CEX.IO is one of the oldest cryptocurrency exchanges, having been launched in 2013. At that time the company also ran the cloud mining service GHash.io, which at its height controlled 42% of the Bitcoin hashing power. However, by 2015 the price of Bitcoin had declined to the point where the company was not finding mining to be profitable and they shut down the cloud mining operations.
CEX.IO is currently based out of London, and has build up a registered user base of more than 2 million customers, thanks to a good reputation and a focus on security. In April 2018, CEX.IO has an exchange as well as simple buy/sell methods for Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin Gold, DASH, Ripple, Stellar Lumens, and Zcash. Users can deposit to the exchange using both bank transfers and credit cards.
CEX.IO Safety and Security
It’s long history (in cryptocurrency terms) and growing customer base both speak well for the safety and security of CEX.IO as an exchange, but there are other factors that help support CEX.IO as a safe exchange for cryptocurrency enthusiasts.
– Company Legitimacy
CEX.IO has established legitimacy as a company operating out of the U.K. through several channels that include adherence to regulatory bodies and international finance laws.
- CEX.IO is incorporated as a Private Limited Company in the U.K.
- It is registered with U.S. Department of the Treasury Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).
- Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council compliant, using a PCI DSS certificate to store, process, and transmit payment card data.
- CEX.IO has been registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) of the United Kingdom
– Safety of Funds
While information regarding the storage of user funds isn’t very clear from the CEX.IO website, they do claim to use offline cold storage for all cryptocurrency assets. And they have never suffered a hack leading to a loss of customer funds.
– Personal Account Security
In addition to the standard password security, you are also able to secure your account at CEX.IO using 2-factor authentication (2FA). In fact, after navigating several pages within the site I was presented with a pop-up that highly recommended using 2FA, and required a tick box acknowledging the dangers of NOT using 2FA if that choice is made. Of course it’s always wise to keep your funds safe by not storing them with the exchange or in any online wallet. Learn about safe cryptocurrency storage here.
How to Buy Cryptocurrency on CEX.IO
As you might guess, the first step is to create an account at CEX.IO. You do this by clicking the register button, in the upper right-hand corner of the website. This will take you to the registration page, where creating an account can be as simple as clicking another button.
As you can see you have several registration options. You can input your email and a password of your choosing, which I feel is the most secure method. If you don’t mind linking your CEX.IO account with other online services you also have the option to register using Facebook, Google, vKontakte, or GitHub. After registering you’ll receive an email where you will need to click a link to verify your account.
As mentioned above, soon after logging in for the first time you’ll be presented with a prompt to set-up 2FA on your account. CEX.IO highly recommends that you do so, and I agree. If you aren’t using 2FA on all your accounts you should begin to do so as soon as possible.
Once through this initial process you’ll have the first level of account access, known as a basic account. It limits your deposit and withdrawals significantly, so if you want to be able to access all the features of the platform, and not be severely limited in the amounts you can deposit and withdraw, you should go through the identification process to get a Verified account.
Having a Verified account is not required to buy and trade, but it is required by some countries in order to make withdrawals. The verification process is part of the requirements of the Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) regulations.
**NOTE: As of January 28, 2018 it is not possible to make withdrawals to U.S. banks. If you’re a U.S. resident it’s recommended that you give CEX.IO a pass.**
The verification process is simple and shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes. All information submitted is encrypted and stored securely and is in compliance with KYC and AML regulations. The verification process will ask for the following information:
- Full Name
- Tax ID/SSN
- Government ID/Passport/Drivers License
- Proof of Address Document
- Selfie with ID and/or Credit Card
CEX.IO typically verifies accounts very quickly, so you should see your verified status soon after submitting documents.
Finally, you’ll want to fund your account. After the verification is complete you can fund your trading account either via bank transfer, credit card or via CryptoCapital. Bank transfers can take up to three days, so credit cards are faster, but there are higher fees when funding with credit cards. Once your account is funded, you’re ready to buy some Bitcoin or other cryptocurrency offered by CEX.IO.
Margin Trading at CEX.IO
CEX.IO is one of the few exchanges that allow trading on margin. This means borrowing funds from the broker to control a larger position than you could with your own funds. Margin trading is considered to be extremely risky and is only for experienced traders. CEX.IO currently offers margin trading with 1:2 and 1:3 leverages on BTC/USD, BTC/EUR, ETH/BTC and ETH/USD pairs. There is a 0.2% opening fee on margin trades and a 0.01% rollover fee. There is no closing fee for margin positions.
