Where to buy, sell and exchange bitcoin and cryptocurrency to get the best rates.
Exchanges are where you buy and sell cryptocurrencies, so they’re an integral part of the market. But no two are alike and it’s worth doing your research before picking one.
Learn more about the differences between exchanges and how to choose, or compare exchanges to see what’s out there.
Compare cryptocurrency exchanges available in the Philippines
What is an exchange?
Online exchanges are much like their brick-and-mortar counterparts. They let you convert one currency to another. In the case of cryptocurrencies this might be converting fiat currency (PHP, USD, EUR, etc.) to a cryptocurrency, or trading one cryptocurrency for another.
To use an exchange, you usually need to do the following:
- Create an account. In many cases you’ll also need to verify your identity by providing a copy of your driver’s licence or other proof.
- Deposit funds into your account. You usually need to have funds in your account to start trading.
- Withdraw your funds when ready. For security reasons, it’s standard practice to withdraw and hold funds yourself, instead of keeping it in your account on the exchange.
- Hold coins.
- Check your balance.
- Send coins.
- Receive coins.
- The coins they carry. Some exchanges only sell bitcoin, while others might let you trade dozens of different cryptocurrencies. Sometimes a coin will only be available on one or two exchanges.
- Whether they support fiat currency. Some of the largest exchanges only deal with cryptocurrencies and don’t let you deposit or withdraw fiat currencies.
- The fees they charge. The two main types of fees are those charged for trading and for making deposits or withdrawals from your account. The best value for money option will depend on your specific plans. For example, you might find different withdrawal fees for different coins or trading fees that change vary by volume.
- What type of exchange they are. There are three main types of exchange, and each is quite different. Knowing these can make it easier to compare exchanges at a glance and rule out the ones you’re not interested in.
- Trading platforms
- Direct P2P
- Deposit fees. Fees for depositing funds into your account. These are usually not charged by the exchange itself, but rather your bank, credit card, money transfer or wallet provider as the cost of a transfer. If you’ll be converting currencies too, such as from PHP to USD, this will also usually cost more.
- Trading fees. The fee for making a trade itself, usually charged as a percentage of the total trade volume. You’ll often get charged around 3% commission by brokers or might pay 0.1% to 0.5% in fees per trade on other exchanges.
- Withdrawal fees. These are fees for withdrawing funds from the exchange to your own wallet or bank account. They usually depend on the type of currency being withdrawn and are charged as a flat amount to help cover the exchange’s transfer costs for sending you the money.
- Let’s say you have US$100 to invest in Litecoin. You’ve shopped around and chose LiteExch for your exchange. You like their interface, they carry Litecoin (LTC), they have low transaction fees and a lot of good reviews.
- After creating an account with LiteExch you are asked to upload a photo of your passport or driving license for verification. You go through the process and get verified. Now you’re ready to buy some Litecoin.
- You find the Buy/Sell section on LiteExch’s website and you select “Buy” (because you’re buying Litecoin), choosing USD as your source currency and LTC for the currency being purchased.
- Next you enter US$100 into the amount input field, enter your credit card details and click the “Next” button.
- LiteExch now shows you the fees. LiteExch charges 1%, with a US$1.50 minimum. Because you’re only buying US$100 worth of LTC, 1% would come out to US$1.00, so you will be charged the minimum of US$1.50 instead.
- The amount of LTC which you will be buying is now shown on your screen. While LTC is trading at US$62.50/LTC, you will not be buying 1.600 LTC. Instead you will be getting 1.576 LTC because the exchange will keep US$1.50 of your initial US$100.
- After proceeding with the payment, you now have 1.576 LTC in your exchange wallet.
A wallet is a piece of secure software that connects to the blockchain and lets you take three primary actions:
Exchanges will differ in the following ways:
The three different types of exchanges
While each has its own method of doing things, exchanges generally fall into one of three different categories:
These exchanges have the most in common with regular, brick-and-mortar currency exchanges. They provide a fixed price for the currencies that they trade in (which fluctuates with the average price of the coin but is generally higher when buying, cheaper when selling) and they guarantee that your order will go through. They are the simplest to use but often have the highest fees.
Similar to Forex trading platforms, these exchanges allow users to buy and sell currencies from and to each other. They also usually have charting software, to assist users in better analyzing the history of the price of a coin, and to help predict where it’s going to go. Trading platforms usually have lower fees because there are far more transactions happening on trading platforms than on broker exchanges. The price of the coin is set by the market.
Acting almost like middlemen, these exchanges allow users to trade currencies but, unlike trading platforms, the users set their own prices and do not have a fixed market rate. This is the least common exchange as it is more susceptible to fraud than other platforms.
There are three main types of fees that might be incurred on an exchange.
The best value for money exchange will depend on the currencies you’re trading, your planned trade volume, how frequently you’ll be making withdrawals and the coin prices themselves. For example, you might end up with better value for money at a seemingly expensive exchange that accepts PHP simply because it lets you avoid currency conversion costs.
Step-by-step guide: How do I exchange fiat for coins?
Exchanges typically have their own specific process of converting fiat currency to cryptocurrency and back, but the general process remains the same. We’ll use a fictitious exchange called LiteExch as an example.
Exchanging cryptocurrency back to fiat is precisely the same as the above process, but with the currencies reversed.
Choosing an exchange and what to look for
Exchanges come in various shapes and sizes, from those that offer multiple levels of security to exchanges that don’t even ask you to create an account. So when you’re about to choose an exchange, it’s best to look at its features and go from there.
Fees vary widely from exchange to exchange and can pile up if you’re not careful. To find out how much you’ll actually be paying, consider running the numbers on a hypothetical trade before the real thing, with the same payment method, volume, coins and withdrawal.
If an exchange does not publicly post its fees, steer away.
Exchanges accept all sorts of payment methods, from credit and debit cards to bank transfers, but not all exchanges accept all the various payment options. Also note that some exchanges might accept one payment method for withdrawal, but not for deposits.
Make sure your exchange has deposit and withdrawal options that work for you, and make sure to check the fees associated with different methods.
Exchanges may have limits on how much or how little you can deposit, buy and withdraw at a time. These limits will often vary depending on the transaction method as well as your verification level. For example, someone who’s provided notarized proof of identity, address and source of their funds might get unlimited transactions, while someone who’s only shown their driver’s licence might be restricted to $1,000 a week.
See whether the limits work for your plans.
A large exchange might be holding hundreds of millions of dollars worth of cryptocurrency. It’s typical for around 99% of it to be held in offline at any given time, but a successful hacker can still become a multi-millionaire by getting that remaining 1%.
Large exchanges tend to be under almost constant attack, and those without effective digital security don’t last long. You can assume that prominent exchanges have decent electronic security, but you should still read reviews and make sure an exchange is legitimate.
It’s also worth remembering that an exchange which has been hacked in the past isn’t necessarily any less secure today. Instead consider how it responded to the hack, and whether all affected users were fairly compensated for any losses.
Naturally you’ll also want to make sure your preferred coins are available. There’s not much point in signing up for an exchange that doesn’t have what you want.
There’s no one best exchange. It all depends on what your plans are.
But once you know what you want, you can work out what you need and can start comparing exchanges that work for you.
A-Z of cryptocurrency exchanges
Read more about some of the most popular cryptocurrency exchanges, brokers and P2P lending platforms in one of our comprehensive reviews below.
Frequently asked questions
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