This article was originally published at Mintdice.com on January 28, 2019. It is being republished here with the publisher’s permission through syndication.
Ripple (XRP) is a technology which functions as a platform, digital currency, and bank network, simplifying the process of cross border remittance. It also lowers the costs drastically and increases transaction speed.
In recent years, Ripple has become increasingly popular for various developments and partnerships with notable figures including MoneyGram and American Express. This explosion has led investors and traders to take advantage of the booming XRP price.
As the second-largest cryptocurrency by market cap, Ripple is more appealing than ever. However, one of the most common questions investors ask is where to buy it.
Before even buying XRP, users must have a wallet ready. It can be a web, desktop, mobile or hardware wallet. After that, all Ripple coins should be bought on a secure platform, known as a cryptocurrency exchange.
What is a Cryptocurrency Exchange?
Cryptocurrency exchanges are platforms that allow people to exchange one digital currency for another, and other assets such as traditional fiat currencies. They are market makers and usually match users willing to sell cryptocurrency with those willing to buy. Depending on whether it is an automatic or peer-based exchange, the process is either entirely overseen by the exchange or left for users to transact with each other. There are different types of cryptocurrency exchanges, including cryptocurrency brokers, direct trading platforms and cryptocurrency funds.
These are typically websites that set their prices of digital currencies and usually add a premium to the market price. They operate like foreign exchange dealers at an airport. Anyone can visit these broker sites to buy cryptocurrency, at any time.
DIRECT TRADING PLATFORM
These are peer-to-peer platforms that match buyers with sellers, depending on what digital currency they want. They do not operate with a fixed market price and usually allow traders to set the prices they are willing to pay or receive. Buyers can connect with buyers on such platforms and carry out over-the-counter exchanges, or wait for the platform to connect them.
These are pools of cryptocurrency assets which give users the opportunity to buy and hold digital currencies through it. A fund manager manages and oversees all buy and sell transactions. Cryptocurrency exchange-traded funds (ETFs) fall within this category. Such funds are strictly for investment and cannot be spent for other reasons. One example is GBTC.
WHAT ARE THE TOP 10 RIPPLE EXCHANGES?
The best Ripple exchanges include:
Bithumb is one of the world’s largest Korea-based cryptocurrency exchanges. It was founded in 2013, shortly after the demand for Bitcoin began to pick up the pace as a store of value. Headquartered in Seoul, South Korea, Bithumb trumps several other exchanges in terms of trading volume.
It also gives its users the opportunity to trade more than ten different cryptocurrencies, including Ripple (XRP), against the South Korean Won. BTC Korea.com Co. Ltd runs it and allows users to trade on various platforms, with support for both iOS and Android mobile interfaces.
Ripple is relatively easy to acquire on the Bithumb exchange, due to its simple registration process. Users can make as many trades of XRP as they want since the exchange can handle both small and large volume trades against the South Korean won (KRW).
In March 2018, Bithumb announced that it would supply kiosks to food and beverage franchises across South Korea, to enable their customers to pay in cryptocurrency. For this, the exchange planned to release new kiosk products, including Touchpad and Touch Bone, and Bithumb Cache, a password settlement service.
Although Bithumb mainly caters to the South Korean market, it also allows other nationals to access its services. US customers are included in its list of users, as long as they are above 19 years old.
Before 2018, it was relatively easy for these foreign nationals to trade on the platform. However, during the year, Bithumb announced that it would no longer accept users from certain countries in accordance with its global anti-money laundering measures. These countries, numbering 11 in total, were part of the Non-Cooperative Countries and Territories (NCCT) initiative. They include:
- North Korea
- Sri Lanka
- Trinidad and Tobago
Unfortunately, users from any of these countries are banned from the platform indefinitely, and to make sure that this continues, Bithumb has made the registration process a little more strict for foreign nationals.
