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10 of the best bitcoin & cryptocurrency brokers

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If you’ve looked over a ‘how to get started in cryptocurrency’ guide you’ll realise that finding a broker is an important part of the process.

Crypro brokerages are also an extremely competitive area – which means big marketing campaigns, affiliate schemes – and plenty of websites telling you exactly who to use. Sadly, it’s pretty obvious that most of those things point you in the direction of whoever’s spending the most money to get you onboard – not always the best choice for you!

Rather than point you in one direction or another, we’ll run you through 10 of the most reputable brokers and exchanges currently operating – and give you a few pointers that might help you make your decision.

Coinbase

In terms of established names, you won’t find many more solid than Coinbase. They’ve got a nice and simple step by step process that sees you create a digital wallet, connect your bank account then start buying currency.

Coinbase only trade Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin at the moment – so if you’re looking for something less well-known, you might be better starting somewhere else. For the 3 big currencies, Coinbase is a good bet.

CEX.io

CEX.io is another well known name in crypto – and has the enviable record of having never lost any user’s funds to theft. Combine that with a 99.999% service availability and CEX.io presents as a very safe and dependable choice.

The site meets financial legal compliances in some of the most stringent countries in the world too – so you’ve got more than just a few good reviews backing your choice of broker up.

Localbitcoins

Reading a Localbitcoins review will make it clear that this isn’t your average crypto broker site – instead, the service is a true peer-to-peer bitcoin trading service.

Imagine a classified site but entirely for Bitcoin – the site allows users to post advertisements offering their own exchange rate and payment methods. Localbitcoins consider themselves the future of Bitcoin trading – a peer-to-peer service for a peer-to-peer currency.

Wall of Coins

Wall of coins cite themselves as being the most trusted crypto marketplace on Earth – and a bit part of that is the way they handle their customers and their coins.

A lot of brokers offer a wallet that doesn’t offer you direct access to your coins and their keys – but Wall of Coins does. Not only that, but all coins are held in ‘cold’ storage – an unmarked secure facility with the highest level of security. A lot of companies that hold coins offline take a while to grant access and begin transactions – which can be limiting – but Wall of Coins offer access within 15 minutes – impressive speed.

Coinhouse

Coinhouse is one of the few crypto exchanges that’s based in France – and it’s run by Ledger, the team behind the Ledger Nano S – one of the most highly thought of hardware wallets on the market. As such, you can sleep easy knowing your currency and details are in safe hands.

Coinhouse deliver your currency immediately, meaning you’re free to spend your time as you wish – rather than sitting around waiting for your account to credit. They comply with regulations throughout Europe and the USA and pledge no hidden fees – so what you see is very much what you’re going to pay.

ItBit

ItBit crank up the authority on their site and through their marketing material by concentrating on financial organisations and Bitcoin trading professionals. They’re regulated throughout the US and offer bespoke services for clients who are trading serious numbers of Bitcoin.

ItBit very much put themselves forward as the next level of crypto exchanges – and part of that is their high level of customer support. If you need help – they’ve got dedicated customer support representatives available online or via the phone at any time of the day or night.

Twin their levels of customer care with the fact that they were the first regulated Bitcoin exchange in the US – and you’re onto a safe bet.

Changelly

Changelly is a little different to the other services on this list – in that it doesn’t trade in traditional currencies whatsoever – so your GBP, USD or EUR is no good here!

Instead, you’ve got the chance to find some exceptional exchange rates between digital currencies – better than the services that deal with standard debit and credit card transactions. When you visit the site you can enter the currency and amount you wish to trade from – and you’ll get a real time indication of how much you can expect out from your desired coin.

Because Changelly doesn’t actually hold any coin – all transactions are facilitated directly with the relevant user and trading platform – protecting user anonymity. This is a good review of Changelly that we would highly recommend that you read. 

Coinmama

Although Coinmama only sell Bitcoin and Ethereum, they pride themselves on ease of use and speed – so if you don’t have the time to sit around making sure each step of the process is going to plan, you might find yourself right at home here.

Select an amount, click ‘buy now’, enter your card details and you’re done. Plus, you can quickly and easily track the status of any order. Simplicity at its finest.

Bitpanda

Where most exchanges only accept Visa, Mastercard and PayPal – Bitpanda are happy to accept any one of 10 payment options – from Skrill to SEPA.

Bitpanda came to life after its founders – all Bitcoin enthusiasts – discovered how difficult it could be buying Bitcoin in Europe. The service is fully automated – as soon as you submit your payment you’re automatically credited with the cryptocurrency of your choice. Their homepage has an exceptionally detailed FAQs section that will take you through any uncertainties you have about the platform.

Bitquick

As you might be able to guess from the name, Bitquick is another service that prides itself on a quick turnaround time for customers – and while they don’t claim to be instant – you can get the transaction time for their 10 latest orders on their site – and it’s usually less than 20 minutes.

One of the big factors that sets Bitquick aside from anyone else is that fact that they handle cash – real cash, transferred to their account – rather than credit or debit card transactions that require the card issuer as an intermediary. You can expect some ID checks if you’re dealing with massive figures – but that’s to be expected – and there aren’t many exchanges that handle cash transactions so quickly and safely.

