The best bitcoin exchanges in 2018: Buy Cryptocurrency
CryptoGo is a 3rd party that will go through many different cryptocurrency exchanges and buy you the coin you wish – any coin available. Basically a bitcoin broker or crypto broker. It makes cryptocurrency purchases easy and convenient as they handle all deposits and transfers, two of the most confusing and difficult aspects of crypto trading for first-timers, on the trader’s behalf, ensuring that their money is well placed. A big plus is that you can exchange fiat currency for any virtual currency, an extremely rare option in the current exchange range. They can also talk you through the proces of how to buy cryptocurrency. For a thorough look at this new platform, check out my in-depth analysis.
- 100+ cryptocurrencies to choose from
- No cap on investment amount
- Trusted London Company
- Personal account manager
- No crypto-to-crypto trades
eToro was one of the first CFD providers to offer cryptocurrencies on their platform. With an extremely easy to use interface, it is a huge attraction for beginners who are looking to invest in crypto for the first time. Buying crypto as a CFD is different to buying and owning the actual cryptocurrency, but does it really matter? We take a look at eToro in more detail.
- Increased liquidity allows for easier entries and exits, decreasing the likelyhood of slippage
- FCA & CySEC regulated provides increased security
- Leverage means you do not need to put the full position down. Although caution is advised when using leverage
- Currently only offers 7 cryptocurrencies
- You don’t own the underlying asset
Update: Coinbase buy and sell orders resolved but performance still ‘degraded’.
Coinbase combine an attractive interface, a great site to get bitcoins with a debit card, and an insured online wallet for your digital currency. Over 30,000,000 users are signed up, including 75,000 merchants, and 15000 developer apps. Works well for European, and American customers. It started with just bitcoin trading but has now expended to include Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum & Litecoin. I’ve also written a comprehensive Coinbase review for more detail.
- The most user-friendly and trusted platform, currently has 200 million page-views per month
- Lots of long-time customers
- Online wallet with insurance
- Slightly more work needed when verifying account
update: Binance offers $250,000 reward for details that lead to arrest of hackers.
The China-based cryptocurrency exchange began live trading in July 2017, so is fairly new to the crypto exchange world. However it has proven itself thus far to its clients, with its robust charting software and both basic and advanced interfaces attracting novice and expert traders. We’ve written an in depth analysis of Binance.
- Low fees on transactions and withdrawals
- Offers a vast array of coins including typically rare coins
- The team has an excellent past in crypto and finance
- High liquidity allows for efficient entries and exits
- Clarification needed on how Chinese regulatory will affect the exchange
- New platforms require time to gain client trust
Update: We’ve unlisted Bittrex from the ranking while new account registrations remain closed. I’ll be re-listing the exchange once new sign-ups are allowed. Currently only corporate accounts are being accepted, which is not ideal for cryptocurrency exchanges.
Update 2: Bittrex now claims they are compliant with SEC’s ICO rules.
Bittrex has earned it’s place as the new contender to the throne of world’s largest crypto exchange. Years of hard work and some lucky circumstances (BTC-e shut-down, Poloniex exodus, Cryptsy) have compounded a steady inflow of new users. It is a great place to trade bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. I’ll let you read the detail in my Bittrex review, which has some important facts and analysis.
- Nearly 200 trading pairs
- Currently the most visited altcoin exchange with over 150 million monthly visits
- Trusted by millions of traders
- High volumes available for big trades
- New account registration temporarily disabled to cope with demand. Cannot scale as well as Poloniex or Coinbase
- Heavy vetting requirements – especially for a non-fiat exchange
- Minor scaling issues as users flow in to sing-up
Localbitcoins is quite a popular for p2p (person to person) transactions all over the world. Simply put, you interact directly with the guy selling to you. Out of all the bitcoin sites listed here, this is one of the first and most reputed. Escrow and dispute resolution is provided by the site. See my thorough review of Localbitcoins, I personally use it to cash out of positions quite often.
