Making $350,000 trading cryptocurrency in 2017 was nothing short of a wild ride. And whilst I will forever be grateful for discovering and investing in Bitcoin, I have to be honest with you about something….
There are other cryptocurrencies out there which excite me FAR more than Bitcoin.
If you are interested in riding the cryptocurrency wave and taking the first step towards financial freedom then I strongly recommend diversifying into several different coins.
I’ve talked about this before but today I’m going to cover the best cryptocurrency exchange platforms to trade on in 2019. You see, many of the exchanges only list a limited selection of cryptocurrencies and if you want to make the most money it makes sense to be on several exchanges so that you can pick up coins when they are still cheap, before they have gone mainstream.
Some of my single biggest profits have been from investing in coins that are fractions of a cent, and only available on one or two exchanges, before they blew up.
Not all coins do blow up and you have to choose your positions wisely but if you want the best chance of making a killing trading cryptocurrency, you will need to be active on several exchanges, this is the ultimate list of my favourite cryptocurrency exchanges to check out…
Don’t get me wrong. I still believe Bitcoin has room for a ton of growth and I predict that by the end of 2020, a single Bitcoin will be worth around $40,000 – that’s an increase of 500% from the current price of $8,000 which is obviously still amazing but…
We can do better.
I believe the best cryptocurrency investment strategy is to invest in a portfolio of varied and exciting coins – picking these up when they are new to the scene, and still relatively cheap, is the optimum move.
Altcoins are more affordable than Bitcoin, Ethereum or other well established cryptocurrencies and crucially if you pick the correct altcoins – wow, those babies can fly!
As I’ve highlighted before, my strategy when trading cryptocurrency has been, to diversify my crypto-portfolio, and watch as all of my coins accumulate in value.
Often, I sell half of a position when a coin triples in value – this gets my seed money out with a 50% profit and leaves the other half of the position in their on the long term.
I now shy away from day-trading as I find it stressful, time consuming and have noticed that I tend to do much better when I aim for larger movements in the market. I’m a swing trader, I’m in this for the long game.
Don’t think two months ahead. Think two years ahead… That’s how you can make the most money.
To start investing in altcoins, you need to buy your Bitcoin, register for an account on one of the best cryptocurrency exchange platforms of 2019, buy shiny new coins with your Bitcoin and start making money…
Without further ado, let’s get stuck in and examine some of the best cryptocurrency exchange platforms of 2018.
Quick Answer: The Best Cryptocurrency Exchanges
- Binance – The best overall platform (Currently Open! Register now here!)
- Terrexa – Super simple to use
- Bittrex – Secure but expensive
- Bitmex – Highest trading volume, but only a few options
- Bitfinex – Deepest orderbooks, tons of coins
- Coinbase – Easy to buy bitcoin, but highest fees
Table of Contents
What is a cryptocurrency exchange?
If you want to follow the strategy of building out a diversified cryptocurrency portfolio, you won’t just want to buy Bitcoin.
Yes, you’ll have to start by buying Bitcoin, but after that you’ll take that cryptocurrency, send it to an exchange and use it to buy other cryptocurrencies (also referred to as alt-coins).
That’s what the best cryptocurrency exchange platforms allow you to do – to get in on new and exciting coins and split your initial investment up.
Bitcoin (and to a lesser extent, Ethereum) are the gatekeepers to cryptocurrency.
You have to buy your Bitcoin (or Ethereum), which you can then use to buy other cryptocurrencies.
Why you need to have accounts with multiple cryptocurrency exchanges
If you are interested in trading cryptocurrency one of the most important things you can do is open a few trading accounts. I highly recommend opening multiple accounts with a few of the best cryptocurrency exchanges for a few reasons…
Certain cryptocurrencies will only be available in certain exchanges
In October there were over 1,100 cryptocurrencies on the market, and they aren’t all easy to get ahold of.
As you’ll see when we analyze the best cryptocurrency exchanges, some platforms (Coinbase, Coinmama, etc) only offer a handful of coins. Sure, the popular coins are easy to find, but the largest chances to profit are usually with the cheaper coins.
By having accounts with a few exchange platforms, you will be able to access multiple cryptocurrencies and increase your likelihood of striking gold with the right alt-coin.
