This is my most used exchange. As of December 2017 it allows you to trade in 200 different coins. This, of course, includes the big players like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Monero, Ripple, and Dash. I find that its candlestick graphs are the easiest of the four to understand and make use of. Depositing and withdrawing are relatively easy and involve little more than copying the right addresses down. Making trades is easy too but for a beginner it can take some time. I will be doing a mini tutorial on how to make a trade on Bittrex soon so I won’t go into too much detail here, but it should be noted that Bittrex does not allow purchases of coins at any official market price. Instead you bid to sell or buy a coin at a price which you set.
It must be noted that Bittrex has some serious concerns. Hopping over to the Bittrex Subreddit reveals a common issue whereby verified users of even many years are getting their accounts locked meaning that they cannot perform withdrawals. In any regular, regulated, financial ecosystem this would be enough to entirely avoid Bittrex but you will soon notice that every single exchange has caveats which strangely match this in severity at least.
In terms of simplicity, Binance cannot be beat. No exchange I can think of allows you to deposit and trade with so many coins with such ease. Unlike Bittrex, it allows for you to buy and sell coins at their estimated market price at the click of a button. It seems to stock rarer coins too such as the Request Network (REQ) token, and allows for more coins to be traded directly with Ethereum. This is a good thing due to the obnoxiously high fees and waiting times which Bitcoin presses upon its users. Its graphs are slightly more complex but this is because they give a little more info than Bittrex’s do. Anybody can sign up and start trading without any verification such as passports, bank statements, driver’s licenses, etc. Unverified accounts can withdraw up to 0.2 BTC per 24 hours. This is good if you’re not investing big amounts.
But, like Bittrex, it has its problems too. Binance is notorious for preventing the withdrawal of certain coins when they rise in price (especially small coins). A recent example of this was IOTA. During its impressive spike in value Binance stated that it was impossible to withdraw the funds. This left people either waiting and potentially using profits or trading it for another coin and still losing profits through trading fees.
This might be my least favourite exchange service I have used. Kraken’s UI is clunky and unfriendly, it doesn’t stock many coins, and it often prevents the cancellation of bids/orders. Many users have also expressed frustration in not being able to log in at times (I have not experienced this myself). It’s charts look unintelligible to me. But Kraken is not all bad. One of its most impressive features is its security. It should also be noted that Kraken staff members frequent the major cryptocurrency Subreddits and often use it as a means of discussing issues with users. This makes them one of the easier exchanges to get in touch with.
Poloniex stock all the most popular coins and a few rarer ones too. They also allow for direct trading with Monero across some small coins which is a rarity. One of its most notorious features (which was removed within the year) was the TrollBox; a chatroom where anybody could discuss coins and their personal estimations. It was often used as an attempt to manipulate market prices. Despite this it was still a major plus for many small time investors as it was basically the ground floor for discussing early market trends. Since the Trollbox has been removed I am not too sure there is much reason to go to Poloniex over other exchanges.
In terms of support, it may be the worst of the four. There are people who have been waiting hundreds of days to get their support tickets answered (or at least looked at). Most people are opening support tickets over the fact that withdrawals are failing for them. This is an issue I have not experienced but I read about substantially.
I wanted to create this mini write up as a way of highlighting some of the biggest exchanges to newcomers and give them a small idea of what to keep a lookout for. This is by no means an exhaustive list. I did not cover Bitfinex, Gemini, or Liqui but I will be running pieces on them some time later in 2018. For those interested, I only use two exchanges nowadays: Bittrex and Binance. This is because together they seem to stock almost every coin I have ever been interested in. Places like Poloniex and Kraken hold too few coins for it to be of my interest. My advice is to pick two exchanges which suit your needs best. For me, my main need is to exchange currency between Ethereum and others as I have an abundance of it. Look into other exchanges not listed here too as some of the small ones may run more efficiently.