The price of bitcoin (BTC) rose to nearly $20,000 last week and then fell back a little, as uncertainty about the future of bitcoin regulation and the fate of the upcoming fork (scheduled for Oct. 28) weighed on the cryptocurrency.
Bitcoin hit its highest value ever last week, rising from around $16,000 to nearly $19,000 before a sudden dip. The price surged as much as 15% after India’s top financial regulator clarified guidelines for buying and selling bitcoin in the country. Additionally, many global financial leaders and prominent investors have stated their support for bitcoin.
The virtual currency rose 29% from last month and 62% from the same month last year, according to data from CoinMarketCap. In fact, the price of BTC is up 17% from just two weeks ago. (The current rate of BTC is around $16,700, according to CoinMarketCap.)
Fiat Currency Accepted
Although the recent run-up in the value of bitcoin has been quite exciting, it’s also created massive price volatility. Indeed, one bitcoin purchased for $16,000 might now be worth $19,000 or more. This, in turn, has made many traditional investment vehicles, such as stocks and bonds, less appealing.
With bitcoin prices fluctuating so much that small investments become less lucrative, many retail investors are looking for safe havens that offer them some upside without all the risk. One answer is cryptocurrency-based exchange platforms that allow for the easy buying and selling of bitcoin and other digital currencies.
If you’re looking to get into crypto trading, you have a number of platforms to choose from. Here’s a list of the most popular virtual currency exchanges, along with some key information about each:
Binance is one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world and currently supports more than 30 different cryptocurrencies, making it the go-to place for most cryptocurrency investors and traders. Launched in China in 2014, the company expanded to other countries such as the U.S., the U.K., and Singapore. One of the big draws of using Binance is that hundreds of digital currencies are available for trading at any given moment, so diversification is always a good idea for protecting against risk.
Coinbase is one of the most popular and established exchanges in the world, having supported more than a billion dollars in digital currency transactions since its inception in 2012. The company is a well-known proponent of cryptocurrency, offering a wallet for storing digital currencies and a digital currency buying and selling platform that is also integrated with the major credit card networks. Additionally, many large banks and investment firms are partnered with Coinbase, giving the exchange access to a vast network of customers. There’s a lot to like about Coinbase, including their straightforward customer interface and unique integration with credit card companies, but one of the biggest draws for many is that they offer a relatively high number of cryptocurrencies for trade, around 100 at the moment, compared to other exchanges. This gives users a greater opportunity to get involved in the market and makes it easier for retail investors to get exposure to cryptocurrencies without having to dedicate themselves to learning complex programming languages or using specialized hardware (such as CPU miners).
If you’re looking for a traditional brokerage firm that operates within the cryptocurrency ecosystem, you can’t do much better than Gateway.io. The company was established in 2014 and currently offers clients a spot to buy, sell, and store a wide array of digital currencies. Additionally, the firm supports all major credit cards and has invested heavily in high traffic-geared web and mobile wallets to ensure the safety of its customers‘ cryptocurrency. For cryptocurrency newbies, Gateway.io makes it easy to enter the market with minimal knowledge of how bitcoin or other digital currencies work. Simply create an account, deposit funds in the form of cryptocurrency, and begin buying and selling the likes of bitcoin, ether, and other popular tokens.
Kraken is another global digital currency exchange that provides clients with a safe and secure way to buy and sell bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The company was established in 2011 and is headquartered in London. Its wallet service supports more than 12 cryptocurrencies and is extremely user-friendly. Additionally, Kraken lets users access dozens of popular exchanges in one place, which provides for greater freedom of choice when it comes to where to buy and sell bitcoin. Like many other cryptocurrency exchanges, Kraken uses a hybrid approach, combining both centralized and decentralized trading technologies to give users the best of both worlds. This allows for more secure and instant transactions while also providing the benefits of a completely decentralized digital currency network. Moreover, with so many different cryptocurrencies available for trade, it’ll be easier for users to find the perfect fit for their investment needs and goals.
If you want to trade bitcoin locally, i.e., near your home, there are a number of platforms you can choose from. One of the more popular options is Localbitcoins.com. This is an online spot where people can meet in person to trade cryptocurrencies for goods and services that they might not want to spend digital currency on, but can’t find locally. For example, a person could use Localbitcoins to purchase a cup of coffee with bitcoin, or they could use the site to buy groceries, all at the going price in bitcoin. It’s a great way to both obtain and spend cryptocurrency without having to leave the state you reside in. Moreover, since the majority of trades take place locally, it’s a relatively safe and secure option for those looking to get involved in the market. Additionally, because there’s no third party involved in the transactions, users are less likely to lose their money if their computer or phone is stolen. Localbitcoins makes it easy for anyone to get involved in the cryptocurrency market and offers a level of security that is usually found only in high-end banks and financial institutions. The site also offers a wallet where users can store their cryptocurrencies securely and anonymously. (For more information, read our Localbitcoins Review here.)
Trade Satoshi To Earn
Those interested in taking a more active role in the cryptocurrency markets can participate in so-called masternodes. As the name suggests, a masternode is a node that is operated by someone who is performing an active role in the network. For example, maybe you’re running a masternode that earns you a percentage of all the bitcoin transactions occurring on the network. Alternatively, you could mine a cryptocurrency yourself (instead of purchasing a hardware wallet) and then operate a masternode to earn a passive percentage of all transaction fees as they are paid out on the network. In any case, by taking on the role of a node, you can make a small profit from cryptocurrency without having to directly manage the risk of losing your money in a trade.
Virtual Currency Exchanges: Analysis
Now that you’re familiar with the various options for buying and selling bitcoin, it’s time to analyze which exchanges you should use, based on your personal financial needs and goals. Before doing so, it’s important to understand a few things about bitcoin, particularly how it works and the unique nature of the cryptocurrency market.
To begin with, the price of bitcoin will obviously depend on a variety of factors, including demand and supply. The latter is determined by the number of buyers and sellers in the market. Naturally, the more people participating in the bitcoin network, the greater its demand and the higher the price. In general, the supply of bitcoin tends to remain relatively constant as more and more people enter the market, driving up the price and creating more demand. Moreover, since there is no central authority that controls or oversees bitcoin, the price is completely and entirely subjective to the demand and supply in the market at any given moment. This makes it very difficult to predict the price of bitcoin, as it will fluctuate based on supply and demand at any given time. (For more information about the fascinating history of bitcoin, check out our blog post here.)
Additionally, since the cryptocurrency space is still in its infancy, the legal status of bitcoin, as well as other cryptocurrencies, is undefined. Some countries, such as China and India, have banned the use of cryptocurrencies, while others, including the United States, have not yet weighed in on the issue. It’s still unclear how exactly the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the U.S. will treat bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in the future. (For more information, see our full guide to legal issues surrounding cryptocurrencies here.)
These are just some of the things to consider if you’re looking to get involved in the cryptocurrency market. The key takeaway is that the price of bitcoin will largely depend on demand and supply, making it difficult to predict the future of this amazing market and the various cryptocurrencies that form it. (For more information, read our guide to buying Bitcoin here.)