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Crypto Investing// 8 min read

An Exhaustive Guide to Buying Cryptocurrencies (anywhere in the world)

An Exhaustive Guide to Buying Cryptocurrencies (anywhere in the world)

In 1983 David Chaum fired the starting gun for crypto by inventing Ecash. 26 years later, Satoshi Nakamoto introduced bitcoin to the world and with it the world’s first blockchain.

Today, crypto with a combined value of over $9 billion dollars is traded every 24 hours. More than 1,600 cryptocurrencies with a collective market capitalization of roughly $250 billion make up the ecosystem along with countless startups, developers and corporations.

Despite these staggering numbers, buying crypto is still an ordeal for most of us. Counterintuitive UX, unnecessary jargon, weird currency pairs, a multitude of fees, KYC and security requirements as well as arbitrary limits on deposits and withdrawals often make buying and selling crypto a nightmare in 2018.

The biggest problem most of us face is finding the best way to buy crypto. Depending on where we live, how much we want to buy, what kind of fees we are willing to pay, and what kind of KYC procedures we have time for, the right method is often hard to find.

This guide aims to provide you with the cheapest and fastest way of buying cryptocurrencies (not just bitcoins) regardless of your location. The discussion will be segmented into continents, but keep in mind that the ecosystem is still maturing and some locations are better for crypto purchases than others.

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Buying Crypto in North America

The ecosystem in North America is probably the strongest in the world. Cryptocurrency enthusiasts have a plethora of reliable options to choose from. Here are some to check out.

1. CoinbaseBuy and Sell Digital Currency

Founded in 2012, Coinbase has established itself as one of most important bitcoin exchange services in the world. The key to the success of the platform is its user-friendly interface, the ability to buy crypto with a debit and credit card, as well as rapid international expansion.

For users, Coinbase is a solid option for bitcoin, ethereum, litecoin and bitcoin cash purchases. Coinbase charges a 3.99% fee on debit and credit card purchases, which is a little steep but you receive your coins instantly.

Users also have the ability to pay via bank account which only costs 1.49%, although the purchase takes around 5 days to complete.

Buying Crypto: Coinbase

Cryptocurrencies:BTC, ETH, LTC, BCH
Deposit Methods:Credit card, debit card, wire transfer.
Deposit Fees
Credit/Debit Cards:3.99%
SEPA:1.49% (USD$0.15 minimum)
Coinbase USD Wallet:1.49%
ACH Transfer USD:Free
Wire Transfer USD:USD$10.00
Withdrawal Fees
SEPA:EUR€0.15
US Bank Transfer:1.49% (USD$0.15 minimum)
Coinbase USD Wallet:1.49%
Wire Transfer USD:USD$25.00

2. KrakenSail the High Seas of Success

Kraken is another reputable exchange with deep liquidity in multiple currency pairs. Founded in 2011, Kraken puts users’ security at a premium, providing two-factor authentication and PGP/GPG encryption.

Perhaps because of the strong focus on security, Kraken’s user interface is not quite as intuitive as that of Coinbase. That being said Kraken offers far more cryptocurrencies than most competitors making it a solid choice for those looking to buy crypto.

Buying Crypto: Kraken

Cryptocurrencies:BTC, BCH, ETH, ETC, XMR, DASH, & 10+ more.
Deposit Methods:Electronic Funds Transfer, Wire transfer.
Deposit Fees
CAD Wire Deposit:Free
USD Wire Deposit (US Residents):USD$5.00
USD Wire Deposit (Non-US Residents):USD$10.00
Withdrawal Fees
USD Wire Withdrawal (US Residents):USD$5.00
USD Wire Withdrawal (Non-US Residents):USD$60.00
CAD EFT Withdrawal:CAD$10.00

3. Changelly Exchange Cryptocurrency at the Best Rate

Founded in 2013, Changelly has established itself as one of the strongest platforms for cryptocurrency purchases. Based in the Czech Republic, Changelly still manages to provide an excellent service to customers from the US.

Compared to Kraken and Coinbase, Changelly’s focus is on crypto to crypto exchange, allowing users access to over 70 different cryptocurrencies.

