Pros and Cons of the Top 4 Best Cryptocurrency Exchange Platforms for 2018

Cryptocurrency exchanges and platforms allow users from around the world to exchange their fiat dollars, such as USD, EUR, JPY, etc., for cryptocurrency tokens. Exchanges can also be used to trade one cryptocurrency for another. The best cryptocurrency exchanges are able to bring a new level of innovation that the traditional financial system has not been able to achieve in decades. This writeup will detail the top 4 best cryptocurrency exchanges and platforms. But before we dive into the advantages and disadvantages of each platform, let’s establish a set of criteria detailing what you should look for in a reliable, hassle-free cryptocurrency exchange.


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What to Look for In Cryptocurrency Exchanges

FEES

Most token exchanges charge a service fee for converting fiat money and crypto tokens into other cryptocurrencies. Fees alone should not dictate which exchange you decide to use, but if you plan on moving large volumes of money back and forth between accounts, you definitely need to compare fees for each exchange. Credit card fees tend be about 4%, while bank transfer fees are typically in the 1% to 1.5% range. Most exchanges tend to charge anywhere from 0.01% to 5% fees for deposits and withdrawals. This is a wide net, but just make sure to not sacrifice quality for a few extra dollars.


LIMITS

Most crypto exchanges do have a maximum limit for how much money can be deposited at any one time, as well as how much of a specific cryptocurrency you can purchase. If you plan on depositing and trading large amounts of tokens, you need to make sure the platform is able to support the amount you have in mind. Some platforms will also have limits to how much money any one user can withdraw in a single day. This can be a problem for people who deal in large amounts, as they will be forced to spread out their withdrawals over a period of days or weeks.


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QUICKNESS

When you’re trying to profit in a game of inches, it’s vital to utilize an exchange that delivers coins in a timely manner. With this said, exchanges cannot guarantee coins will be delivered in a specific time period due to the nature of tokens and their blockchains, wherein each transaction must be verified. When a blockchain is congested, you can expect the verification process to take longer (or shorter) than usual. Aside from this, transactions can also take longer than usual due to the slow nature of the legacy banking system, depending on the withdrawal method. Buying cryptocurrencies with credit cards doesn’t take too long, while bank transfers can take several days. PayPal deposits and withdrawals can take anywhere from 30 minutes to several days to complete.


PRIVACY

Despite what you may have heard about cryptocurrencies and blockchains, digital tokens and their exchanges are not bulletproof. Hackers look for opportunities, and unscrupulous buyers and sellers will look to take advantage of certain payment methods. This is why it is critical to deposit your money into an exchange that takes your personal privacy and security seriously. Consider the following: How much personal information is required to set up an account? Do you need to verify your address, identity, or phone number? While many people are put off by the idea of sending a cryptocurrency exchange their ID, the more layers of protection you have, the better. Secure exchanges will use two-factor authentication and may require some form of identity proof. This is enough to ward off most scammers and makes it harder for hackers to infiltrate individual user accounts.


REPUTATION

What are other users saying about the platform? Are reviews mixed, positive, or predominantly negative? Are hacks and identity theft a problem? Check if the exchange is regulated. While a non-regulated crypto exchange doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad, having some form of government oversight is a clear bonus. What is the exchange’s customer support like? Do they have a 24-hour live chat system, or do they only have email support tickets? Is there a telephone number you can dial to connect with a real person? Also consider the number of years the platform has been operational.


TOP 4 BEST CRYPTOCURRENCY EXCHANGES


1) KRAKEN


Jesse Powell Kraken.com
Jesse Powell Kraken.com

About Kraken

Kraken was established in 2011 in San Francisco by entrepreneur Jesse Powell, a well-known figure within the cryptocurrency world thanks to his security contributions to MtGox. In a way, Kraken is the successor to MtGox, the former exchange that went bankrupt. Kraken’s international exchange is highly popular within Europe, as they have the highest trading volume for the Bitcoin/Euro pair and have low fees for EUR users. Unlike many other cryptocurrency platforms, Kraken accepts various fiat currencies, including: USD, CAD, JPY, and EUR. They currently offer 15 different cryptocurrencies to trade, including tokens such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dash, Zcash, Litecoin, and more. Kraken gives its users multiple trading tools, run on a highly secure environment with reliable cold storage, and offer advanced order types, such as buy limit and stop loss orders.


