It isn’t easy to find the best Bitcoin exchange.
Why is this so? Simply because many of the best sites to buy Bitcoin are rather new. This means they haven’t had time to get the word out about their services and products.
I’ve been studying cryptocurrencies for a long time, and I’ve unearthed a number of exchanges that aren’t on the radar of most of the other so-called “experts.”
In this article, I’ll walk you through the best exchanges I’ve found, how to use them, and how to ensure your Bitcoin purchases and trading are fast, easy, and secure.
Let’s get started!
Most people learning about exchanges first want to know how to buy Bitcoin online securely. This is a good starting point. Let’s see how.
The first thing to consider when looking for the top Bitcoin exchange is how safe the website and server are. This boils down to asking two questions.
First, is it a trustworthy exchange providing transparent data of coins in cold storage (more on this later)? Second, are customers happy? These two questions will give you all the answers you’ll need to make your decision.
It’s also good to look out for which currency pairs are available: are you looking to trade Bitcoin for USD, Euros, or other fiat currencies? The location usually gives an idea of what’s on offer.
However, the largest Bitcoin sites usually have many options for buying Bitcoin with government-issued currency as well as altcoins.
Although you should always do your own research before investing, I hope this review guide helps. Below is the table of the best exchanges to buy Bitcoin online. If you are new to cryptocurrency exchanges then keep an eye on the the ‘beginner-friendly’ column.
Secure exchanges that are trustworthy and have good user ratings will rank higher than their peers. Extra points are given for sites to buy Bitcoin with PayPal, as many users request this feature.
Ranking preference is also given for sites to buy Bitcoin with credit card. Check out each option on the following best Bitcoin exchange list. Be sure to bookmark this page for future reference.[table of exchanges]
Have I missed something? Let me know!
Hopefully the list of Bitcoin exchanges above will be of good use for how to trade Bitcoins. Each outstanding site should have detailed instructions.
From here, you can easily figure out how to buy Bitcoin with credit card, PayPal, cash, or bank transfers. Once you have got some coins then it is a good idea to store them offline and not on an exchange.
For “cold” vs “hot” storage options, you need to understand the best kind of wallet. When buying or selling it is safer just to transfer in and out of your ‘cold’ (offline) wallet to the ‘hot’ (online) exchange.
Remember that so long as a cold offline wallet’s keys have not been compromised, then those coins cannot be taken.
This is a tough question in my opinion. Each exchange has an upside compared to others.
Check a few out and look up on forums to see what users are saying about the service provided, and which the forum users think are the best sites to buy Bitcoin easily.
LocalBitcoins.com is a really cool P2P Bitcoin exchange for beginners wanting to buy for their first time. The service is all over the world, meaning you can use euros, pounds, yen, australian dollars, swiss francs, canadian dollars, krona, rubles, lira, rupees and so on.
If you pay by physical cash then you get to meet the person in real life. This allows for a great experience and sense of community.
Alternatively, you can do a fast bank transfer and the site will hold your coins in escrow for you once it goes through.
Obviously there are simpler ways to start off. Some like to buy with PayPal, but not many leading Bitcoin exchanges accept this because of chargebacks.
Generally the biggest Bitcoin exchanges will be toward the top of the above list. For example Bitfinex, GDAX, Bitstamp, Coinbase (also the best USD Bitcoin exchange) all represent large volume proportions.
Daily volume varies, and therefore the world’s largest exchange vary each day.
Go to Bitcoinity for a good list of all the top Bitcoin exchange site and their proportional volumes.
Some find this handy for arbitrage between markets.
Sadly, with the demise of Cryptsy there is a need for a new major first-rate cryptocurrency exchange for alternatives to Bitcoin, or altcoins.
Having many medium-sized cryptocurrency exchange sites is a better situation than having one large amazing option.
Bittrex has now replaced Poloniex as the largest option. Its platform is functional enough to have attracted tens of millions of new customer every month. Things feel smooth when using Bittrex.
All big and small trading pairs are offered and it is now possible to do cryptocurrency margin trading on major altcoins. This is a neat feature, but use it with caution as leveraged trading has a certain risk factor.
Keep in mind that some of the best Bitcoin exchange sites also do altcoins. Yobit, Bittrex, and Changelly, are great options worth checking out.
Some even offer short selling on major coins. You may also like to check the market capitalizations and compare them to others listed there.