Buying Crypto: Changelly

Cryptocurrencies:BTC, BCH, ETH, XMR, ZEC, DASH, XRP, ETC, LTC, DOGE, XLM, 1ST, ADX, AMP, ANT, BAT, BCN, BNT, BTG, CFI, CVC & 70+ more.
Deposit Methods:Credit card, debit card.
Deposit Fees
USD Wire Deposit (US Residents):USD$5.00
USD Wire Deposit (Non-US Residents):USD$10.00
CAD Wire Deposit:Free
Withdrawal Fees
Cryptocurrency:Varies.
USD Wire Withdrawal (US Residents):USD$5.00
USD Wire Withdrawal (Non-US Residents):USD$60.00
CAD EFT Withdrawal:CAD$10.00

Buying Crypto in South America

Unfortunately, buying crypto in South America is often not an easy feat. Luckily, three excellent exchanges exist, which

1. CEXBitcoin Exchange You Can Trust

CEX was founded in 2013, and has progressed from a two-bit mining operation to one of the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchanges.

Today, CEX convinces with its top-notch platform security, high-velocity margin trading, and interesting currency pairs. Indeed, CEX allows users to buy Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Dash.

With its emphasis on security comes a strict KYC process which is necessary to increase buying limits.

Overall, crypto enthusiasts located in South America should check out CEX, not least for the ability to make purchases with credit card.

Buying Crypto: CEX

Cryptocurrencies:BTC, ETH, DASH.
Deposit Methods:Credit card, debit card.
Deposit Fees
Credit Card:3.5%
SEPA:Free
USD Bank Transfer:Free
GBP Bank Transfer:Free
Withdrawal Fees
SEPA:Free
USD Bank Transfer:Up to 1.2% + USD$3.80.
GBP Bank Transfer:GBP£30.00
Mastercard:Up to 1.2% + GBP£2.90.

2. CoinmamaThe Fastest Way to Buy Bitcoin and Ethereum

If the extensive KYC requirements of CEX have you looking for alternatives, the next best thing is Coinmama. Coinmama has grown rapidly in recent months, now boasting over 200,000 customers from all over the world.

Interestingly, Coinmama combines its ease of use with a host of interesting coin offerings. Not only can you buy the stalwarts Bitcoin and Ethereum, but also Cardano, Ripple, Litecoin and even Ethereum Classic.

In order to provide the fastest crypto purchasing experience possible, Coinmama allows both Mastercard and Visa, while requiring only a document upload for KYC.

Unfortunately, Coinmama has relatively high fees, starting off with a trading fee of 5.9% and a deposit fee of 5%. On the plus side, Coinmama does not charge a withdrawal fee, which is a pleasant surprise, given most other exchange platforms do.

Buying Crypto: Coinmama

Cryptocurrencies:BTC, ETH, ETC, BCH, LTC, ADA, QTUM.
Deposit Methods:Cash, credit card, debit card.
Deposit Fees
Credit Card:5%
Trading Fees:5.9%
Withdrawal FeesFree

3. Indacoin – Buy Cryptocurrency Instantly

If neither CEX or Coinmama are viable options for you, you might want to check out Indacoin. Founded in 2013, the London-based platform has grown to service over 200 countries and provides more than 700 altcoins.

Conveniently, Indacoin allows users to purchase crypto via debit and credit card anywhere in the world and even provides instant purchases.

On the downside, fiat withdrawals on Indacoin can be cumbersome. This is due to fiat withdrawals being handled by their partner Payza, a global payment service provider, which reportedly can take up to 20 days to complete.

Buying Crypto: Indacoin

Cryptocurrencies:BTC, BTG, BURST, BYC, CANN, OMG & 140+ more.
Deposit Methods:Credit card, debit card.
Deposit FeesVaries.
Trading Fees:Varies.
Withdrawal Fees
Crypto to Fiat:7%
Cryptocurrency:Varies.

Buying Crypto in Europe

In my opinion Europe runs North America a close second for most mature cryptocurrency ecosystem. There are a plethora of excellent platforms to choose from, and below you will find three of my favourites.

An honorable mention goes to Coinbase, who offer a fantastic service in most European countries, but is already mentioned above and will therefore not reappear.

1. RevolutYour Digital Banking Alternative

Seeing Revolut as the number one option for purchasing crypto in Europe might come as a bit of a surprise – but hear me out.

