Best Cryptocurrency Exchanges

best cryptocurrency exchanges

Best Cryptocurrency Exchanges

What is a cryptocurrency exchange?

Cryptocurrency exchanges are websites where you can buy, sell or exchange cryptocurrencies for other digital currency or traditional currency like US dollars or Euro. For those that want to trade professionally and have access to fancy trading tools, you will likely need to use an exchange that requires you to verify your ID and open an account. If you just want to make the occasional, straightforward trade, there are also platforms that you can use that do not require an account.

Types of exchanges

Trading Platforms – These are websites that connect buyers and sellers and take a fee from each transaction.

Direct Trading – These platforms offer direct person to person trading where individuals from different countries can exchange currency. Direct trading exchanges don’t have a fixed market price, instead, each seller sets their own exchange rate.

Brokers – These are websites that anyone can visit to buy cryptocurrencies at a price set by the broker. Cryptocurrency brokers are similar to foreign exchange dealers.

The Best Cryptocurrency Exchanges

Today there are a host of platforms to choose from, but not all exchanges are created equal. This list is based on user reviews as well as a host of other criteria such as user-friendliness, accessibility, fees, and security. Here are ten of the best crypto exchanges in no specific order.
 

Coinbase

Backed by trusted investors and used by millions of customers globally, Coinbase is one of the most popular and well-known brokers and trading platforms in the world. The Coinbase platform makes it easy to securely buy, use, store and trade digital currency. Users can purchase bitcoins or Ether from Coinbase through a digital wallet available on Android & iPhone or through trading with other users on the company’s Global Digital Asset Exchange (GDAX) subsidiary. GDAX currently operates in the US, Europe, UK, Canada, Australia and Singapore. GDAX does not currently charge any transfer fees for moving funds between your Coinbase account and GDAX account. For now, the selection of tradable currencies will, however, depend on the country you live in. Check out the

Pros: Good reputation, security, reasonable fees, beginner friendly, stored currency is covered by Coinbase insurance.

Cons: Customer support, limited payment methods, limited countries supported, non-uniform rollout of services worldwide, GDAX suitable for technical traders only.

Kraken

Founded in 2011, Kraken is the largest Bitcoin exchange in euro volume and liquidity and is a partner in the first cryptocurrency bank. Kraken lets you buy and sell bitcoins and trade between bitcoins and euros, US Dollars, Canadian Dollars, British Pounds and Japanese Yen. It’s also possible to trade digital currencies other than Bitcoin like Ethereum, Monero, Ethereum Classic, Augur REP tokens, ICONOMI, Zcash, Litecoin, Dogecoin, Ripple and Stellar/Lumens. For more experienced users, Kraken offers margin trading and a host of other trading features. Kraken is a great choice for more experienced traders.

Pros: Good reputation, decent exchange rates, low transaction fees, minimal deposit fees, feature rich, great user support, secure, supported worldwide.

Cons: Limited payment methods, not suitable for beginners, unintuitive user interface.

 

Cex.io

Cex.io provides a wide range of services for using bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The platform lets users easily trade fiat money with cryptocurrencies and conversely cryptocurrencies for fiat money. For those looking to trade bitcoins professionally, the platform offers personalized and user-friendly trading dashboards and margin trading. Alternatively, CEX also offers a brokerage service which provides novice traders an extremely simple way to buy bitcoin at prices that are more or less in line with the market rate. The Cex.io website is secure and intuitive and cryptocurrencies can be stored in safe cold storage.

Pros: Good reputation, good mobile product, supports credit cards, beginner friendly, decent exchange rate, supported worldwide.

Cons: Average customer support, drawn out verification process, depositing is expensive.
 

ShapeShift

ShapeShift is the leading exchange that supports a variety of cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Monero, Zcash, Dash, Dogecoin and many others. Shapeshift is great for those who want to make instant straightforward trades without signing up to an account or relying on a platform to hold their funds. ShapeShift does not allow users to purchase crypto’s with debit cards, credit cards or any other payment system. The platform has a no fiat policy and only allows for the exchange between bitcoin and the other supported cryptocurrencies.

Pros: Good reputation, beginner friendly, Dozens of Crypto’s available for exchange, fast, reasonable prices.

Cons: Average mobile app, no fiat currencies, limited payment options and tools.