Obviously, it’s important that you do your research and do not just randomly buy up cheap coins, research is crucial here – stay tuned for my 2020 top picks for coins to invest in post – coming soon!
Additional Insurance for your Portfolio
This list of the best cryptocurrency exchanges is as legit as it gets. These companies are well-reviewed, and as secure as can be…. but it’s still completely possible that any of these cryptocurrency exchange companies could crash and burn or get hacked.
This is why I recommend having accounts with a few of the best cryptocurrency exchange platforms. If one of the companies does get hacked, you won’t lose all of your money and you’ll be able to keep on trading.
Also – Never keep your cryptocurrency funds in a trade account longer than you need to. Get in, make your trades, cycle profit out and keep it safe. The best way to protect your long term holds is with a Trezor Hard Wallet .
What to look for in cryptocurrency exchange platforms
There are dozens of options, but to make a list of the best cryptocurrency exchanges, there were a few things I had to take into consideration, and when picking your own best cryptocurrency exchange, there are a few things YOU need to take into consideration.
Availability!!! (PLEASE READ)
At the time this article was first written back in early 2018, cryptocurrency was exploding like a beautiful volcano filled with gold and the world was in a crypto-frenzy. Millions of new people were trying to sign up for memberships to cryptocurrency exchanges, which had in turn completely overwhelmed the cryptocurrency exchange servers and forced many of them to pause new user registrations. At the time of writing – multiple exchanges were not taking on new members.
This means that one day, an exchange platform will be ‘open’, but the next day it will ‘not be accepting new members’.
First off, let me say something – this was fucking great for crypto. Instead of being greedy and compromising security for an extra buck, cryptocurrency exchanges took time to improve infrastructure and improve their security. This is because the exchanges genuinely KNOW that cryptocurrency isn’t a fad – it’s the future. And they’d rather lose a month’s worth of new signups to do things correctly, and ensure there are no breaches. Slow and steady wins the race. This also means that there are ton of new buyers waiting on the sidelines for the next ‘crypto bull run!’
Update October 2019 – one full year later and it looks like the madness of 2018 has not returned. But don’t worry! Crypto has had many of these wild bull and bear markets, and those that stuck it out always look like heroes in the end. In my opinion, these low prices right now are a gift and we’ll all wish we had bought more now when things get crazy again.
I keep this exchange list updated to ensure that you know which of the best cryptocurrency exchanges of 2019 is open for business, and so you can get your account open and start building your cryptocurrency portfolio.
Which cryptocurrency exchange is safe
Safety is the most important thing to take into consideration. I made sure to only include the safest cryptocurrency exchange platforms of 2019. My recommendations are either cryptocurrency trading platforms that I personally use, cryptocurrency trading platforms used by people I know, or cryptocurrency platforms I’ve read sterling online-reviews from.
At the time of writing; I am actively trading on Coinbase, Bitfinex, Bitmex, and Binance.
While some people get freaked out by safety issues surrounding crypto, these days the exchanges have a ton of measures in place to stop hacking attempts and whilst this can be a tad irritating – complex verification processes are standard when joining many new exchanges – it’s for the safety of your cash and the cryptocurrency community.
Where the best cryptocurrency platforms are located
Head office locations of the platforms vary, but mostly you’ll see they are based in either the USA or Asia. This is important for two reasons. 1) The exchange region may make them more or less likely to offer certain coins e.g. Chinese exchanges tend to always list new Chinese coins and 2) depending where you are from you may or may not be able to join! Some of the best cryptocurrency exchange platforms of 2018 only offer memberships to people in certain regions of the world, this is a bummer but there are ways around it.
Don’t worry, we’ll cover all this and more.
Cryptocurrency Exchange Fees
There’s no way around this – if you want the best cryptocurrency exchange platform, you’re going to have to pay per transaction.
But worry not! Again, this is good news as the best cryptocurrency trading platforms are reinvesting this money into customer support and enhanced security, which is certainly worth the small and noble trading fee. Trading fees on all exchanges are pretty minimal and you’re unlikely to really notice them affecting your bottom line.
Cryptocurrency Exchange Reputation
As with anything internet-related and money-related, reviews for the best cryptocurrency exchange platforms are not always consistent. My opinions are usually based on my experience. Can bad shit happen? Duh, obviously! But just be aware that a lot of people’s ‘negative’ experiences are their own fault and could have been avoided had they been more careful – always use two factor authentification guys!
