, including Monero, Dash, Bytecoin and DigitalNote, among others. If you are extracting a less popular currency, it is likely that Changelly can exchange it for you.

This exchange comes from the popular MinerGate mining platform that provides a merged mining set on Windows, Mac, Linux and Android operating systems. While Changelly focuses on exchanges between different cryptocurrencies, users can also buy cryptocurrencies with US dollars or euros.

Keep in mind that this Exchange has a shorter trajectory than other exchange sites, since it only entered the market in 2016. Exchange fees are 0.5% in transactions.

Official site:  https://changelly.com/

10. BitFinex

BitFinex prides itself on being the “largest and most advanced Bitcoin trading platform”. They offer quick exchanges between Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, Zcash, Monero, Litecoin, Dash, Iota and Ripple.

They allow up to 3.3x of leverage negotiation, margin funds and offer advanced algorithmic order types. This is a high security exchange with advanced analysis graphics (but easy to understand) for those who prefer a graphic business experience. BitFinex also offers applications for Android and iOS.

Unlike Bittrex and Poloniex, you can trade with USD (at a rate of at least $ 20). In addition, users must pay a commercial rate that varies from 0.1% to 0.8%

Official site:  https://www.bitfinex.com/

11. Cryptopia

Cryptopia was founded in 2014, with the aim of being a comprehensive exchange that focuses on the user experience, with the integration of additional services, including a market and a wallet. It is headquartered in Christchurch, New Zealand. Cryptopia is remarkable because the first level of verification happens very fast and only requires an email address for initial verification.

While Cryptopia is not compatible with fiduciary money trading, it does admit a ridiculously large number of cryptocurrencies: more than 400 to date, with more being added all the time. The trading rate is also a low 0.20% per transaction, which compares favorably with many competitors. The website is quite extensive and extensive, which means that new users may find themselves a bit disoriented with their first experience operating through this site.

Official site:  https://www.cryptopia.co.nz/

12. Gemini Exchange

Co-founded by Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, Gemini is a regulated Bitcoin and Ethereum exchange with US license. That means that Gemini’s capital requirements and regulatory standards are similar to those of a bank. In addition, all deposits in US dollars are held in a bank insured by the FDIC and most of the digital currency is safeguarded without an internet connection (cold storage). Gemini operates in three currencies, US dollars, bitcoins and ethers, so the platform does not serve the operators of the other cryptocurrencies. All deposits and withdrawals are free. The platform is only available to customers in 42 US states. United States, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and the United Kingdom.

Official site:  https://gemini.com/

Bonus: ShapeShift

ShapeShift allows virtually instantaneous exchanges from one cryptocurrency to another. They admit dozens of common altcoins such as ethereum, dogecoin and litecoin. Without opening an account, you can exchange assets for any other in your high liquidity environment with competitive exchange rates. ShapeShift is the technology behind the instantaneous exchange option that is seen in the popular Exodus wallet.

Shapeshift is ideal for those who want to make direct and instant exchanges without signing up for an account or trusting a platform to retain their funds. The platform only allows the exchange between Bitcoin and the other supported cryptocurrencies, which means that you will not be able to buy cryptocurrencies with debit cards, credit cards or any other payment system based on fiduciary money.

Official site:  https://shapeshift.io/

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