The Popular Choice
Centralised exchanges (CEX) are popular choices to buy Bitcoin due to their ease of use. These services are usually fintech startups that focus on acquiring and onboarding as many users as possible. These exchanges generally require a registration process in the form of Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) due to following the law of the jurisdictions that the exchanges operate in.
This means that if you wanted to create an account with a centralised exchange, you will need a form of ID so they can run the necessary checks. This usually doesn’t take very long and is an automated process assuming you’re not a dodgy geezer!
Once you have registered, you are good to go!
Those who use centralised exchanges that sell KYC bitcoin either do so because they don’t know any better; they want to save on fees, don’t have many options locally to trade fiat for bitcoin, or don’t have the technical know-how to make non-KYC purchases.
Either way, many of you will eventually end up using a custodial service to buy your bitcoin in the beginning. These services are convenient, and they do serve a purpose as a viable on-ramp; once you acquire the bitcoin, however, it is up to you to learn how to take custody of your assets.
A couple of things to be aware of here with centralised exchanges is that you don’t have the private keys to your Bitcoin wallet and some of the exchanges mentioned also have way too many shitcoins for our liking!
When you use a service that doesn’t give you access to your keys, you don’t own your bitcoin, it’s nothing but an IOU. Centralised exchanges will offer you all sorts of incentives like interest rates to get you to keep your bitcoin with them, as they can make money with your funds.
If you’re fine with companies using your money, and the risk you’re taking with the various man in the middle attacks then leaving it on an exchange should be fine. If you want peace of mind, you may want to think of a self custody plan.
To make it easier for you, we’ve separated these into Bitcoin only exchanges and other exchanges.
Bitcoin Focused Exchanges
These are bitcoin exchanges that focus only on buying and selling bitcoin; in some cases, you can only purchase bitcoin, as the focus of these exchanges is on the adoption of the asset class. These are great platforms if you’re looking to get started and don’t want all the distractions of other coins cluttering up your bitcoin buying experience.
While they might be bitcoin advocates, that doesn’t mean that these services are any safer than other custodial services. If you purchase bitcoin with these companies, ensure that you plan to take custody of your bitcoin. Please don’t leave it on exchanges for long periods unless you plan to sell very soon.
Global & Multi-regional Centralised Exchanges
These exchanges are the wild west, a candy store of digital assets and it can become overwhelming for new bitcoiners to get to grips with it. If you have no choice, or you feel more comfortable using a centralised service, then these sites may work for you. These sites offer a convenient and wide range of payment options to fund your account making it easy to acquire bitcoin but they do come with trade-offs in terms of privacy, fees and of course, selling of distractions.
If you are going to use any of the sites below, always remember why you went to this site and focus on getting what you need, not everything that is shiny and new is digital gold. Look out for Bitcoin with the ticker BTC and get in and get out as soon as you can.
Note: There are buttons at the top of each page to give you the option of registering an account with or without using our referral link. There is no pressure from us to us them and we will include full disclosure of the referrals where applicable.