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Best Altcoin Exchanges, Tried and True

Image: Altcoin Trading


So you want to join the madness and start with altcoin trading?

Let’s first look at what is important - what you should be looking for - and what you can leave behind.

Your priorities:

  • Find a liquid exchange - especially when looking for the best altcoin trading platform. Chinese exchanges are perfect for that, simply because of the number of Chinese. However they notoriously don’t do altcoins too much.

  • Keep checking Coinmarketcap 24h volume. Different cryptocurrencies have different liquidity, go with the flow.

  • Keep in mind that smaller market means wilder changes, less predictability and high risk of bad losses.

Less important:

  • AML/KYC for altcoin trading is still (luckily) an overkill in many places. Go with that.

  • Screw inhouse charts. Use Bitcoinwisdom.com, Cryptowat.ch or Cryptocoincharts.info. Cryptowatch is best for altcoin trading and also actively maintained. It leaves quite some footprint in browsers though.

Bitfinex & Poloniex

To keep it short, your best bet is generally either Bitfinex or Poloniex.

You can also trade some altcoins on Kraken and there is ETH available on GDAX but it’s a popular fixture that these two exchanges will crash under heavy load during important price action. You have been warned.

Altcoin traders from the US

You probably know about the witch hunt. US traders have it always more difficult.

I use VPN at all times as a general security measure and it is fine with any of the following exchanges. Since ID verification is not usually a requirement when only cryptocurrencies are in play (and not fiat), you should be OK. For performance I can recommend AirVPN though I have also tried PureVPN and Hide My Ass.

The only thing worth mentioning is probably to distribute your bankroll on several exchanges. Don’t trade a lot of money on a single account if you don’t want to go through verification.

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Best Altcoin Trading Liquidity

Poloniex AKA Polo

(most altcoins, even the lesser known and new ones)

Definitely the best choice is you are looking to trade small altcoins. Polo is the epicenter of all altcoin trading - if there is a pump starting it is starting on Polo.

Poloniex has a lot of traders on ETH, DASH, DOGE, Monero and other markets. When there is a new token coming up it’s always listed on Poloniex.

Exchange trading and margin (leveraged) trading is available, although the selection of leveraged pairs is limited. New altcoins are generally only available for spot (exchange) trading.

Poloniex lending

Funds for margin are provided by other users - you can lend out your bitcoins and altcoins to earn interest too. If you want to do so it’s best that you use a lending bot that will pick out the best lending rates. The rates fluctuate based on the price actions - if altcoins are generally surging, BTC loans will be in high demand to long the altcoins. If altcoins are looking bearish, it will be best to lend out the most traded or least offered losers.

Poloniex policies

Poloniex is based in US but has restriction for some US altcoin traders.

Poloniex verification levels:

* Verification is not absolutely necessary.
* You need to state your (any) name and country to get $2000 daily withdrawal limit.
* Filling in your address and phone number gives you $7000 daily.
* The verification limits on Poloniex are in USD although <a class='external' rel='nofollow' target='_blank' href='https://poloniex.com/'>Poloniex</a> only operates in cryptocurrencies - so, if your favourite altcoin surges you might not be able to withdraw all of your profits at once.  

Poloniex Charts

Poloniex has an awful web app. All altcoins on Poloniex are listed on Tradingview though - and those are real professional charts and chat where you sometimes even learn, not just alts pumping. You can also find most coins on Cryptowatch.

Poloniex Fees

  • Trade: 0.15%/0.25% maker-taker. Trading on Poloniex is expensive compared to Bitfinex.
  • Deposit: All crypto free.
  • Withdrawal: All crypto free.

Mobile trading

Via third party app called TabTrader. There is a “Poloniex app” for Android but it is fraudulent!

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Bitcoin exchanges going altcoin

What used to be known as Bitcoin exchanges in the past is now becoming a serious trading bussiness encompassing the whole new asset class. Couple years ago you couldn’t trade or lend altcoins on Bitfinex, these days it’s your second best option right after Poloniex.

Bitfinex

Bitfinex is based in HongKong, owned by JL van der Velde - CEO of iFinex Inc.

On Bitfinex crypto deposits and withdrawals go without verification. You need some confirmations to use BTC or altcoin deposit, they don’t do instant deposits - that might be a drawback if you’re doing altcoin arbitrage.

Bitfinex Liquidity

Bitfinex has a good liquidity on all altcoin markets. Alt/fiat markets on Bitfinex are less liquid than Alt/BTC but you can use them for arbitrage or hedging.

