Top Ten Crypto Exchanges For Traders – TheTradersWire

Top Ten Crypto Exchanges For Traders

Top Ten Crypto Exchanges For Traders

by THE MOLE

This is the third installment of an ongoing educational series that will cover the nuts and bolds behind crypto currencies as well as the skills and knowledge required in trading this new asset class successfully over the long term.

In our previous installment we covered a comprehensive list of requirements and concerns aimed at pre-qualifying any crypto exchange prior to opening an account. All that information may be a bit overwhelming so today we’ll be going through a list of the most popular exchanges out there and compile a summary report for each of them.

Now let’s remember that, as traders, our requirements are slightly different from that of a person who occasionally buys crypto currency for ideological or curiosity reasons and then holds them (HODL in crypto lingo) for an extended amount of time. For example while a lax KYC policy may appear to be a major plus to someone bent on stashing or transporting some coins anonymously, it is a negative for us in that we want to make damn sure that all exchange participants have been fully vetted and are prepared to cover the other side of our trades.

Another key requirement I touched upon last time was data and API access, which not only will allow us to take advantage of proper technical and quantitative analysis, but further down the line will also enable us to design automated crypto trading systems. To that end any exchanges that merely permit access via proprietary web based means are effectively disqualified. With all that said, let’s dive right in:

Top 10 Crypto Exchanges

I took this snapshot over at bitcoinity but had to shift around a bunch of rows as they list some exchanges based on currencies, which in this context we don’t care about as most exchanges support Dollar based accounts. Which means that some of the trading volumes are incomplete, so head over to bitcoinity to get full story and full stats.

The data/API information listed in the summary reports below relates to the ability to access remote services via a trading platform such as NinjaTrader, Multicharts, TradeStation, etc. or APIs like ccxt and others. You will find that all of the exchanged listed offer at minimum API access (e.g. the ability to submit orders, list your open campaigns, manage your trading account, etc.) which for me was a base requirement for inclusion in our top ten list.

As you are probably aware everything in the crypto universe moves at near light speed, so if you catch this post a few weeks after publishing many of the details below may be obsolete or may have changed. Without further ado:

Bitfinex

With almost 2 million BTC traded each day Bitfinex clearly stands as the top dog of crypto exchanges right now. It’s a great exchange and thus it’s most unfortunate that U.S. citizens practically have been shown the door starting in August of last year (2017). Yes, you can thank burdensome FATCA regulations for that.

BitFinex offers three main functions – it is a pure bitcoin to fiat exchange, a margin trading exchange and a liquidity provider. The platform offers a number of features available that expand the financial positions you can take – for example the ability to short Bitcoin via margin trading.

The exchange also offers a set of other cryptos apart from bitcoin such as Litecoin and Ethereum. Deposits and withdrawals take place via the standard bank transfer means with fees of 0.1% and a minimum of $20. Bitcoin and Litecoin are free.

Unfortunately Bitfinex was hacked on the 3rd of August 2016 and around 120,000 BTC were stolen. However BitFinex takes security seriously and have since moved from a hot wallet cold wallet set up to segregating customer funds where each user has access to their own wallet which they can review on the blockchain.

  • Location: British Virgin Islands
  • Accepting U.S. Clients: NO
  • Offering:
    • Currencies: NEO, BAT, USD, BCH, GNT, ETP, EOS, ETC, FUN, ETH, SAN, QTUM, BTG, DAT, SPK, MNA, RRT, IOTA, ZRX, DASH, TNB, XRP, XMR, EUR, ZEC, YYW, OMG, AVT, QSH, EDO, LTC, SNT, BTC
    • Crosses: AVT/BTC, AVT/ETH, AVT/USD, BAT/BTC, BAT/ETH, BAT/USD, BCH/BTC, BCH/ETH, BCH/USD, BTC/EUR, BTC/USD, BTG/BTC, BTG/USD, DASH/BTC, DASH/USD, DAT/BTC, DAT/ETH, DAT/USD, EDO/BTC, EDO/ETH, EDO/USD, EOS/BTC, EOS/ETH, EOS/USD, ETC/BTC, ETC/USD, ETH/BTC, ETH/USD, ETP/BTC, ETP/ETH, ETP/USD, FUN/BTC, FUN/ETH, FUN/USD, GNT/BTC, GNT/ETH, GNT/USD, IOTA/BTC, IOTA/ETH, IOTA/EUR, IOTA/USD, LTC/BTC, LTC/USD, MNA/BTC, MNA/ETH, MNA/USD, NEO/BTC, NEO/ETH, NEO/USD, OMG/BTC, OMG/ETH, OMG/USD, QSH/BTC, QSH/ETH, QSH/USD, QTUM/BTC, QTUM/ETH, QTUM/USD, RRT/BTC, RRT/USD, SAN/BTC, SAN/ETH, SAN/USD, SNT/BTC, SNT/ETH, SNT/USD, SPK/BTC, SPK/ETH, SPK/USD, TNB/BTC, TNB/ETH, TNB/USD, XMR/BTC, XMR/USD, XRP/BTC, XRP/USD, YYW/BTC, YYW/ETH, YYW/USD, ZEC/BTC, ZEC/USD, ZRX/BTC, ZRX/ETH, ZRX/USD
  • Data/API:
    • Tick data: YES
      OHLCV data: YES
    • API access: YES
  • Pros:
    • Geared towards traders.
    • Very low fees even for low volume buyers; 0.1% for market makers and 0.2% for market takers.
    • One of the best ways to buy large amounts of bitcoins.
    • Allows lending of fiat or bitcoin to margin traders at interest (but this is risky in light of the hack).
    • Very deep liquidity promotes a price close to fair market rate.
    • Supports several altcoins.
  • Cons:
    • Was recently hacked and has yet to fully compensate all users for their loss
    • Single payment option