Kraken Pros

  • Up to 5x leverage on Bitcoin
  • Use 2-factor-authentication and PGP email encryption
  • Have a iOS and Android app for mobile devices
  • Moderate to high liquidity, specifically for EUR and JPY pairs
  • Support margin trading and short selling
  • Support custom order types
  • No limits on deposits
  • Low fees for European users
  • Quick and easy account setup, no ID required
  • Long standing crypto exchange trusted by hundreds of thousands of international crypto traders
  • Suitable for both beginners and professionals

Kraken Cons

  • Because of the high volume of traders using the platform, expect a few site errors every now and then
  • Could benefit from more crypto pairs
  • Customer support can occasionally get overwhelmed, leading to long response times
  • Complex fee structure, high fees for USD users moving small quantities of coin (i.e. $7 BTC withdrawal fee, $5 USD bank wire withdrawal fee, and $5 bank wire deposit fee)

Kraken Final Remarks

Overall, Kraken is a great crypto platform that offers several useful features to day traders. If you live in Europe, Kraken was probably your first and most enticing choice, and for good reason: The company is one of the oldest and largest exchanges, which has allowed them produce a long track record of happy traders without having to deal with any major issues, scandals, or negative publicity. In the end, if you’re a beginner based in Europe, go with Kraken.


>> Register for trading account


2) BITTREX


Bittrex was one of the first to trade Bitcoin Cash
Bittrex was one of the first to trade Bitcoin Cash

About Bittrex

Bittrex is a regulated crypto exchange that is based in the United States and was formed in 2014 out of Las Vegas, Nevada. Bittrex caters to crypto traders, as they currently support the buying and selling of over 200 different tokens, and the platform is often one of the first exchanges to list new emerging cryptocurrencies. To keep their customers secure, Bittrex performs compliance audits against new cryptocurrencies to ensure their traders make safe transactions with legitimate ventures. While some exchanges accept fiat currency, Bittrex uses Bitcoin as their cornerstone currency. They do not accept any type of fiat money. Adjusting to the Bittrex platform can take some time to get used to, but the company is highly professional and offers speedy transactions and is a frequently used platform by seasoned crypto-investors.


Bittrex Pros

  • Anonymous function – no ID required for basic accounts
  • No minimum deposit
  • Utilizes 2-factor-authentication
  • Quick and simple account setup
  • Makes 1-minute price charts available
  • Perfect platform for those doing arbitrage
  • Flawless data connections – service interruptions are rare

Bittrex Cons

  • No app support
  • Only email and ticket customer support
  • Do not accept USD or any fiat currencies
  • No margin available
  • Low liquidity can be a problem from time to time
  • No dollar value assigned to cryptocurrencies
  • Advanced user interface (not beginner friendly)
  • High trading fees of 0.25%

Bittrex Final Remarks

Although Bittrex does not currently enable leverage, the company has stated that they expect to implement a leverage functionality later this year or in the beginning of 2018. The maximum withdrawal amount allowed for users with basic accounts is 1 BTC, while enhanced account holders who have been verified can withdraw up to $50,000 at any one time. Overall, Bittrex is a great cryptocurrency exchange for seasoned arbitrageurs, but isn’t the most ideal option for professional daytraders due to the limited amount of immediate liquidity and the inability to trade with margin. But, as Bittrex has witnessed a staggering rise in new accounts in 2017, the platform’s liquidity woes may soon come to an end.