The Best Cryptocurrency Exchange 2018 (Updated June 8th, 2018)
*Remember, this list is organised based on my highest recommendation for cryptocurrency exchange platforms based on which of them is currently accepting new members*
Top pick right now: Binance Review
- Location – Malta (relocated from Hong Kong)
- Founded in 2017
- The Broke Backpacker – Best Cryptocurrency Exchange of 2019
- Very simple setup an easy to use
- Low fees (sometimes half of other cryptocurrency exchanges)
- Easy interface – recommended for newbies!
- Huge cryptocurrency database
- Fantastic affiliate system
I’ve been using Binance for nearly two years now and it’s made quite the impression on me as it has catapulted itself as my favorite of all the best cryptocurrency exchange platforms of 2019.
I love the interface – very straightforward and easy to use.
But in my opinion, the two best things about Binance is 1) it’s got the largest cryptocurrency coin collection, and 2) it’s incredibly safe and secure.
I love Binance so much that I’ve put together an entire step-by-step guide on how to set up an account with them.
Solid Pick for Newbies to Crypto: Terrexa
- Location – Cyprus
- Founded in 2018
- Super easy to use
- Purchase Bitcoin and Ethereum with USD or Euros
- Fast registration process
- Upfront fees
- Easy interface – works with the Terexa app
- Plans to offer more Cryptocurrencies soon
If you’re new to the Crypto space and simply want to dip your toe in the water, Terexa offers one of the fastest registration processes out there. You can sign up and purchase Bitcoin or Ethereum the same day – paying via either bank transfer or credit card.
Terexa doesn’t yet have the functionability or volume of the larger exchanges but for getting your foot on the Crypto ladder, Terexa offers a shortcut past the mountains of verification that is often required to join cryptocurrency exchanges.
If you just want to buy, trade or hold Bitcoin or Ethereum, Terexa is probably the quickest way to do that.
- Bittrex Location – Seattle, United States
- Launched in 2014
- One of the most reputable and oldest cryptocurrency exchange platforms
- Reputable for safety
- Bittrex fees are a clean and transparent .25% fee per trade
- Huge list of coins
Truth be told, Bittrex could be my number one recommendation. It’s probably the oldest and most respected name in cryptocurrency, and has done a great job ensuring it provides one of the best cryptocurrency exchange platforms online.
BUT, in 2018 they surprised every customer with mandatory identity verification and locked every user’s account! Since most people in crypto would rather stay anonymous, this REAALLY pissed off their customers and just about everybody left. Bittrex today is like a ghost town – hardly anything going on and no one trading there.
There have been reviews about the site being slow, as well as fairly negative reviews concerning the Bittrex app (available on both iOS and Android)…. but aside from that, Bittrex reviews about the platform itself have been fairly stellar.
I find the charts are not as easy to read on Bittrex as Binance but besides that, I have no complaints.
But unfortunately, hardly anyone is trading on Bittrex anymore.
- Location – Hong Kong
- Launched in 2017
- Easy to use (once you get the hang of it)
- Customizable interface with light/dark theme
- Can trade with leverage (good for experienced traders, dangerous if you’re not)
- The #1 choice for advanced traders
- 24/7 email (and support tickets on social media)
- Excellent security
- Lots of advanced features
Founded in Hong Kong, CEO Arthur Hayes’ background in equity derivatives and banking make him the perfect leader for what is quickly becoming respected as a top cryptocurrency trading platform.
But, Bitmex is not for everyone. While it is not necessarily complicated, it is definitely designed for more advanced users to get the most out of it. The customizable interface enabled experienced traders to have their menu set up the way they prefer it, and the high trading volume gives the advantage to traders with a ton of capital.
Here’s the thing with leverage – Bitmex will let you trade up to 100x your account size. That is crazy! That would mean that a price move of just 1% in the wrong direction would liquidate your account…
Experienced traders plan out an entry and an exit point, then use the Bitmex position calculator to determine leverage and position size, so that if the trade goes wrong they won’t lose more than 3% of their account. It is NOT for 100x yolo trades with any significant amount of your capital. Or you’ll most likely lose it. The temptation is strong though! That’s why I recommend this exchange only for advanced traders.
