Bitcoin is hailed as the money of the future. Quite obviously, if you want to try it out, you'll need to acquire it first. The best way to do so is by buying it. Another way is mining, however, for Bitcoin, this would require either a mining contract with a company such as Genesis Mining, or purchasing expensive hardware and setting up a mining operation, on which we have a guide here.
Neither will give you an instantaneous surge of Bitcoin. Thus, it’s best to start with the most popular way of getting 'BTC', through a cryptocurrency exchange. Due to a boom in the crypto world, the list is ever-growing, so we will focus only on the very best Bitcoin exchanges out there.
BITCOIN EXCHANGE OVERVIEW
The information provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be seen as investing advice. Our opinions on this site are only that, if you are considering an investment into cryptocurrency or anything we speak about on this site, please advise a trusted financial professional first, before doing so.
If you’re located in Europe, BitPanda would be a great choice for you. It boasts low fees and supports a variety of payment options: SOFORT, Visa/Mastercard, NETELLER, Skrill, GIROPAY/EPS, SEPA and OBT included. The negative is that you need to verify a lot of documents in order to enjoy full potential of this exchange.
Email, phone number and ID are required. But if you complete the verification process, you’ll have access to Bitcoin the instant your money reaches the account. It's quite a quick onboarding process, but only if you exclude the need to verify your identity.
Sentiment in the crypto community of Reddit, Facebook, & Telegram are mainly positive and BitPanda has a fairly strong score in the support area. You won’t be disappointed with this exchange if you're located in Europe.
Coinbase, the world’s largest Bitcoin exchange, is a great option for beginners. The service provides a wallet in addition to an exchange. Options such as multisig and 2FA (two-factor authentication) are of course included in the wallet. Being the largest exchange, they place high the importance security at the top of their mission. Hence they insuring their clients wallet, so in any case of a breach, you’ll probably have your funds refunded.
An easy to use interface is the defining factor of Coinbase, from which comes the beginner-friendliness. Alike BitPanda and many other exchanges, you need to provide various personal details in order to use Coinbase. (For a complete walkthrough of Coinbase's purchasing process, click here)
Purchases can be made with credit card, bank transfer or SEPA. Depending on the payment option, transactions can be slow compared to BitPanda, but here, you get a higher limit of $50k for US citizens, and €30k for European customers.
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Contrary to Coinbase, Bitstamp is not a beginner friendly exchange. Its fees are rather high for volumes under $20k monthly, but they get lower as your volume increases beyond that. The payments are generally geared towards “big fish”, rather than someone just wanting to purchase few hundred dollars worth. A nice feature of this exchange is instant order execution.
Bitstamp automatically finds the best deal for you and seals it, if you choose the option. It also has a monitoring tool for your dealings, called Tradeview Interface. There’s a well-documented API that gives users complete access to their accounts and tools for the analysis of trade information. If you’d rather use mobile than desktop, Android and iOS apps can be found in the respective platform stores.
Generally, the interface of Bitstamp isn’t as beginner friendly as Coinbase, but neither is it overly complex, like in case of Bitfinex. As I mentioned before, this exchange is mostly for people looking to spend a lot of money on Bitcoin and would likely be a second tier exchange for a bigger trader to use after they've gotten their feet wet.
If you’re concerned with privacy, then localbitcoins will be the best service for your crypto needs. It is not an exchange, per se, but a marketplace which connects buyers and sellers of Bitcoin directly. You can find listings for about every payment method out there, and every seller has his or her own reputation, with reviews made by real users.
Consequently, you can be sure of who you’re buying from. And if you’re willing to risk a bit, new sellers who don’t have much reputation usually sell BTC for more favorable rates. Levels of required verification vary between sellers. It’s them who set the rules. Some don’t require any verification at all.
Usually, you can also arrange a local meeting with a seller and buy Bitcoin with cash. With no identification involved, this is the most anonymous and private option out there, second to buying crypto with another crypto. The disadvantage of using this website is the 1% sales fee. All the rest depends on the users, so your mileage might vary.
Gemini is a great choice if you’re a US citizen. Though, it does depend on which state you’re located in. The exchange is unavailable in Oregon and Arizona.
For now, supported countries on this exchange are as follows: USA, Singapore, Hong Kong, Puerto Rico, Canada, South Korea and the United Kingdom. Those with access to this service will benefit from respectful rates and decent customer support, plus fast transaction speeds.
In a similar vein to Bitstamp, high volume users are favored, but the low volume fees are still not too high. The originators of this service are public personalities, the Winklevoss twins, famous for suing Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg over the idea of a social networking site. With their reputation on hold, you can expect high quality of the service and a guarantee of security.
Gemini had no breaches as of 2017. The company is regulated by the New York State Department of Financial Services, which means they need to meet strict regulations of capitalization, compliance, anti-money laundering, consumer protection, and cyber security.
It can’t get any better than that with trust. Without minimum required deposits, unlimited wire transfer and cryptocurrency deposits and withdrawals, many will certainly find this exchange an attractive option for exchanging Bitcoin.
BEST RATED BITCOIN EXCHANGE
It's quite hard to determine which is the best bitcoin exchange based on your location, but a safe bet is Coinbase. Not only do they have enormous liquidity but your funds are insured with them.
I'm not sure of any exchange that offers that and to be honest, we wouldn't want to recommend anything for someone starting out because this cryptocurrency space is still the wild-west. As of writing this, 32 countries are supported on Coinbase and they also have a much more sophisticated trading platform called 'GDAX' which allows you to transfer funds between both platforms for free.
So go on, open your account with Coinbase today and see how easy the onboarding process is. We've setup an account in less than 15 mins, not within the US either.