>> Register for trading account


3) COINBASE


Coinbase – Instant purchases from verified cards
Coinbase – Instant purchases from verified cards

About Coinbase

Coinbase is arguably the most popular cryptocurrency exchange in the United States. Coinbase was launched in 2012 and, after financial backing from major banks and venture capital firms, set the standard for cryptocurrency exchanges around the globe. Coinbase is a P2P platform that supports the buying and selling of Bitcoin, Etherum, and Litecoin tokens. Coinbase also has an Android and iOS wallet app. They have over 8 million users from over 30 countries and have housed over $6 billion in cryptocurrency transactions. A few major companies who have invested in Coinbase include the likes of the Bank of Tokyo, the New York Stock Exchange, Andressen Horrowitz, and more. Customers from the United States, Canada, Europe, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Singapore are able to buy crypto tokens with a verified credit card or through bank transfer. Credit card purchases come with a 3.99% fee while bank transfers have a 1.49% transaction fee.


Coinbase Pros

  • Sleek intuitive design
  • Support credit and debit cards
  • Instant purchases from verified cards
  • API tools for developers
  • Bitcoin deposits are insured
  • Partnered with major banks

Coinbase Cons

  • Caught monitoring their customers spending habits. Apparently, Coinbase has signed a contract with its stakeholders that force them to ensure Bitcoins are spent ‘responsibly’. This means that if you send BTC to adult entertainment or gambling websites, your account may be shut down without warning.
  • Coinbase has made a move against the philosophy of the crypto-community by applying for a patent for the rights to crypto wallet technology.
  • There have been some complaints from Coinbase affiliates that their earnings have been withheld due to ‘technical issues’.
  • Only offer three tokens

Coinbase Final Remarks

Although Coinbase does appear to have a slight problem with greed and a sense of dissonance with its users, it’s still a great cryptocurrency exchange for buyers. Coinbase’s main advantage is its large client base. If you do buy tokens through Coinbase, it is highly advised that you relocate your coins to a hardware wallet. But, overall Coinbase is a solid platform.


>> Register for trading account


4) LOCALBITCOINS


LocalBitcoins - No bank account required
LocalBitcoins – No bank account required

About LocalBitcoins

LocalBitcoins.com was founded in 2012 by Jeremiah Kangas in Helsinki, Finland. LocalBitcoins takes a slightly different, free market approach to the buying and selling digital tokens. The platform operates as a P2P exchange that allows users to find and quickly connect with other buyers and sellers, either internationally or locally. In a way, LocalBitcoin is like the Craigslist of crypto exchanges. The platform supports all markets from around the world, allowing anyone from any country to connect with local people. This is especially helpful to those who are only legally allowed to physically transfer BTC. The platform charges a flat 1% fee on all transactions. Deals made locally with cash come with no fees. Although there are no ID requirements, it’s a good idea to verify your identity so that other traders are more likely to trust you.


LocalBitcoins Pros

  • No bank account required
  • Available in over 190 countries
  • Instantaneous transfers with other humans (trade requests made with other users are cancelled if a deal has not been completed within 90 minutes)
  • Very simple user interface
  • No buy or sell limit on transactions
  • Supports dozens of payment methods
  • Easy fee structure
  • With LocalBitcoin’s filter, finding the right buyer or seller is easy

LocalBitcoins Cons

  • You have to deal with people, unlike with other major exchanges, which will cause varying experiences among users
  • Only support Bitcoin
  • Possibility of being scammed, specifically with PayPal transactions, although LocalBitcoin does have a grievance process that allows those wrongfully scammed to get their money back depending on the circumstance
  • No leverage or trading tools are applicable in this P2P platform

LocalBitcoins Final Remarks

While a majority of people have had a positive experience with LcoalBitcoin, including the writer of this review, there are definitely scammers on the site. To stay safe, check your buyer or seller’s star ratings, make sure they’re using a verified account, and check out the forum every once in a while to block known scammers. This type of mistrust can make LocalBitcoin not the best option for traders dealing in large volumes of crypto. But, in the end LocalBitcoin is a unique and viable alternative to Coinbase – highly recommended.


