Updated: Apr 10, 2020
The crypto space is evolving at a fast rate and perpetually heating up with an increasing number of beginners signing up for the crypto revolution each day. The first step you take in the crypto world is most likely going to be through a cryptocurrency exchange. Hence, you must make a conscious decision after weighing the pros and cons.
There are two categories of crypto exchanges – fiat and crypto-to-crypto exchanges. Fiat exchanges allow for direct conversion of fiat currency, like Euros and USD into cryptocurrency. These exchanges are great if you are looking to make an entry-level exchange, which means purchasing your first crypto. crypto-to-crypto exchanges or crypto swap exchanges allow different assets to be traded among each other.
There is no one size fits all when it comes to determining the best exchange. As a beginner, you would have unique uses when buying and selling crypto. However, the 5 cryptocurrency exchanges listed below excel in terms of:
UI and ease of usage
Before deciding upon an exchange, you need to ensure that it is available in your area. For instance, many exchanges cater to US customers but are not available in New York for regulatory reasons.
Coinbase is a very popular cryptocurrency exchange where Bitcoin and its altcoins are concerned. You can use it to trade Litecoin, Ethereum, and Bitcoin Cash among other crypto assets.
The exchange is one of the world’s largest crypto trading platforms where beginners are concerned. It is also one of the simplest ways for one to purchase their first Bitcoin. Many people consider Coinbase to be one of the easiest exchanges out there.
Coinbase fees are a little on the higher side when you compare it to Binance. It charges 99% on credit and debit purchases and 1.49% on bank purchases. However, the mere fact that the platform accepts fiat currency is a thumb up for beginners. You can easily make your entry-level purchase here.
A lot of people are put off by the verification process. The first step while creating an account on Coinbase would be to verify your identity by submitting a picture of your passport or another ID proof. However, this is completely normal since many crypto exchanges after strict regulations have begun asking for identification to remain compliant.
A good part is that the verification process takes only a minute and you are ready to deposit funds to purchase some crypto.
You can use credit cards, debit cards, PayPal, SEPA transfer, bank transfer, and others to deposit money in Coinbase. It can take anywhere up to 2 – 4 business days depending upon the mode of payment used.
Coinbase is also completely safe and legitimate. The exchange is based out of San Francisco and has not had a single hack or security issue since it was launched way back in 2012.
You should use Coinbase if:
You are looking to purchase bitcoins easily
You like paying a low fee on fiat currency
You plan on purchasing crypto using bank wire, bank transfer, or cards
Binance needs no introduction in the crypto space. It has been ruling the market for months now. The exchange is based out of Hong Kong with regional offices located in several parts of the world, such as China and Japan. Binance is available in the US as well as Binance.US.
The exchange is great for advanced users and beginners since it offers something to both worlds. For instance, beginners can enjoy the easy UI and tremendous information on the site, while advanced traders can make a tidy profit using modernistic charting tools and various trading options.
Where Binance is concerned, you will never come up against a liquidity issue. The exchange is constantly ranked in the top 5 in terms of volume.
Another reason why Binance is so great for beginners is that you can register and start trading almost immediately without having to wait for account verification. You can withdraw up to 2 BTC every day and when you verify your account, you would be able to withdraw higher amounts.
The fee charged is one of the lowest in the industry. You can bring it down even more by making use of native BNB tokens. This can get you a 50% discount on the trading fee. This is a pretty decent amount whether you are looking to start small or graduate into a full-time trader.
The coolest feature by far is that Binance has the most advanced and easy to use mobile applications for cryptocurrency traders. The app is available to both Android as well as iOS users. It is free of charge. However, you will have to create an account on Binance before you can download either of the apps.
Binance was also the first to introduce SAFU (Secure Asset Fund for Users) keeping security in mind. This takes 10% of the trading fee earned by the exchange and gives it back to the users in case there is a hack. In May 2019, Binance did suffer a major hack and covered all user funds through SAFU.
You should use Binance if:
You want a low trading fee
You value security over everything else
You want good customer service
Changelly is a crypto-to-crypto trading platform. It takes a different approach to the crypto exchanging process. Changelly is a non-custodial exchange. This means that instead of letting users store their cryptocurrency and hold on to their deposits, Changelly immediately sets up a conversion transaction. You can select your input and output currency while making a transaction.
Without a doubt, the exchange is the easiest cryptocurrency to use in the market. You can easily swap the crypto you hold for another using Changelly. Changelly should be considered if you are looking to convert your bitcoins or other cryptos into altcoins, which may not be available freely.
There are more than 90 crypto assets supported on Changelly as of date. This includes fiat pair pairs with EUR and USD as well.
The exchange does not involve any tedious KYC process. All you need to do is sign in using your email address. It is one of the easiest crypto exchanges out there. You can easily purchase crypto through debit and credit cards. However, you may be hit with a conversion fee.
You should know that Changelly charges a fee of 0.5% on each transaction. The fee might seem higher than the industry average of 0.2%, but you have to keep in mind the high risk and volatility they bear on behalf of their users.
You should use Changelly if:
You want crypto-fiat swaps
Liquidity and high limits is a priority
You are looking for an easy UI
KuCoin is a brilliant newcomer to the crypto space that has been receiving a lot of attention in the past few months. The traction is no surprise since the team behind the coin is highly motivated and has offered an easy to use UI.
This South Korea based exchange is exciting since it operates similarly to Binance. They list altcoins fairly quickly as compared to other exchanges. They could be a great place for a beginner to start from who is looking to dabble in the lesser-known altcoin space. You can always make a fairly tidy profit by getting in early.
In terms of volume, KuCoin ranks in the top 25 exchanges as per CoinMarketCap. The platform has a program by which they keep adding new tokens to their exchange regularly.
KuCoin also offers its native KCS token, which is a fantastic option for beginners to save on trading fees and HODL. The token gives an extra smart passive income. Many newbies tend to miss out on one unique KuCoin feature. They pay you NeoGAS for free when you hold NEO on the exchange.
The KuCoin interface is really beautiful. It looks clean and modern and is easy to operate. You don’t have to worry about old and clunky UI here.
You should use KuCoin if:
A clean interface is what you want
You want to dabble in newer crypto assets
You want to earn bonuses
Bitstamp has been in business since 2011 and is one of the oldest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world. You get a wide variety of crypto-fiat trading pairs on this exchange, which makes it great for beginners.
The exchange is currently the largest in Europe with its headquarters in the UK. This boosts a healthy user base on the exchange. Also, Bitstamp is licensed, which means it complies with local regulations.
Bitstamp has time and again proven to be one of the more reliable exchanges as the oldest exchange. They have top of the line security with over 98% assets locked in cold storage and a highly encrypted personal information database.
Bitstamp allows users from the United States and other countries to send international transfers for a very low fee. The platform also offers free mobile apps on the App Store and Google Play Store that just adds to the ease of trading.
One downside is that the account verification process is slow, so make sure you plan ahead. The platform owing to its regulatory status requires extensive verification and information. However, this means that safety is great and your money is absolutely safe.
You should use Bitstamp if:
You want reliability and high liquidity
You want security over anything else
You want to purchase a broad variety of crypto assets