 

Poloniex

Founded in 2014, Poloniex is one of the world’s leading cryptocurrency exchanges. The exchange offers a secure trading environment with more than 100 different Bitcoin cryptocurrency pairings and advanced tools and data analysis for advanced traders. As one of the most popular trading platforms with the highest trading volumes, users will always be able to close a trade position. Poloniex employs a volume-tiered, maker-taker fee schedule for all trades so fees are different depending on if you are the maker or the taker. For makers, fees range from 0 to 0.15%, depending on the amount traded.

For takers, fees range from 0.10 to 0.25%. There are no fees for withdrawals beyond the transaction fee required by the network. One of the unique tools on the Poloniex platform is the chat box which is constantly filled with user help and just about everything. Any user can write almost anything but inappropriate comments are eventually deleted by moderators. It can sometimes be hard to distinguish the good advice from the bad, but the Chatbox is a great tool that will keep you engaged.

Pros: fast account creation, feature rich, BTC lending, high volume trading, user-friendly, low trading fees, open API.

Cons: Slow customer service, no fiat support.
 

Bitstamp

Bitstamp is a European Union based bitcoin marketplace founded in 2011. The platform is one of the first generation bitcoin exchanges that has built up a loyal customer base. Bitstamp is well known and trusted throughout the bitcoin community as a safe platform. It offers advanced security features such as two-step authentication, multisig technology for its wallet and fully insured cold storage. Bitstamp has 24/7 support and a multilingual user interface and getting started is relatively easy. After opening a free account and making a deposit, users can start trading immediately.

Pros: Good reputation, high-level security, worldwide availability, low transaction fees, good for large transactions.

Cons: Not beginner friendly, limited payment methods, high deposit fees, user interface.

 

CoinMama

CoinMama is a veteran broker platform that anyone can visit to buy bitcoin or Ether using your credit card or cash via MoneyGram and the Western Union. CoinMama is great for those who want to make instant straightforward purchases of digital currency using their local currency. Although the CoinMama service is available worldwide, users should be aware that some countries may not be able to use all the functions of the site. CoinMama is available in English, German, French, Italian and Russian. Check out the CoinMama FAQ

Pros: Good reputation, beginner friendly, great user interface, good range of payment options, available worldwide, fast transaction time.

Cons: High exchange rates, a premium fee for credit card, no bitcoin sell function, average user support.

 

Bitsquare

Bitsquare is a user-friendly peer to peer exchange that allows you to buy and sell bitcoins in exchange for fiat currencies or cryptocurrencies. Bitsquare markets itself as a truly decentralized and peer to peer exchange that is instantly accessible and requires no need for registration or reliance on a central authority. Bitsquare never holds user funds and no one except trading partners exchange personal data. The platform offers great security with multisig addresses, security deposits and purpose built arbitrator system in case of trade disputes. If you want to remain anonymous and don’t trust anyone, Bitsquare is the perfect platform for you. Check out the Bitsquare FAQ

Pros: Good reputation, secure & private, a vast amount of cryptocurrencies available, no sign-up, decent fees, open source, available worldwide, good for advanced traders.

Cons: Limited payment options, average customer support, not beginner friendly.

LocalBitcoin

LocalBitcoin is a P2P Bitcoin exchange with buyers and sellers in thousands of cities around the world. With LocalBitcoins, you can meet up with people in your local area and buy or sell bitcoins in cash, send money through PayPal, Skrill or Dwolla or arrange to deposit cash at a bank branch. LocalBitcoins only take a commission of 1% from the sellers who set their own exchange rates. To ensure trading is secure, LocalBitcoins takes a number of precautions. To start, the platform rates each trader with a reputation rank and publicly displays past activities. Also, once a trade is requested, the money is held on LocalBitcoins’ escrow service. After the seller confirms the trade is completed the funds are released. If something does happen to go wrong, LocalBitcoins has a support and conflict resolution team to resolve conflicts between buyers and sellers. Check out

Pros: No ID required, beginner friendly, usually free, instant transfers, available worldwide.

Cons: Hard to buy large amounts of bitcoin, high exchanges rates.

Gemini

Co-founded by Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, Gemini is a fully regulated licensed US Bitcoin and Ether exchange. That means Gemini’s capital requirements and regulatory standards are similar to a bank. Also, all US dollar deposits are held at a FDIC-insured bank and the majority of digital currency is held in cold storage. Gemini trades in three currencies, US dollars, bitcoin, and ether, so the platform does not serve traders of the plethora of other cryptocurrencies. The exchange operates via a maker-taker fee schedule with discounts available for high volume traders. All deposits and withdrawals are free of charge. The platform is only fully available to customers in 42 US states, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and the UK.