 Coinbase/GDAX

Coinbase has extremely good security practices coupled with insurance on deposits. Including that they also have raised over 100 million USD in funding providing them with a solid capital foundation. Over 97% of funds are kept offline in cold storage USB’s or paper wallets. There is two factor authentication on all accounts aswell as other procedures such as SQL injection filters to halt heartbleed bug attacks – they are on top of their game.

Fees for trading were set to zero for a period but now the standard model of paying to take liquidity out of the orderbook is set to 0.25%. Coinbase’s exchange, GDAX, is one of the largest Bitcoin exchanges in the United States. Users can fund their accounts via bank transfer, SEPA, or bank wire. GDAX offers good prices and low fees, but their confusing user interface may initially prove difficult to navigate.

  • Location: United States
  • Accepting U.S. Clients: YES
  • Offering:
    • Currencies: USD, BCH, BTC, LTC, GBP, ETH, EUR
    • Crosses: BCH/USD, BTC/EUR, BTC/GBP, BTC/USD, ETH/BTC, ETH/EUR, ETH/USD, LTC/BTC, LTC/EUR, LTC/USD
  • Data/API:
    • Tick data: NO
      OHLCV data: YES
    • API access: YES
  • Pros:
    • Some of the lowest fees available for US and EU customers
    • Possible to buy bitcoins for 0% fees at GDAX
    • Decent data download speed.
  • Cons:
    • User interface is confusing for first time buyers.
    • Small number of crypto currencies offered.
    • No tick data via API access.
    • Sending bitcoins directly from GDAX to any legally-questionable site may result in closure of your account. Not sure that’s really a con but keep it in mind.
    • Deposits have to be made through your Coinbase account.

 Bitstamp

Bitstamp is one of the most popular fiat to Bitcoin exchanges. Tracing its beginnings to the first generation of exchanges, Bitstamp provides their customers with an easy to use, secure and reliable service since 2011.

Bitstamp is the first major bitcoin exchange to introduce and incorporate the industry’s best security practices such as MultiSig technology for its hot-wallet, a fully insured cold-storage where over 98% customer BTC are kept off-line in secure vaults, in addition, a number of security features are available to its customers such as two-factor authentication and confirmation emails for enhanced account security.

The exchange allows you to execute instant orders at the best bid or ask price as well as place limit orders, stop loss, and trailing stop orders. Business and individuals from all over the world can buy and sell bitcoins 24/7 through API or the Tradeview trading interface.

By using Bitstamp’s mobile phone apps, available for both iOS and Android, its customers can trade bitcoins on the fly easily. If you look for a secure and reliable exchange with good liquidity, and a robust infrastructure, then Bitstamp is your exchange of choice.