>> Register for trading account


What are your thoughts about these top cryptocurrency platforms? Is your own experience positive, negative, mixed? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Cryptocurrency Wallets: Ledger Might Just Be The Leader In Hardware Crypto Wallets

This article was originally posted on techcrunch.com
by Romain Dillet on January 18th, 2018

Ledger raises another $75 million to become the leader in cryptocurrency hardware wallets

Ledger just raised an impressive Series B round of $75 million (€61 million), led by Draper Esprit. The startup already raised a $7 million round last year. But the cryptocurrency mania probably made it easy to raise more money. If you have more than a bit of money in cryptocurrencies, chances are you’ve heard about Ledger wallets. The French startup has been designing some of the most secure hardware wallets out there.

If you don’t want to get hacked, get a Ledger wallet. FirstMark Capital, Cathay Innovation, Korelya Capital and existing investors CapHorn Invest, GDTRE and Digital Currency Group also invested in today’s round. XAnge remains in the capital. Ledger says that the round was oversubscribed, and that it is the largest Series B round in a cryptocurrency startup when you exclude ICOs. The company has sold a million hardware wallets in 2017. While this sounds impressive, it’s even more impressive when you compare it to 2016. Ledger only sold 30,000 wallets in 2016 — it represents a 33x year-over-year increase. And this is key to understanding Ledger’s wallet.

Few people predicted the cryptocurrency boom of 2017. That’s why Ledger has been struggling with keeping up with orders. When you buy a Ledger Nano S today, you’re going to get delivered in March 2018. So the company is going to use today’s funding round to ramp up production and solve those back-order issues. It’s important to note that Ledger is already profitable. Ledger currently has 82 employees in Paris, San Francisco and Vierzon.

The company also plans to launch the Ledger Vault, a security solution for banks, hedge funds and family offices that want to invest in cryptocurrencies. “For the wallets, we integrated our operating system in a secure chip, and for the Vault, we are integrating it in a hardware security module,” Ledger co-founder and CEO Eric Larchevêque told me. “The idea behind it is to provide additional features and services, such as multiaccounts, multisignature or timelocks.”

Ledger is the equivalent of a gold pick manufacturer. When there’s a gold rush, the one selling the gold picks end up with more money than people looking for gold. Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that Ledger raised $70 million. The company ended up raising $75 million. Disclosure: I own small amounts of various cryptocurrencies.

Cryptocurrency FAQ: Where Can I Spend My Cryptocurrency?

This article was originally posted on hackernoon.com
by jordangonen on Nov 9, 2017.

Where you can spend your cryptocurrency?

One of the big gray areas around crypto, especially for outsiders and newbies to the space, is the looming question of where can you spend your currency? Once you own some bitcoin / ethereum…what do you actually do with it? And though there are lots of individual investors “HODL-ing” until the end of time, surely there are use cases (especially if things in the space go “well”) where cryptocurrencies are far more than an investment vehicle — but rather an entire new medium for exchanging and transacting.

Many do not think our current economic infrastructure, here in the United States, is in place to support any sort of “currency revolution.” At least not yet. Since the technology is still developing, we are sitting at an interesting period of hurry up and wait, as the framework and infrastructure of this new financial world is still being built.

Today, the process of purchasing cryptocurrencies (like Bitcoin and Ethereum) is cumbersome and difficult. Unless you use a service like Dether — that lets you buy and sell your ether coins for cash — you have to register for an exchange, deposit money, verify your information, wait a few weeks, and then, after all that, you can finally withdraw your currency. On top of that there are fees. Outages. Slow downs in the market place. And even then…

  • Once you have your digital currency. Where do you go spend it?

t is not like you can walk to your local grocery store and exchange your bitcoins for a banana. I guess the good news for crypto enthusiasts is that the list of merchants that accept bitcoin is expanding…but still, how soon will that pick up to be practical for the masses?

Here are a bunch of places I found, just through googling that will take your bitcoin:


(my friend Adam also made Cryptoallowed, a “google” that only returns crypto results — which can help you find crypto stuff).


Today, the number of merchants hovers somewhere over 100,000. What do you think that number will be at 6 months from now? What about a year from now? 5 years? 10 years? What is perhaps even more exciting to me than the revolution that *could* take place in the first world is the opportunity to bring modern financial services to not yet developed countries who lack essentials like banking and financing. Literally billions of adults still are void of services like these. Billions. Who will be there to serve this untapped market?