- Great way to meet people
- PayPal also available
- No verification needed in most cases
- Popular in all countries around the globe
- May take longer to conclude in-person transactions
- Risks associated with anonymous transactions
- Reports of ome seller bank accounts being been suspended after receiving money
CEX is one of those international bitcoin exchanges accepting euros, British pounds, US dollars, Russian Rubles, Ethereum, Zcash, and Dash. Needless to say, CEX is very popular within those currency regions. There is a no-nonsense landing page, giving you the option to buy or sell 100, 200, 500, or 1000 USD worth of Bitcoin. I like the transparency given to users about how much they will actually pay – even before they sign up. Good security practices, a modern and simple user interface, and both bank transfer & credit card purchases are available. CEX is indeed a good beginner-optimized alternative to Coinbase. Read the comprehensive Cex review for more details including fees, verification, & security.
- Bank transfer and credit card deposits
- Very easy to use & great for beginners
- Users know how much they will pay before even signing up
- Buying and selling Ethereum is available
- Recently Litecoin was unlisted
Update: In late 2017 Kraken was temporarily unlisted here following extensive trading engine and UI issues. Thankfully, in January 2018 the website underwent a successful migration and all systems are now reported to be functioning to everyone’s satisfaction.
Kraken works well through SEPA, has an easy verification process (expect 4-6 weeks vetting with current backlog) compared to Bitstamp, and is very knowledgeable when it come to cryptography and security. As of early 2017, this platform has been re-positioning themselves as a crypto exchange by adding multiple new altcoins. I’ve written an in-depth Kraken review with everything you need to know..
- Cheapest rates and fastest times for trading, depositing and withdrawing
- Work best for Europeans and North America
- Has successfully resloved site-wide timeouts and trading engine lag
- A recent code update caused the site to be offline for 3 days.
- Recently disabled stop-loss and other trading features without giving explanation to the community
- Site not as visually intuitive as Coinbase or Cex
GDAX is a cryptocurrency exchange that is great for technical traders and offers high levels of liquidity. Deposits are in USD and can be processed just as rapidly as withdrawls. Also happens to be the best ethereum exchange for serious players in this space. For more information on GDAX.
- An integral part of the trusted Coinbase brand
- Optimized to be a serious trading site
- More ID processing steps than on Chinese trading platforms
Xcoins describes itself as a Bitcoin lending service that allows traders to get bitcoins by using a credit card or PayPal. Due to charge back with paypal, buying cryptocurrency has been difficult however Xcoins claims to have found a way around it. Their unique peer-to-peer lending model connects lenders and borrowers and allows users to get bitcoins through a series of secure loans. Each secure loan can be paid with any PayPal-recognised payment method. Unlike regular cryptocurrency exchanges, borrowers that no longer want the bitcoin can get their money back. Lenders may also choose to join the platform for free.
- Two-factor authentication
- Good customer service
- Easy verification
- Users get their bitcoin immediately after paying the lender
- Low minimum loan amount
- Website was hacked in 2017
- No extensive features on the website
Update: Reports suggest Bitstamp will be sold to a South Korean gamain company. The price thought to be $350 million.
Bitstamp are big in Europe and, since 2011, have moved from Slovenia, and the United Kingdom in search of sound regulatory environments. Good volumes are available for larger trades. Well received by people using SEPA and credit cards. Both euro and US dollar deposits are accepted. I like Bitstamp because they really focus on being a pure bitcoin-only exchange (update: since 2017 Bitstamp have started adding popular cryptocoins). Please read my Bitstamp critique for analysis of factors such as security, fees, and the history.
- Card purchases available (visa mastercard and visa) in Europe and the USA.