  • Location: United Kingdom
  • Accepting U.S. Clients: YES
  • Offering:
    • Currencies: USD, BCH, LTC, BTC, ETH, XRP, EUR
    • Crosses: BCH/BTC, BCH/EUR, BCH/USD, BTC/EUR, BTC/USD, ETH/BTC, ETH/EUR, ETH/USD, EUR/USD, LTC/BTC, LTC/EUR, LTC/USD, XRP/BTC, XRP/EUR, XRP/USD
  • Data/API:
    • Tick data: NO
      OHLCV data: NO
    • API access: YES
  • Pros:
    • Geared towards traders
    • One of the longest-running Bitcoin exchanges
    • Very low 0.25% fee, falling to 0.1% with sufficient trading volume
    • Good range of deposit and withdrawal options
    • Deep liquidity promotes a price close to fair market rate
    • Offers wide range of altcoins
  • Cons:
    • Has been hacked before, users should not store funds on the exchange for any period of time.
    • High 8% fee on small credit card purchases, falling to 5% with sufficient trading volume.
    • No tick and no OHLCV data offered at this point.

 bitFlyer

bitFlyer is the leading Japanese exchange in trade volume. It allows users to exchange Bitcoin for JPY and to trade with margin. The exchange allows users send and receive Bitcoins in just 1 second, storing said BTC using next generation encryption by DigiCert.

  • Location: Japan
  • Accepting U.S. Clients: NO
  • Offering:
    • Currencies: JPY, ETH, BCH, BTC
    • Crosses: BCH/BTC, BTC/JPY, ETH/BTC, ETH/JPY
  • Data/API:
    • Tick data: NO
      OHLCV data: NO
    • API access: YES
  • Pros:
    • Deep liquidity ensures prices near the fair market rate
    • Extremely low fees; 0.15% at most, lower for more trading volume
    • Fairly private for small trades; only a phone number or Facebook account required for 250,000 JPY monthly limit
    • High or no limits for fully-verified or VIP traders
  • Cons:
    • Privacy measures are allegedly low – uncertain if that is something that is being worked on.
    • Support only available from 9 AM to 7 PM during weekdays
    • Limited payment options
    • Exchange can be hard to use for new Bitcoin users; it’s geared towards traders
    • No tick and no OHLCV data offered at this point.

 Kraken

Kraken is a top European based exchange and offers a variety of fiat to bitcoin pairs such as JPY, EUR, GBP and USD. Volume is decent especially on the JPY BTC pair after MT Gox’s collaps – with Kraken assuming the mantle in that region. The exchange also has a smattering if popular crypto to crypto pairs including litecoin and dogecoin.

Another feature, but only for the brave is margin trading, with Kraken offering the ability to leverage your account balance on specific trading pairs. Although not for most this does give you cash more punch in the markets – but beware of margin calls draining your balance if the markets go against your trade.

Security is very high with their two factor authentication and PGP/GPG encryption. Fees vary depending on the volume – for main trading pairs this is between 0.1-0.35% – however for other less common crypto pairs the range can be as low as 0.05% or as high as 0.75%. There are also 0% fees for traders offering liquidity.

Withdrawals and deposits are variable depending on the method – although in general all fees are 0.19% with a $20 minimum. For JPY there is a minimum deposit of 5000 Yen and no transaction fee for deposit – but 20 Yen to withdraw.

  • Location: United States
  • Accepting U.S. Clients: YES
  • Offering:
    • Currencies: XLM, USD, BCH, REP, EOS, ETC, GBP, ETH, GNO, CAD, XDG, DAO, FEE, ICN, ZEC, MLN, KRW, DASH, XVN, USDT, XRP, XMR, EUR, LTC, JPY, NMC, BTC
    • Crosses: BCH/BTC, BCH/EUR, BCH/USD, BTC/CAD, BTC/EUR, BTC/GBP, BTC/JPY, BTC/USD, DASH/BTC, DASH/EUR, DASH/USD, EOS/BTC, EOS/ETH, ETC/BTC, ETC/ETH, ETC/EUR, ETC/USD, ETH/BTC, ETH/CAD, ETH/EUR, ETH/GBP, ETH/JPY, ETH/USD, ETHCAD.d, ETHEUR.d, ETHGBP.d, ETHJPY.d, ETHUSD.d, ETHXBT.d, GNO/BTC, GNO/ETH, ICN/BTC, ICN/ETH, LTC/BTC, LTC/EUR, LTC/USD, MLN/BTC, MLN/ETH, REP/BTC, REP/ETH, REP/EUR, USDT/USD, XBTCAD.d, XBTEUR.d, XBTGBP.d, XBTJPY.d, XBTUSD.d, XDG/BTC, XLM/BTC, XLM/EUR, XMR/BTC, XMR/EUR, XMR/USD, XRP/BTC, XRP/EUR, XRP/USD, ZEC/BTC, ZEC/EUR, ZEC/USD
  • Data/API:
    • Tick data: YES
      OHLCV data: YES
    • API access: YES
  • Pros:
    • Well-financed exchange
    • Very low 0.25% taker fee, falling to 0.1% with sufficient trading volume
    • Very low maker fee, falling to 0% with sufficient trading volume
    • Deep liquidity for large volume buyers in European markets ensures a price close to fair market rate
    • Highly-rated for security
    • Publishes proof of reserve audits
  • Cons:
    • There is currently a controversy involving Kraken and alleged wash trading of Tether on its exchange. I don’t want to delve deeper into this here but if you are concerned you should research this on your own time.

