Buying bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies can be a confusing and sometimes risky business. With every passing day bitcoin adoption grows, but for everyone who decides to dip their toes in the water there are dozens who are put off by the headlines they see in the news. The fall of the world’s first and once largest bitcoin exchange, MtGox, sent shockwaves through the bitcoin community and drew attention to the problems of large, centralised and unregulated exchanges.
The good news is that things have moved on a lot since MtGox went bankrupt, taking most of its customers’ bitcoins and dollars with it. Gox wasn’t just a wake-up call for potential bitcoin buyers: it was a signal to the exchanges that they needed to take their customers’ business seriously.
The bad news is that it’s not always easy to know which of the many exchanges available are safe to use. Bitcoin scandals still hit the news regularly, and it’s fair to say there will be a few more until this remarkable new technology has been fully regulated. But by that time, of course, bitcoin’s years of meteoric growth may well be behind it as it reaches stability with widespread adoption.
Buying bitcoins quickly, safely and easily
Despite one or two bad apples, there are some extremely secure and professionally-run bitcoin exchanges out there, and more and more are opening up all the time. Many are receiving significant Venture Capital funding, and having rigorous audits conducted in the process to make sure they are solvent and maintain best practices.
BitcoinExchangeGuide.com is dedicated to reviewing all of the major bitcoin exchanges and providing in-depth, impartial information about the services they provide. It’s worth noting that every exchange is different, and they each have different strengths and weaknesses. An exchange that appeals to one person won’t necessarily suit another. For example, if you are simply looking to buy bitcoins and transfer them off the exchange to your own storage immediately, then your needs might be very different from someone who is planning to trade their bitcoins actively against fiat or other currencies in order to make an immediate profit. Some of the factors you will need to consider and balance include:
- Pricing – bitcoin prices differ slightly across exchanges
- Security practices and transparency of ownership
- The anonymity an exchange provides, or otherwise
- Liquidity: lower volumes may mean a larger ‘spread’ between buyers and sellers
- Ability to leverage and short-sell bitcoins
- Limit orders, stop losses and other trading tools
- Number of options for transferring fiat money in and out of exchanges
- Delays in depositing/withdrawing money
- Registration and verification requirements – many exchanges have rigorous anti-money laundering (AML) procedures
- Number of different fiat and cryptocurrencies you can trade
All these factors and more are covered in our detailed reviews of the major bitcoin exchanges. Ultimately, there is no need to worry when buying and selling bitcoins. So long as you follow a few simple rules and select a reputable exchange with a good track record of security and customer service, you should not have any problems.
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