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Bitcoin’s monumental performance in 2017, as well as the increasing coverage of digital coins in the mainstream media, has attracted traders of all shapes and sizes looking to break into the world of cryptocurrency. While many of them will simply be looking to buy small amounts of bitcoin, there’s also a growing market of traders who want to buy large quantities of bitcoin.
But if you’ve got a big bank balance and fancy yourself as something of a crypto “whale,” it’s important to be aware that the traditional method of buying digital currency through an exchange may not offer the best value for your money.
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Before going any further, it’s important to consider what actually constitutes a large amount of bitcoin. Of course, the definition of “large” will be different for everyone. A sizable trade for you will vary depending on factors like your income, net wealth, experience with digital currency and overall level of risk tolerance.
However, for the purposes of this guide, we’re talking about individual trades worth anywhere north of $10,000 and potentially into hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars.
The two main options when buying a lot of bitcoin are to either purchase through a traditional cryptocurrency exchange or to use an over-the-counter (OTC) exchange. Each type of platform has its pros and cons, so let’s take a closer look at which one might be right for you.
Traditional exchanges offer a simple and straightforward way for their customers to buy bitcoin and other crypto coins. These centralized platforms allow buyers and sellers to trade cryptocurrencies based on current market prices, with the exchange acting as an intermediary between the two parties. Examples of such exchanges include Coinbase.
You register for an account, deposit fiat or cryptocurrency to your trading balance, and then place an order to buy your desired number of coins. All buy and sell offers are listed in a publicly available order book.
Which traditional cryptocurrency exchanges are well set up to support large trading amounts? Check out the brief reviews below for more details on the transaction and withdrawal limits that apply on a selection of popular exchanges, as well as the steps you’ll need to complete to access those limits. All figures quoted are accurate at the time of this writing (4/27/18).
Coinbase is one of the best-known exchanges operating out of America, having dealt in cryptocurrencies since 2011. It has now expanded its offerings to include OTC trading, which makes it an ideal candidate for buying large amounts of BTC. Coinbase accepts a wide range of fiat currencies and calculates unique purchase limits for each user, which you can increase by submitting photo ID.
Founded in 2011, Kraken is a digital currency exchange designed to suit serious traders. Its deposit and withdrawal limits vary depending on the level of verification you achieve. It supports a range of fiat currencies like US dollars (USD), Canadian dollars (CAD), euros (EUR) and Japanese yen (JPY).
|Account tier||Daily limits||Monthly limits||Requirements|
|Tier 0||N/A (deposits and withdrawals not available)||N/A (deposits and withdrawals not available)||Account signup|
Huobi is a crypto-to-crypto exchange platform that allows its users to trade more than 190 currency pairs. It imposes limits on the maximum amount you can buy and sell per transaction, and those limits vary depending on the currency pair you choose. For example, the following limits apply if trading ETH/BTC:
There’s also a currency-specific limit on the maximum amount you can withdraw on your account per transaction. If your account is verified, you can withdraw a maximum of 200 BTC, 2,000 ETH or 5,000 LTC.
OTC trading refers to any cryptocurrency trading that takes place away from conventional crypto exchanges. While trades can be arranged peer-to-peer using online chat rooms like bitcoin-otc, recent years have seen the emergence of an increasing number of OTC brokers. These brokers specialize in helping large-volume traders buy and sell substantial amounts of cryptocurrency and in avoiding slippage.
There’s been a recent upsurge in the number of OTC cryptocurrency brokers in recent times, but you’ll need to make sure you’ll be able to exceed their minimum transaction limits before you sign up. Let’s take a look at the limits of a few popular OTC services below.
Launched in 2013 and based in New York, itBit has access to a network of clients in more than 100 countries. Its OTC trading desk specializes in handling crypto purchases of 25 BTC or more.
A subsidiary of principal trading firm DRW, Cumberland is an OTC trader and liquidity provider that primarily trades bitcoin, Ether, Zcash, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum Classic and Monero, but also trades other digital currencies. Markets can be priced in USD or BTC, and the minimum trade size is $100,000.
Genesis Global Trading
Based in New York, Genesis Global Trading offers OTC digital currency trading for institutional buyers and sellers. A minimum limit of $75,000 per transaction applies.
There’s no “one size fits all” answer to this question, so consider your unique trading needs before choosing a platform to buy a large amount of bitcoin. Ask yourself the following questions:
By thoroughly researching any exchange or broker you’re considering using, including taking a closer look at the fees or commissions charged, you’ll be well-positioned to decide on the best way to purchase a large amount of BTC or another cryptocurrency.
At the time of this writing, the author holds IOTA and XLM.
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