As cryptocurrencies go mainstream, lots of people look for a way to buy their first coins. How is it done? And, where to buy them? Should I buy cryptos on Binance, Bittrex, Bitfinex, HitBTC, Kraken, Kucoin, or someplace else?
There are lots of cryptocurrency exchanges, and in this article, we will give you a short introduction to some of the most important and well-known exchanges. We will write about cons and pros, and also share our thoughts on whether they are easy or hard to use. If you have further comments or personal experiences that you want to share, use the comment field at the bottom of this article.
As there are lots of new users registering every day, some of these exchanges closed for new registrations at the end of 2017, but most of them have opened up for new registration again as of January 23rd, 2018. Be aware of the fact that they use a KYC (Know Your Customer) policy, which will require you to register with your full identity to be able to use the exchanges without limitations.
The most important cryptocurrency exchanges
Kraken – An ideal place to start
Kraken is not at all our favorite exchange. It has been struggling with poor servers for a long time, but since January 2018 it seems to get better. Whenever something happened in the market, Kraken always went offline in 2017, but it seems to be better now. Kraken feels kinds of clumsy compared to other exchanges, and you miss the nice graphs and technical analysis tools that you can find on other exchanges likes Bittrex, Bitfinex, and Binance.
But, why do we call Kraken an ideal place to start? Kraken is one of few exchanges that allows you to transfer money from your bank account to them. As a result, Kraken is the perfect place to buy your first cryptos for Euro or Dollar. Since you transfer the money you have almost no fees included at all, making it way cheaper than purchasing using a card directly at for example Coinbase.
We still use Kraken as an entry-point for new money to the cryptocurrency world, but once we have entered, we transfer our cryptos to some other exchange to do the serious trading there.
Update: You can also use trade.kraken.com to do your trading, and this is a much better platform for trading, easier to use and quite similar to the other exchanges. A big improvement to the Kraken platform.
Bitfinex – The biggest Bitcoin exchange
Bitfinex is one of the easiest exchanges to use, but since they have no support for USD and Euro deposits, you will have to find your way into the crypto world somewhere else, and then transfer your funds to Bitfinex later. Once your account is ready and validated at Bitfinex it is very easy to understand the display, and you can place your first orders easily.
At the picture above, you can see the Bitcoin movements in the last days. You can place an order in the lower left corner, and you can follow your favorite cryptos further up on the left side. This is one of our favorite exchanges when it comes to design, but unfortunately, Bitfinex only allows you to trade with a limited amount of cryptos (compared to Bittrex and Binance).
Update: You can now deposit both Euro and USD to Bitfinex from your bank, making this an easy to use platform for those who want to buy their first cryptocurrencies!
Binance – The new star among the exchanges
If you want to buy a whole of different altcoins, Binance might be the exchange for you. They increase in volume all the time, and they let you create a list of favorites, making it easy to follow all your favorite coins. All necessary functions can be found, and you will also find technical analysis tools like MA7, MA25, MA 99 and MACD available all the time. You need to purchase your first cryptos somewhere else and transfer them to Binance to get started, but once your cryptos are there, you can start trading right away.
Binance has their very own Binance coin, and as you sign up we advise you to purchase a couple of these right away and enable them to pay lower trading fees. Binance is one of few crypto-exchanges that gives you referral fees if you invite friends to join, something that should be considered a bonus as well.
HitBTC – Not one of our favorites
HitBTC is an exchange that has tons of coins, and some of them can be found almost nowhere else. This is the main reason why most traders are registered at HitBTC. But, since January 2018 they have introduced some major fees on both deposits and withdrawals, making it a very costly place to use for small traders. If you trade with tens of thousands of Dollars, the fees might be considered minor, but traders using smaller amounts of money will find the deposit and withdrawal fees to be way too high. HitBTC has something called scaled buying and selling, a cool function you see at no other exchange. This makes it easy to buy or sell at different rates easily.
HitBTC is easy to use, and you can easily create favorites, which again makes it easy to keep an eye on your favorite currencies. If they had better fees for depositing and withdrawing, this would be considered a nice exchange, but because of the fees, we no longer consider this a good exchange. HitBTC has a referral program, meaning you can make some money with them if you refer your friends to the HitBTC website.
Kucoin is a quite new exchange that got its big breakthrough in December 2017. The reason… most other exchanges stopped new registrations, and thus Kucoin got all the new sign-ups. Kucoin is also an exchange that gets their hand on new NEO-platform coins (like RedPulse, Trinity and more), making this the number one platform for those who want to buy coins that they did not manage to buy during the ICO (Initial Coin Offering).
The design of the Kucoin website has improved a lot since the end of 2017. It has a nice touch to it, and it is a delight to work with. Kucoin also has its own token, the Kucoin Shares, and this is useful if you plan on trading a lot on Kucoin in the future.
Bittrex – A place for lots of coins
Bittrex is the exchange we use most frequently together with Binance. It is a giant exchange with lots of coins, but it also has its failures and lacks. One of our greatest sorrows at Bittrex is the lack of chance to create a list of favorites, making it easy to keep an eye on all our favorites at the same time. For that reason, you cannot see and control all your tokens and see whether they increase or decrease in value easily, as you have to change and search manually everytime you want to find the value of Litecoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin, Ripple etc.
Bittrex has lots of TA tools for those in need of such. You need to buy your first cryptos on for example Kraken or Coinbase and then transfer them to Bittrex to trade on Bittrex. We like Bittrex, but we could fall even more in love with the exchange if they made some small changes.
Bibox – If you cannot find it somewhere else
Bibox is a quite new exchange and based on our first impression, it is one we like. It is easy to use, they have a lot of pairings and cryptocurrencies that you cannot find anywhere, and this makes it useful for the more experienced trader. We registered at Bibox to buy the CPChain token, and since then, we have used the platform to buy other tokens as well.
They have their very own Bibox token, carrying out the same function as the Binance Token (on Binance). If you plan on doing some trading on Bibox, buy some Bibox tokens first!
What about eToro?
eToro isn’t really a crypto-exchange because at eToro you do not buy actual coins and tokens, you only buy “virtual” money that you buy and sell. It might be easy to start with eToro and use eToro, but you will never own any actual crypto tokens using eToro. That is the pure reason for us not including them in this article.
Which is your favorite crypto-exchange?
We would love to hear which is your favorite crypto-exchange. Maybe it is one of those we have already mentioned in this article, or maybe you prefer EtherDelta, OkEX, or Poloniex? Take some minutes, write some comments and share your thoughts!
We can not say that we have one favorite exchange above all other exchanges, but if we had to say one, our would probably be Binance.