Bitcoin exchanges are still not regulated to the same extent that other business areas are, and the industry still has some issues with security. Further down on this page, you can learn more useful things about bitcoin exchanges and how they work. Our recommendation is not to use any of the Swedish bitcoin exchanges, read why here.
In our review, we have compared large western bitcoin exchanges with good liquidity (that have enough activity on the market to allow you to buy and sell when you want) and that have a reputation for good security. More about our how we conducted our review here.
|Exchange||Overall Rating||Cryptocurrencies||Payment Method||Website|
|Coinbase||Bitcoin, Ether, Litecoin||Bank Transfer, Credit Card|
|BitPanda||Bitcoin, Ether, Litecoin, Dash,||Bank Transfer, Credit Card|
|Exmo||Bitcoin, Ether, Litecoin +7 more||Bank Transfer, Credit Card|
|Bitstamp||Bitcoin, Ether, Litecoin, Ripple||Bank Transfer, Credit Card|
|Kraken||Bitcoin, Ether, Litecoin +9 more||Bank Transfer|
Founded in 2012 in San Francisco, Coinbase is the world's largest bitcoin exchange, serving more than 9 million customers, so the liquidity is excellent. Focusing on security and customer service, it's one of very few exchanges offering phone-support. Link to website.
This award-winning Austrian-based exchange (started in 2014) is not among the very largest exchanges, but is up and coming. BitPanda has a state of the art user interface, features, and verification process. Link to the website.
We recommend not using any of the Swedish exchanges (BTCX, FYBSE, BitCurrency and Safello). They are the equivalent of old Wall Street stock brokers. You know… the men in ties, frantically waving their hands with corded phone on their shoulders, screaming out their customers bidding prices. The difference between the Swedish exchanges and the old Wall Street guys is that the Swedish exchanges don’t try to get the best price for their customers (so… no screaming, sweat and all that). All the Swedish exchanges do is handle the transaction and add an extra cost for that service.
One would think that if you use Swish to instantly send 1,000 SEK to one of the Swedish exchanges, you would get BTC shortly thereafter. You could reason that it’s the Internet-age, you are buying high-tech assets, we have rigorous consumer laws about consumer information in Sweden, etc. etc. But no, you do not always get BTC shortly after the Swedish exchanges receive your money. In fact, the Swedish exchanges (which , by the way, are not exchanges in the correct meaning of the word but brokers) buy BTC on your behalf when they find time to do so. If you sent money via Swish during the weekend or evening you can be sure you won’t get any BTC until their staff is back in the office.
Because the price of BTC is so volatile (has such extreme price-swings), we find it very inappropriate to buy BTC through the Swedish exchanges as you simply have no way of knowing what price you will get. Also, their fees are higher than international exchanges.
Here is an easy guide on how to buy bitcoin from international exchanges.
An exchange is a marketplace where buyers and sellers meet and exchange whatever it is they want to exchange, in this case bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. When thinking of a bitcoin exchange, a Stock Exchange may come to mind and you may assume that a bitcoin exchange will work in the same way. And at the most basic level yes, stock- and cryptocurrency exchanges do work in the same way, but there is an important difference.
A modern Stock Exchange has all kinds of fancy mechanisms in place to ensure that their customers (the buyers and sellers) have access to all the sell- and purchase bids of a particular security. Bitcoin exchanges, however, function like old-school Stock Exchanges where only the sell- and purchase bids that are submitted to that particular exchange are available to the exchanges’ customers.
This means that investors only have access to buying the BTC that other investors on their particular exchange want to sell. So the bitcoin price usually varies between exchanges, and is the reason why the price you see on your exchange is usually not the same as the price you see on other sites such as CoinGecko, a public comparison site.
Generally speaking (or rather, statistically speaking) if you choose a large exchange you should get closer to the average market price because there are many buyers and sellers.
If you really want to be able to access the best prices, you may want to open accounts in several exchanges.
When trading with bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, be advised that it will take some time to get started and to exchange your cryptocurrencies back to fiat (government issued) money.