Pros: Security & Compliance, slick/minimalistic and user-friendly design, great analytics, high liquidity.

Cons: Limited currencies, small community, average customer support, limited worldwide availability, no margin trading.
 

Blockchain

Blockchain is the world's leading software platform for digital assets. Offering the largest production blockchain platform in the world, using new technology to build a radically better financial system, based in Europe. The software has powered over 100M transactions and empowered users in 140 countries across the globe to transact quickly and without costly intermediaries. They also offer tools for developers and real time transaction data for users to analyze the burgeoning digital economy.

Pros: Security & Compliance, slick/minimalistic and user-friendly design, great analytics, high liquidity.

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

David – http://markethive.com/david-ogden

Bitcoin Prices Spike Above $900 But Turbulence Remains

Bitcoin Prices Spike Above $900

But Turbulence Remains

 

coindesk-bpi-chart-94

 

Bitcoin prices passed $900 today, though this feat was diminished by several rallies that ultimately failed to push its value above this benchmark. Overall, the digital currency rose to as much as $904.76, after falling below $880 earlier in the session, climbing above this level amid modest volatility.

Later in the session, the price mounted another comeback, hitting a high just above $905, according to the CoinDesk USD Bitcoin Price Index (BPI). At press time, however, the price had dipped again to a value of $894.95. This upward movement represented the latest session of relatively mild price volatility, at least compared to the sharp price fluctuations experienced earlier this month.

Most notable, however, about the day's trading, may have been the lack of any serious decline over the day's trading. Bitcoin prices enjoyed their latest climb in spite of new Chinese regulatory developments that found the nation’s exchanges responding publicly to pressures from the People's Bank of China, the country's central bank.

Bullish sentiment

Still, market sentiment has been bullish, according to figures provided by a handful of exchanges, even with the confirmation that major Chinese exchanges Huobi and OKCoin had stopped offering margin trading. The market was 91% long on 19th January, Whaleclub figures reveal. In addition, more than 53% of Bitfinex orders that were executed in the 24 hours through 22:15 UTC were buy orders, according to BFX Data.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

David – http://markethive.com/david-ogden

Everything You Need to Know About Bitcoin

Everything You Need to Know About Bitcoin

Many netizens have heard of bitcoin, the digital currency. This means it exists electronically. To be more precise, bitcoin is a type of cryptocurrency – the implication of security and encryption is important. Cryptocurrency, or digital currency, is an invention of the Internet. Basically, someone out there thought, "hey, what if…Read more. In this post, we attempt to identify 10 questions about Bitcoins that can give you a clearer understanding of what it is, what it does and how you can use it to buy products or services online.

What are bitcoins?

Bitcoin (capitalized) refers to the software or network (ie: the Bitcoin Network), while bitcoin (not capitalized) refers to the digital currency itself (ie: two bitcoins). he price fluctuates, depending on what people were willing to pay for it. It traded for as low as pennies (during the infancy stage) to as high as USD1200 during its peak in 2013.

Who developed the idea of bitcoins?

The idea of Bitcoin was conceptualized by Satoshi Nakamoto, an anonymous figure. In May 2008, he shared a white paper [PDF] about Bitcoin, a peer-to-peer cryptocurrency. Without disclosing who he was, Satoshi outlined how the currency would work: bitcoins would be ‘mined’ by computer software, transferred directly amongst users and recorded in an untamperable ledger without the need of a third party.

Part of Bitcoin’s appeal is Satoshi Nakamoto’s anonymity, who many view as a selfless act towards a new era of financial revolution. Online detectives have identified a few candidates, including a real-life Japanese person sharing the same name. Some even theorized that Satoshi Nakamoto is a pseudonym for a collective.

In May 2016, the Bitcoin community was shocked when Australian entrepreneur Craig Wright identified himself as Satoshi Nakamoto. Some people believe his claim, some didn’t, but on the whole the Bitcoin community is unaffected – the Bitcoin ecosystem is decentralized, and cannot be controlled by any person(s), including the creator.

What is so special about bitcoin?

Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer currency and runs on a system which allows you to send and receive bitcoins without a third party. To put simply, fiat currencies rely on third parties, such as banks or payment processors like Visa, to verify the transaction. This is how you and I can ensure payment sent was indeed received. However, bitcoin transactions are recorded in a public ledger called the bitcoin blockchain. This information are permanent and publicly viewable on Blockchain.info and cannot be edited or deleted.

This means that the transaction records act as proof of transaction. Bitcoin is also programmed to be non-duplicable, which means double spending is highly unlikely.

