As cryptocurrencies generate more buzz in the sphere, people try to find best ways to buy Bitcoin. This currency – as well as any other altcoin – is digital, so it can be traded via the Internet exclusively. Websites that provide users with the opportunity to buy and sell crypto are exchanges. There are two main types: centralized and decentralized (or peer-to-peer) exchanges. We will review the main features of each type further.
Despite the fact that most advanced exchanges have various trading tools and coin pairs, they may be too complex for newcomers. So, this article highlights the list of intuitive websites that are usually recommended to beginners. We will cover the platforms that allow buying cryptocurrencies with fiat money as it is the easiest way so far.
Centralized Bitcoin exchanges
They are the most widespread platforms for buying and selling Bitcoins. Crypto exchanges are similar to regular ones where securities are traded. As a rule, centralized exchanges are regulated businesses, which comply with the standards and requirements imposed on money service providers. To use a centralized Bitcoin exchange, customers should undergo verification – this is a security measure that prevents money laundering within the platform.
Centralized Bitcoin exchanges are customer-oriented and thus offer a set of advanced trading tools that simplify the process of buying and selling. Prices here can be extremely volatile as they are based on the market liquidity, so experienced traders can get huge profits. Still, exchanges may have relatively high fees.
Here are some of the user-friendly exchanges to focus on.
It is one of the largest exchanges with a user base of over 20 million. The platform supports only several cryptocurrencies including BTC, ETH, LTC, and BCH, which can be traded against USD, EUR, and GBP. At Coinbase one can buy crypto with a credit card or via a direct bank transfer. There are different fees for payment methods and regions. For instance, the US residents pay up to 4% as the base rate for all purchases conducted, while the fees for the users from Europe may vary. And, of course, the interface is really user-friendly: prices and instant buy options are available right through the main page. The profile features detailed portfolio stats, charts, and essential guides. Coinbase also provides users with a mobile app for Android or iOS.
However, Coinbase is not for all – it is available only in 32 countries. Check the list of the supported countries on the site.
Another fact to consider is exchange’s centralization. As we mentioned above, centralized exchanges should comply with the laws and regulations. In February 2018, Coinbase announced that it would reveal transaction data of 13,000 users to the IRS as the court order required.
This exchange can also boast of the intuitive interface. The main page offers a few buttons that refer users to the Buy/Sell and the Trade sections directly. The Buy/Sell option allows users to buy the preferred cryptocurrency in several clicks, literally. The list of supported cryptocurrencies is more extensive here and includes 8 different coins. As for fiat currencies, there are only USD, EUR, and GBP. It is said that the exchange supports almost all countries, so it’s really international (still, there are some restrictions). Payment options include both bank cards and bank transfers. We will not provide a complete overview of CEX.IO here but this platform is fully functional, with various trading tools and even margin trading available.
start from 0% for makers and 0.1% for takers, and may go up to 0.25%. Mind that the fees for the instant buy option are higher and amount to 7%. Depositing and withdrawing fees vary with the payment method used.
It is worth noting that the exchange has a demanding verification process that can sometimes take several days. Verification is obligatory for the customers to make use of CEX.IO services.
Coinmama is a popular Bitcoin broker that operates worldwide (188 countries covered) and allows for buying cryptocurrency with Visa or MasterCard. Just like CEX.IO, Coinmama affords users an opportunity to purchase Bitcoin by choosing a pre-defined package or specifying a custom amount. It has a detailed and simple welcome page with the coin offers and buying options listed there. Generally, the rates presented on the website already include fees charged by Coinmama, though there may be additional commissions that vary with the payment method you use. The flat fee on top of Coinmama’s rates is 5.9%. For debit/credit card transaction processing extra 5% is charged.
Coinmama claims that it doesn’t store any of the user personal data or funds within the exchange. After purchasing the coins are transferred to the wallet address specified by the user. Still, customers need to go through the identity verification for $150+ trades.
Decentralized (Peer-to-peer) exchanges
These are also called direct trading platforms. As a rule, decentralized exchanges operate globally and connect users within a particular location. P2P websites act as marketplaces, listing offers from local sellers that are visible to all users. Each seller sets its own price and conditions, so it is vital to explore as many offers as possible.
Such exchanges are the least secure option to buy Bitcoin though. Systems do not ensure safety of transactions and reliability of each particular seller. So, take your time to read reviews and compare rankings of the traders before agreeing on any transaction.
Here are some of the well-known and popular peer-to-peer cryptocurrency exchanges.
This global network of sellers is available in all countries and states except Germany and New York. The Quick Buy/Sell options, as well as the list of featured sellers and buyers can be easily accessed right from the homepage. P2P networks require less personal info when registering an account, so users can execute trades quickly and anonymously. LocalBitcoins features a web wallet and also offers escrow services.
The website has no limits on trades and charges a 1% fee (only for ad placement). However, merchants can set their own terms and conditions for a trade to be executed. So, always check the detailed info on fees and commissions imposed by the seller before accepting the terms. Payment options are various and they are also pre-defined by the vendor.
Keep in mind that peer-to-peer networks can be joined by anyone willing to participate in trades. This attracts many scammers and fraudsters as well. Choose only reputable merchants with high amount of trades.