Opening an account at an exchange is usually free and fast, but in order to transfer money and start trading, serious exchanges require verification of your identity. This typically involves sending copies of your passport and utility bills to the exchanges and can take up to a few days to verify, even if it is usually faster.
If you transfer fiat money from your bank account to the bank account of your exchange, it usually takes a few days for the funds to arrive. There is currently no exchange that has a Swedish deposit account, so you need to wait the 3-5 days that it usually takes to make an international bank transfer. Read more about how to buy bitcoin here.
Also, the bitcoin technology itself has a problem (that is currently being worked on, which you can read more about here); not enough verifications can be made each second. For this reason, a bitcoin transaction will take anywhere between a few seconds to many hours before it goes through, depending on how many people are trading at the same time as you are.
The problem of long transaction times can be quite scary in times of big sell-offs and extreme price-falls in the market. At these times, high volumes of transactions are common, and it can be nerve-wracking to see the prices fall as you are waiting for hours for your transaction to clear. But this is all part of the deal. When investing in bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, you are investing in high-risk emerging technology where everything isn’t fully developed yet. And that is the very reason why the opportunities for investors are so large. Read this to learn how to handle the high risk.
Also, the bitcoin technology itself has a problem (that is currently being worked on, which you can read more about here), not enough verifications can be made each second. For this reason, a bitcoin transaction will take anywhere between a few seconds to many hours before it goes through, depending on how many people are trading at the same time as you are.
The problem of the long transaction times can be quite scary in times of big sell-offs and extreme price-falls in the market. At these times, high volumes of transactions are common, and it can be nerve-wracking to see the prices fall as you are waiting for hours for your transaction to clear. But this is all part of the deal. When investing in bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, you are investing in high-risk emerging technology where everything isn’t fully developed yet. And that is the very reason why the opportunities for investors are so large. Read this to learn how to handle the high risk.
There are at least 60 cryptocurrency exchanges out there. We have evaluated the biggest ones and some smaller up and coming ones with great features and reputation. Large exchanges have a lot of buyers and sellers, so on a large exchange, you are more likely to trade when you want to.
Although safety is the most important thing to assess (in our view), it’s not possible for us to do a complete and accurate assessment. The exchanges don’t disclose everything about their safety measures (for safety reasons). We have looked at things such as off-line storage, 2FA verification, email security, password requirements, personal verification, auto-logouts etc. Whether the exchange has been hacked or not is also a factor for us. Even if past hacks doesn't determine future hacks, in our view it means something to be a large company who has never been hacked, such as Coinbase.
|Exchange||Buy / Sell||Credit / Debit Card||Bank Deposite / Withdrawal|
|Coinbase||1.49%||3.99%||Free / € 0.15|
|Exmo||0.2%**||3% + € 6||1% + € 15 / € 20|
|Bitstamp||0,25%***||8%***||Free / € 0,9|
|Kraken||0,16 - 0,25%||Don't offer||Free / € 0,09|
* The fee is baked into the exchange rate and not disclosed.
** Also has loyalty program paying back some of the fees.
*** Discount if you buy/sell for >100,000 EUR, by debet/credit card >1,000 EUR
We have cross-checked our findings with other users’ experiences. However, when doing so we found that many users slammed exchanges for the wrong reasons. For example, one angry user believed that one of the oldest exchanges CEX was about to go under because they didn’t answer his customer support request within a reasonable time-frame. Although we agree that CEX and several other exchanges really need to up their customer support, the reason for the slow response is more likely due to extreme workloads. Many exchanges have struggled to keep up with customer support due to a strong increase in interest for buying bitcoin.
Disclaimer: The information in this article, as all content on BlockBull Review, is not and should not be seen as investment advice. The information is for educational and/or entertainment purposes only, so use it at your own risk. It is possible to lose money when engaging in any investment including cryptocurrencies and past performance does not indicate future performance. Any opinions expressed are those of BlockBull Review's writers who are not broker-dealers or advisors of any kind.