Founded in 2013, the London-based fintech platform made its name offering instant, free fiat currency conversions. In December 2017, Revolut added the ability to buy and sell crypto through its mobile APP.

Ever since, European crypto enthusiasts have been able to buy and sell Bitcoin, Ripple, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin easily and at minimal cost from their mobile Revolut APP.

Buying Crypto: Revolut

Cryptocurrencies:BTC, BCH, LTC, XRP, ETH.
Deposit Methods:Credit card, debit card.
Trading Fees:1.5%
Deposit Fees:Free
Withdrawal Fees:Free

2. BinanceExchange the World

Binance offers perhaps the most comprehensive platform for purchasing crypto, not just in Europe but in the world.

The multitude of coins available is astounding, and the number of currency pairs is equally impressive. The reason it is not number #1 on this list, is the rather clunky user experience.

Binance looks and feels like it’s built for traders rather than casual crypto enthusiasts. Once you are past some of the counter-intuitive functionality issues, Binance offers an easy and secure way to purchase crypto.

Finally, it’s worth noting that Binance only supports crypto deposits and withdrawals. This has the disadvantage of cutting off everyone who does not yet own crypto but has the positive effect of keeping fees on the platform very low.

Buying Crypto: Binance

Cryptocurrencies:BTC, XRP, USDT, ETH, & 80+ more.
Deposit Methods:Cryptocurrency.
Trading Fees:0.1%
Deposit Fees:Free
Withdrawal Fees:Free

3. BititInstant, Easy and Secure Cryptocurrency Purchases

There is a good chance you haven’t heard of Bitit. Founded in 2015, the Paris-based exchange has been operating under the radar relative to the other members of this list.

That being said, Bitit offers a fantastic service and is well worth checking out. The features that make this crypto exchange stand out are:

  1. The plethora of fiat currencies available (+10)
  2. The wide variety of deposit methods ( 6+)
  3. The partnership with Ernst & Young

Buying Crypto: Bitit

Fiat Currencies:EUR, USD, GBP, HKD, JPY, CNY, KRW, SEK, AUD, CAD, DKK, NOK, TRY, SGD.
Cryptocurrencies:BTC, ETH, LTC, BNT, XRP, DASH, OMG, BCH, ETC.
Deposit Methods:Credit card, debit card, ePay, Cashlib, Trustpay, Neosurf.
Trading Fees:Free
Deposit Fees
Credit Card:6.9%
Debit Card:6.9%
TrustPay:3%
Withdrawal Fees:Free

Buying Crypto in Africa

In my limited experience purchasing Crypto is perhaps most challenging in Africa. Many African nations are hostile towards this new technology because they believe it could undermine often already fragile existing fiat currencies.

There are, however, three crypto exchanges which provide an excellent service.

1. BitPesaCrypto Exchange in Frontier Markets

BitPesa offers a fast and cheap way of purchasing Bitcoin in a number of African countries. These currently include:

  1. Ghana
  2. Kenya
  3. Nigeria
  4. Senegal
  5. Tanzania
  6. Uganda
  7. Democratic Republic of Congo

Founded in 2013 by Columbia graduate Elizabeth Rossiello, BitPesa provides a cheap and reliable service, as well as above average customer care to its 23,000+ users.

Buying Crypto: BitPesa

Fiat Currencies:UGX, NGN, TZS, KES.
Cryptocurrencies:BTC.
Deposit Methods:Credit card.
Trading Fees:3%
Deposit Fees:Free
Withdrawal Fees:Free

2. LocalBitcoinsBuy, Sell or Trade Bitcoins

LocalBitcoins is a departure from the typical, centralized exchanges mentioned so far. Instead, the Helsinki-based platform provides a decentralized platform for buyers and sellers of Bitcoin to meet and trade.

Active in over 248 countries, the success of LocalBitcoins has been an impressive feat in such a volatile market.

Although the vision might be more in-tune with Satoshi’s original vision of an electronic p2p, digital cash, the user experience still leaves much to be desired. LocalBitcoins looks and feels a little like the BitcoinTalk forum, and has similar usability issues.

That being said, the platform offers an unrivaled array of payment options, such as PayPal, Cash deposits, debit cards and many more.

