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Best 11 Bitcoin and Crypto Trading Platforms in 2019


Best 11 Bitcoin and Crypto Trading Platforms in 2019
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Contents

Since they were launched, cryptocurrencies started changing the digital economy and are gradually being introduced into the real world. Thus, the amount of platforms allowing to trade Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is growing at a high rate.

Despite a large number of trading websites and apps, it’s hard to make a choice – not all of them are equally suitable for your needs and requirements. With this ultimate guide, you’ll get an insight into the worthiest crypto trading platforms, their features, and strong sides.


Before we plunge into reviews, let’s figure out what makes a decent trading platform.

Mission-critical points to consider

  • The level of safety and security. Luckily, the majority of BTC exchanges ensure tight security of their products, so you don’t have to worry. What makes a trading platform safe? First, use of SSL certificate (you’ll see the HTTPS in the website’s URL) prevents leaking of users’ personal data. Secondly, secure platforms feature 2-step authentication to cut access for anyone else except the user. Thirdly, look at overall reputation and read reviews – if an exchange has been hacked at least twice, it’s not worth your trust.

  • The liquidity of coins exchanged. A trading platform with high trading volumes will also have high liquidity of assets. High liquidity is a sign of a good platform.

  • The number of trading pairs accessible for users. Of course, trading of such pairs as BTC/ETH, BTC/USD, ETH/LTC is essential, but what about rare cryptocurrencies? Before you rush to register on a platform, make sure it supports the trading pairs you’re interested in.

  • Trading commissions. They ought to be as low as possible, but don’t believe the first numbers you see – read the fine print and terms attentively to understand the rate of fees and conditions where they apply.

  • Available payment options. Choose a platform that offers several payment alternatives that are available in your region and stay moderate. Credit/debit cards and wire transfers are traditional methods that come by default, but some users prefer digital payment systems (PayPal, WebMoney, and so on).

  • Customer support quality and reply time. In case of urgent issues, you need your questions to be answered immediately. No one wants to wait for days or weeks to have their problems solved. Thus, you should do research to find out how responsive and user-friendly the customer support service is.

  • The last but not the least is the website interface. It should be intuitive and convenient for you to abstain from committing serious errors by navigating through the wrong pages – it can cost you not only time.

All things considered, now we’ll review in detail BTC and cryptocurrency platforms to exchange digital forms of money.

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1. Coinbase

Coinbase interface

Coinbase is one of the biggest Bitcoin exchanges and as of now is positioned as one of the most reliable Bitcoin merchants around the globe. It was established in 2012 and has since been setting the standard of crypto exchanges by providing innovative security features, new exchanging pairs, payment methods, and many more perks for users.

Right now, Coinbase is running an asset base worth $100 million raised from numerous trusted contributors from different countries. Also, the platform is supported by financial insurance coverage, so if customers become victims of a hacking, they will be fully or partially compensated.

You can send your fiat money (USD, EUR, GBP and so forth) to Coinbase and effectively store your cryptographic forms of money that you can later withdraw in a Ledger Nano S or Trezor-like gadget.

Coinbase is also helpful in light of the fact that it enables you to purchase digital currencies by means of credit/charge cards. The procedure is fast and takes a few steps only.

The main reasons to become a Coinbase user are:

  • Coinbase enables clients to purchase the six best cryptocurrencies.

  • “Instant Exchange" alternative option allows clients to enjoy quick exchanges.

  • Clients use their free online wallet when exchanging on the platform.

  • All the clients’ funds exchanged on the platform are covered by insurance, protecting them against loss in case of technical failures or hacking.

The only thing you should take into account is the fact that Coinbase isn’t suitable for beginners – it should rather be used by experienced users.

Pros

Cons

  1. High liquidity

  2. Optimal limits

  3. Instant purchase option

  1. Transactions with bank transfer take up to five days to be processed.

  2. Coinbase tracks where you spend your crypto and blocks some users from purchases in the darknet.

2. Coinmama

Coinmama interface

Coinmama is another well-known digital platform for exchanging BTC and different coins. Every day, over 200,000 operations are performed on this website. Coinmama is great for purchasing all popular basic altcoins and BTC. Clients can buy crypto utilizing debit and cards. However, Coinmama doesn't offer the alternative to sell your coins like that.

