Bittrex is one of the heavy hitters in the crypto industry that took the market by storm as soon as it was launched in 2014. And this US-based platform hasn’t left the top lists for years! Its success owes everything to the hard work invested by the company’s founding fathers Bill Shihara, Richi Lai, and Rami Kawach.
This is hardly surprising since all three of them have previously worked as cybersecurity engineers for industry giants like Amazon, Microsoft, and BlackBerry before diving into the world of crypto. Therefore, security is one of the main concerns of Bittrex, and the platform includes leading security methods such as multi-layered storing wallets, making sure the majority of your funds stay offline in cold storage.
Next, you have two-factor authentication and regular data encryption. In 2018, the exchange introduced the IP Whitelisting and Crypto Address Whitelisting to set a specific withdrawal address and prevent unauthorized I.P. addresses from stealing your assets.
Another one of the many advantages is the outstanding choice of supported coins. Bittrex can boast of offering up to two hundred cryptocurrencies! The company made one step further in May 2018, when it embraced purchases, withdrawals, and trading pairs with USD!
Bittrex uses a tiered fee structure that rewards users who execute high trading volumes with a discount. The standard fee is 0.25% which is slightly higher than what other exchanges can offer. On the flip side, there’s no charge for making deposits and withdrawals.
As far as customer support goes, Bittrex used to receive praise from its users until recently, when the company got accused of continuously suspending user accounts for no reason. Their explanation was that as a regulated exchange they have the responsibility to inspect suspicious accounts, and that the usual suspension period is no more than 48 hours which should only cause a minor inconvenience.
Serious institutional traders might see this as a potential risk, so it’s always a good idea to look at some exchange alternatives in case they prove more suitable to your investment strategy.
Alternatives to Bittrex
KuCoin is a crypto exchange based in Hong Kong that came online in 2017. The launch was well-timed and caught the crypto industry at a moment when it was craving new ways to revolutionize crypto trading.
Exchanges like Bittrex, Coinbase, and Kraken were already established on the market but their cryptocurrency options were trifling. KuCoin carved a place for itself by virtue of offering a trading space for the underrepresented small-cap coins. The only thing the platform lacks is fiat-to-crypto pairs.
Managing your account is slightly different from other exchanges. Instead of having one account, KuCoin separates it into a main and a trading account. To get started, you need to fund your main account via credit card or to send coins to your KuCoin wallet through another platform, then send those funds to the trading account, and trade. This is a great security measure that prevents third-party APIs from getting access to your main account.
Another attractive feature is KuCoin’s fee system. The flat transaction fee is 0.1% per trade but if you hold KuCoin Shares (KCS) in your wallet you can actually use them to profit from these fees. What does this mean? Basically, KuCoin gives out 50% of its daily trading fees as a KuCoin Bonus to users holding KCSs. The other 40% of the fees are distributed among users who have recommended the platform to others, while only 10% remains for the company itself.
Binance is another relatively new crypto exchange also founded in 2017. It was created by Changpeng Zhao and his team of experts and now operates freely from crypto-regulated Malta.
The platform is very similar to KuCoin, as both of them offer incredible arrays of cryptocurrencies. While KuCoin lacks fiat support, Binance managed to work around this issue by partnering with the payment service Simplex as an alternative way for customers to buy cryptos with credit or debit cards.
A lot of users have resorted to this purchase method despite the 3.5% transaction fee. As far as standard fees go, Binance charges 0.1% per trade too, with a 25% discount for those who decide to use Binance’s native token BNB.
Earlier this year, the platform suffered a serious hacker attack in which 7,000 BTC ($40 million at the time!) were stolen. This was immediately communicated to the public and all deposits and withdrawals were suspended. Thanks to its one-of-a-kind security measure – the Secure Asset Fund for Users (SAFU), users recovered their loss. SAFU is funded with 10% of Binance’s trading fees and serves as a money reserve in case of high-scale security breaches.
Important information for US residents is that Binance has just launched its American trading desk Binance.us, to which users from the States have been redirected.
Coinbase found its way on the market in 2012 when crypto trading was still in its infancy. Created by the brilliant minds of Brian Armstrong and Fred Ehrsam, Coinbase opened the first licensed Bitcoin exchange in the US in 2015. Since day one, the main vision of the company was to bring crypto trading closer to the Everyman of the crypto world.
The team designed a clean layout that proves less off-putting for beginners. It takes just a few simple steps to make your first purchase. There are no complicated charts or confusing order books to deal with. However, as more and more people began trading, there was a growing demand for more challenging trading options for experienced traders. For that reason, the company launched an extension under the name of Coinbase Pro.
On Coinbase, you can trade with Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, or Litecoin. Coinbase will add more coins to its list once they pass the security test. Apart from crypto-to-crypto trading pairs, there’re a couple of fiat-to-crypto pairs as well.
The exchange is praised for its reasonable fees but their fee system might look confusing at first. There are two main fees – a spread fee of 0.50% based on the market value of the coin at a given time and the Coinbase fee. The second one can be fixed (from $0.99 to $2.99, based on the trade amount) or variable, based on the country and payment method.
Finally, you needn’t fear about the safety of your funds – Coinbase complies with regulations like Anti Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC).
Kraken is another crypto veteran founded in 2011 by Jesse Powell, an expert in virtual currencies. His platform was tactfully launched after the notorious security crash over at Mt.Gox, the most popular exchange at the time. It brought back the faith traders had lost in the functionality and reliability of digital platforms as secure trading networks.
Powell spent a lot of time with his team, devising intricate security methods like their Kraken “MasterKey”, which is a user passcode to access controlled account features, and a Global Settings Lock that blocks entrance to unfamiliar I.P. addresses for the time that it’s turned on.
Kraken supports almost twenty cryptocurrencies but deserves a pat on its shoulder for going the extra mile to bring fiat support for USD, EUR, GBP, and CAD. Now even first-time buyers are able to purchase their first coins directly on Kraken. The platform uses a 30-day volume maker and taker fee schedule, charging makers a bit less than takers. So, for a trading volume of less than $50,000, makers pay an added fee of 0.16% while takers pay 0.26%. The fees decrease as the trading volume goes up. The platform also supports margin and automated trading.
CEX.io is a fully functional crypto exchange, founded in 2013 in London, UK. The platform is regulated and adheres to the financial laws established by the country. This drew in thousands of traders who helped CEX.io climb on the industry top lists. Before 2015, this used to be a cloud mining platform as well.
Currently, the exchange supports the following eight cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin Gold, Ethereum, Ripple, Dash, Stellar, and ZCash. The best thing is that you can buy all of them with USD, and some of them even have EUR, GBP, and RUB as a possible fiat currency. Fiat-to-crypto trading pairs are offered only with Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Ripple. Payment methods include wire transfers, bank transfers, and credit or debit cards (although with higher fees).
The disadvantage of CEX.io is the surprisingly high 7% service fee that’s already calculated together with the market price of the coins. For standard trades, the transaction fees start at 0.2% but we recommend checking the full schedule to calculate your fee based on location and payment method as they vary significantly.