Buying Crypto: LocalBitcoins

Fiat Currencies:AUD, USD, GBP, CAD, KES, NGN and 40+ more.
Cryptocurrencies:BTC.
Deposit Methods:Cash, Credit card, Cryptocurrency, Debit card, PayPal, M-Pesa, BPAY, Flexepin, Neosurf, Neteller + 10 more.
Trading Fees:Free
Deposit Fees:Varies.
Withdrawal Fees
Cryptocurrency:0.0005BTC
Credit Card (US):USD$6 + 5%
Credit Card (RU):RUR₽70 + 7%
AdvCash:4% (RUR) // USD$2
PerfectMoney:5%
Capitalist:4% (RUR) // 7% (USD)

3. ShapeshiftWe Buy and Sell Digital Assets

As you will have noticed, the previous two members of our list, only allow users to buy and sell Bitcoin. In order to get your hands on more esoteric altcoins like Cardano or Lisk, you will have to find a crypto exchange platform – enter Shapeshift.

Based in Switzerland and founded by Eric Vorhees, Shapeshift offers a peerless way to exchange Bitcoin for other altcoins.

Offering an extremely fast, cheap and lean service, the platform has managed to gain popularity while staying true to the underlying ethos of crypto. Users do not need to create an account, instead, they simply enter their wallet addresses.

Buying Crypto: ShapeShift

Cryptocurrencies:BTC, ETH, BCH, ETC, DASH, DNT, EOS, DOGE + 25 more.
Deposit Methods:Cryptocurrency.
Trading Fees:Varies.
Deposit Fees:Free
Withdrawal Fees:Free

Buying Crypto in Asia

Asia is the (not so) secret powerhouse of crypto, reportedly providing over 70% of mining hash power. Naturally, buying and selling crypto is possible with relative ease. A number of excellent exchanges have flourished in recent years, to provide services to crypto enthusiasts living in Asia

1. HuobiThe Leading Global Digital Asset Exchange

Founded in 2013, Huobi is a Singapore-based exchange that has rapidly become Asia’s favorite place to buy crypto.

With offices in Hong Kong, Korea, Japan and now the United States, Huobi offers more than 90 cryptocurrencies and 24/7 customer support to its users.

Unfortunately, the platform does not currently accept fiat currencies, meaning all exchanges must be done in crypto.

Buying Crypto: Huobi

Cryptocurrencies:BTC, ETH, BCH, ETC, DASH, DNT, EOS, DOGE + 75 more.
Deposit Methods:Cryptocurrency.
Trading Fees:0.2%
Taker Fees:0.2%
Deposit Fees:Free
Withdrawal Fees:Free

2. BitStampGo for the Digital Currency Stars

BitStamp has established itself as one of the foremost cryptocurrency platforms in the world. Highly liquid, with crypto-to-crypto and crypto-to-fiat currency transactions, BitStamp now processes over $120 million dollars in daily trading volume.

BitStamp’s focus on trading could also be described as one of its biggest flaws, as beginners might struggle to navigate the counter-intuitive interface.

Additionally, beginners might be put off by relatively large fees on small deposits.

On the flipside, BitStamp offers very low transaction fees and is a globally recognized crypto exchange. As a result, it made our list and is definitely worth checking out.

Buying Crypto: BitStamp

Cryptocurrencies:BTC, ETH, LTC, XRP.
Deposit Methods:Debit card, credit card, SEPA, wire transfer, AstroPay.
Trading Fees:0.1% - 0.25%
Deposit Fees
Cryptocurrency:Free
Credit Card:5%+
SEPAFree
Bank Wire Transfer:0.05%
Withdrawal Fees
Cryptocurrency:Free
SEPA:EUR€0.90
Bank Wire Transfer:0.09%
Debit Card:USD$10 for values under $1,000 & 2% if over $1,000

3. QuoinexThe World’s Most Advanced Cryptocurrency Trading Platform

Last but by no means least on our list is Quoinex. This innovative trading platform provides nine fiat currencies and more than 10 cryptocurrencies for trade in Asia and beyond.

Beyond the impressive array of currencies, Quoinex also offers a fast and affordable service, with users paying zero fees on their base currency pair.

