Anyone looking to get into cryptocurrencies tends to start with buying Bitcoin. However, choosing the proper exchange in which to begin can be a bit daunting. This list details the top 5 best exchanges to start investing in Bitcoin.
Top Exchanges For Buying Bitcoin
Coinbase is the most widely known exchange in the United States for buying bitcoin. Not only is it based in the land of the free, but this exchange is one of the few that allows citizens to link a bank account for purchasing.
That’s right, Coinbase allows for a bank account, debit card, or credit card as payment methods (on top of crypto, of course.) This exchange is one of the most trusted and secure platforms in the world, with support for over thirty-two countries and hosting nearly 4 million active users.
Upon registration, users will set up a digital wallet for buying, selling, and storing cryptocurrencies. Initially, little verification is needed. Users must input their e-mail, bank information, and a phone number for two-factor authentication. Fully verified U.S citizens can hold up to 50,000 Bitcoins each day, and transact a total of $50,000 every week.
Transaction fees are anywhere from 1.50% to 4.00% based on the payment method, with credit cards incurring the highest costs. The platform also allows for cryptocurrency trading. As of this writing, users can buy and trade Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Cash via Coinbase’s GDAX exchange.
Coinbase is regarded as one of the safest exchanges in the world. A lot of that security comes from the U.S. laws it must abide by, both on a federal and state-wide level. Plus, 98% of funds are stored offline, which is a massive plus. That said, the exchange isn’t perfect. Coinbase has been known to track users’ transactions and may even deny purchases they don’t approve of. Their customer support is often criticized as well, with users often getting template responses after a long wait.
Kraken is another U.S. based exchange for buying bitcoin, with it’s home in San Francisco, California. Founded in 2011, the platform considers itself the most extensive European Bitcoin exchange in the world when it comes to volume and liquidity. On top of the United States and Europe, Kraken serves Canada and Japan.
Users can deposit fiat currencies via wire transfer, SEPA, and SWIFT payment methods. Kraken has some of the lowest fees out of all the popular cryptocurrency exchanges. There are multiple tiers of verification, with fees lowering the more you trade. Higher verification means higher volume, which translates to the lower prices. Transaction fees range from 0.26% to 0% based on your tier and if the user is selling or buying.
Here is a breakdown of the tiers:
Tier 1 – Account that cannot trade or transfer fiat currency, only digital. This tier requires the following information:
- Full Name
- Date of Birth
- Phone Number
Tier 2 – Allows users to deposit up to $2,000 a day and $10,000 a month if they’re in a supported location. Bank deposits and withdrawals also become available in those same areas. This tier requires the following information:
- Physical address
Tier 3 – Fiat funding limits are a lot higher. This tier requires the following information:
- Identity verification
- Proof of residence
Tier 4 – This tier is only for high-volume traders or businesses. One must request access from the Kraken staff for verification submission. This tier requires the following information:
- Signed form
- KYC document
Verification usually goes quickly, though there are times of congestion when a bunch of accounts attempts at once.
Binance is newer than other exchanges, but it has quickly risen to the top regarding popularity for buying bitcoin. Based in China, Binance simplifies the trading process while still providing the options for experienced traders. Users can choose between the basic or advanced versions when trading. Both tabs do essentially the same thing but offer different information on the dashboard.
Verification is simple. Tier 1 users require no verification and can withdraw up to 2 Bitcoin per day. Tier 2 users can do up to 100 Bitcoin, and require ID verification. There are higher tiers, but they need direct contact with the Binance team.
Binance does not support fiat currencies. One must import their previously owned cryptocurrencies to trade on the platform. However, the exchange offers more trading pairs than nearly every other popular exchange in the world.
Interestingly, Binance has its token: BNB Coin. Users can pay a traditional transaction fee, which is usually around 0.1%, or they can pay that fee with the Binance token. Utilizing BNB will halve the transaction fee, as you are supporting the platform by doing so.
The platform also has a helpful customer support team. That said, it’s missing a few features. While the team generally offers professional help, there is no way to communicate via phone or digital chat. Also, it may take a little while for a response from support due to the sheer amount of users, though it will always be a helpful one.
Bitstamp is one of the oldest exchanges in existence. With offices all over the world, the exchange gathered its first following in Europe before expanding.
The platform is well designed and comfortable for newer users to jump into. Bitstamp offers lower transaction fees than most other exchanges, starting at 0.25% per trade, and lowering with volume.
The Bitstamp exchange allows for debit, SEPA, credit, and international payment methods on top of cryptocurrency. Each of these has different fees, with credit cards being the highest.
Registration requires ID verification and a proof-of-residence for the first phase. A second phase will require phone number verification, after which users can trade, make deposits and withdrawals, and purchase Bitcoin and other currencies.
Bitstamp was the first partner in Ripple’s incentive programs and was even the first fully licensed exchange in all of Europe. It’s commonly seen as a beginner’s exchange, sort of like Coinbase.
Gemini is another U.S. based exchange, founded by the Winklevoss twins, of Facebook fame. The platform is incredibly easy to sign up with, requiring only a valid e-mail, ID, and a phone number.
There are no withdrawal or deposit charges, and trading fees are only .25 cents per. Gemini requires a bank account for making withdrawals, though this does allow it to take fiat currencies, which is a big plus.
The exchange is one of the safest out there, with two-factor authentication, FDIC insurance, and it stores all digital assets offline in cold storage. Plus, any coins taken online are placed on the entirely secure Amazon Web Services platform.
While Gemini isn’t nearly as big as Coinbase, it has proliferated into a reputable exchange. The platform is regarded highly, especially for new traders in the crypto scene. Both the sign-up process and usage of the platform are simple, and Gemini offers unmatched levels of security.