Signing up on Bithumb involves entering and verifying a name, email address, phone number, and a secure alphanumeric password between 8 and 12 characters long, as well as four-digit security PIN for withdrawal and transfer of funds from the exchange account.
There are several account verification levels on the Bithumb platform, and depending on these levels, users are subject to a maximum daily and monthly withdrawal limit for Ripple and other cryptocurrencies. Users can get specific details on such limits by contacting Bithumb directly through any of its support channels.
However, authentication levels are generally upgraded by verifying details such as a phone number, and nationality through government-issued identification and photographs. To use the Bithumb exchange platform, users will have to deposit cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin into their wallets, which can be exchanged for XRP. Only Korean residents are allowed to fund their accounts with fiat deposits in the form of the Korean Won.
In 2017, Bithumb made headlines for falling victim to a hack in which more than $30 million worth of cryptocurrency was stolen, along with the personal information of more than 30,000 customers. A subsequent hack later that year resulted in 3,400 compromised customer records. The South Korea Communications Commission fined the exchange KRW 60 million ($54,000) for the incident. The platform has not reported any breaches since then, but users must keep these events in mind before moving forward with a trade.
Coinone is the second-largest South Korean-based cryptocurrency exchange, after Bithumb. Globally, it ranks among the ten largest exchanges by trading volume as well. Founded in 2014 by Chan Myungun, it gives users the opportunity to trade various cryptocurrencies including XRP, BTC, ETH, ETC, IOTA, LTC, and QTUM.
Although Coinone started as a Bitcoin-only exchange, all these other currencies were added subsequently as the demand for them grew within the country and Asian continent. Myungun originally came up with the idea of Coinone due to the apparent demand for a user-friendly platform for exchanging Bitcoin. When the pioneer cryptocurrency first emerged, South Korea was one of its biggest adopters and remains so even till this day.
Coinone is one of the best platforms to trade XRP because it is easy to use, and does not come with the hassle that accompanies many similar exchange platforms. It allows users to start quickly and make both small and large volume trades without stress.
Users can either register as Coinone traders or full users. As with Bithumb, the trade registration process on Coinoneinvolves entering and verifying a name, email address, phone number along with photo identification. Without these, users cannot trade on the platform. In addition to these verified details, all users are required to verify their bank accounts.
However, registering as a full Coinone user is only possible for South Korean citizens either resident in the country or abroad, or foreign users authorized to live in South Korea. To confirm this status, the exchange requires registering users to submit a photograph holding a South Korean ID card along with a memo showing the date and purpose of the identification. Although Coinone allows fiat deposits, the platform only accepts Korean Won currently.
Compared to other exchanges that allow fiat-crypto exchanges, Coinone charges relatively low commission fees, at 0.1%. Additionally, users can exchange supported digital currencies with Bitcoin as the central factor. These currencies can also be sold for Korean Won (KRW) after they have been converted to Bitcoin. This process allows Coinone to double as a remittance service.
Coinone imposes a withdrawal limit of 100 million KRW (appr. $90,000), as well as a transactional limit of 20 million KRW (appr. $17,700). At Coinone’s 24-hour transactional volume is valued at approximately $9,000,000, with XRP taking the lion’s share at $2.3 million.
Only South Korea is fully supported by the Coinone platform. Apart from sending remittances to South Korea using the Korean Won, the platform does not support other countries.
In January 2018, Coinone was one of eight South-Korean cryptocurrency exchanges, fined by the government for inadequate security measures. One of the worst on the list, Coinone received a combined penalty of more than $50,000 in conjunction with Yapian, for storing customer passwords and sensitive information carelessly. According to the South Korean government, neither of the two exchanges separated user accounts that were dormant for more than a year, from active accounts.
Korbit is a reliable and flexible Ripple exchange, used by many traders on a daily basis. The platform allows users to trade large volumes of digital currency and offers an advanced mobile version for convenience.
The platform was founded by Tony Lyu in 2013 and is based in Seoul, South Korea.
