Top 10 Digital Currency Exchanges

Digital currency exchanges, especially Bitcoin is getting a lot of attention in South Korea.  With China out of the picture, many are looking at South Korea to lead the way in this new and innovative industry.

The public sees digital currency as an alternative to banks and government regulations.  Investing in cryptocurrencies are becoming a hot trend in Korea.  A lot of Koreans are interested in investing in the long term or making profits in the short term.

However, many are still unfamiliar with cryptocurrency and bitcoin as a whole.  Many don’t know where to buy these digital currencies let alone where to exchange them.  Here are the top 10 Digital Currency Exchanges.

The Top 10 Digital Currency Exchanges

10)  Bittrex 

Digital Currency Exchanges24 Hour Trade Volume = 52,262 BTC

Bittrex is one of the most popular, reputable, and high-volume trading cryptocurrency exchange.  They were founded in 2014 by security professionals that all had the same interest in blockchain and cryptocurrencies.  Also, they had a strong background in online security.

Bittrex has more than 250 crypto assets and has never been hacked.  They offer quick verification and is fully compliant with the US.  So those that do not want to verify their identity, Bittrex is not right for you.  Brittrex is best suited for US users that want to trade openly for small amounts (less than $3,000 per day).

9)  GDAX

24 Hour Trade Volume = 54,640 BTC

GDAX formally known as coinbase exhange is used mainly by professional investors of cryptocurrency.  GDAX was founded in 2012 and is still operated by Coinbase.  They are based and regulated in the United States.  The company is backed by some of the biggest investors including the New York Stock Exchange, Union Square Ventures, and Andreessen Horowitz just to name a few.

GDAX offers their customers FDIC insurance of up to $250,000 in the event of hacking or loss.  Therefore GDAX is considered one of the most trusted exchange sites in the world.  Finally, GDAX is known for their low fees which attract all the top investors of cryptocurrency.

8) coincheck

digital currency24 Hour Trade Volume = 59,607 BTC

Coincheck is the biggest Bitcoin and Ethereum exchange in Japan.  The company has over 18,000 digital currency traders just in Japan.  Also, coincheck is a member of JADA (Japan Authority of Digital Asset) and is active in cryptocurrency legislation.  Coincheck is mainly for experienced traders.  They offer margin trading, stop-loss trading, and leveraging future gains of Bitcoin and Ethereum.  These terms are popular in the United States, but not so much in Asia.  Therefore it is understandable to see expert traders in Japan trading on coincheck.

7)  Huobi

24 Hour Trade Volume = 82,198 BTC

Huobi was one of the major cryptocurrency exchanges in China.  They have come out with their own token called the Huobi Token (HT).  They issued the tokens yesterday (Jan. 23rd) with a max supply of 500 million.  In the next 15 days 300 of the 500 million will be issued. The other 200 million will go to platform operation, team incentives and user rewards.  The details for buying the Huobi Token will be released soon but there will be a max limit for each user.  This is their way of trying to recover from China’s clampdown on domestic exchanges.

6)  bitFlyer

digital currency24 Hour Trade Volume = 111,478 BTC

BitFlyer is based in Tokyo but late last year they announced their launch of bitFlyer USA based in San Francisco.  The US firm is so high-level traders that trade over $100,000 in digital currency per month.  They will be able to connect with the firm in Japan who have traded more than $100 billion in virtual currency.  The US firm will only broaden that number.  The company was able to get regulatory approval to operate its exchange in New York.  Their main competitor will be Coinbase who also have a BitLicense by the New York DFS.  BitFlyer has raised more than $36 million in funding.

5)  Bitfinex

24 Hour Trade Volume = 147,880 BTC

Bitfinex is the world’s largest Bitcoin exchange by volume.  The trade double the amount of Coinbase.  Those that are new to cryptocurrency and want to buy their first coin.  Bitfinex is not the right place for you.  Bitfinex makes it hard to buy bitcoin with regular currency.  The interface is not user-friendly and makes it hard to deposit money into your account.  However, expert cryptocurrency traders will find everything they need on Bitfinex.  The liquidity of Bitcoin and Ethereum is very high and their margin funding, and leverage offer great flexibility.

4)  OKEx

24 Hour Trade Volume = 164,383 BTC

OKEx was one of the first bitcoin cash markets.  The site made it possible to trade tokens directly against Bitcoin Cash without having to use Bitcoin or Ethereum.  The company is based in Hong Kong and have access to more than a dozen Bitcoin Cash trading pairs.  OKEx ranks 6th in total trading volume among cryptocurrencies.  As Bitcoin Cash becomes more popular so will OKEx.  They also announced their plans for a FIAT-to-token trading platform.

3)  Upbit

24 Hour Trade Volume = 176,924 BTC

Upbit is one of Korea’s oldest trading platforms and one of the world’s biggest exchange in terms of daily transactions.  The platform has only been around since October of 2017 but because South Korea trading platforms dominate most trades in cryptocurrency, Upbit has risen to the top very quickly.  They even passed Binance in terms of trading volume at times.  As regulatory measures in South Korea are being formed, Upbit is in “wait and see” mode.

2)  bithumb

24 Hour Trade Volume = 208,936 BTC

Korean digital exchange Bithumb is one of the bitcoin community’s largest and highest-volume exchanges.  Therefore Korea’s #1 cryptocurrency exchange is Bithumb.  When it comes to trading volume it always ranks in the top 10 worldwide in regards to trading volume.  They also have some of the lowest commission rates among exchanges.  Bithumb accounts for more than half of South Korea’s bitcoin market volume.  Also, Bithumb accounts for half of South Korea’s Ether trading.  Bithumb had a bad 2017 or else they might be ranked #1.  Bithumb was the victim of some large hacks that led to the billions of bitcoins being stolen from 30,000 users.  The bitcoin community lost a lot of faith in the company.  The website is all in Korean but there are translate options available (not English).

1) Binance

24 Hour Trade Volume = 236,649 BTC

China-based crytocurrency exchange Binance comes in at #1 on the list of the top digital exchanges.  They have some of the best trading tools, charts, and best of all security.  They are a relatively new company and only started trading since July of last year.  Binance is a great starting point for beginners and experts as they offer both basic and advanced exchange settings.  Also, Binance offers their own digital currency called BNB token which was a part of Binance’s ICO launch.  Binance may be a Chinese digital currency exchange but they offer support in many languages including Korean, English, and Japanese.  Therefore most of the users are from overseas, making it a truly international digital currency exchange.

John Yoon

John Yoon is the Editor in Chief at Startup Radar, Organizer for Startup Festival 2017, Head of Operations Korea at EOS Asia and the Global Marketing Director for Email = if you are interested in guest contributing and helping the Korean startup ecosystem. Wechat, Kakao, and Line user ID is jswy315

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