Anyway, the platform is operating in more than 226 countries and is available in half of the US states. As for their exchanging commission, they charge a 5.5% fee for each purchase, with Visa cards requiring an extra 5%. As indicated by Coinmama, most banks and credit organizations consider acquiring Bitcoins as a loan, which results in higher exchange expenses.

Also, Coinmama has exchange limits depending on account verification. The more personal info is provided by a client, the higher is the transaction limit. The lowest exchanging limit every day is $10,000 – quite a lot, isn’t it? After you provide all confirmation subtleties, the platform will erase all daily trade limits.

So, why you should consider Coinmama?

  • The platform displays live pricing of coins in both USD and Euro.

  • Coinmama supports different languages to remain convenient for clients from various areas over the world.

  • Purchase of Bitcoins is available.

  • Selling its own assets, Coinmama removes middlemen, which excludes the risk of asset overpricing.

  • Over 200 crypto coins are supported.

Pros

Cons

  1. Available in many countries

  2. Trusted and reliable platform

  3. High limits for BTC operation with bank cards

  1. Very high fees compared to counterparts

3. Kraken

Kraken requires some basic experience to be used efficiently

Launched in 2013, this is one of the largest BTC trading platforms. It offers reliable and useful trading tools for users and totally complies with the guidelines set by the SEC. At present, it offers 15 trading pairs.

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Kraken has established the image of a reliable platform. Truth be told, after the Mt. Gox hack, the organization was picked as the only trustee of the remaining assets from the notorious website. One of the main reasons to choose this platform is low commissions: maker and taker fees range from 0% to 0.26% – way lower than Coinmama! There’s also BTC pricing to Bloomberg terminal.

Consider Kraken thanks to the following facts:

  • Kraken supports trading of USD, Euro, and a few other fiats.

  • Customer support is provided around the clock.

  • Kraken offers 15 diverse crypto pairs.

  • Numerous trading tools and functions are provided.

  • Trading fees are more than reasonable.

Pros

Cons

  1. High liquidity

  2. Supports all basic crypto assets

  3. Great for seasoned traders

  1. Slow processing time

  2. Arbitrary closing of accounts

4. Luno

Luno trading platform

Luno is a platform that enables clients to exchange Ethereum and Bitcoin with other fiat monetary forms. Right now, the exchange has restricted its activities to Europe, Indonesia, and a few African countries.  

Luno offers various payment methods including credit/debit cards, EFT, GT, GIRO, bank transfers, and a few more options. It boasts a moderate exchange fee of 0.25%, yet it might change depending on the trading pair.  

Luno has restrictions of the daily trading sum; the limit also depends on the amount of personal data provided by users. A fully verified account has an exchanging threshold of $100,000 every month or its crypto equivalent.  

Additionally, there’s a mobile app for Android and iOS to trade crypto on the go.

Why use Luno?

  • It offers simple methods to exchange fiat monetary forms for BTC and different cryptographic forms of money.

  • Luno permits payments with fiat.

  • It supports bank transfers and cards, which makes it very convenient for users from all over the world.

  • Low commission.

Pros

Cons

  1. Reliable and trusted exchange

  2. Free deposit and optimal withdrawal fees

  1. Not the best BTC wallet for storage

5. Bittrex

This platform boasts a huge amount of users with regards to exchanging Bitcoins. Bittrex is highly popular thanks to its intuitive navigation and easy-to-understand interface.

Bittrex enables clients to exchange more than 190 coins through various pairs. This US-based website is one of few crypto organizations staying under the strict control of the official regulators, which adds security. It abides by laws and regulations to ensure the security of their clients.

Bittrex has a clear sign-up procedure requiring your email address and a solid password. In order to withdraw money, you’ll need to verify your identity using an ID card/passport, utility bill, and your phone.  

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Extra verification will increase the daily exchange limit. Besides, you’ll be able to set up 2-factor authentication.

Bittrex has the following outstanding features:

  • Users can purchase or sell more than 190 crypto coins.

  • Bittrex utilizes many security features including the two-factor confirmation and encryption of user information.

  • Works around the world.

  • It has an amazingly easy-to-understand interface convenient for both novices and advanced users.