What is decentralized currency?

Bitcoin is also a decentralized currency, as in no one government, individual or group holds authority over it. This makes bitcoin spendable anywhere in the world as long as the receiver accepts bitcoins as payment.

Decentralised currencies are a unique concept. Similar to the internet, it is free from geographical boundaries – this is why bitcoin is also dubbed ‘the currency of the internet’.

Due to lack of control and regulations, many countries are understandably wary of bitcoin – and other cryptocurrencies in general – but some progressive countries such as Japan have started to recognize it as currency.

Is bitcoin anonymous?

Bitcoin’s anonymity is a myth. Or rather, it is now much harder to make anonymous transactions with Bitcoin. Because as the ecosystem matures, many bitcoin service providers have started implementing KYC/AML regulations. KYC/AML stands for know your customers/anti-money laundering . This requires users to submit proof of identity and proof of residence.

It is also fairly easy to trace bitcoins. Bitcoins are usually bought from bitcoin exchanges, received as payment, or donated. With transaction details publicly viewable online, it is possible to trace where the bitcoin came from.

 How do you use bitcoins?

Bitcoin can be used for spending, similar to money. Some people also keep them for investment purposes, while others prefer to use them as a method to make international money transfer.  Bitcoin exists electronically and is kept in ‘bitcoin wallets’. There are many types of bitcoin wallets: desktop wallet, mobile wallet, online/web-based wallet, hardware wallet and even paper wallet.

To read more about bitcoin storage, check out this article by CoinDesk. You can have as many wallets and bitcoin addresses (where you receive money from others) as you like.

How many people are using bitcoin?

Estimates vary – it is hard to find out the exact number of people who use Bitcoin. One way to measure number of bitcoin users is by measuring the number of bitcoin wallets. According to CoinDesk’s State of Bitcoin and Blockchain 2016 report, bitcoin wallets doubled to 12.77 million in one year, from the end of 2014 to the end of 2015. Even though many bitcoin users have more than one wallet (it is common to hold a few wallets), this is an indication that the number of bitcoin users worldwide is increasing.

Another way to estimate bitcoin usage is by the number of bitcoin transactions, which has steadily increased. Although this could mean that the same people are simply making more bitcoin transactions, it is fair to assume that there are new bitcoin users in the mix, too.

How do I acquire bitcoins?

There are three main ways to get bitcoins: mine them, buy them, or work for them.

Bitcoin Mining
Bitcoin mining used to be really profitable. However at the current time it is no longer cost effective for the average individual. One will need to buy specialised Bitcoin mining equipment, get/rent dedicated spaces for them, and pay their associated costs (rental, electricity and cooling costs).
Buy Bitcoins
You can buy bitcoins from many online exchanges. There are a lot more options now than ever before – there are global bitcoin exchanges and also country-specific bitcoin exchanges. You can also buy them from other people via Localbitcoins.
Work for Bitcoins
Some people get paid in bitcoins, instead of cash currencies. Websites such as XBTFreelancer… and Coinality list jobs with bitcoin payments.There are other less effective ways to acquire bitcoins. You can get (very) small amounts of bitcoins from bitcoin faucets, which pay you to look at advertisements. You can get them as donations. There are also bitcoin ‘investments’ but if you wish to not lose money, Badbavoid companies that are listed in itcoin Badlist.

How do I send/receive/spend bitcoins?

Bitcoin wallets come with bitcoin addresses, which represent a destination, similar to an email address. Bitcoin addresses are alphanumeric, between 27-34 characters in length. Many bitcoin service providers have user-friendly user interface which allows users to generate bitcoin addresses, send and receive bitcoins.

To send bitcoins, users simply have to ensure positive balance in their bitcoin wallets, insert the receiver’s bitcoin address, and hit send. There is a small miner’s fee to process the transaction – miner’s fees are given as a reward and incentive to Bitcoin miners for maintaining equipment. Bitcoin transactions usually take less than an hour to arrive, but it can take longer or shorter depending on the fee amount and the bitcoin service provider.

You can spend bitcoins anywhere that accept bitcoins as payment. You can also use a Visa/Mastercard-linked bitcoin debit card issued by companies like Wirex or Coinbase.

What are bitcoin’s disadvantages?

