Bitcoin is an alternative currency invented after the economic crash of 2008 by the elusive Satoshi Nakamoto. Bitcoins are essentially cryptocurrencies, which are de-centralized digital currency which are not owned by any bank, company, organization or government. Bitcoins offer the promise of lower transaction fees than normal online payment systems. Almost a decade since its inception, bitcoin has cemented its place as an alternative currency and an investment asset that behaves just like gold but with more volatility in its price.
Given its de-centralization, when someone owns a bitcoin, they are in charge of keeping it secure since no bank or intermediary is involved. The coins are kept in digital wallet apps and are purchased and sold through bitcoin exchanges that are established throughout the world. These exchanges are just like any forex exchanges that exist but for crypto-currencies. A bitcoin exchange is a place where you can exchange your local currency to buy bitcoin stock. This is a digital marketplace where traders buy and sell all various kinds of altcoins and fiat currencies. There are dozens of these bitcoin exchanges online. Some of the most reliable, biggest exchanges are mentioned below.
Coinbase is one of the biggest names in cryptocurrency exchanges in the world. Headquartered in San Francisco in America, it deals in various cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Tezos etc along with fiat currencies. Coinbase is also a wallet for storage of currencies in addition to being an exchange. Since Coinbase is based in the USA, it has to follow local laws and regulations and this means that the initial vetting procedure of Coinbase requires personal identification of the users, this is a process that many bitcoin users are averse to. The process takes around 2-3 days after which you can use the exchange. Although some bitcoin users do not like this process but it does make the whole process of using Coinbase much ore safer. Coinbase has been operational since 2012 and has had more than $1 billion in revenue. Deposits can be made using debit, credit cards, cryptocurrencies, Paypal etc and fiat currency are accepted.
Binance was found by Changpeng Zhao, a developer, who had previously built high frequency trading software. The exchange was recorded as the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world by trading volume by January 2018, when it was founded only in 2017. With headquarters in Malta, Binance deals in various cryptocurrencies but does not accept fiat currency for deposits; it only accepts cryptocurrency for deposits. Binance has a very streamlined system where from the moment you start your registration process to the moment your funds clear, it will take you hardly fifteen minutes. This ease and convenience has made Binance a direct competitor of Coinbase in terms of volume and trading.
Ftx is more institutional derivatives exchange, established in May 2019 and operated from Hong Kong. It has consistently been in top-5 derivatives exchanges by volume. Ftx accepts BTC’s, Ethereums and stable coins as deposits and does not deal in fiat currencies.
Founded in 2013 and located in London, United Kingdom, Cex-io deals in all major cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoins, Ethereum, Ripple, and Litecoin. It accepts debit and credit cards, bank transfers and cryptocurrencies as deposit methods and accepts USD, GBP, EUR and RUB.
LocalBitcoins is a peer to peer bitcoin exchange. Founded by Jeremias Kangas, in June 2012, it is based in Helsinki, Finland. LocalBitcoins has most varied acceptance of deposit methods including debit/credit cards, bank transfers, Paypal, BTCs and cryptocurrencies. LocalBitcoins also deals in varied fiat currencies with all major ones accepted but gives out only BTC’s.
Founded in 2013 by Bill Shihara and partners, Bittrex is a currency exchange based in Seattle, America. It accepts USD and the deposits can be made with cryptocurrencies or bank transfer methods. Bittrex operates from Washington DC, America and offers a wide variety of cryptocurrencies.
Coinmama is another reputable exchange founded first in 2013 based in Bratislava, Slovakia. Unlike the competitors, Coinmama is not also a wallet and so the customers would need additional wallet app. Coinmama deals in all major cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple etc). Fiat currency is also accepted by Coinmama and debit/credit cards, bank transfers and even cash is accepted as deposit methods.
Kraken is also one of the US based cryptocurrency exchanges. Founded in 2011, the exchange provides trading from cryptocurrencies to fiat currency and also provides price information. Kraken was founded by Jesse Powell in 2011 and now has a number of subsidiaries operational. Kraken offers multiple cryptocurrencies including, Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Ripple. Bank transfers are accepted as deposits and major fiat currencies such as USD, EUR and GBP are accepted.
Changelly is located in Prague, Czech Republic. It is unique in its anonymous trade offering. It is instant and simple in use and may only require an email sign-in as ID verification without anything else. Deposits maybe made using debit or credit cards and the exchange accepts USD and EUR with offerings of various cryptocurrencies including: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin etc.
It is, however, always a good idea to thoroughly read the laws of the countries each of these cryptocurrency exchanges operates in before making any trading decisions as some exchanges only work under certain jurisdictions like CoinBase which follows American regulations. Each exchange will also offer slightly different rates of bitcoins, so it is important to carry out due diligence before choosing an exchange that suits the needs of trading best.