Pros

Cons

  1. Allows trading 190+ coins

  2. Intuitive UI

  3. Abides by laws

  1. Much personal information is required to remove exchange limits.

  2. It’s a crypto-to-crypto exchange only, which implies you cannot make any installments or exchange fiat.

6. Bitfinex

Bitfinex is one of the most well-established players in the sphere of crypto exchanges for novices. It is very similar to Bittrex, however, it allows users to deal with fiats like USD, EUR, and GBP. Bitfinex boasts gigantic turnover volume, so liquidity is never an issue while purchasing or selling on this platform as it generally positions among the Top-10 on CMC.

Bitfinex platform’s UI is not cluttered and provides clear guidelines on each page, showing how to sell and purchase currencies without a hitch.

Likewise, to begin on Bitfinex, you have to register, confirm your ID, and validate your profile. It regularly takes 15-20 business days after submitting your ID to become a regular platform user. By the way, if you prefer trading on the go, Bitfinex offers mobile applications with exactly the same functionality.

Why consider Bitfinex? Aside from having a brilliant user interface, it charges from 0.1% to 0.8%.

Bitfinex crypto exchange platform

Bitfinex works around the world with the exception of a few countries and the US.

Pros

Cons

  1. Allows working with both crypto and fiat

  2. High liquidity

  3. Intuitive, clear UI

  4. Mobile app

  1. Too much time is required for account verification

  2. Has a history of hacking

7. Cex.io

Cex.io is intuitive and easy in use

Cex.io is a popular trading platform that enable clients to purchase and sell BTC and different coins. It allows for transactions with bank exchanges and bank cards.

Cex.io additionally enables its clients to exchange Bitcoin for 4 fiat currencies (USD, GBP, EUR, and RUB). The platform boasts low commissions, a relatively high exchange speed, and quick access to the most popular trading pairs, such as ETH/BTC.

This exchanging apparatus gives low spreads, quicker exchange speeds, and fast access to liquid crypto pairs, such as ETH/BTC. It can be done through the web-based interface or by using a mobile app. Cex.io fees are very moderate, and depend on which role you take – maker or taker. Fees range between 0%-0.20%. Moreover, traders working with higher volumes are charged lower transaction fees.

Here’s why you should consider Cex.io:

  • Cex.io ensures higher liquidity through its order book, which provides them with access to the liquid assets.

  • The website has strict security control and provides 2-step authentication.

  • Cex.io charges very low fees.

  • The platform allows for exchanging both fiat and digital forms of money – it’s convenient for all users.

  • Cex.io boasts decent customer support and keeps your investments safe.

Pros

Cons

  1. Works with both fiat and cryptocurrency

  2. Reliable and trustworthy platform

  3. Low transaction fees

  1. Bank withdrawals can be expensive.

  2. BTC money transfers are a bit complicated.

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8. Binance

Binance is the world's largest trading platform that combines a large set of instruments, including exchange and wallet. Besides, you can benefit from Binance Labs and Charity information. Binance also possesses its proprietary coin called BNB that’s used to perform crypto-to-crypto payments. Binance supports 130+ different coins, so it’s a great place for buying crypto.

Yet, two versions of Binance are very different: the one for beginners with basic features is very convenient. The advanced version is harder to comprehend. Binance has about 0.05-0.1% fees, which is great. Most assets have deep markets, making Binance great for both beginner and experienced traders.

Another thing making Binance highly convenient is multiple languages – that’s why it attracts users from all over the world. There’s a mobile app for different OS, as well.

Pros

Cons

  1. Low transaction fees

  2. Convenient basic version

  1. No exchange with fiat

9. Bitpanda

Bitpanda is one of Europe's favorite Bitcoin exchange websites – actually, some crypto users even call it "Europe's Coinbase". Surprisingly, it’s an Australian-based project that provides users with convenient trading tools.

At the moment, it supports 16 cryptographic forms of money.

Customers can also use 4 fiats to buy coins on the platform including EUR, GBP, CHF, and USD. Three years ago, it was rewarded for being the highest trading fintech startup that’s set to accelerate implementation of cryptocurrency in Europe.

Why consider Bitpanda?

  • To every new user, Bitpanda provides a free wallet to store their assets for trading.

  • It’s one of the rare platforms that offer 24/7 client support for every customer.

  • Use of fiat currencies is allowed.

  • Bitpanda operates several types of payment including bank exchanges, Visa and Mastercard, cash, SOFORT, Skrill, and Neteller.

