The Exchange Review Part III: Costs to You

The third part of our series of reviews of ten popular exchanges brings us to financial variety and experience.

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The Exchange Review Part III: Costs to You
The third part of our series of reviews of ten popular exchanges brings us to financial variety and experience.

That is to say, it is important to know the fees charged to perform operations, currency pairs on offer and the volume of currency an exchange has processed when making a decision as to which one to use more often.

(In terms of volume, we took the amount of BTC traversing each exchange over the past 30 days. Note that, unlike the previous two reviews, results here are not listed in terms of best and worst performers, as each exchange has strengths in different areas.)

Bitstamp charges each party for successful USD/BTC transactions, the only pair available on the exchange. The amount of the fee will vary based on their 30-day trading history, the rate for new accounts and those with the lowest volume being 0.5%. Trading volume is the highest of all exchanges in the list, as would be expected from the most well-known name in the community, at 578227BTC.

Fees: 2
Currencies: 2
Volume: 5

Fees on other exchanges tend to be lower than Bitstamp, and Bitfinex is no exception, charging on average 0.15%. It employs a maker-taker system, whereby the market maker ends up paying between 0.1% and 0(!)%, and the taker pays 0.2%.It currently offers 3 trading pairs and recent volume was 496355BTC, the second largest after Bitstamp.

Fees: 4
Currencies: 3
Volume: 5

BTC China charges a flat fee of 0.1% for 2 trading pairs, although foreigners will most likely only using BTC withdrawals to another wallet. In the 30-day period it processed 158004BTC.

Fees: 4
Currencies: 3
Volume: 3

ICBIT has a different fee structure in place, with 0.0001 BTC per contract trade or settlement. This is advantageous for orders of 0.3BTC and over, but not such good value for lower amounts. Trading volume was 138834BTC, and 2 currency pairs are only offer at present.

Fees: 4
Currencies: 3
Volume: 3

Other Chinese outfit LakeBTC charges between 0.1% and 0.5% per transaction, has 3 pairs on offer and only slightly lower trading volume history than BTC China at 147837BTC.

Fees: 4
Currencies: 3
Volume: 3


Hitbtc has an interesting feature built into its pricing structure. An order which will not be executed immediately will be granted a 0.07% rebate on execution. Orders executed immediately will incur a 0.1% transaction fee, which is still lower than the majority. 6 currency pairs are available, but handling volumes are low, just 39400BTC in the period we measured.

Fees: 5
Currencies: 4
Volume: 2

BTC-e charges between 0.2% and 0.5%, but for that offers an impressive 23 trading pairs, which possibly accounts for its relatively high volumes (469017BTC).

Fees: 3
Currencies: 5
Volume: 5

Kraken, however, somewhat steals BTC-e’s thunder with its 26-pair offering and fees of between 0.05% and 0.1% depending on volume – tiny by comparison. Despite only having handled 38000BTC in the 30-day period, its secure backing means that this should not negatively influence prospective users.

Fees: 5
Currencies: 4
Volume: 2

ANXBTC looks like a good option at present, however, as it is currently running a 0% transaction fee promotion for its 6 pairs. Volumes are nevertheless low at 26650BTC, although this is not necessarily reason for additional caution.

Fees: 5
Currencies: 4
Volume: 2

Lastly, Cryptsy charges between 0.2% and 0.3% for trades. A decent rewards system however helps to cut losses a little, although with its current reliability issues, this may not be enough to consider using at present. As mentioned previously, it also has tiny volumes compared with the other exchanges under review, at just 772.13BTC.

Fees: 4
Currencies: 4
Volume: 1

Different strengths

After quite a lot of number crunching above, CoinTelegraph recommends the following.

For the lowest fees, Kraken definitely comes out on top, along with ANXBTC with its promotion. Kraken also has a lot of currency pairs, but no fiat pairs, meaning the leader here BTC-E as it offers three fiat currencies (RUB, USD, EUR) in addition to a large number of cryptocurrencies.

In terms of volume, however, the main players Bitstamp and Bitfinex are in a league of their own. However, if you are looking to perform non-fiat trades, it is certainly worth considering other options in this list, taking into account practicality as well as issues of security by reading blogs and user comments for each exchange.

The next instalment of this review series, published tomorrow, will look at quality of user support in terms of FAQs and languages available.
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