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Recommended exchanges

We’ve compiled a list of recommended Bitcoin exchanges for you, along with some ratings to help you make a good decision.

We have added a few ratings that indicates how dedicated the listed exchanges are in terms of Bitcoin support (adoption of the latest Bitcoin technology, liquidity, not trying to lure newcomers into altcoin gambling etc.), and we give you ‘pure’ links to the exchanges as well as ones with reference codes (if available). The ones with refcodes will usually give you initial discounts for your first Bitcoin purchases, and by using them, you also support this website. But we’re also fine if you decide to use the pure links.

ExchangeBTC liquidityBTC supportAltcoin mazeDirect URLnotes
Swan Bitcoinnot relevant10/1010/10Enter#
Relainot relevant10/1010/10Enter#
Bisq DEX2/108/1010/10Enter#
HodlHodl DEX3/108/1010/10Enter#
Kraken8/108/105/10Enter#
Bitfinex8/1010/105/10Enter#
Binance9/105/101/10Enter#
Coinbase7/103/101/10Enter#
Huobi9/107/106/10Enter#
Kucoin8/107/105/10Enter#
OKEx8/109/106/10Enter#
Details on the listed exchange services:

SwanBitcoin is dedicated to support Bitcoiners in many ways, including education and with a particular focus on supporting the DCA (Dollar-cost-averaging) saving’s strategy that has worked out very well for Bitcoiners in the past. On top of simply buying Bitcoin at ‘spot’ (a certain amount for a certain price), you can automatically buy for a fixed amount and have your Bitcoin transferred directly into your cold wallet. Top-notch exchange for Bitcoiners, unfortunately only for US-based ones so far. Requires KYC.

Relai is quite similar to SwanBitcoin in a way, but only available as an app, and focused on European customers. They also offer DCA-buys, and what’s amazing is that no KYC is required! Direct transfer to cold wallet also supported. Using refcode REL10041 during your order, you pay 0.5% less in fees.

Bisq is a decentralized exchange (DEX) completely focused on Bitcoin (and Monero as the only altcoin). Liquidity is not great, but good deals especially for smaller slices of BTC can be made if you are a bit patient. Very safe and battle-tested, but for more advanced users, as you have to make a refundable safety deposit (in Bitcoin) for your deals first, therefore, KYC is not necessary. Safer than face to face deals.

HodlHodl is another decentralized exchange that requires no KYC. Like Bisq, the DEX doesn’t hold funds, so your coins are directly transferred from/to your wallet. Has usually slightly better liquidity than Bisq and lower fees, and on top of that, doesn’t require a security deposit.

Kraken certainly belongs to the most serious and customer-oriented exchanges, has a good history of protecting them even after attacks, and supports the Bitcoin environment. No Lightning Network support still though. Good for European users is their support of SEPA transfers.

Bitfinex is, along with Kraken, known for a very supportive stance for Bitcoin, and even offers Lightning Network transfers to fund or withdraw Bitcoins to/from the exchange which makes these transfers very cheap and superfast. Good liquidity for Bitcoin and nice trading interface.

Binance has a nice user interface and has great marketing, so many users are attracted to it. As an exchange for Bitcoiners, it’s mainly the good liquidity that makes it worthwhile. In terms of dedication to support the #1 coin in the market, Binance has shown lack of adoption of the latest technologies like the Lightning Network etc., and is known for trying to lure users into buying altcoins to make them more fees. It has to be noted though that Binance is also mining Bitcoin since 2020, and users can buy hashing power.

Coinbase may well be called one of the most Bitcoin-hostile corporations out there. They have supported the ‘Segwit2x’ attack against Bitcoin in 2017, actively cooperate with Chainalysis, actively support diluting the market with useless projects/potential scams, they provide governments with surveillance tools (‘Coinbase Analytics’), have been found guilty of wash-trading / market manipulation, have a bad image among traders for because their engines often ‘unfortunately’ going down whenever Bitcoin has massive price spikes etc. On the other hand, they are also the 1st address for major corporations for custody and large-scale purchases of Bitcoin. For retail investors however, more Bitcoin-friendly and customer-oriented exchanges may be the better choice.

Huobi is one of the largest Chinese exchanges and provides great Bitcoin liquidity.

KuCoin is one of the youngest exchanges in this list, but has shown sustainable and impressive growth and become a popular exchange. It has good Bitcoin liquidity, but also a maze of altcoins in which newly arriving customers can easily get trapped.

OKEx is the largest Chinese exchange and just as Huobi, has good Bitcoin liquidity. OKEx is also very actively supporting Bitcoin and its latest technology, just recently they added support for Lightning Network to transfer Bitcoin from/to the exchange, which makes this process superfast and cheap. Recommended.

Whichever exchange you are using:

  • “not your keys, not your Bitcoin”: don’t leave any money (be it Bitcoin, USDT or whatever) longer in an exchange ‘wallet’ (which is basically just an IOU similar to a banking account, not a real wallet) than absolutely necessary.
  • Whenever time isn’t of the essence, prefer decentralized exchanges over centralized ones, and KYC-less exchanges over such that require KYC. Centralized choke points and entities sniffing on your private, financial information are to be avoided. This may even become crucial at some point, especially in countries turning authoritarian or getting closer to bankruptcy (example). Bitcoin was created to give you full ownership over your property – honor that, and don’t make your coins an easy target when there are ways to maintain both: your financial privacy and maximum security!
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