At its core, a Bitcoin exchange is a place where people can digitally sell and buy bitcoins. This can be done by using altcoins or different fiat currencies. These digital exchanges happen on online platforms that act as a broker of sorts to ensure the safe and secure transfer of cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin exchange platforms have some similarities to a traditional stock exchange in that traders and investors can decide to put in either a limit order or a market order. If a limit order is selected, the individual gives permission to trade coins above the selected bid or below the selected ask price. With the market order, the idea is to trade at the best available price. Since cryptocurrency is growing rapidly, it’s important to know the best places to buy Bitcoin on the market today. In this article, we’ll be going over the top bitcoin exchanges of 2020 and highlighting some of their top pros and cons.
Coinbase is a well known Bitcoin exchange and supports USD, EUR, and GBP fiat currencies and 24 cryptocurrencies. It was created back in 2012 and currently has millions of users on the platform. While it has its roots in simply buying, transferring, and selling cryptocurrencies, it quickly has become much more than that – offering a wide range of services in multiple areas. Coinbase is also considered one of the safer Bitcoin exchanges out there. They have a variety of licenses in states across the US as well as money transmitter licenses. Coinbase also requires all of its users to go through a verification process before being verified to trade. Lastly, Coinbase has other built-in security features such as 2FA and keeping most of its customers’ funds within cold storage (according to industry standards).
Here are some of the pros of using Coinbase for cryptocurrency exchange:
- It’s effortless to use, especially for beginners.
- It’s been around a while, so it’s a tried and tested platform.
- They’ve been known to have great customer service – 24/7 phone support is available.
- Their service range is fairly wide.
Here are the cons of using Coinbase:
- It could be considered a little expensive compared to other bitcoin exchanges regarding the fees they charge.
- There is some variability in availability, depending on location.
- The coin selection can be limited.
Kraken is another well-known cryptocurrency exchange. It was founded back in 2011 with the intent of being a high-quality, professional Bitcoin exchange site. At the time, the Mt. Gox incident had just occurred, and the industry was desperately in need of a safe option. Ever since the site was launched, it’s been considered one of the most prominent exchange services available. So, how safe is Kraken? While there have been accounts that have been compromised over the years, it seems to be mainly due to users not enabling the two-factor authentication rather than sweeping failures in security on Kraken’s end. They’ve never been a major victim of scammers, and they’ve since changed practices in that every user is required to have two-factor authentication. Kraken is based in Canada and registered both there and in the US as a money services business. It has armed guards around its servers and constant surveillance.
Here are some of the main pros to using Kraken:
- Kraken has a multitude of features, including futures, OTC desk, indices, Cryptowatch, margin trading, and dark pools
- 24 hour a day customer service, every day of the year
- Account Management is available for more advanced users
- Has a great overall reputation – a high trading volume and one of the largest online exchanges out there
- Lots of fiat and cryptocurrencies available – JPY and CAD, EUR, USD, GBP, etc.
Some of the downsides to using Kraken for bitcoin exchange:
- Fees – You have to be on top of your game when looking at the fees since it really differs based on the trade type selected.
NordikCoin is one of the most trusted bitcoin exchange services out there. It’s a safe, secure exchange run by the Estonian fintech startup OmniMatrix. It was established in 2019 by a team of auditors, technologists, and lawyers. Hence, it ensures regulatory compliance, strict enforcement of routines, and best practices relating to AML, CTF, and KYC measures. NordikCoin holds all applicable licenses to handle the exchange of cryptocurrencies and provides both hot and cold wallet storage. All communication on NordikCoin is end-to-end encrypted with additional mechanisms to help safeguard it. There is also a multitude of different electronic ID Verification solutions to help ensure it’s working correctly.
Here are some of the major pros to using NordikCoin:
- Extremely fast – you can buy Bitcoin in under 5 minutes.
- Very safe – utilizes your electronic ID.
- Bitcoin can be bought with both VISA and MasterCard today.
- Can store your bitcoin in an online wallet and use it with thousands of merchants
- Low transaction fees
Some cons to NordikCoin:
- Not as many services available – specialize specifically in buying Bitcoin and creating an online wallet.
With over 200,000 customers and specializing in Ethereum and Bitcoin’s sales, Coinmama has established itself as one of the major players in the cryptocurrency exchange market. One commonly asked question about using Coinmama is how soon someone can get their Bitcoin after a purchase. Typically, it takes a few hours after making a transaction to receive your bitcoin assets. While the process is straightforward, it takes a little bit of time to confirm the transaction no matter who you made the purchase from. The last piece of this timeline is the amount of time it takes for your credit card issuer to confirm the payment went through. You also have to make sure that your digital wallet address has been confirmed.