Korbit currently houses 11 cryptocurrency trading pairs against KRW in addition to its $100M+ trading activity. The exchange allows automated trading through its API as well.
Korbit requires a user account to access its services. Only an active email address and password are required. After entering an email address, a confirmation email is sent to the user to activate the new account. Once this is done, the user can start trading.
Korbit charges fees using the maker and taker model. Maker orders are not matched directly with the order book and provide liquidity for the market. Taker orders, on the other hand, are immediately matched with an order listed in the order book.
Trading fees on the platform are charged according to a user’s 30-day trade volume. When the volume is less than 100 million KRW, the maker fee is 0.08 %, while the taker fee is 0.20%. If the volume exceeds 100 Billion KRW, no maker fee is charged, and the taker fee is 0.01%.
Korbit also accepts fiat and digital currency deposits depending on the account level. Account levels 1 and 2 do not allow deposits or withdrawals of KRW. However, they allow XRP, BTC, ETH, ETC deposits without limits. Other cryptocurrencies with no withdrawal limits for such accounts include Litecoin, Monero, Zcash, and Dash.
Korbit does not provide any security features outside password authentication.
Bitso allows users to trade Ripple both on the web and mobile devices. It is credited as the first exchange ever to allow Bitcoin trading against the Peso. Currently, the platform supports Ripple (XRP), Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH),Bitcoin Cash (BCH), and Litecoin (LTC).
The platform was founded by CEO and co-founder, Ben Peters, CTO Pablo Gonzalez, and Daniel Vogel who is its president. Bitso has focused on retail and institutional investors since 2014 and continues to do so.
Bitso registration requires a user’s valid email address and a phone number for verification. After registering, users are expected to fund their accounts using Mexican pesos.
Bitso fees are based on a user’s 30-day trade period. They typically fall between 0.1% and 1%. Fees reduce as users complete more trades. Bitso does not charge any fees on SPEI transfers in MXN or BTC deposits.
Like other exchanges, Bitso takes security seriously and enforces Know Your Customer (KYC) standards for protection against money laundering. The KYC verification process typically has three verification levels:
- Level 1 requires verifying a mobile phone number via an SMS text message. After this step, the exchange sends a user ID number.
- Level 2 requires users to upload a proof of residence and passport. At this level, users should have traded up to MXN 5,000.
- Level 3 steps are emailed to a user upon request.
Bittrex is a cryptocurrency exchange based in Seattle, Washington. It was founded by Bill Shihara and two former Microsoft security professionals in 2013. It is one of the largest exchanges by trading volume and houses many digital currencies including Ripple.
Although Bittrex is one of the most comfortable cryptocurrency exchanges to use, it is also quite advanced. The exchange is advantageous to those who are in a hurry to trade because it allows its users to start trading right away.
New users can maintain unverified accounts on the Bittrex platform but are hindered by a 1 BTC daily withdrawal limit. Users can also verify their accounts by adding two-factor authentication, leading to a daily withdrawal limit of 3 BTC per day.
An enhanced account allows users to withdraw up to 100 BTC daily, but for this, they are required to upload a photo ID and a selfie portrait.
On Bittrex, every trade attracts a 0.25% commission. Deposits and withdrawals are free, but the various cryptocurrency networks charge transfer fees (for miners). The exchange charges $10 for paper copies of electronic transactions and $1 per page for shipping and handling within the US. The platform accepts USD wire transfers as well as cryptocurrency deposits.
Although Bittrex is based in the US, it does not support several states within the country. Currently, some of its services are only accessible in 29 states. Outside the US, Bittrex is available globally, but each country has different verification terms.
Bittrex provides a high standard of security to its users. Such measures include:
- Two-factor authentication
- Strict verification standards
- Cold storage for 90% of client funds
Bitfinex has been around for a long time and is one of the most popular Ripple exchanges. They offer relatively low fees and a simple interface for experienced traders. The Bitfinex platform is ranked as one of the best, regarding trading volume and is a favorite for traders across the globe. It was founded in 2012, by Raphael Nicolle, but is owned and operated by Hong Kong-based iFinex, Inc.
