You can’t simply go to your bank or an investment agency and purchase cryptocurrency. You’ll need to register an account on a crypto trading platform to swap your US dollars (or other money) for digital assets once you’ve opted to acquire Bitcoin, Ethereum, or another cryptocurrency.
Here’s what you need to know about why picking the correct crypto exchange is so crucial, as well as the factors experts recommend considering before making a decision.
What exactly is a cryptocurrency exchange, and how does it work?
A cryptocurrency exchange is a website where you may buy and sell digital currencies. You can use exchanges to trade one cryptocurrency for another for example, changing Bitcoin to Litecoin or to buy cryptocurrency with fiat currency, such as the US dollar.
The pricing of cryptocurrencies on exchanges is based on current market prices. You can also use an exchange to convert cryptocurrencies back into US dollars or other currencies, which you can keep as cash in your account (to trade back into crypto later) or withdraw to a conventional bank account.
What to Look for in an Exchange
Due to state or national rules, you may be unable to buy or sell cryptocurrency on specific exchanges depending on your region. Some countries, like China, have outright prohibited individuals from using cryptocurrency exchanges.
On a website or in the terms of service, you can usually find information regarding an exchange’s geographic constraints as well as associated accessibility issues like national currencies accepted.
The government does not support cryptocurrency and does not have the same insurance as bank savings or conventional investments. Some exchanges, such as Coinbase and Gemini, maintain all US dollar balances in FDIC-insured bank accounts.
Whether you intend to keep your crypto holdings on an exchange for a long time or only for a short time before transferring them to your own wallet, the security of the exchange should be a top priority. Examine how much of the exchange’s assets it stores offline in hard storage, for example.
You can also seek standard online security features, such as two-factor authentication, that you may already be familiar with from other sites. That means that in addition to your username and password, you’ll have to confirm your identity each time you log in by entering a code sent to you by text message.
In general, you’ll be safer sticking with more well-known exchanges with a huge consumer base. Doing business with smaller or younger exchanges that don’t have their security procedures and products stated out properly online may be more risky.
Another factor to examine is fees, but don’t let a hefty charge structure put you off an exchange. According to Spencer Montgomery, founder of Uinta Crypto Consulting, a programme for new investors to learn about crypto, “the easier they make it for you to acquire it, the greater the cost that you’re going to be paying.” Higher costs may be an acceptable compromise for the additional protections and insurance provided by larger, more popular exchanges.
Exchange costs may be set in stone, but they are frequently calculated as a percentage of your deal. Fees are frequently imposed each transaction, and they can vary depending on whether you’re the vendor or the buyer. Different fees may apply depending on the currencies you trade.
If you want to purchase, sell, or trade cryptocurrency, the exchange you choose should have enough trade volume to keep your assets liquid, which means you can sell them whenever you want. Again, there is an instance in which size does matter. The most popular exchanges are frequently the ones with the highest trade volumes.
When a large number of trades are taking place on an exchange at any particular time, Montgomery believes you have a better chance of purchasing or selling the crypto you own at the best price. Cryptocurrency prices fluctuate rapidly, so if you utilise an exchange with little transaction volume, you may end up paying a greater price than you would on a more popular exchange.
Tools for education
The ability to learn more about different coins, digital assets, and blockchain technology is a key consideration for crypto newbies when it comes to choosing an exchange, according to Ross.
“What do they do to keep you educated?” he asks.
Coinbase, for example, has a program called Coinbase Earn that rewards users for learning about new coins. Coinbase will give you a tiny amount of cryptocurrency in exchange for viewing movies and doing quizzes about various coins. You may then keep it or convert it to something else. Others, such as Gemini’s Cryptopedia or Binance Academy, provide on-site classes and materials to assist you to learn about crypto markets, history, and developments.
Among cryptocurrency fans, storage can be a contentious issue. Many people follow the old saying “not your keys, not your coins,” which indicates that you should keep the public and private keys related to your crypto assets in your account rather than transferring them to custody.
Additional considerations to consider, according to Boneparth, are customer service, how well you appreciate the platform’s mobile app, and how simple the exchange is to use in general. But, as we’ve heard from experts time and time again, learning as much as you can about crypto before investing money is one of the most beneficial things you can do.
Consider the cost structures and security measures you’re comfortable with, as well as the extra precautions you’ll take to keep your cryptocurrencies safe.