Getting Started with Forex Trading

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There are lots of resources online such as the Elliott Wave theory that’ll explain how to start out with using their particular Forex brokerage or tools – but not as many impartial guides that’ll give you an overview of the steps you need to take.

If Forex trading looks like something worth exploring, follow these steps to get up and running…

  1. Get clued up on the terminology

Before you make any trades you need to know the language of the marketplace. Take some time to read some guides on Forex and you’ll see terms used in context. Here are a few of the most important ones to get you moving:

  • Base: The base currency is the one you’re holding or selling.
  • Quote: The quote currency is the currency you’re purchasing.
  • Pair: A pair represents the two currencies you’re dealing with in a trade.
  • Exchange rate: This is the rate at which the base can be exchanged for the quote.
  • Long: This is a trading position, in which you intend to buy the base and sell the quote.
  • Short: This is a trading position, in which you’re buying the quote in exchange for the base.
  • Spread: The rate at which a broker buys and sells currency is referred to as a ‘bid’ and ‘ask’ price respectively – between those two prices is the ‘spread’.
  • Point/Pip: This is 0.0001 of the change in value between two currencies.

It’s worth becoming familiar with the different currency acronyms too – as well as the terms that relate to different buying strategies.

  1. Check out some quotes

Having a look at some Forex quotes will give you a good idea of how the previously mentioned terms fall into place.

Generally, you’ll see bid and ask price that relates to the broker you’re using, the opening price for that currency – as well as the highest and lowest values the pair has achieved that day. Things get really interesting when you see the red or green columns – indicating whether the base currency in the pair is up or down in value against the quote.

  1. Think about currency pairs

Most Forex brokerages deal with the main 4 main currencies pairs, they are:

  • EUR/USD – The Euro and the US Dollar
  • USD/JPY – The US Dollar and the Japanese Yen
  • GBP/USD – The British Pound and the US Dollar
  • USD/CHF – The US Dollar and the Swiss franc

That said, there are combinations possible that extend to more broadly than these 8 currencies – so there are a few things to think about before you decide which to choose. You might want to consider:

  • The countries current financial situation, including employment and inflation
  • The countries political position – stability in politics normally means currency stability, but elections can stir things up
  • The country’s current trading position
  1. Find a suitable Brokerage account

Searching for brokerage accounts is generally going to return reputable companies on the first few pages of Google – and assuming you do a little homework into them before you sign up (to make sure you’re happy with the way they operate) then you won’t go far wrong.

That said, not all brokerages are regulated or even legitimate – be careful to do some reading up before you commit to giving your detail and money to anyone who’s been recommended as part of a chat, forum or social media conversation. Chances are you’ll be fine – but it’s better to check.

It’s also important to check that the company you’re going to be using complies with your local financial regulation – for example, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulates companies offering financial services in the UK. Check your local laws and regulations if you’re not sure.

  1. Decide which type of account you want

Generally, brokers will offer two types of account. A personal account lets you execute trades yourself – whereas a managed account will see trades made on your behalf by a broker working for the company.

If you’re here, the chances are you’re looking to do the trading yourself, but watching what a broker does with your money can give you a good indication of how someone more experienced approaches the market.

  1. Fill out an application

Signing up for a broker account normally involves submitting some paperwork to confirm who you are – such as a driving license, utility bill, passport – and so forth.

Don’t panic, this is normal and just the broker’s way of staying compliant with their local money laundering due diligence laws.

  1. Think about how you plan to approach the market

There is no one perfect way to trade in a Forex marketplace – people have made fortunes and lost fortunes following virtually every strategy conceivable. There are however 3 overarching approaches that more niche trends tend to fall under, they are:

  • Technical analysis: The studying of historic data relating to the currency and the conditions that surrounded the fluctuations in price at that time.
  • Fundamental analysis: This is the study of fundamental data relating to the country’s economical position and using this data to inform your trades.
  • Sentimental analysis: The ‘sentiment’ of the market relates to how traders are reacting to the current currency fluctuations. Analysis of this information can give an indication of the currency’s immediate future performance.
  1. Think about margin

Now, understanding margin could take up books as a subject by itself, however, it’s important that you think about it now as it can have a huge impact on your trading.

Often, a broker will allow you to trade greater amounts of currency than your capital allows. For example, at 1:50 rate, with £1,000 of capital you’d be able to trade £50,000 worth of currency. This means your capital can go a lot further, but you’re multiplying your risk – as well as potential rewards.

  1. Make some orders

When you feel ready, you’ll be able to make some orders through your broker account. Generally, someone who’s stepped into Forex to ‘trade’ will look to place a ‘market order’ – which is a direct purchase of a currency through your broker.

It’s not the only option though, you could place a limit order that your broker will make on your behalf – which sees an order placed when a currency hits a certain high or low – or a stop order, which is an instruction for a broker to buy or sell your currency above or below the current market price in the anticipation that the price will move in this direction.

  1. Monitor the red and green

When you’re the proud owner of some currency, it’s time to watch the market! You’ll now be looking at a screen that like the quote sheet in step 2 – but now those green and red numbers actually impact your position. Hold tight, this is where big money is made and lost in the blink of an eye…

Infographic by: visual.ly