Depending on who you ask, you’ll get different answers. Coders and programmers might argue that bitcoin is already an outdated network, compared to some of the newer cryptocurrency networks available. Here we will concentrate on bitcoin’s disadvantages to the casual user:

Advanced digital knowledge is necessary

Bitcoin can be stolen in many ways. It is the bitcoin owner’s responsibility to keep them safe, and this meant implementing additional layers of security such as 2-factor authentication. Keeping them in web wallets can be dangerous. If you have a significant amount of bitcoins, you are advised to keep them in hardware wallets such as Trezor or Ledger.

Bitcoin service providers can be hard to trust

The biggest names have failed the Bitcoin community. Who can forget the Mt. Gox incident in 2014. It was the biggest bitcoin exchanger at the time and practically disappeared overnight along with almost 745,000 bitcoins. More recently in 2016, thieves stole almost 120,000 bitcoins during the Bitfinex hack – and experts still don’t know how they did it.

Lack of acceptance

Cold hard cash is still the widest and most used form of payment – it’s acceptance is second to none. By contrast, bitcoin is only accepted at a handful of shops. However, bitcoin debit cards help to address this issue – linked to payment processors, they help make bitcoin spending a bit easier.

Lack of protection

In general, bitcoin is not considered legal in most countries around the world. Therefore, theft or scam victims have almost no option for recourse. However, the legal landscape is ever-changing and one of the best spots to update yourself on where bitcoin is acceptable or not is Bitlegal.io.

Anti-bitcoin politicians

While many countries around the world mainly cautioned the public against the risky nature of Bitcoin, some politicians or political parties have extreme views about bitcoin. Russian and French lawmakers are considering banning it altogether.

Wrap Up

Bitcoin is cool, but the underlying technology behind it – the blockchain – is even cooler. Turns out, having a method to record data in a way that cannot be tampered or deleted is a good thing. It is also a cost-effective method to store information. Many companies including major banks have expressed interest in the blockchain technology.

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

David – http://markethive.com/david-ogden

Cryptocurrency Wallets

CryptoCurrency Wallets

I am continuing my education regarding MyCryptoWorld.

Today I am looking at wallets. Previously I have learn't that Cryptocurrency transactions are protected by military level encryption and physical coins do not exist. So where is the best place to store our Bitcoins or other cryptocurrencies.

There are three types of wallets

  • User controlled wallets
  • Hosted wallets
  • Hardware wallets

Your options. probably  depends on your age and familiarity with using computers and mobile devices and how often or how many coins you have, the choice is very much up to you.

My first choice is a user controlled wallet such as Blockchain, which is web based and also can be used on mobile devices. You have full control over your money, but that comes with its own dangers: you could lose your private keys, your computer could be hacked and the keys could be stolen, or your computer could break, and if you did not keep another record of your keys, you’d be out of luck.

One reason I like Blockchain is because the wallet is built on an HD (or hierarchical deterministic) framework, which has a different method for address generation and management. Each public address your wallet generates stems from your wallet's xPub (or Extended Public Key). Once your public address receives an incoming payment, a new address will automatically be generated and display when you click on receive.

There is a danger If you use the same address every time you receive funds, it becomes easy for anyone to track your entire payment history. This method of address generation improves privacy by automatically presenting you with a new address when you’re expecting payment.

I have also looked at Circle which is a hosted wallet which is more mobile based and very user friendly wallet,which can hold currencies or Bitcoin and you can send and receive either to other people by using email or Bitcoin addresses. However, there are limits which are placed on you initial transactions (0.3329 BTC weekly limit) No need to worry about anything except the limits, Great for day to day use. No need to use Bitcoin exchanges as this is all built in, Conversions are made when you add or remove funds from your wallet. Bitcoin balances in your Circle account, are fully insured against any breach of digital or physical data storage at Circle.

Initially I thought that its security was not up to scratch as I was not required to supply ID information to purchase Bitcoin. When I wanted to send Bitcoin however, I had to supply additional information which delayed the ability to send for 3-5 working days.
 

Hardware wallet is a special type of Bitcoin wallet which stores the user's private keys in a secure hardware device, which might be a usb or other storage device such as a mini computer

They have major advantages over standard software wallets:

  • private keys are often stored in a protected area of a microcontroller, and cannot be transferred out of the device in plain text

  • immune to computer viruses that steal from software wallets

  • can be used securely and interactively, as opposed to a paper wallet which must be imported to software at some point

  • much of the time, the software is open source, allowing a user to validate the entire operation of the device

 

If you want further security you could consider using a Brain Wallet

You might ask why I am providing this information and researching Cryptocurrency, It is because I am involved with the ICO of a new Cryptocoin.

David Ogden
MyCryptoWorld

David – http://markethive.com/david-ogden