CEX.io is a trustworthy website to buy/sell BTC and ETH. The interface is sleek, new, and user-friendly. They have taken care of security, and the support is pretty good – which isn’t exactly common in the cryptocurrency industry.

The option to buy Bitcoin using your credit & debit card is one of their most used features, even after the 7% fee. Since they support many countries CEX.io is an option for users from countries where it’s not so easy to buy Bitcoin.

  • Locations: United Kingdom, Russia, Russia
  • Accepting U.S. Clients: CEX.io does NOT support the following US states: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, U.S. Virgin Islands, Vermont, Virginia, Washington.
  • Offering:
    • Currencies: ZEC, USD, BCH, BTC, GHS, RUB, DASH, BTG, GBP, ETH, XRP, EUR
    • Crosses: BCH/BTC, BCH/EUR, BCH/GBP, BCH/USD, BTC/EUR, BTC/GBP, BTC/RUB, BTC/USD, BTG/BTC, BTG/EUR, BTG/USD, DASH/BTC, DASH/EUR, DASH/GBP, DASH/USD, ETH/BTC, ETH/EUR, ETH/GBP, ETH/USD, GHS/BTC, XRP/BTC, XRP/EUR, XRP/USD, ZEC/BTC, ZEC/EUR, ZEC/GBP, ZEC/USD
  • Data/API:
    • Tick data: YES
      OHLCV data: YES
    • API access: YES
  • Pros:
    • Trustworthy and focused on security.
    • Good number of currencies and crosses.
  • Cons:
    • Excludes a large number of U.S. states.

itBit is a global Bitcoin exchange licensed with the New York State Department of Financial Services that offers cryptocurrency trading services including the over-the-counter (OTC) service. The company was launched in November of 2013, and its headquarters is in New York. They have an international office in Singapore and offer free deposits and withdrawals in Singapore dollars.

The exchange has emerged in the moment when everyone thought that Coinbase is getting ahead of the US-based exchange pack. But Chad Cascarilla, the co-founder, and CEO of itBit, raised impressive $25 million investment and announced itBit would be regulated as a bank in New York. This regulation meant itBit would be able to offer exchange services in the US, surpassing its main US competitor, Coinbase, which offers its services in 33 US states.

  • Locations: United States
  • Accepting U.S. Clients: Supports customers around the globe in most countries. Texas is the only U.S. state not supported.
  • Offering:
    • Currencies: USD, SGD, BTC, EUR
    • Crosses: BTC/EUR, BTC/SGD, BTC/USD
  • Data/API:
    • Tick data: YES
      OHLCV data: YES
    • API access: YES
  • Pros:
    • Licensed with the NY state department, thus it is regulated in the United States.
    • Operates global OTC trading desk.
    • Well funded.
  • Cons:
    • Does not accepts clients from Texas.
    • Limited number of currencies and crosses.

HitBTC seems to have a solid user interface making it pretty easy to buy Bitcoins. The platform seems to be very “newbie oriented” and puts an emphasis on security. Although HitBTC gained considerable traction over the past year since it’s launch, much like iGot it still hasn’t managed to reach the “big leagues” of Bitcoin exchange (i.e. Coinbase, Circle, Bitstamp etc.)

Each critical action (login/withdraw) in HitBTC can be protected by 2FA (2 Factor Authentication). You can also see a list of IPs that accessed your account so you’ll be able to monitor any suspicious activity. Finally, HitBTC tells you what is your security level (i.e. weak, strong etc.) which prompts you to safeguard your account better.