- HQ Located in Luxembourg
- Good for large transactions yet easy to use for beginners
- Not available outside of EU and the USA
Etherdelta is a recent addition to my list. You absolutely have to check this decentralized exchange (DeX) out. Created by developer Zack Coburn in 2016, Etherdelta has become the community’s favorite place to trade Ethereum ICO tokens without using custodial accounts or centralized services. More than 325 ERC20 tokens are listed. Daily trading volumes are respectable for the most popular ICO coins. Using this DeX requires the Metamask Chrome browser extension. The best part is that your money is always under your control. Such infallibility comes from the storing of all personal funds in smart contracts – over which only you have control of the private keys.
- Funds are extremely safe on this fully-decentralized exchange
- No ID, real name, or registration of any sort is required.
- High-volume ERC20 exchange for trading Ethereum ICO tokens
- Beginners will have to watch a tutorial to understand how to use Etherdelta
- Despite trust-less nature of p2p decentralized exchanges, Etherdelta still uses DNS resolution – and this was compromised last month.
Update: Multi-currency money sending app Circle buys Poloniex for $400 million!
Poloniex was once the best cryptocurrency exchanges, before competitors like Bittrex starting offering superior services. Nevertheless Poloniex went through extremely fast traffic growth since the demise of its rival Cryptsy in 2016, and especially since the recent altcoin bubble of early 2017. Traffic has grown from 33 million monthly visits in November 2017 to 66 million in December 2017. Poloniex has the nicest trading interface out there, both for mobile and desktop users this will work wonders. Please note that because Poloniex is a pure “crypto” exchange, it is not possible to deposit government (fiat) currency. You’ll need to first buy bitcoin elsewhere, and then deposit it to be able to tade. I’ve written a full analysis of Poloniex, further exploring the founders, users, security, fees, history, and alternatives.
- New wave of popularity after competitor Bitt rex temporarily halts new account registrations
- Margin trading (up to 4x) available on largest altcoins
- One of the best trading interfaces for mobile and desktop browsers
- Has good volumes for large trades on all major altcoins including Ethereum.
- Lost significant customer-base due to reports of user withdraw issues and lack of customer support
- Requires vetting while most other non-fiat crypto exchanges don’t
- Not possible to deposit fiat currency
Paxful get over 2 million monthly visits, with 50% originating from the USA. It’s a peer to peer Bitcoin marketplace connecting buyers with sellers similar to the one above. Over 150 payment methods can be used. Impressive.
For more information, we’ve done a thorough review of Paxful here.
- Hundreds of payment methods such as Paypal, Skrill and NetTeller, cash – or even iTunes & Amazon gift cards.
- p2p (person to person) – similar to Localbitcoins
- A good alternative for relatively anonymous purchasing
- Significantly higher fees compared to other p2p platforms like Localbitcoins
Gemini is a fully registered, New York-based exchange that holds the status as being a NY state limited liability Trust. Its USP is its auctions, which are held twice a day and function pretty much like the auctions on major stock exchanges. Gemini operates in a similar space to Coinbase as it allows users to withdraw and deposit directly to and from their bank accounts. Although it serves a relatively small number of countries, the trust gives investors a bit more confidence compared to other entities in the cryptocurrency space. For a more in depth catch look at Gemini’s exchange, read my review.
- Auctions available
- Increased security features
- Fiat deposits & withdrawals
- Large volume exchange
- Easy to use for beginners and experts
- Only accepts USD transfers
- No phone support
- Limited cryptocurrencies (BTC & ETH)
The cryptocurrency exchange with over 700,000 customers on board aims to eliminate the technical barriers of traditional trading platforms by using an automatic trading robot that integrates Bittrex, Poloniex, and other leading trading platforms. Basically, it allows traders to trade virtual currency without needing verification or registering at any cryptocurrency exchange. Changelly asks exchanges to suggest the best rates available on trading pairs and operates by making bids. It processes more than 50,000 BTC on a monthly basis and offers seamless and instant conversion of 80+ tokens and altcoins. Changelly make how to buy cryptocurrencies easy.
Definitely an exchange I would recommend to those who are looking for a simple process, for more information check out our thorough review.