Next, lots of people ask if Coinmama is safe to use. Coinmama is actually registered in the Slovak Republic as a money service business. It has been around for several years and has a good reputation, but there’s always a risk when purchasing digital assets like cryptocurrency.
Here are some of the main pros of using coinmama as a bitcoin exchange:
- The pricing is live for both euros and dollars.
- The site has gone to lengths to provide information in multiple languages.
- You can actually purchase directly from the site without having to use a middleman.
- You can buy whole bitcoins or even fractions of bitcoins.
- Straightforward process, and easy to review your orders all in one place
Here are some of the cons to using Coinmama:
- If you don’t have a European bank account, you won’t sell any Bitcoin.
- Has limited credit card acceptance – won’t accept AMEX, PayPal, or Discover Card
- Expediting of new purchases through a link to your bank account does not exist.
- There is also no smartphone app associated with this site.
One of the defining features of KuCoin is the wide range of cryptocurrencies it provides and a great user-loyalty plan. This cryptocurrency exchange has its roots in Hong Kong and is really set apart by its rewards currency – KuCoin Shares (KCS). KuCoin is known for being on the edge of the latest technologies and trends, so it’s a good place to find good deals. It also has a helpful charting package for traders who have specific focuses. KuCoin shares are a unique aspect to this exchange service because it allows traders to get additional discounts when making trades and even receive dividends. KuCoin supports around 206 cryptocurrencies and almost 30 fiat currencies.
Here are some of the main pros to using KuCoin:
- Well known for offering one of the widest ranges of currencies out there
- There is no verification required to get started.
- Is an early adopter, so there are opportunities to get promising new coins.
- Has additional benefits and features by nature of its KCS program
Here are some of the cons to using KuCoin:
- With no verification, required there are some safety concerns here
- Since it’s based in Hong Kong, there isn’t as much English language support as other exchange services
- The system has been known to experience some difficulties when there are high-traffic periods on the trading site
eToro is a company that’s based in the UK and rapidly expanding all over the globe. If you’ve heard the term “copy trade,” you can thank eToro for coining the phrase and the feature that allows users to copy other people’s trades. As far as safety is concerned, eToro is considered safe to use in the USA. It is a well-known, highly-trusted cryptocurrency exchange platform. It’s currently registered with the SEC and acts according to the PATRIOT Act. It has licenses in 11 states. eToro does require its users to get user verification and prove their identity. This is done through a US passport, state ID, or driver’s license. Lastly, eToro has many security features and has not been the victim of a hack where user information was stolen.
Here are the pros to using eToro for cryptocurrency exchange:
- Of all the platforms mentioned in this article, eToro may have the simplest and smoothest interface to use for trading
- eToro also excels at being a social trading site – people can share their different trading strategies, look at other people’s portfolios and even copy other people’s trades that they deem successful
- Withdrawals and deposits are made extremely easy because of the ability to link bank accounts
Here are some of the cons to using eToro:
- Depending on the cryptocurrency you’re using, you could encounter some very high spreads.
- One glaring con is the inability to deposit cryptocurrency.
CoinSwitch was founded in 2017 and is based in India. This cryptocurrency aggregator allows traders to get access to over 300 cryptocurrencies. It’s known for its fast execution and not having any trading limits on certain tokens and coins. When it comes to safety, CoinSwitch does force users to provide some identity verification by providing your country of residence, your email address, your phone number, your full name, your date of birth with a verification email and text/call sent over. Aside from that, however, little is known about what other safety features that CoinSwitch employs to keep traders safe.
Here are some of the major benefits to using CoinSwitch for cryptocurrency exchange:
- There is an ability through the site for traders to compare and find the best exchange rate.
- Is very convenient to use, and transactions happen quickly.
- There are no limits to transactions (unless there are individual limits imposed by certain exchanges)
- You gain access to over 45,000 currency pairs and over 300 cryptocurrencies.
- The platform is easy-to-use because of the intuitive interface design.
Here are some of the major cons to using CoinSwitch:
- The fees change between exchanges, so you’ll want to make sure you understand the fee associated with your transaction before you go through with it.
- No fiat deposits are accepted on this exchange site.
While this list isn’t a comprehensive one of every cryptocurrency exchange option, it does include some of the safest, most well-known, and easy-to-use exchanges out there. Take the time to do your own research and find the bitcoin exchange that meets your personal preferences and gives you the most control of your digital assets.