Cryptocurrency is rapidly changing the way we think about money and financial transactions. Blockchain technology has the potential to revolutionise how the flow of wealth works. Recently, these innovative new technologies have been in the media spotlight. With this mainstream attention, new investors have flooded into the market, many with the same question: Where can you buy Bitcoin? Not only Bitcoin, but the majority of the ‘big’ cryptocurrencies have been affected by people asking this question. The influx of new and inexperienced traders has seen an already volatile market reach unprecedented highs, as well as wild swings in the opposite direction.
Whether you’re investing or trading in cryptocurrencies, you need to have at least one trusted exchange. It seems that there is a lot of misinformation out there, as more and more people find ways to get involved with this potentially lucrative investment. However, there have also been plenty of scandals. The collapse of Mt. Gox in 2014 and more recently BitConnect’s alleged Ponzi scheme have shown a darker side to the market.
Coinbase: An Introduction
Coinbase launched their web platform in 2012, making them one of the early adopters of trading Bitcoin. Since then, they’ve grown to be perhaps the biggest and most well-known of exchanges. They boast over 10 million users, and have traded over $50 billion worth of cryptocurrencies. They have had their troubles though, being ordered to report users to the IRS in December 2017, and suspending Bitcoin Cash support after allegations of insider trading. Many users have been critical of the platform in recent months, citing poor customer support and long delays in receiving funds. With this in mind, many are searching for Coinbase alternatives to conduct their trading.
Coinbase Alternatives: Cex.io
Another platform that was on the cryptocurrency scene early on is Cex.io. Since 2013 they have been providing support to users looking to buy Bitcoin and other currencies. They’ve grown rapidly, and have expanded their offering to include many of the most widespread cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, and Dash. Part of the attraction to Cex.io is their wide range of payment options for buying and selling. Bank transfers and credit cards are supported, with very few regional restrictions.
They’re an established site with a good reputation. Security and customer safety seem to be genuine concerns for them.
Their interface is easy to use, and they support a great range of payment options. There are no withdrawal limits and it’s easy to trade in high volumes once you’re registered.
Compared to many of their competitors, Cex.io has quite high transaction fees. This can really make a difference regardless of how much or little you’re exchanging.
Some users have reported troubles and frustrations with getting their accounts registered. Although they offer 24/7 online support, it can be hard to get in touch with them more directly.
Overall, Cex.io is a good alternative to Coinbase, particularly because of their wide-ranging coverage. However, as of January 2018 they have suspended new members due to their increasing struggle to deal with support tickets.
Coinbase Alternatives: BitPanda
BitPanda is another site that has a strong reputation and is fairly well established. After having difficulties buying and selling Bitcoin in Europe, the founders decided to make this process easier by making their own website. A long development process and a strong knowledge of the industry meant that the site launched and soon became the most popular exchange in Europe. They’re known for their easy to use interface, great selection of payment options, and fully automated platform. One complaint often heard about the site is that their fees are not separated out, but rather incorporated into the final rate. This lack of transparency frustrates many users.
A trusted site that has established themselves as a reliable source for buying cryptocurrencies. They have a good support network and are well reviewed by their customers.
Offers transactions in multiple different cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple and Litecoin. Their transaction fees are relatively low compared to some of their direct competitors.
They’re not very transparent with their fees. It seems like the rate they offer is worse than other sites, when in fact they just include the transaction fee.
Only available to European markets, giving a fairly narrow scope. Transactions are only offered in Euro.
You have to verify your account in order to make any purchases on the site. Although it’s good that they’re so stringent, the process doesn’t always run as smoothly as it could.
Coinbase Alternatives: Coinmama
Coinmama also came to the market in 2013 and were one of the first sites to allow the purchase of Bitcoin via Western Union transfer. They’ve always sought to make it as easy as possible for their customers to buy Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, also being early adopters of credit card payments. They value straightforward transactions with an easy-to-understand interface and good customer service. Due to the rapid growth of investors towards the end of 2017, they announced it would take them considerably longer to verify customers and deal with support tickets. Despite this, their customer feedback tends to be pretty good.
They offer live pricing in USD and their systems are easy to use. It’s straightforward to register and make a payment, and they offer some good payment options.
You can buy any amount of cryptocurrency, even small percentages of one Bitcoin for example. Purchases are made directly from the site, meaning there is no middle-man to give a fee to.
Their fees are fairly competitive compared to similar sites.
You can’t sell your Bitcoin via Coinmama, only buy it. There are sites with better rates that offer the same service.
The current lead times on getting an account verified are very long. There’s no way to expedite this.
It’s not possible to make payments using PayPal or American Express.
Coinbase Alternatives: Kraken
As one of the oldest exchanges around, Kraken has been through the various twists and turns of the Bitcoin phenomenon.They’re a fairly prominent name, serving a large customer base in the US, Europe, and Japan. They were the first company to provide Bitcoin pricing to the Bloomberg Terminal, showing how much the business is trusted and respected. Generally the fees they offer are quite low, but it can be more expensive for customers in the US and Canada.
Deposits in Euros are some of the cheapest around, giving you more for your money. They also have high liquidity in both Euros and Japanese Yen.
They have a great selection of Alt coins to trade in and buy, with pairings in USD, CAD, GBP, JPY and EUR.
The site has been known to struggle under heavy traffic. Kraken took the exchange offline for 48 hours to make improvements that were intended to take only 2 hours.
Their customer services, like many of the sites we’ve mentioned, are also straining under the volume of tickets. Response times are getting increasingly long.
Coinbase Alternatives: Gemini
A relative newcomer to the market is Gemini, an exchange founded in 2015. They’re rapidly growing to become one of the most popular choices to buy cryptocurrencies from, particularly in the US, UK, and South Korea. You can purchase currencies using USD, without any transfer fees. Currently they only support pairings with USD, Bitcoin and Ethereum, but they do this well.
Their fees are some of the lowest out there. One of their main selling points is the fact that they offer deposits without fees.
Compared with many sites that are swamped with customer service requests, Gemini have distinguished themselves by offering good, transparent, customer support. Their interface is easy to use, and it’s easy to get in contact with them.
Setting up an account and buying Bitcoin or Ethereum is an easy process; it doesn’t require the lengthy verification period that other sites have.
They don’t have a mobile app, making it harder to trade and manage your portfolio while on the go.
Their offering of both fiat and cryptocurrencies is rather limited compared to some of their competitors.