Signing up to a Cryptocurrency Exchange

There are 3 main ways to buy cryptocurrency: in person, from sites like Bittylicious  or from an exchange like Kraken.

In person exchanges require you to meet and trust your trading partner, at some point money and cryptocurrency will exchange hands and either side could turn out to be untrustworthy.

Coin Retailers

Bittylicious is an example of a site where only sales offers are listed. It is not a true exchange site. Because of the lack of bids from buyers and the risk of charge-backs for sellers the price tends to be higher.

For example if i want to buy 1 bitcoin right now:

  • Kraken price: £1.861
  • Bittylicious price: £1,960
  • 5.3% more expensive

If i want to buy 1 Dash:

  • Kraken price: €148.67 = £130.37
  • Bittylicious price: £141
  • 8.1% more expensive

Exchanges

To get close to the market price you need to be part of a market place. That is where exchanges come in. They list offers to buy and sell, called bids and asks. The exchange also acts as a third party to each trade, they hold the funds on both sides of the trade, so you don’t have to trust your trading partner or worry about charge-backs.

What you do have to worry about is trusting the exchange. The biggest thefts in the short history of cryptocurrency have come from exchanges being hacked. So hold your funds, both fiat and crypto, on exchanges for as little time as possible, and always remove your funds to a bank account or wallet you control as soon as you finish your trade.

I use kraken.com because they have a high volume Euro market for Dash which is the currency I am working for. They also have a history of being a secure and reliable site.

Signing Up

To use almost any exchange you will need to give them a lot of personally identifying information:

  1. name
  2. date of birth
  3. phone number
  4. address
  5. 2 or 3 proofs of address: bank statement & utility bill
  6. a photo of your passport,
  7. a photo of you holding your passport and a sign with the date saying ‘only for trading digital currency on kraken.com’

This is more than anyone would need to completely steal your identity.

This is a risk, if the files held by the exchange get stolen then your identity will be sold to fraudsters. You have to accept this risk to trade on most exchanges because of Know Your Customer regulations that are aimed at preventing money laundering.

This whole process will take between 1 to 3 weeks depending on the backlog of unprocessed applications and any issues with your documents. If they have to contact you about a problem it will really slow your application down.

My recommendation is that you research which exchange offers the best markets for your currency. Take a look at the volumes traded on Coinmarketcap the bigger the volume the more accurate the price discovery and easier it will be to buy and sell at any given price.

The main things to look for beyond volume are the costs of making deposits and withdrawals with fiat currency. For example i only withdraw Euros from kraken because they charge £60 for GBP withdrawals!

How much does is cost to withdraw Euros?

€0.09