- Wide variety of supported coins
- Accepts credit cards
- 2FA security
- 0.5% transaction fee (higher than average market)
- Complaints about long withdrawal times
- High fees when converting from fiat currency
CoinATMradar provide a global map of bitcoin ATMs. This allows you to use cash to buy in person at a physical machine. This is one of the most underrated means of purchasing with no verification of ID, and allows users to stay anonymous with over 869 ATMs srpead over each continent.
- Find bATM locations near you
- No ID needed in some cases
- Explains how a bitcoin atm works
- Not always possible to find a machine nearby
- You’ll have to leave your house!
Bisq (aka “Bitsquare”) is not to be missed for the more technically advanced. A decentralized p2p platform that keeps you super safe. Over 60 crypocurrencies can be traded and you can even purcahse btc using a bank transfer, escrow, & trusted 3rd parties.
- Even more decentralized than ERC20 token exchange, Etherdelta
- p2p AND decentralized
- Trusted escrow system for bank transfers
- Advanced level of IT comprehension needed
- The high skill-level barrier to entry results in far lower volumes on Bisq. Therefore not great for large orders.
Founded in 2011, the Cyprus-based broker is licensed and regulated by CySec and has clients in 14 countries across 3 continents. Traders use the popular SpotOption trading platform for binary options (types available include High/Low, 60 Second, Ladder, One Touch, Long Term, 5 Minutes, and Limits) while there is also CFD & Forex trading available.
- CySec regulated and member or a trusted international Forex group.
- Low spreads (even with lower commissions).
- Large number of trading instruments.
- Capped potential losses
- Only one type of trading account
- Both spreads and commissions are charged.
A popular site for buying bitcoin or ether from those far-out tricky countries that are not accepted by the larger exchanges. Note that users cannot sell back to the site – only buy. There’s much more detail in my inspection of Coinmama which I encourage you to read.
- Credit card purchases from nearly all countries
- Fees are higher than most sites
- Not possible to sell cryptocurrency back to the exchange
Bitmex is the leading bitcoin margin trading site. Users can trade cryptocurrency derivatives with up to 100x leverage. Pairs include BTC/USD, Yen, Monero, Ripple, Dash, and Ethereum. Bitmex CEO Arthur Hayes has used his experience as an equity derivatives trader for Deutsche Bank to design, build, and maintain exactly the type of platform that users are looking for. Granted that this platform is for experienced and seasoned traders. Beginners should avoid trading coins here without knowing the implied volatility risks.
- Leading platform for bitcoin derivatives and margin trading
- Relatively functional user experience thanks to crafty designing
- Up to 100x leverage
- With such high leverage it’s easy to overlook implied risk factor
BitPanda is an Austria-based bitcoin broker that specialises in trading bitcoins within the Eurozone and offers a wide range of payment methods. Their exchange rate is higher than the average cryptocurrency exchange mainly due to the fact that they allow trades to buy bitcoins with Skrill, credit card, and other methods which allow chargeback. For more info about their rates, see our in-depth look at the exchange.
The broker boasts fast delivery and easy ID verification which makes trading small amounts of bitcoins particularly easy. Buying and selling larger volumes of the popular cryptocurrency, though, is a bit tougher due to the strict ID verification requirements. As for fees, the e-wallets come with higher charges while SEPA, SOFORT, GIROPAY, and EPS have very low fees.
- Most comprehensive list of available payment options.
- Relatively low fees for buying bitcoins with a debit or credit card in Europe.
- Beginner friendly
- Fees not transparent (included in price only).
- Not available worldwide.
- No chat features.
Update: Stolen Coincheck NEM found in exchanges in Canada.
Coincheck is one of Japan’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges and offers leveraged trading in some digital coins for JPY (Japanese YEN) and vice versa, plus a spot buy/sell service, among others. The crypto exchange offers one type of account with a 1:5 leverage. But, users need to undergo a particularly strict verification process to use that account. Can you trust Coincheck despite the breach in security? See here for more detail.
- Japanese regulated company.
- Spot and leveraged trading available.
- Deposits in fiat and digital currency.
