As 2019 comes to an end, we want to provide users with entering the market a guide on which cryptocurrency exchanges are our favorites. Crypto exchanges are usually categorized as two types: fiat gateways (somewhere to turn fiat to crypto), or crypto-only (where crypto is exclusively traded). Every crypto exchange caters to a different style of the investor, so we will point out which ones are best for you. These crypto exchanges are safe and have shown no signs of tomfoolery, with that being said, it is still always safest to keep your funds off exchanges unless you are actively trading them.
The obvious winner in most categories is going to be Binance. This exchange is unrivaled in terms of technological progression, features, support, and liquidity. Binance offers most of the top cryptocurrencies by market cap, and you will certainly have no issue getting in and out of your trades as liquidity is never scarce. Investors can invest directly in the company by purchasing Binance Coin ($BNB). Please note, these are NOT shares of Binance, but the value of BNB is correlated with the performance of the exchange similar to a stock.
Here is a peek at the “basic” exchange interface, there is also an “advanced” interface for the more experienced traders. As you can see, most of the information a trader would need is put neatly in front of them, and easy to digest. Binance truly is the “all-in-one” exchange that will be suitable for 90% of investors coming into the cryptocurrency market. This analysis barely scratches the surface as they also provide margin trading, staking, educational resources, and more. They have also proven to be a safe exchange, and have funds locked away in case of theft or hacking.
One major downside to Binance is their limitations to US-based customers. If you are based in the US, you must use Binance.us which lacks the variety of assets and takes a hit with lower liquidity due to being separated from the rest of the world.
(For ease of understanding, we are combining the two as if they are one exchange.)
If you would like to keep everything in one place, Coinbase is your best platform. Coinbase is arguably the top fiat gateway for cryptocurrencies. It is super simple to use, and you may purchase Bitcoin and several other cryptocurrencies using a bank account or debit card. Once you purchase your crypto, you may instantly transfer it to Coinbase Pro to trade the fiat and crypto markets.
Keeping all assets in one place means not having to deal with wallets or waiting for your funds to be moved. You can go from fiat to crypto, trade that crypto, then back to fiat all in one platform. Coinbase’s downfall is certainly its variety of assets. They only offer a handful of the larger cryptocurrencies but are making an effort to get more added. If you are someone who likes to keep things simple and be a bit more hands-off with your crypto investing, then this is the platform for you. Coinbase offers effective reporting and can even be used in tandem with TurboTax for cryptocurrency taxes.
You have probably heard many stories about Bitmex. Bitmex is the top leverage trading exchange for Bitcoin and a few other cryptocurrencies. Do not, seriously, DO NOT use Bitmex unless you have a thorough trading plan that has shown success in the past. Bitmex is tailored for professional traders and investors to take advantage of the high volatility of cryptocurrencies, specifically Bitcoin. Traders can 100x leverage short and long positions. This enables the possibility of massive gains but can easily put your balance to 0 with one bad trade.
Unfortunately, Bitmex is closed to US-based customers due to regulations. So, if you are someone outside of the US, and have a lot of trading experience it could be worth your while to use Bitmex and take advantage of the leverage, and shorting capabilities. It is also worth mentioning that Bitmex has a history of being overloaded, causing an inability to execute trades in crucial moments. For example, during Bitcoin’s massive moves in late 2017, many traders would have trouble executing trades due to the massive amounts of orders. Never trade or leverage money that you are not willing to completely lose.
If you prefer to stay off the grid, LocalBitcoins is the most trusted place to buy and sell Bitcoin from other people. When conducting a purchase or sale, LocalBitcoins will hold the Bitcoin in escrow assuring that the selling party has received funds. Once the funds are received, you will receive the Bitcoin you purchased. There is no KYC (know your customer) involved, or any records of you purchasing/selling Bitcoin.
Of course, with the privacy that comes with LocalBitcoins, it lacks the ease of use and quickness that most of the other exchanges offer. The prices usually found here do not reflect the fair market value of Bitcoin as accurately as well. Only use this platform if privacy is your top priority.
Changelly is a blend of LocalBitcoins and a traditional cryptocurrency exchange. Technically, it is what you call a decentralized exchange. This means you are transacting between two peers without anyone knowing who they are. Changelly simply facilitates the trade, without you having to enter any information at all about yourself. Changelly also offers export files that are natively compatible with crypto tax calculators so that you can easily import your transaction history for easy tax reporting.
The interface is extremely easy to use, and the best part is you may exchange between any of the supported currencies, no need to trade an altcoin for Bitcoin, then to a new altcoin. The process is quick, and all you must do is deposit your crypto and provide an address for the currency you want.