Importantly for the Asian market the platform is one of the few to operate with a Japanese licence, meaning that it is a fully regulated financial institution.

Buying Crypto: Quoinex

Fiat Currencies:JPY, USD, SGD, AUD, EUR, CNY, PHP, HKD, INR.
Cryptocurrencies:BTC, ETH, QUTM, QASH, BCH, XRP, BCH, NEO, UBTC, RKT.
Deposit Methods:Cryptocurrency, bank transfer.
Trading Fees:0% - 0.25%
Deposit Fees:Free
Withdrawal Fees:Free

Buying Crypto in Australia

The cryptocurrency ecosystem is maturing in Australia. A myriad of excellent platforms has appeared for Australians to exchange their crypto easily and affordably. Here are my top three.

1. UpholdThe Trusted, Low Cost and Easy to Use Digital Money Platform

I first came across Uphold two years ago and was amazed by the impressive scope, and aghast at the clunky user experience. In 2018, the platform has matured into a fully fledged digital money platform on which users can deposit, withdraw, and trade a whole host of currency pairs with the click of a button.

The most impressive aspect of Uphold is the speed of the transactions. Lightning fast exchanges can be performed by amateurs at the click of a button. No ticking trading graphs, no red and green bars flashing on the screen; just a sleek and smooth user experience aimed at the casual crypto enthusiast.

There’s not much to say in terms of downsides. Check Uphold out, especially if you are located in Australia.

Buying Crypto: Uphold

Fiat Currencies:AUD, USD, GBP, EUR, ARS, INR, BRL, CAD, CNY. NZD, DKK, HKD, ILS, JPY, KES, CHF, MXN, AED, NOK, PHP, SEK, PLN, SGD.
Cryptocurrencies:BTC, ETH, DASH, LTC, BCH, BAT, BTG, XRP, VO.
Deposit Methods:Credit card, debit card, bank transfer, SEPA.
Trading Fees: 0.65% - 3.65%
Deposit Fees
Bank Transfer:Free
Cryptocurrency:Free
Credit/Debit Card:3.99%
Withdrawal Fees
Cryptocurrency:USD$2.99 + coin fees.
Bank Transfer:USD$3.99

2. Wall of CoinsThe Most Trusted Marketplace on Earth

Founded in 2014, the Florida based crypto exchange Wall of Coins is another option worth checking out for Australia-based crypto-heads.

Unlike many other platforms, Wall of Coins manages to make the buying and selling of crypto an easy and intuitive experience. Additionally, the exchange offers some of the lowest rates in the industry.

On the downside, WoC has relatively low liquidity compared to the other major exchanges, and only allows cash deposits.

That being said, users enjoy a high standard of security and an above average customer service.

Buying Crypto: Wall of Coins

Fiat Currencies:AUD, USD, AUD, GPB.
Cryptocurrencies:BTC, DASH.
Deposit Methods:Cash.
Trading Fees:Varies.
Deposit Fees:Varies.
Withdrawal Fees:Varies.

3. BlockbidTrade With Confidence

Number three on our list is Blockbid, a brand new exchange focused on the Australian market. With the crowdsale now officially over, and more than 3,500 ETH raised, Blockbid promises a swath of features which make it one to keep an eye on.

The most important from my perspective are:

  1. Insured – Blockbid is one of the first exchanges to be fully insured
  2. Speed – The platform claims to be able to process over 1 million transactions per second
  3. Licenced – Blockbid is one of the few platforms regulated by AUSTRAC in Australia

The only negative worth mentioning so far is that the platform is still under development.

Buying Crypto: Blockbid

Fiat Currencies:AUD, EUR, USD, JPY.
Cryptocurrencies:BTC, LTC, , XRP, BCH, BTG.
Deposit Methods:To be announced.
Trading Fees:0.1%
Deposit Fees:Free.
Withdrawal Fees:Free.

Conclusion

There you have it! Three excellent choices no matter where you are in the world. Did I miss any? Is your favorite platform not on the list? Let me know in the comments below…

Written by:

Chris Grundy is an avid tech enthusiast and the Head of Marketing at SelfKey. He's been writing about the Bitcoin space since 2015 and has enjoyed every minute of it.

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