Altcoin markets

Ether, Ether Classic, Zcash, Monero, Dash and Litecoin. Bitfinex also trades Bitcoin Core and Bitcoin Unlimited prediction tokens.

Bitfinex Policies

Might require AML/KYC if you are from certain locations or trade a lot of money. So be careful and don’t put too much in one basket. Also, when they get hacked, they are not liable for losses - and they have been hacked indeed.

Currently their USD withdrawals are held back because they lost their only USD clearing center (Wells Fargo). The company that holds Bitfinex tried to sue Wells Fargo but the lawsuit was withdrawn so there either was a settlement or the lawsuit simply didn’t have a chance.

Bitfinex Charts

Use Cryptowatch or Tradingview.

Bitfinex Fees

  • Trade: maker/taker .09%/.18% if you sign up with this referral link
  • Deposit: BTC & altcoins free
  • Withdrawal: BTC & altcoins free

Mobile trading on Bitfinex

Native app (“Bitfinex”, issued by iFinex), TabTrader, zTrader

BTC-e

BTC-e is most likely based in Russia but no official info is given. They are now the oldest exchange, operating since 2011 without scams.

Good selection of lively altcoin markets involving coins like LTC, NVC, PPC and NMC. Markets are quite big.

BTC-e Policies

ID verification only for fiat deposits or withdrawal. To deposit an altcoin, trade it in any way, and withdraw more altcoin goes without verification.

The BTC-e exchange has no liability for losses. Have a 2FA, please - there were users reporting hacks but no site-wide hack was ever announced.

BTC-e deposits

BTC-e uses a complicated fiat route that goes through several offshore proxies so fiat deposits and withdrawals are complicated and expensive. More here

The presently supported payment methods are:

  • US Bank Wire, EU Bank Wire (SEPA)
  • Visa, Mastercard
  • PerfectMoney
  • Liqpay.com, unikarta.com, WebCreds.com, Ukash.com, Webmoney.ru

BTC-e Charts

Use Bitcoinwisdom.

BTC-e Fees

  • Trade: Flat 0.2%
  • Deposit: Any crypto for free
  • Withdrawal: Any crypto has fee of 0.001 coin (quite high). Fees on fiat withdrawals change with method but generally are quite high compared to the industry levels.

BTC-e Mobile trading

Third party app TabTrader.

Chinese Exchanges

(mostly LTC only)

Chinese exchanges are good place to trade. Keep in mind that Chinese have more interest in coins due to their capital control. That means prices will usually be a bit above the western markets. If you find a way to arbitrage this, good on you.

Typically though you will only be able to trade LTC pairs in China.

  • Policies: No AML/KYC paperwork necessary. Chinese traders say that international traders are never hassled, but sometimes traders with high balance are picked and asked to state their ID number or so. The trick is that you get asked for ID number (without verification) on sign up but as they lock your account and ask you, you cannot go and check. This is theor way to filter out frauds (and seize their coins).

Also: When signing up you need to certify you are not from US, Indonesia or other restricted countries (they are specified in Terms).

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New-ish places but tested without issues

Bittrex

Bittrex is exclusively altcoin exchange. Newish, but people trade dash and ether there.

Bit-X

Bit-x only needs an unverified phone number. The only quite lively altcoin market is LTCBTC but don’t expect too much.

They also offer a virtual credit card (or a plastic one.)

  • Policies: They charge fee per open transaction (0,02%). You don’t get it back if you cancel the trade. In addition to this, there also are trade fees as normally.

  • Charts: Use Bitcoinity

  • Fees
    • Trade: Flat 0.2%
    • Deposit: Any crypto for free
    • Withdrawal: Any crypto free
  • Mobile trading: So far no app has them?

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To keep checking (Low volumes for now)

AnxPro

Anxpro looks like a Forex platform.

Looks fine but doesn’t have enough liquidity yet - only some DOGE trades up until now (check out the trade volume table at the bottom). Probably only worth checking out for now.

  • Policies: No verification needed for altcoin trading without fiat movements. Users in US or prohibited countries will be banned if they use a VPN. There is no clear specification which countries these are.

  • Charts: Use Cryptocoincharts

  • Fees
    • Trade: Makers 0.3%, takers0.6%
    • Deposit: All crypto free
    • Withdrawal: All crypto free
  • Mobile trading: TabTrader

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