Pros

Cons

  1. Clean, intuitive interface

  2. Numerous payments methods

  3. No major hacks happened recently

  1. Fees aren’t disclosed (about 2%)

  2. A few altcoins available

10. KuCoin

KuCoin is a great cryptocurrency exchange platform that has received a lot of props and acclaim during the last half of a year. It’s not surprising considering the team developing the project and a convenient, intuitive user interface. By the way, the platform was founded in 2011 and has gained good reputation throughout these years.

As for liquidity and trading volume, KuCoin ranks among the best 25 exchanges on CMC and keeps including new coins/tokens in their set of available tokens. The platform is praised for its heavy focus on security as well.

From the investment perspective, KuCoin's native token (KuCoin Shares) would be great for holding because it provides some passive income in exchange fees (holders get a 1% discount for every 1000 KCS sold). One remarkable thing that many novices miss is that KuCoin is one of the rare exchanges that pays you NeoGAS for keeping NEO on it. Fees are moderate.

Pros

Cons

  1. Low fees

  2. Passive income for native coin holders

  3. Safe and reliable

  1. No fiat is supported

  2. The website can be slow during traffic peaks

  3. No mobile app

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11. Huobi

This is one of the rare crypto exchanges that still haven’t established their presence in the United States. This trading project was born in China and supports around 250 digital currencies. Huobi has 2 unique versions: Huobi OTC (allows exchanging of crypto with fiat monetary forms at zero charge) and Huobi Pro (leverages additional exchanging capacities). Huobi is also planning to launch a crypto exchange fund (ETF) to be called HB10.

Pros

Cons

  1. Wide choice of cryptocurrencies

  2. Around-the-clock customer support

  3. Moderate fees

  1. Has falsified trading volumes

  2. Mostly suitable for South-Asian audience


As you see, there’s an endless choice of BTC and crypto trade/exchange websites and apps. However, they support different currencies and have different features, so it’s crucial to pick an option that meets your personal requirements. Hopefully, this guide has given you a clearer picture of the top trading platforms. Now that you know their strong and weak sides, making a decision will be much simpler.

Please note one thing: these platforms should rather be used for active trading and exchanges. If you opt for a long-term crypto storage solution, check out our list of BTC wallets.

Trade carefully, and good luck!

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SegWit Explained: What Is Bitcoin's Segregated Witness?


SegWit Explained: What Is Bitcoin's Segregated Witness?
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Segregated Witness (SegWit) is an implemented protocol update that solves the problem of the Bitcoin’s blockchain transaction malleability. The point is in one of the transaction components. The first part is the Basic information (the sender, the amount, the recipient). And the second part — Witness — carries a special cryptographic signature (code). This code is a confirmation of the virtual transaction in Bitcoin currency.

Witness’ signature creates difficulties for the blockchain because the form can be changed after the appearance in the block. Bitcoin will still reach the addressee, but the construction of new transactions will be complicated because they all go along the chain. Unconfirmed transactions slow down the speed of new ones, reducing the overall Bitcoin network performance due to pulling data from a past virtual transaction.


The current Bitcoin protocol makes it difficult to implement large-scale updates, as well as to conduct fast transfers. The problematic network feature is called the “transaction malleability”. Against this background began the movement for the introduction of SegWit.

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The goals of SegWit

Segregated Witness must restore the Bitcoin network and adapt the blockchain technology to new realities. The main task is to solve transaction malleability and scalability. SegWit optimizes the transaction process and creates conditions for the subsequent increase in virtual block size. SegWit has to solve such problems and questions:

  • If Witness signature is segregated from a block of Bitcoin increases size and bandwidth of the entire network.

  • The transaction size is reduced by 2 times.

  • Reducing the blockchain size, which saves disk virtual space for nodes.

  • Starting and synchronization of nodes speed up significantly.

  • The enhanced spam protection mechanism of Bitcoin currency.

It follows that SegWit addresses the most important aspects for Bitcoin: scalability, protection level, transactions speed, and interaction with new protocols.

The story of Segregated Witness

The first talk about the need to modernize Bitcoin’s protocol and about possible ways to solve the transaction malleability problem appeared in 2012. Bitcoin-Core developers Russell O’Connor, Luke Dashir, Gregory Maxwell and others became initiators. Active actions for the currency began in the summer of 2014, when Maxwell, Pieter Wuille and cryptographer Adam Back launched the blockchain research company called Blockstream. In this environment, they found a solution to Bitcoin’s problem. It was decided to separate special cryptographic signature from the main part of the transaction. They called this function Segregated Witness.