If you are a beginner in cryptocurrency, but are utterly fascinated and have found your life calling – sure, give Bitmex a go (carefully). But ultimately, while Bitmex is phenomenal, if you are a beginner, I would be much more keen to recommend Binance.
- Location – Hong Kong
- Founded in 2016
- Deepest order books of all crypto exchanges (this is where the whales trade)
- Unlimited withdrawal
- Well reviewed app (btw NEVER TRADE on the apps, just use it to track the market)
- Multiple payment options
- Secure (after being hacked in 2016)
- Interface isn’t most user-friendly, but is the most sophisticated for advanced traders
- Customizable interface/menu
- Low fees
- Some reports of long waiting time for withdrawals
- Huge altcoin selection
- One of the first exchanges to offer margin trading (let’s you trade 3.3x of your capital)
Again, while maybe a bit more recommended for experienced cryptocurrency traders, Bitfinex is one of the most dominant names in cryptocurrency exchange and trade in 2019.
Bitfinex has had quite an up and down run. In 2016 the platform was hacked which resulted in the loss of 72 million USD worth of Bitcoin. Yikes. But! The hack did little to the company’s loyal customer base, as they have improved security measures, and they continue to dominate the largest cryptocurrency market on the planet.
Then, in 2019 the US Feds seized $750 million in Bitfinex customer funds that were being processed by a third party company. Ouch. Bitfinex shareholders and customers sprang to the rescue and raised $1 Billion USD (in less than a week!) to plug the gap and make sure that the exchange won’t have any issues while they battle the NYAG in US court.
One major pro is that Bitfinex has a LOT of the volume for major coins and this is a good place to dip your toe into margin trading however – I do not recommend margin trading unless you have several months of trading experience under your belt.
Overall I recommend this exchange as they now have a huge list of beautiful alt-coins, the biggest trading volume of actual crypto coins, and it’s where the biggest players in crypto trade. If they feel safe there with their tens of millions in crpyto, then it’s good enough for me.
- Location – San Francisco, USA
- Founded in 2012
- Can directly purchase Bitcoin (can buy with credit card, Paypal, or bank account)
- Supported in more than 100 countries
- Great design, easy to use
- Connected to traditional-banking system of USA (and because of that, they are bit shady)
Coinbase is probably the most popular name in all of cryptocurrency exchanges. This is because it acts as more than just an exchange – it’s a platform to purchase your Bitcoin, and it also provides a wallet to store your cryptocurrency. This swiss-army knife approach to cryptocurrency helps explain it’s dominance in the market.
But unfortunately, in spite of all that goodness, it’s difficult for me to recommend Coinbase, as they seem to oppose everything that a decentralized currency actually is supposed to be. They are funded by major banks, are run by ex-Goldman Sachs executives, are in compliance with the IRS, and have been guilty of countless other acts of crime against the entire concept of what cryptocurrency should be.
OK, philosophical rant aside, if you can access Coinbase it’s actually quite convenient (except for their high fees!). But just in case shit hits the fan, get your coins out of there and store them unto your own secure Trezor Hard Wallet.
- Location – USA
- Only deal with cryptocurrency
- Use Tether instead (USDT)
- World’s largest cryptocurrency exchange
- Lots of coins
- Margin lending/User lending (fluctuating rates)
Poloniex is the exchange I first started on and I’ve been using it for nearly three years. The main problem with Poloniex is that the support is fucking terrible – it can take weeks to get a response. Another frustrating part about dealing with Poloniex is the exchanges desire to seem to want to pay taxes. Cryptocurrency trading exchanges like Poloniex and Bittrex are dealing with compliance tax issues by the US government.
These additional regulations and yellow tape are forcing US residents to trade on cryptocurrency exchange platforms that are not based in the USA (mostly China, Hong Kong, Korea or Malta).
For this reason, I say keep it easy. Skip on anything-US based, and stick to Binance.
- Located in Israel
- Founded in 2013
- Can purchase cryptocurrency with credit card
- Need verification to purchase more than $150
- Only Bitcoin and Etheruem
- Available in a shit ton of countries (but limited in the USA)
- 3.99% service charge
While 95% of people won’t use Coinmama as a cryptocurrency trading service, it technically can trade cryptocurrencies, as Coinmama works with both Ether and Bitcoin.
