A crypto currency exchange is a place where you can acquire digital assets in exchange for fiat currency such as USD. Some exchanges are built as a gateway between the fiat and the crypto currencies, while others are purely for trading and exchanging digital coins. Lastly, there are some exchanges that let you do both.
Each exchange is different, has it’s advantages and disadvantages. Which one is the best to start with? In this review we will walk through the points that should be considered when picking an exchange and then explore 4 solid options of exchanges that are beginner-friendly.
Things to Consider When Picking Crypto Exchanges
These are the points one should keep in mind before settling on a cryptocurrency exchange, be it for investing, trading or dipping the toes into the world of crypto
The Rates – It is important to look a the rates the exchange sets on cryptocurrencies. Typically, you can preview the rates by clicking on the “Markets” tab of exchange platforms without having to log in. For reference, compare it to the prices listed on coinmarketcap.com. You probably want to stay away from an exchange that offers rates that are much higher than the ones listed on CMC.
The Verification Process – It’s a rather tedious step, but one that you can’t really spare. Most cryptocurrency exchanges have to comply with a locally enforced KYC law and thus have to verify the identity of their customers. You should look out for an exchange that has a fast an easy verification process, not one that takes ages. Be ready to scan in your driver’s license, passport or some other government-issued ID.
Fees – Fees are unavoidable, since this is how the exchanges earn income. Make sure that you know how the fee structure works on the exchange you are signing up on, so that you don’t get any nasty surprises.
Reputation – This is an important point to consider. Reputable exchanges have been around for a long while, have a large amount of customers and are trusted in the community. Have a look at the reviews and complaints filed online. See anything suspicious? Better to stay away then.
Now it’s time to have a look at the best, beginner-friendly exchanges.
Coinbase is most trusted and popular crypto exchange in the world. Having expanded to more than 30 countries and served well over 5 million customers, Coinbase is the largest exchange in the world. They have captured the market by providing an easy to use interface, mobile app and a wide variety of accepted payment methods. You can purchase Bitcoin and other digital assets on Coinbase using you bank account, credit card, PayPal and other methods.
You can purchase a few cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum on Coinbase and then proceed to use the GDAX trading platform. That is, your Coinbase account also allows for trading activity on their very own trading platform.
Coinbase has a great reputation and remains the unchallenged number on player when it comes to on boarding new users into the crypto space.
CoinMama is a well-known exchange located in Easten Europe. It allows users to purchase cryptocurrencies using a debit or credit card and charges a small fee on the transaction. The verification process is fairly easy and you don’t have to complete it if you are purchasing less than $100 worth of coins. The main advantage that Coinmama offers is that it spans more countries than Coinbase.
It does however come with a drawback: Coinmama does not provide Crypto wallets to store your tokens: You have to make sure you have you Bitcoin wallet setup and ready before you buy.
LocalBitcoins is a peer-to-peer exchange platform and a great alternative if Coinbase is not available in your country. Localbitcoins implements the concept of directly trading currencies with other nearby users. You can trade via cash in person, or via bank wire or credit card – it depends on what your seller accepts on that trade.
The website is very minimalistic and easy to use. The main advantage of this platform is it’s rating system that applies a rating to each user on the exchange. This allow everyone to see, who is a trustworthy trader and who is likely to be a scammer.
Let’s kick it up a notch. Binance is a bit more complex than the other exchanges mentioned here but it offers some features you might enjoy. Binance is a pure digital assets exchange, which means you have to buy Bitcoin or other coins somewhere else first, before sending them to Binance. Binance is known and praised by crypto traders around the world. It has an enormous variety of tokens you can trade, the most reliable and fast exchange interface and the lowest trading fees. This deadly combo allowed the platform to grow rapidly and become the number one exchange in the world in respect to trading volume.
Another benefit is that you can immediately trade after signing-up, the verification process only comes into play at a later point, when you want to withdraw your coins.
Choosing the right cryptocurrency exchange is a crucial step in the beginning of the crypto journey. Pay close attention to the subtle differences each exchange offers, such as rates, fees and reputation and pick accordingly. You don’t have to stick to one, you may of course try out multiple exchanges, just make sure you are using a reputable platform so you don’t fall victim to a scam attempt.
We hope this article was informative and can help you make the right choice. We have selected 4 trustworthy and safe options for you that are beginner-friendly and can help kick-start your crypto journey.