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In parallel with Segregated Witness, the idea of ​​optimizing Bitcoin’s blockchain by increasing the block size (the default is 1 megabyte) appeared. It could be realized only through a hard fork — a rigid network separation through the introduction of changes incompatible with the current protocol. SegWit, on the contrary, was a soft fork or partial update of Bitcoin’s protocol. To implement it, the Witness’s signature must be segregated in a new part of the virtual block. And its anchor (Merkle Root) recorded in the transaction of miners’ fees. As a result, more space remained in Bitcoin’s block, and its size increased without actually increasing. This result allowed us to solve the problem of the Bitcoin network scalability, which was also quite acute.

After the appearance of the second idea, a real war broke out, including among the developers of Bitcoin currency. Miners and pools couldn’t come to a consensus from 2015 to August 2017. As a result, SegWit was accepted and activated. A special code called BIP91, developed by Bitmain engineer James Hilliard, turned out to be the best compromise among all the proposals received over several years.

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The main advantages of Segregated Witness

The list of benefits which will be received by the Bitcoin network with the introduction of SegWit is very large, we focus the main ones:

  1. The third party will lose any options of signature’s changing, which will facilitate the development of new smart contracts.

  2. Dividing special cryptographic signature from Basic data will significantly increase transaction size and Bitcoin’s blockchain bandwidth, and the average virtual block size will be 1.7-2 MB.

  3. With Segregated protocol, transactions in Bitcoin currency will remain available to participants who have accepted SegWit, and those who refuse to do so. At the same time, users with an updated protocol will work with smaller commissions.

  4. The adoption of SegWit greatly simplifies the implementation of new soft forks, allowing to introduce new ideas to improve the security of Bitcoin currency.

  5. The block validation rate and transaction security will increase due to a change in the signature hash function from linear to exponential.

  6. A segregated signature will reduce the currency’s charging fees.

  7. SegWit will have a positive impact on the Bitcoin ecosystem here and now, as well as create a springboard for further development.

Arguments against SegWit

Even today, Segregated Witness is not fully accepted by the Bitcoin network. Sceptics believe that this will take years because the number of nodes has already exceeded 10,000. An increase in the number of participants and a virtual transaction will result in a Bitcoin’s block size of 2 MB is small for the needs of the ecosystem.

Partial centralization of Bitcoin’s system due to the implementation of the SegWit protocol will increase the number of unconfirmed transactions, which will strip the network and make currency vulnerable to hacker attacks.

Some Bitcoin developers and pools believe the adoption of SegWit is dictated by the economic gain of Blockstream, which owns the Lightning Network protocol. Its technical implementation in the Bitcoin network without Segregated Witness is almost impossible.

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Will the time come for SegWit2x?

Speaking about the implementation of Segregated Witness and Bitcoin currency, it is impossible not to mention the postponed indefinitely SegWit2x. The agreement was the result of heated discussions and a search for consensus. It was decided to make a hard fork, after which the block size should increase to 2 megabytes. The split was scheduled for mid-November 2017. In fact, Bitcoin would split into two networks with its own coin, rules, signatures and standards.

However, the idea was not destined to come true. Firstly, the negative attitude of the developer community and the launched NO2X campaign did not play into the hands of the “Segregated” protocol. Secondly, BIP91 was implemented earlier and it was successful.

As a result, on November 8, 2017, the complete closure of the project was announced. But there were people who positively evaluated the results for Bitcoin. For example, the head of Blockchain.info, Peter Smith, who initially supported the Segwit2x idea, spoke as follows:

“We’re relieved. The goal of the NYA was to bring the community together and keep the majority of the users on the same chain for at least a little while longer.”

SegWit usage metrics
Image by 123rf

Results for Bitcoin and blockchain

From the moment of implementation of Segregated Witness, a year and a half has passed, but the protocol is not accepted by 70%. Many large services have not yet implemented it into their processes. However, positive changes are already visible, especially for ordinary users. Now the average transaction cost with confirmation within 20 minutes, according to Bitcoin Core Fees, is estimated at 5 satoshi/byte, that is, about $ 0.08 for the entire virtual transaction.

Spam attacks on the Bitcoin network have also stopped, the mempool remains free, and the average block size has exceeded 1 MB. In addition, the activation of SegWit has opened the doors to the implementation of new solutions and prospects for Bitcoin and cryptocurrency in general.

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