Bitfinex also allows users to make fiat deposits and offers various cryptocurrencies, with about 72 active market pairs. Apart from Ripple, the platform houses EOS (EOS), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ethereum Classic (ETC), Litecoin (LTC), Dash (DASH), Zcash (ZEC), Monero (XMR), OmiseGO (OMG), NEO (NEO), Tether (USDT), IOTA (MIOTA), and 0x (ZRX). These currencies are traded against its base currencies, BTC, ETH, USD, and EUR. Bitfinex also operates an OTC desk for over-the-counter trades and pulls institutional investors.
Bitfinex usually reminds new users that the platform is geared towards more experienced traders. Currently, the platform requires temporary minimum equity of $10,000 before users are allowed access to trade platform functions.
Users are also required to undergo a verification process that may take up to 8 weeks before they can deposit or withdraw fiat currency. Once verification is done, a user can create an account and enter a username, email, password and time zone.
Bitfinex determines fees by the 30-day trading volume and the maker/taker model. The platform charges maker fees when users place a limit order below the ticker price for buying and above the ticker price for selling. Taker fees are charged when customers fill an order that is already present in the order book.
Bitfinex maker fees fall between 0% and 0.1% while taker fees fall between 0.1% and 0.2%. Higher rates are charged on trading volumes more than $500,000 a month while the lowest fees are charged when users accumulate trade volumes more than $30 million a month.
Bitfinex does not charge fees for deposits, except they are made through a bank wire. Withdrawals, on the other hand, attract a fee depending on the cryptocurrency in question.
Bitfinex caters to a worldwide user base but recently stopped providing services to its U.S. users.
Like many other cryptocurrency exchanges, Bitfinex has fallen victim to cryptocurrency hacks in the past. The first major incident occurred in 2015, in which a hacker stole 1500 BTC from a wallet on the exchange. The next attack cost the platform 119,756 Bitcoin, which were worth about $72 million at the time. The hacker got away with the theft due to a flaw in the multi-signature security system which the exchange employed at the time.
Bitfinex has since recovered from those hacks and has put measures in place, to ensure that they do not happen again. Most of its funds are stored in offline cold storage, with less than 1% left in the exchange hot wallets. The platform also uses complex encryption (database, DDoS), to prevent a malicious party from influencing trade activities.
In addition to the measures above, Bitfinex protects user accounts via two-factor authentication and other advanced tools including U2F and PGP email encryption. User accounts are also reinforced using the following monitoring methods:
- Searching saved login data to check for suspicious activity
- Detecting IP address changes and preventing malicious actors from hijacking user sessions, by using complex software
- Sending out email notifications when an account has been logged into, along with a link to Limiting account access on user IP addresses
- Closely monitoring deposits and withdrawals to prevent attacks, using factors such as IP address and behavioral patterns
- Allowing users to whitelist specific addresses
- Using a malware-immune withdrawal confirmation process
Although Poloniex has dropped in popularity, it is still arguably one of the best exchanges to trade Ripple. Fees are generally low compared to other exchanges that offer XRP, and the platform offers the highest trade volumes for most altcoins.
Poloniex was founded in 2014 by Tristan D’Agosta in January 2014 and is headquartered in San Francisco, California. The platform, which was recently acquired by Circle, initially focused on the US market but has since expanded its reach globally. Although Poloniex does not have an ios or android app for trading Ripple, its website is mobile-friendly. Currently, the platform allows users to trade other currencies including:
- Bitcoin (BTC)
- Ethereum (ETH)
- Monero (XMR)
- Litecoin (LTC)
- Ripple (XRP)
- Ethereum Classic (ETC);
- Zcash (ZEC), etc.
