Spring 2016: Top Rated Bitcoin Exchanges

Spring 2016: Top Rated Bitcoin Exchanges

Welcome to our Spring 2016 edition of the top rated and reviewed bitcoin exchanges, where we highlight the best ranked bitcoin exchanges on the market according to community reviews.

For those unfamiliar with our website, we have the largest database of bitcoin exchanges where we monitor every exchange and provide tools to the bitcoin community to rate and review each one.

Through our ranking system, bitcoin exchanges can rank high or low, and for the Spring 2016 report we are taking the top three highest ranking exchanges to feature. Since our rankings are in real-time, there is an opportunity that after the publishing of this report, the exchange rankings may change based on community feedback and exchange rankings may fluctuate, which is to be expected, and overtime we expect the rankings to normalize. We encourage more community members to participate by rating and commenting on their favorite bitcoin exchanges.

The top three ranked bitcoin exchanges for Spring 2016

Ranked #1: 247exchange

The best ranked bitcoin exchange for our Spring 2016 report according to community ratings is 247exchange. At the time of this publishing, the 247exchange listing is ranked 3.09 out of 5. 247exchange is a bitcoin exchange where users can buy, sell, and exchange bitcoins and other digital currencies. They accept a variety of different payment methods for users to fund their accounts for exchanging bitcoins.

247exchange is owned and operated by parent company InterMoney Exchange (IME), it launched in August 2014 and is based in the country of Belize. The exchange platform is privately funded through the IME group. They serve the global market however at this time aren’t allowing U.S. based customers until they have MSB licenses in the U.S., which they plan to have later this year or in 2017. They do however hold a MSB license in Belize. They recently expanded operations to Canada.

Ranked #2: Independent Reserve

The second best ranked bitcoin exchange this Spring according to community ratings is Independent Reserve. At the time of publishing, the Independent Reserve exchange listing is ranked 3.08 out of 5, coming in right behind the number one spot and ranking second out of all other exchanges on the market.

Independent Reserve is based in Australia, where users can buy and sell bitcoins. Users can fund their accounts with EFT using the local Australian dollar (AUD). Other features include two factor authentication support, a public order book, a developer API, and offline cold storage for customer bitcoins.

The exchange was launched in October 2014; the exchange is promoting both itself and its Australian base as secure and well-regulated, saying the country’s AAA credit rating and political stability made it the ideal place to locate. Independent Reserve is backed by a group of private investors and its executive team has years of experience in the finance and IT industries. CEO Adam Tepper has worked as a software Engineer and Solutions Architect at major Australian companies like ANZ bank, AMP insurance, and the Nine Entertainment Company.

Ranked #3: Kraken

The third best ranked bitcoin exchange according to community ratings is Kraken. At the time of publishing, the Kraken exchange listing is ranked 3.07 out of 5, coming in a close third and out ranking the rest of the bitcoin exchanges on the market. Kraken ranked third in our Fall 2015 Top Rated Bitcoin Exchanges report, not changing positions however losing some ranking value through community voting.

Kraken is a U.S. based bitcoin exchange, which has grown a lot over the years. Kraken, like all exchanges, allows users to buy and sell bitcoins. Kraken has done non-conventional things in the bitcoin space that has set them apart from others, for example taking over the Mt.Gox liquidation to help former Mt.Gox users get back some money they may have lost.

Kraken expanded to Japan and Canada last year. They also raised $5 million in new capital as part of a Series A fundraising round. Just this past January Kraken acquired two bitcoin exchanges, Coinsetter and CaVirtex.

The Bitcoin Exchange Ecosystem

Since our Fall 2015 report, we have continued to see the exchange market grow consistently. Currently we have listed and are tracking 160+ bitcoin exchanges on the market, existing in 62 countries around the world, which have been rated and reviewed by the bitcoin community. As bitcoin grows, so does the exchange market filling needs in different areas. Shown below are some user stats, where 42% of our users come from Northern America and are almost 70% Windows users.

As we opined in the 2016 CoinDesk State of Bitcoin report, we are seeing positive growth in Mexico, Venezuela, Brazil, India, and United Arab Emirates.

Bitcoin exchanges in the United States still garner the most investor interest, where venture capitalists continued to pour capital into exchanges in 2015. Coinbase and Circle had the biggest VC deals in 2015, with a combined investment of $125m. A Boost VC poll also showed that companies are excited about bitcoin over blockchain, with some portfolio companies of Boost VC being bitcoin exchanges. We are beginning to see more mergers and acquisitions in the exchange ecosystem, for example with Kraken acquiring Coinsetter, CoinBR acquired Coinverse, Bitso acquiring Unisend, and a few others.

Unfortunately we are also beginning to see negative trends and behaviors surrounding bitcoin exchanges recently, for example exchanges which are being targeted by attackers in DDoS and extortion attempts. We’ve also seen several exchanges such as Cryptsy, Cointrader, and BitQuick hacked and forced to shut down their exchange businesses completely just in the past few months.

Final Thoughts

We anticipate that these trends will continue as various patterns will emerge along with the constantly evolving market. We may see smaller less known exchanges get acquired as bigger exchanges try to stake their claim in the market as it’s become even more cutthroat than years past; smaller exchange operators may be looking for financial safety or security through planned exit strategies. We may begin to see smaller exchanges with little value begin to shut down or pivot entirely.

You may begin to see more exchanges narrow their focus, or suite of tools, in order to cut costs and stay competitive. We may see more and more exchanges also bring in new altcoins opportunities to expand their user base, for example as we have seen recently with exchanges beginning to accept Ethereum. It’s also important to note that the bitcoin market cap has stayed in the $6B range regularly for the past 4-5 months, and without a growing overall dollar value in bitcoin, there will be less general investment interest which will also tighten the market forcing exchanges to make changes in order to rise above the rest.

Overall all of these changes should be viewed as a net positive, as it’s good to shake out services that don’t bring much value to the table, so others can rise to the top and be successful.

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david@bitcoin.com'
David is a writer, researcher, and developer who is passionate about bitcoin and blockchain. He writes for Bitcoin.com, Blockchain.com, and is the founder of Bitcoinx.io (which was acquired by Bitcoin.com). David previously used to write and curate for Myspace and has worked in the fintech and payments space for over 15 years.