  • Locations: Hong Kong, China
  • Accepting U.S. Clients: Hard to find out without signing up – I believe NO.
  • Offering:
    • Currencies: QAU, LIFE, TIX, B2X, EXN, CCT, BOS, DRT, EOS, ORME, BCH, OAX, DCN, PRG, WTT, SAN, PRO, STRAT, FYP, HPC, HSR, MANA, WTC, AIR, IXT, PRS, PAY, DCT, MYB, XAUR, ATL, SPF, LEND, NXT, CSNO, WRC, CTX, MRV, HAC, ELM, BitClave, BNT, DASH, KBR, NXC, BTCA, IND, BQX, EDG, VIB, SNC, SNGLS, SNM, MAID, SNT, PQT, TAAS, EBET, 8BT, LAT, PPT, KICK, ATS, CRS, YOYOW, STAR, EMC, NGC, SISA, EVX, GUP, WMGO, FUN, MIPS, TRST, ETH, BET, SCL, AMM, NEBL, TKN, BUS, AMB, LSK, DENT, TKR, BMT, QVT, AMP, AE, MNE, UGT, PRE, CPAY, NTO, ENJ, VOISE, DRPU, USDT, TRX, DSH, DLT, NEO, XRP, EBTC, OPT, LRC, BKB, AVT, DOGE, TBT, EBTCOLD, ITS, ANT, BTG, PTOY, ZAP, BTC, TIME, BTM, STORM, ECAT, STEEM, BCN, KMD, ATB, SUB, CTR, DIM, REP, ATM, SMS, BCC, ETC, GAME, COSS, SUR, XUC, NET, POLL, DOV, LUN, DGB, PIX, DGD, SBTC, QTUM, DDF, XVG, ODN, UET, FCN, ICOS, FRD, CLD, NDC, RVT, XTZ, ADX, ELE, LTC, DNT, MCAP, 1ST, VEN, MSP, AEON, XMR, ZEC, PLU, OMG, PLR, HVN, XEM, ETP, EDO, RLC, CDT, SBD, WAVES, SC, HDG, CDX, WINGS, LOC, BAS, EMGO, BTX, SWFTC, ZSC, CVC, ERO, DATA, QCN, PPC, ECH, TGT, LA, VIBE, CL, FYN, ETBS, SWT, PLBT, DBIX, CND, RKC, POE, XDNCO, TNT, IGNIS, ICO, ICN, BMC, GVT, HGT, CNX, ZRX, STU, MTH, ICX, ZRC, UTT, SKIN, GNO, STX, SMART, MCO, ART, DICE, OTN, CFI, PING, OTX, ARDR, VERI, XDN, FUEL, INDI, ARN
    • Crosses: Almost everything under the sun given the supported currencies  – too long to list here.
  • Data/API:
    • Tick data: YES
      OHLCV data: NO
    • API access: YES
  • Pros:
    • Wide variety of currencies.
    • Good user interface.
  • Cons:
    • Support very slow to respond (if at all).
    • Negative online reputation
    • Only supports tick data for some strange reason.

Mercado Bitcoin

Mercado Bitcoin is the largest Bitcoin exchange in Brazil and South America. Without verifying, you can buy bitcoin using cash deposits. After verification, you can also fund your account with online bank transfers, which incur no deposit fee. Mercado Bitcoin offers some of the best liquidity in Brazil, meaning you should get the fair market price when buying bitcoins.

  • Locations: Hong Kong, China
  • Accepting U.S. Clients: Hard to find out without actually signing up – I believe NO.
  • Offering:
    • Currencies: LTC, BRL, BCH, BTC
    • Crosses: BCH/BRL, BTC/BRL, LTC/BRL
  • Data/API:
    • Tick data: NO
      OHLCV data: NO
    • API access: YES
  • Pros:
    • Deep liquidity promotes a price close to fair market rate
    • Very popular with over 100,000 clients
  • Cons:
    • Not private since identity verification is required to exceed daily limits or use bank transfers.
    • Very limited number of currencies and crosses.
    • No tick and no OHLCV data

 Gemini

Gemini is the first U.S. exchange licensed for bitcoin and ether trading. And while several other exchanges fled New York regulation, Gemini embraced it. Today, they are a regulated trust company by the New York State Department of Financial Services, which will give them a significant advantage as U.S. regulators start to crack down on exchanges in the coming years. Overall, Gemini is easy to use, provides good customer support and fair fees. They currently offer a super limited variety of trading pairs but there’s decent liquidity for those pairs. Gemini delivers on their promise of security, liquidity, and trust.

  • Locations: United States
  • Accepting U.S. Clients: While Gemini is available in most US states, you should check Gemini’s areas of operations page.
  • Offering:
    • Currencies: ETH, USD, BTC
    • Crosses: BTC/USD, ETH/BTC, ETH/USD
  • Data/API:
    • Tick data: NO
      OHLCV data: NO
    • API access: YES
  • Pros:
    • Licensed U.S. Exchange
    • FDIC Insured
    • High security.
  • Cons:
    • Very limited number of currencies and crosses.
    • No tick and no OHLCV data

Published at Wed, 10 Jan 2018 14:53:03 +0000

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