This is an important question to ask. Yes, putting the words “trustworthy Bitcoin exchange” in the same sentence seems like an oxymoron, especially when remembering the once-glamorous days of MtGox.
While the Bitcoin protocol has never been hacked, many peripheral businesses have.
Perhaps the best question to ask would be, which are the least secure Bitcoin exchange? Generally, those listed here are optimum and of good standing, but please proceed with caution.
Remember never to leave more BTC online than you can afford to lose. And since the world of Bitcoin is constantly changing, keep up with the discussion. I recommend listening to Andreas Antonopoulos on the LetsTalkBitcoin podcast, and check out r/btc on reddit.
Binance is a Chinese exchange that’s attracted a lot of attention recently. While you might be initially hesitant to trust a Chinese exchange, there’s no need to worry with Binance.
Because it’s competing against some huge names, Binance is working hard to compete by slashing their exchange fees. They also have a huge list of initial coin offerings.
Coinbase combines an attractive interface, a great site to get Bitcoins with a debit card, and multiple online wallets for your digital currency.
Over 4,800,000 users are signed up, including 45,000 merchants and 9,000 developer apps. Coinbase works well for European, American, and Canadian customers.
Update: I’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.
Bittrex has earned its 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.
You can read more details elsewhere, but suffice it to say that Bittrex is here to stay.
LocalBitcoins is quite a popular for 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.
Update: Cex has been removed from the top exchanges as new account registrations are currently disabled. I’m following the situation closely.
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 $1,000 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 and credit card purchases are available.
CEX is indeed a good beginner-optimized alternative to Coinbase.
Warning: Kraken is no longer listed here due to persistent UI and trading engine issues.
Kraken once worked well through SEPA (wire transfers), had an easy verification process, and was very knowledgeable when it come to cryptography and security.
In early 2017, this platform began re-positioning itself as a crypto exchange by adding multiple new altcoins.
Bisq (formerly Bitsquare) is a must-see for the technically advanced. A decentralized P2P platform that keeps you super safe.
Over 60 crypocurrencies can be traded and you can even purchase BTC using a bank transfer, escrow, and trusted third parties.
GDAX is great for technical traders and offers good liquidity. Deposits are in USD and can be processed just as rapidly as withdraws.
GDAX also happens to be the best ethereum exchange for serious players in this space.
Bitstamp is big in Europe and, since 2011, has moved from Slovenia and the United Kingdom in search of sound regulatory environments.
Bitstamp offers good volume on high level trades. It’s been well received by people using SEPA (wire transfers) and credit cards. Both euro and US dollar deposits are accepted.
I like Bitstamp because they started by focusing on being a pure Bitcoin-only exchange. They only added other cryptocoins in 2017.
Etherdelta is a recent addition to my list. You absolutely must check out this decentralized exchange (DeX).
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.
Paxful gets 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, which is impressive!
Coin ATM Radar 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, since many ATMs don’t require ID verification, and allow users to stay anonymous. With over 869 ATMs spread around the world, there is probably a bATM near you.
CoinMama is a popular site for buying Bitcoin or ethereum 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.
Poloniex was once the best cryptocurrency exchange. Why has it taken such a sharp turn for the worse?
Recently, customers have been migrating to Bittrex following reports of withdraw problems on Poloniex.
Nevertheless, Poloniex has been seeing extremely fast traffic growth since the demise of its rival Cryptsy in 2016, and especially since the recent altcoin bubble of early 2017.
Traffic more than quadrupled over a period of a few months, from 7 million monthly visits in February 2017 to 30 million in May 2017.
Poloniex has the nicest trading interface out there. This will work wonders for both mobile and desktop users.
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 trade.
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, this platform is for experienced and seasoned traders. Beginners should avoid trading coins here without knowing the implied volatility risks.
If you’re ready to jump into the world of cryptocurrencies, you need to start off with a solid understanding of the best exchanges available.
There are a lot of options out there, but I recommend starting with one of the exchanges I’ve listed here. You’ll save a lot of time and hassle using a recommended exchange than finding one on your own.
That said, you should do your own research before blindly taking an exchange at my word!
The world of cryptocurrencies is shifting every day, and it’s possible to discover new changes to an exchange even a day after I write this. Do your research before you start investing any money.
Once you find the right exchange, go ahead and spend some time learning the ropes before placing your first order. You don’t want to misunderstand a term that ends up costing you money.
Once you have a solid understanding of the exchange you want to use, get started. Welcome to the world of Bitcoin trading!