Signing up as a Poloniex user is a simple process with two verification levels. The first level allows a user to exchange, lend, and trade cryptocurrency, with a withdrawal limit of $2,000 daily. This can be a hindrance, depending on the user’s normal trade volume. For this level, users are only required to enter a name, email, and country of residence.
The second verification level requires users to input a passport, physical address, date of birth, postal address, and phone number. Withdrawals and deposits increase to $25,000 in this level. Users who wish to withdraw higher amounts must contact support for further verification.
Like Kraken and several other exchanges, Poloniex charges fees according to the maker-taker model, with fees typically falling below 0.30%. Users with a 30-day trailing trade volume of 600 BTC or less are charged a maker fee of 0.15% and taker fee of 0.25%. The platform does not charge deposit fees, but withdrawal fees depend on the currency in question. More details on fees can be found on the Poloniex website.
Poloniex is available to most countries but has imposed a ban on China, Germany, Pakistan, Vietnam, and in select US states, including New Hampshire, New York, and Washington.
According to the terms stated for this ban, “The websites and the services offered by Poloniex (as defined below) are NOT addressed to persons who have their registered office or place of residence in China, Germany, Pakistan, the U.S. states of New Hampshire, New York or Washington, Vietnam or any other Restricted Territories as defined in Section 37.”
“If you are signing up for Poloniex on or after October 18, 2018, this User Agreement shall be effective immediately. If you signed up for Poloniex before October 18, 2018, this User Agreement shall be effective on November 18, 2018.”
Poloniex insures customer funds and holds them in a secure offline air-gapped cold storage. Since its security breach in March 2014, which led to the theft of 97 BTC, the platform has taken security far more seriously. The exchange only keeps enough funds online to satisfy daily trade, to reduce risk exposure and protect its traders.
Poloniex also runs several audit programs that work round the clock to detect suspicious activity. Registered users can protect their accounts using Two-factor authorization (2FA) with an additional Google login, and an API key.
Bitstamp offers a straightforward service that allows users to turn in their other cryptocurrencies for Ripple. Based in Luxembourg, Bitstamp supports USD, EUR, Ripple, Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, and Bitcoin cash transactions. The platform was co-founded by Nejc Kodrič and Damijan Merlak in 2011.
Unlike several other exchanges, Bitstamp accepts debit and credit card payments in the form of either Visa or MasterCard. However, users who want this option must apply for a pre-approval of their credit cards.
New Bitstamp users are required to provide a name, date of birth, and postal address. For verification, the platform request a government-issued ID and a utility bill not older than three-months-old as a proof of residence. The process takes three days.
Bitstamp charges fees on trades and other services, but deposit and withdrawal are free for cryptocurrencies. This does not apply to Ripple IOUs between accounts, which cost 0.2%. International wire transfer deposits attract a fee of 0.05%, while withdrawals cost 0.09%.
Credit card transactions cost 8% on transactions less than $500, 7% for transactions valued between $500 and $1,000, and 6% for transactions valued between $1,000 and $5,000.
Withdrawing funds from your Bitstamp account using a credit card costs a flat fee of $10 for amounts not exceeding $1,000. Fees on trading pairs fall between 0.10% to 0.25%, depending on their volume.
Currently, Bitstamp caters to more than 50 countries, including US, South Korea, South Africa, China, Australia, and Brazil. The exchange operates from offices in Slovenia, London, and California.
Bitstamp employs several safety measures to secure its client funds. They include Passwords, and Two-factor authentication (2FA).
HitBTC offers a seamless service in which users can exchange Ripple any time. The exchange was founded in 2013 and offers trading support for more than 300 digital currencies. The team behind the exchange, as well as its location, is shrouded in mystery. Some supported tokens include Bitcoin Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Tether, EOS, Dash, Dogecoin, and IOTA, among others.