- Deposits through credit and debit cards.
- Only trading against the JPY available.
- Low security measures.
Coinexchange supports loads of altcoins, meaning that to buy cryptocurrency or cryptocurrencies is easy. Their stated goal is to provide traders with new ICOs, and a secure and safe exchange on which the altcoins available can be traded. Their ‘About Us’ section though, is lacking as it doesn’t provide information about the platform’s licensing status or its history. Community chatter at Bitcoin Talk demonstrates people’s numbness to state a straightforward opinion about where to put this operation yet. That being said, the bitcoin exchange offers a highly accurate bitcoin exchange rate for every coin.
- Easy to navigate and use.
- No withdrawal limits.
- Great selection of altcoins.
- Decent customer support.
- No transparency about creators and other key information.
- Increasing concerns regarding legitimacy.
Formerly known as Bitx, Luno is a bitcoin exchange and wallet provider, they only offer bitcoin trading and ethereum trading. Launched in 2013, their reach is massive, currently serving traders in over 42 countries. It has a lot of similarities as Coinbase, however only sticking to bitcoin reduces its draw for traders however the fact that they cover so many countries is a selling point. For more analysis, read my in-depth review.
- User-friendly interface
- Fast and easy account creation
- Mobile app
- Only allows BTC trading
- Limited features in Europe.
- High trading fees.
- No customer support.
Update: Currently under investigation by Russian Authorities.
Yobit, a Russian-founded company first introduced on the BitcoinTalk forum in 2015. Widely criticised in online forums and not too much information to be found about them. Given the controversy surrounded we felt it only fair to look a little bit deeper at the exchange and see if they are being harshly judged. Read the review here, in short, not awful but recommend staying away!
- Competitive fees
- User-friendly interface
- Security deposit codes (Yobi codes)
- Fiat currencies accepted and lots of altcoins available
- Heavy consensus of negative user comments
- No leverage trading
- Unknown company background
- High withdrawal fees
Update: Bitfinex the first firm to add SegWit support live on their platform.
Bitfinex’s high volume is key for traders as it ensures a low spread. More than 5.77 million bitcoins traded through it from April 2017 to October 2017 alone, which is double the volume of Kraken (3.6M BTC) and Coinbase (3.06M BTC). For newcomers, the complicated interface makes costly mistakes more probable while the lack of fiat funding options makes it impossible to use regular money to buy cryptocurrencies. However, experienced crypto traders will find everything they need at Bitfinex.
- High liquidity
- Excellent interface for experienced traders
- Reasonable fees
- Complex interface for first-time traders
- No fiat support
- Was subjected to the 2nd largest bitcoin heist in history in 2016
Judging by the bitcoin trading volume, HitBTC is one of the most popular bitcoin exchanges that offers a broad spectrum of altcoins. Although it is a well-established exchange, they do not provide information about the country they are based in. Nor did they provide sufficient details about the hacking incident that occurred early in 2016 and affected their clients’ accounts. HitBTC only offers banking services to major market makers and institutional investors; they are not registered as a payment provider. Nevertheless, the exchange provides trading of 150+ different coins while traders who provide liquidity by placing their own asks and bids are paid a highly competitive 0.01% rebate. For more in depth analysis, read our review.
- high trading volume
- Good trading platform
- Supports a wide range of altcoins
- Competitive commission structure
- Strict verification process, thus timely
- High fees
- Do not accept fiat currency transfers
- Little company information
- Hacked in 2016
Shapeshift is a cryptocurrency exchange that allows for instant cryptocurrency exchange. It offers a wide range of altions however does not allow you to buy or sell using fiat currency, meaning first time investors, this isn’t for you. The main goal is to allow traders to switch between crypto assets simply and quickly. For more information into fees etc, read our the Shapeshift review.
- Large selection of altcoins
- High privacy standards
- Fast and easy transactions
- Cannot trade fiat currency for cryptocurrency
- No transparency regarding transaction speeds and deposit limits