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Review: CEX.IO cryptocurrency exchange

Buy and sell cryptocurrency or actively trade at competitive rates on CEX.IO.

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CEX.IO is no longer available for Canadian traders. Compare cryptocurrency exchanges that are available to Canadians here.

What fiat and cryptocurrencies are supported?

  • Supported fiat currencies: USD, EUR, GBP, CAD
  • Supported cryptocurrencies: Approximately 145 cryptocurrencies

Which payments methods are accepted?

Available payment methods vary per market.

  • Bank transfer
  • Credit card
  • Cryptocurrency
  • SEPA
  • Faster Payments (FPS)
  • SWIFT
Disclaimer: This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of cryptocurrency or any specific provider, service or offering. It is not a recommendation to trade.

What’s it like to use CEX.IO?

Fees and limits

Fees for buying $1,000 of Bitcoin

At the time of writing (11 June 2021), US$1,000 will buy you 0.0251 BTC on CEX.IO.

This is against the current “real” value of $1,000 in Bitcoin – 0.027.

This is because you are being charged a premium for trading directly with CEX.IO as a broker rather than trading with other cryptocurrency enthusiasts on their trading network, in this case, 7%.

How do I create an account at CEX.IO?

We also strongly recommend you set up 2-factor authentication (2FA) on your account.

Staking and rewards

CEX.IO supports staking and claims. $465,000 has been paid out to staking clients so far. Rewards are calculated daily and distributed monthly.

Here are the coins you can stake and the estimated annual yields. You should bear in mind that the rewards are calculated and initiated by the network, not by CEX.IO itself.

CoinEstimated annual yieldMinimum holdingsReward coin
Free TON12.5%1 TONTON
Ziliqa16%1 ZILZIL
Ontology3%1 ONTONG
Tezos5-6%10 XTZXTZ
Polkadot10%1 DOTDOT
NEO1.5%1 NEOGAS
Matic10%500 MATICMATIC
Cosmos8-9%10 ATOMATOM
Cardano3-4%10 ADAADA
MetaHash20%10,000 MHCMHC
Tron3.5%1,000 TRXTRX

Margin trading

CEX.IO offers margin trading between 2x and 100x leverage. Margin trading is where you can trade with funds that CEX.IO lends to you, with your existing holdings acting as collateral.

At the time of writing, this service is only available for Bitcoin, Ethereum and Tether.

We have to underline: Be careful with margin trading, especially at moments of market euphoria. Learn more about crypto margin trading in our guide here.

Derivatives

CEX.IO offers CFDs (contracts for difference) on Bitcoin.

CFDs allow you to trade on the price movements of Bitcoin without actually owning the asset itself.

Think of it as a little like a bet. You go long if you think the price will go up, and take a position accordingly, and vice versa, you go short if you think the price will go down.

They are usually much more liquid and flexible than owning actual cryptocurrency assets, and experienced traders can build highly elaborate strategies based on where they think the market will move next.

For a more detailed explanation of crypto CFDs, check out our guide here.

Additional features

If you’re really serious about your trading, or work for a business that is, CEX.IO offers its CEX.IO Prime.

This is a proprietary matching engine that connects high-volume or institutional clients with liquidity providers, and it has also developed a suite of APIs to aid execution.

If you don’t know what any of this means, don’t worry, it’s not meant for everyday retail clients, but it does speak to the seriousness of the operation.

Customer support

One of CEX.IO’s strongest suits is its customer service.

Support is available 24/7, there’s an online knowledge centre, dedicated support email addresses, a chatbot that becomes a live chat with a human being, and even a phone number you can ring.

This is a good show; CEX.IO even posts apologetic blog posts when the customer service pipes get clogged.

Is CEX.IO safe to use?

Regulation

CEX.IO is not regulated by the FCA in its native UK, and CEX.IO has had some run-ins with it in the past, but the FCA has long been reluctant to fully license cryptocurrency firms.

However, CEX.IO has been registered as a Money Services Businesses (MSB) with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), part of the US Department of the Treasury, and it has obtained a licence from the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission (GFSC) and Money Transmitter Licenses (MTLs) in 32 US states.

The company also has a pending application for a digital payment token service licence with the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

Verification process

As befits such an ambitious company, CEX.IO’s verification process is unusually thorough.

You need to be verified to unlock these functionalities:

  • Buying cryptocurrency with your debit or credit card.
  • Making card deposits of up to $3,000 and withdrawals of up to $10,000 a day.
  • Trading with available cryptocurrencies using market/limit orders and API tools.
  • Pay with Epay, Skrill or QIWI services.

You’ll need your passport, driver’s licence or other government-issued ID, and users in the US will need their social security number.

CEX.IO will ask you not only for a photo of this document, but a selfie with the document, along with thorough information from the document – issue numbers, and so on.

The selfie sounds like a lot, but think of it as like a passport photo – so no sunglasses.

There are also “verified plus” and “corporate” verification levels, but most retail users won’t be needing these.

Security features

There’s no such thing as a totally secure cryptocurrency exchange, so bear that in mind and do take the usual security precautions regarding your own private data.

For its part, CEX.IO is accredited to a level 1 standard (the highest) for data security according to industry standards developed by leading legacy financial services and payments providers.

Verdict

There are exchanges out there that have higher international profiles or are more upfront about what they charge their brokerage clients on the spot market, but CEX.IO gets a lot of things right, and is hard not to recommend.

From its user-friendly experience to thorough security, to the range of brokerage and trading options on offer, this is a solid offer that credibly challenges the big players in the space.

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Disclaimer: Star ratings are only displayed for products with 10 or more reviews.
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Frequently asked questions

Isn’t there a British second-hand entertainment retailer called CEX?

Yes, but the two businesses are not connected.

Disclaimer: Cryptocurrencies are speculative, complex and involve significant risks – they are highly volatile and sensitive to secondary activity. Performance is unpredictable and past performance is no guarantee of future performance. Consider your own circumstances, and obtain your own advice, before relying on this information. You should also verify the nature of any product or service (including its legal status and relevant regulatory requirements) and consult the relevant Regulators' websites before making any decision. Finder, or the author, may have holdings in the cryptocurrencies discussed.

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