The registration process on the HitBTC site is relatively simple. Users are required to enter a name, valid email address and alphanumeric password with over eight characters, country, and phone number.
All Bitcoin deposits attract a charge of 0.0006 BTC, and these deposits are typically only made via a cryptocurrency transfer. However, users can buy BTC with a credit card, through changelly. As for trading fees, the platform uses a maker/taker model like other exchanges. Takers are required to pay a fee of 0.1% fee while makers receive a 0.01% rebate. HitBTC also charges withdrawal fees depending on the currency involved.
HitBTC caters to users worldwide, including the US; however, the platform does not support some countries, such as Japan.
Currently, HitBTC is unregulated, and there have been several negative reviews concerning the platform. However, there are some security measures in place to protect its users’ funds. They include:
- Two-factor authentication
- Email notifications when new IP addresses log into an account
- Whitelisting options
Kraken is one of the most reliable cryptocurrency exchanges that allows XRP trade. There are also various options and account types to make the process easier for customers. However, the platform keeps all processes simple.
Kraken was founded in July 2011, by Jesse Powell as a way to share part of the Bitcoin dependency that had fallen solely on Mt. Gox exchange. Following the hacks that shook the latter platform, Jesse Powell rendered assistance to the now-defunct exchange.
Powell launched Kraken at the center of the San Francisco Bay Area and raised $5 million in Series A funding. In February 2016, the exchange raised funds in a series B round led by SBI Ventures and other investors, including Money Partners Group, a leading Japanese foreign exchange broker. In its early days, Kraken offered only Bitcoin and Litecoin but has added seven cryptocurrencies since then, including Ethereum.
In April 2018, Kraken encountered some trouble with the New York Attorney General’s Office which began investigating its security measures. The state’s attorney general warned that the platform, may have been breaking the law, stating: “Customers should be aware that the platforms that refused to participate in the OAG’s Initiative (Binance, Gate.io, Huobi, and Kraken) may not disclose all order types offered to certain traders, some of which could preference those traders at the expense of others, and that the trading performance of other customers on those venues could be negatively affected as a result.” Kraken CEO Jesse Powell rebuffed the investigation, stating that it was bad for business.
Kraken takes security seriously, so there are five different verification tiers on the platform. The first, known as Tier 0, does not permit trade, deposits or withdrawals, and only allows users to get a feel of the interface. Tier 0 users are only required to verify an email address.
Tier 1 users are allowed to trade, but solely in cryptocurrency. They are also allowed to withdraw up to $2,500 per day and $20,000 per month and are required to verify their full names, country, date of birth, and phone number.
Tier 2 users can trade in both digital and fiat currencies, with withdrawals of up to $2,000 per day and $10,000 per month, depending on location. In addition to other details, Tier 2 requires the addition of an address. Verification typically takes an hour. Withdrawal limits for Tier 2 users are $5,000 per day and $10,000 per month.
Tier 3 offers higher funding limits and requires a user’s proof of identification and proof of address. Users on this tier are subject to withdrawal limits of up to $25,000 per day and $200,000 per month. Tier 4 users have higher funding options and must apply formally, via an application form and KYC documents.
Kraken partners with Fidor Bank, to offer fiat deposits in USD, EUR, CAD, and JPY. The platform’s fees depend on the currency pair, whether or not the order is a maker or taker and the 30-day trading volume involved. In the case of margin trading, users are charged an opening fee and rollover fee.
Fees on maker orders fall between 0 percent and 0.16 percent, while those for taker orders are typically between 0.10 percent to 0.26 percent.
Kraken offers worldwide support for cryptocurrency trading with few exceptions.
As part of its safety measures, Kraken conducts a regular audit to prove that its cryptocurrency reserves are sufficient for its operations. Typically, the auditor checks that the balances of each customer’s account, match up with the balance held by Kraken.
Customers can also verify that their data was used in the audit. The platform offers two-factor authentication to prevent data leaks as well as a Master Key for account recovery.
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