Cryptocurrency is a relatively new concept in the digital market, although, as with everything on the cutting edge of technology, it seems to be catching on super-fast around the world.
Cryptocurrency is not quite a currency, nor a stock, but actually more of a security with a very volatile nature that can change the shape of its value within a matter of days. Despite fluctuations, such as the 12% drop in the value of Bitcoin towards the close of 2018, cryptocurrency investment remains a popular trade.
With many interested parties coming to the fore, wanting to invest in virtual currency, there are questions over how to do it and where to do it. The short answer is, you will need to register at a cryptocurrency exchange and open a digital wallet to handle all of your blockchain transactions.
It is the aim of this article to introduce you to 5 of the top cryptocurrency exchanges found in the world today, how much their services cost and what benefits they offer to the investor.
WHAT IS A CRYPTOCURRENCY EXCHANGE?
Like with investing in stocks and bonds, trading in cryptocurrency needs a central exchange, where trades can be brokered. The exchange will allow you to trade virtual currency. So, if you are either looking to buy or sell Bitcoin, Litecoin, Etherium and others on online, then you will need to register with a good Cryptocurrency Exchange.
Some exchanges accept fiat currency in exchange for cryptocurrency, yet there are others that will only broker crypto to crypto exchanges at a small fee (E.g. Litecoin for Bitcoin purchases, etc). Transactions are usually concluded instantly with crypto to crypto exchanges, due to the fact that it is a simple blockchain coding exchange. Fiat currency trades may take a little longer, as funds may need to clear before the crypto funds are released into your wallet. Once the funds clear, the virtual transfer of data is done immediately.
The USA is quite restricted when it comes to the number of exchanges available. Much of this is down to the government’s strict policies on cryptocurrency regulation. While the US dollar may not be used to buy cryptocurrency in some places, most exchanges will still list the rate of exchange in US dollars as an international indicative value of the cost of the respective coins.
So, in order to buy or sell Bitcoin and others successfully, you will need to find and register with a top exchange. Below is a list of 5 of the best known exchanges, internationally.
Coinbase is commonly recognised as the most user-friendly exchange around, as it is a cryptocurrency one-stop shop. It offers services including trade exchanges, wallet provision with top line multi-layer security, and various other tool sets to conveniently manage your account and crypto affairs.
Coinbase trades in 5 of the main currencies only, which includes Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, Etherium, and Etherium Classic. They service over 20 million investors in over 32 countries around the world.
Once an investor registers a legitimate digital wallet, they will be able to either trade crypto currencies, or buy currency with fiat funds. Fortunately, Coinbase offers wallet apps for both Android and iOS devices, to streamline and secure easy to do transactions from your palm top.
Coinbase allows short selling, which is a practice where the currency will be sold with the guarantee of a buy back at a lower rate. This is almost like a loan. Costs involved in transactions vary from around 1.49% to 3.99% the value of the trade.
Binance is the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, known far and wide as the place to go for Bitcoin, Etherium and other major cryptocurrencies. It transacts in excess of $500 million per day.
You can register a crypto wallet with Binance and partake in virtual currency trades. Unfortunately, no fiat sales can be made on this platform.
Trades can be conducted with over 130 currencies on offer for costs as low as 0.1% the value of the transaction. They afford custom profile options, based on the experience of the investor. Beginners can load up far more simpler controls for day to day funds management, whereas veterans can conduct far more fluid business.
BitMEX (Bitcoin Mercantile Exchange)
Based in Hong Kong, BitMEX is a premium cryptocurrency exchange which is used by experienced traders around the globe for crypto to crypto trades. Fiat exchanges are not conducted on this platform, yet it remains a popular trading exchange, concluding over $2 billion in trades per day.
The ‘taker and maker fees’ charged on trades range from 0.05% to 0.25% the value of the trade. The site allows short selling and margin selling to selected investors.
Unfortunately, for American investors, BitMEX does not service them, due to the strict regulations in the United States in combat of money laundering and corruption.
Kraken is extremely popular amongst European investors, due to the fact that they are one of the largest exchanges trading in Euros and other popular fiat currencies. Investors have 17 currencies to choose from and are only charged a mere 0% to 0.26% fee for facilitating trades.
The exchange allows short selling and margin selling, completing a full spectrum of options for all types of investors. This platform is especially suited to veteran investors, due to the variety of currency options and high liquidity.
Okex is another Hong Kong based exchange offering a wide variety of trades in over 145 different coins. They trade in excess of $1.5 million dollars worth of Bitcoin per day, charging their clients reasonable transaction rates, varying between 0.02% and 0.20% of the value of the trade.
Like many exchanges, this service is not made available to US residents, due to regulation issues in the USA.
I’m sure that many people have heard of the horror stories involved in cryptocurrency theft, involving hacks on companies and wallets. Many of the exchanges that you use can offer added security features to safeguard your virtual wallet and the funds therein.
For instance, Coinbase offers you the security of an on-platform vault in which to safeguard your wallet and funds. The security measures involved here are super high SSL multi-layer encryptions. They will even offer you insurance on your funds traded on their platform.
Other tips for safeguarding your data on your end include:
Using encrypted mobile applications. Mobile devices are not as easy to hack as PCs and laptops. The apps contain a very high level of security.
Never save your username and passwords to any of your devices in document fashion, as there is malware that can invade your PC and expose such information to prying eyes.
CHOOSING WHAT’S RIGHT FOR YOU
At the end of the day, the correct exchange for you is one that will trade in your currency and supports your country. You may find that many exchanges accept your patronage. In such cases, it would be handy to look at the following points:
What costs are being levied for trades?
How user friendly is the user interface?
How secure are you?
What do the user reviews say about the exchange?
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