But having said that, Coinmama mostly exists to help people purchase Bitcoin or Ethereum with a debit or credit card.
If you are looking for a good place purchase Bitcoin, this is highly recommended (but due to high demand, new transactions are currently lagging).
- Location – San Francisco, United States
- Founded 2011
- Polarizing cryptocurrency exchange
- Complicated user interface (not recommended for beginners)
- Low fees
- Secure across the board
- Only 17 cryptocurrency coins available (as of writing)
- I HATE the charts
Unlike the other US-based cryptocurrency exchange platforms, Kraken’s biggest problem isn’t that it’s located in the USA. Kraken biggest problem is its customer support – they are all over the shot.
Easily the most polarizing of the best cryptocurrency exchange platforms, depending whom you talk to, Kraken is either the best platform for trading cryptocurrency or the worst experience one can ever have. Complaints range, but typically revolve around their lackluster customer service.
Having said that, Kraken is one of the early adopters in cryptocurrency exchange, and regardless of its back-and-forth reviews, it has solidified itself as a premiere cryptocurrency exchange platform. Personally, I don’t use Kraken any more.
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Ultimately, if you want to make money with crypto you have a couple of options. The easiest thing to do is to build a diversified portfolio of carefully selected coins and then to simply wait a couple of years. However, this is not the most effective way to make mad money. If you want to truly crush it at crypto, you need access to truly knowledgeable people.
I am not your guru. I’m a crypto enthusiast, not a professional trader, and I make plenty of mistakes. There are a huge amount of ‘gurus’ and ‘experts’ out there but the truth is that many of them haven’t got a fucking clue what they are talking about.
Opinions in cryptocurrency are like assholes, everybody’s got one. It’s extremely easy to predict the market and hell, everybody seems like an expert, when cryptocurrency is experiencing a bull run.
It’s very very easy to make mad money when the market is on an upswing, less so when cryptocurrency enters a bear market. Talented traders, and those with information, can make money on the way up and on the way down.
One thing I’ve noticed is that the media, especially Twitter, can have huge effects of the market. If you decide that cryptocurrency is your new thing, if this is where you want to spend your time, then I strongly recommend that you educate yourself and improve your understanding of who to follow, who to trust, when to buy and when to hold.
There are many groups on Facebook where you can find like-minded folks who will happily talk crypto all day but the problem is that 99% of these groups are filled with people who have only a very basic understanding of cryptocurrency and the knowledge available here is not particularly strong. I have recently left almost every single group on Facebook as, in my opinion, they are largely filled with FUD.
If you are serious about cryptocurrency trading, I strongly recommend finding a mastermind group that suits your skill level and budget so that you can improve your knowledge, expose yourself to less risk, and gain access to news and tips before they hit the mainstream market – this is where the real money is to be made.
Conclusion to the Best Cryptocurrency Exchanges
This is a fascinating time in the history of cryptocurrency. Soon, everything crypto-related will settle down, and all of these platforms will be able to accept new members and help with new transactions.
But in the meantime, we have to deal with the fact that high demand has put most cryptocurrency platforms new business on hold. That leaves us looking for the ones that are currently operating.
Keep an eye on this list as I will be updating it regularly so ensure it’s as up to date with the market as I am able to do.
Disclaimer: I am not a professional (or even a veteran) trader. I am an intermediate trader with a passion for cryptocurrency. I am disclosing my own ventures in crypto because cryptocurrency trading does make up a chunk of my online income and I want to be 100% transparent with you when it comes to making money online. Investing in cryptocurrencies carries a risk – you may lose some or all of your investment. Always do your own research and draw your own conclusions. Again – this article is aimed purely at advising; draw your own conclusions on whether cryptocurrency trading is right for you.
Writer and entrepreneur. Adventurer and vagabond. Master of the handstand pushup. Conqueror of mountains, survivor of deserts and crusader for cheap escapades. Will has been on the road for thirteen years, travelling to far-flung lands on a budget. Today, he runs a number of online ventures, including The Broke Backpacker – the world’s largest budget travel blog. He is passionate about solving the plastic problem and cleaning up the oceans. Currently, Will is based in Bali where he plans to open his first Tribal Hostel in 2020.