Best Altcoin Exchanges, Tried and True
Image: Bitfinex for 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.
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.
AML/KYC for altcoin trading is still 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 has the main coins you might want to trade but there will be no fiat banking routes for you unless you want to transfer 5-6 figures USD (if you do, you should contact their support). You should also know there has been a controversy regarding Tether issuance and audit has been promised.
- Bittrex has many pairs and poor liquidity on some which can be exploited if you are a good short term trader. They are currently a more reliable altcoin exchange than Poloniex, but their customer support is overloaded too.
You can also trade altcoins on Kraken and there is ETH available on GDAX but it’s been long a popular fixture that these two exchanges will crash during every important price action. You have been warned. Bitstamp also has some altcoins – XRP and newly also ETH and LTC – you need to be fully verified to trade there.
Altcoin traders from the US
You probably know about the witch hunt. US traders have it always more difficult.
You have the following options:
- Verify on exchanges that are regulated within the US – Gemini, GDAX – if they will take you. They don’t accept all banks, all states and sometimes they just refuse for undisclosed reasons. These two are where you’ll have your deposits in the fastest.
- Verify on Bitstamp – EU-based but accepts US users. You will need to wire money to Slovenia.
I’m not mentioning Kraken as it’s too unreliable for trading but it is indeed an option. Bitfinex stops servicing verified US residents in November 2017.
Don’t leave your money on exchanges, especially when you’re not verified.
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.
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 verification levels:
* Verification is not absolutely necessary. * You need to state your (any) name and country to get $2000 daily withdrawal limit. * Getting verified takes months. Corporate verifications are no longer possible. * 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 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.
- Trade: 0.15%/0.25% maker-taker. Trading on Poloniex is expensive compared to Bitfinex.
- Deposit: All crypto free.
- Withdrawal: All crypto free.
Via third party app called TabTrader. There is a “Poloniex app” for Android but it is fraudulent.
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.
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 has a good liquidity on all altcoin markets. Alt/fiat markets on Bitfinex are slightly less liquid than Alt/BTC. There are new markets for coins like IOTA or OMG and new coins keep getting listed but the trading picks up very quickly on these new markets.
- 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
(mostly BTC/LTC only)
Chinese exchanges are shutting down CNY pairs for now, it is unclear if they will get licensed and reopen. The only place that remains is OkCoin International (USD denominated BTC, LTC, ETH markets).
Policies: Again - Based in US and has US restrictions. DO NOT keep untraded coins in: Funds left on the account not moved for an unspecified period of time will be treated as unclaimed property.
Charts: Use cryptocoincharts
- Trade: 0.25% Flat
- Mobile trading: TabTrader
BitMEX is a cryptocurrency derivative platform. You cannot buy altcoins or bitcoin on BitMEX with your national currency, you can only trade their products for profit. You get your winnings paid out in BTC.
Currently the most traded products are BTC futures, ZEC futures and BTC permanent swap (derivative mimicking spot BTCUSD market). New altcoin derivative markets keep being added as the altcoin flavors of the month come and go.
US customers are not allowed to sign up to the platform per T&C but Tor/VPN access is not blocked.
BTC and LTC futures only. Probably too close to China for calm sleep these days.
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About the author
Written by KarlVonBahnhof
KarlVonBahnhof also on Reddit, Chris belongs to the crypto trader class of 2013. Located in the Americas most of the time, you're most likely to meet at r/BitcoinMarkets though.
Opinions are author's own.