For any prospective cryptocurrency trader, the first step on the journey is converting cash to cryptocurrency, usually Bitcoin. The platforms that offer this service are known as fiat-to- cryptocurrency exchanges. Fiat to cryptocurrency exchanges typically allows users to convert their cash into cryptocurrencies and transfer the cryptocurrencies to other exchanges or a wallet. Prequel to the disaster that befell Mt. Gox, the exchange revelled in its monopolist status and no other exchange came close. Since its fall, however, numerous exchanges have risen into prominence and it seems investors have learned not to put too much trust in an exchange. Below are the exchanges that are currently dominating the cryptocurrency market:
This is a Slovenia based exchange that is popular for its low transaction fees. Bitstamp allows users to instantly buy or sell BTC/USD pairs while still enabling transaction in other currencies. This is made possible by an exchange platform that first converts other fiat monies to USD. To purchase Bitcoins on Bitstamp, you would need to first open an account and fund the account. Funding can be done through international wire transfer, SEPA etc. you would need to convert other currencies to USD on the platform before you are allowed to trade. Bitstamp has a very high trading volume and is widely trusted by numerous international users.
Bitfinex was launched about 5 years ago and it has grown rapidly into one of the most popular exchanges around, evidenced by the high trade volume recorded on the platform. The exchange offers advanced trading tools such as short selling, liquidity swaps, margin trading, etc. While all these tools are enjoyed by cryptocurrency trading veterans, it could take a while for beginners to find their way around Bitfinex. The platform has impressive security protocols and it is probably the most secure exchange around.
Coinbase incorporates an all-encompassing approach to the cryptocurrency business. For many, it’s a one-stop shop for all their crypto-trading needs as it could serve as an exchange, a wallet, and a Bitcoin payment processor. The California based company started by serving US clients only but its tentacles have since spread to Europe. Coinbase does not hold fiat money in customer accounts. Instead, it allows customers link their Coinbase account with their bank account. The customer initiates a transfer anytime he/she wants to buy Bitcoins. This confirmation of the transaction could take three to four days, rendering the exchange unsuitable for day trading.
Cryptsy accepts the conversion of fiat currencies to Bitcoins as well as many other Altcoins. Thus, it could easily pass for a cryptocurrency to cryptocurrency exchange. As of 2017, the exchange boasted over 300,000 users and an even greater amount of daily transactions.
The exchange is based in UK and has been established since 2011. EXMO could also serve as a fiat-to-crypto exchange or a crypto-to-crypto exchange. The exchange embraces the popular cryptocurrencies and accepts payment in many fiat currencies including U.S. Dollars, British Pounds, Chinese Yuan, Russsian Rubbles, and Euros.
There is no article on exchanges that would be complete without stressing the importance of not storing money on an exchange. Exchanges should only be seen as a medium of transfer and not a storage medium. If you would like to store your cryptocurrencies, wallets are the way to go and not exchanges. As soon as you make some profit you do not wish to plow back on an exchange, the best thing to do is transfer it to a cryptocurrency wallet.