CEX.IO’s Easy Buy Method
If you’re planning on buying with a credit card and you want the fastest and easiest way to purchase cryptocurrencies at CEX.IO you can use their Easy Buy method. This method differs from traditional exchanges as it uses a “Fill-or-Kill” order to guarantee your price.
A fill-or-kill order is one that is immediately executed in full, or cancelled if it cannot be filled. CEX.IO will show you the exact price you’ll pay and once you click “Buy” that price is locked in. Your complete order will be filled at that price or better, and if it cannot be completely filled it will be cancelled. This differs from other order types, which can often be partially filled, or kept open until they are completely filled.
The fill-or-kill order system does come with a catch, and it’s one that has caused much confusion and consternation for those new to CEX.IO. In order to guarantee pricing for these orders CEX.IO charges a premium for the order in the form of a 7% fee. That means for every $1,000 you spend you’ll actually only receive $930 worth of Bitcoin or other cryptocurrency.
CEX.IO actually re-calculates the price for each cryptocurrency every 120 seconds, and displays it on the Easy Buy page. This means you can look at the page and see at a glance the exact price you’ll pay, without having to worry about market fluctuations. If you press the “Buy” button the price is locked in and the system will check to see if you have enough funds available to complete the transaction.
If you do have the available funds the order is filled at the displayed price. If price somehow spikes higher in the time just following your order and it cannot be filled at the quoted price it is cancelled and you’ll receive a notification. In short, you’ll always get at least the price quoted when you place the order. Sometimes you’ll even get a better price, but if the price goes up the order is cancelled rather than being filled at the higher price.
If you prefer, you can trade on the exchange and save on the 7% fee.
Customer support at CEX.IO is handled through email, or by simply navigating to their FAQ page to find an answer yourself. As with all of the cryptocurrency exchanges you will find complaints online regarding the lack of customer support, but in general it is actually pretty reliable and fast, as long as you consider 24-48 hour response time as fast.
CEX.IO offers their services to most of the world. As of writing this review, CEX.IO support all countries, unless otherwise outlined below.
The following countries are restricted from depositing with Credit Cards:
Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic, Cuba, Algeria, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Iceland, Iran, Iraq, Cambodia, North Korea, Laos, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Nepal, Pakistan, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Uganda, Vietnam, Vanuatu, Yemen, Zimbabwe.
The following countries are restricted from depositing with Bank Transfer:
Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Iran, Iraq, Kenya, North Korea, Laos, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Nigeria, São Tomé and Príncipe, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, Vietnam, Vanuatu, Yemen, Zimbabwe.
Deposit and Withdrawal Limits
Account deposit and withdrawal limits on CEX.IO will vary by your level of account verification.
Basic accounts are only able to use credit cards for deposits and withdrawals.
Deposit/Withdrawal Limits: $1,000 daily / $3,000 monthly
Verified accounts can use both credit cards and bank transfers for deposits and withdrawals.
Deposit/Withdrawal Limits: $3,000 daily / $30,000 monthly
Becoming “verified” is a rather simple process as I’ve outlined above. You can complete the process in as little as 15 minutes, as long as you don’t mind sharing your personal information and uploading government issued ID.
If you wish to increase your limit past what’s available to “verified” accounts, you can request “verified plus” in your account admin. If accepted, limits on deposits and withdrawals are lifted and you can make unlimited daily and monthly deposits and withdrawals.
CEX.IO’s fees will vary depending on what method you’re using to purchase cryptocurrencies, with the exchange being a far less expensive option when compared with the easy buy and sell method.
When trading on the exchange, fees range from 0.10% to 0.25% for takers and from 0.00% to 0.16% for makers. These fees are based on your 30 day average transaction volume. If you wish to use their easy buy and sell methods, they charge a flat 7% fee.
Additionally, there are also fees for deposits and withdrawals.
Deposit fees are generally 3.5% when using credit cards, but free if using bank transfers.
Withdrawal fees are at most $3.8 + 1.2% when using credit cards and €25 for bank transfers. SEPA transfers are just €1.
The full fee schedule can be seen here.
If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to buy certain cryptocurrencies, and you don’t mind paying the 7% fee, CEX.IO is a good choice for those new to cryptocurrencies. The website is easy to use, and the ability to buy with a credit card makes the processes easier yet.
If you’re in the U.S. you may want to consider using a different exchange however, due to the inability to withdraw to U.S. bank accounts.
While the fees are high at CEX.IO, they do have higher credit card limits than Coinbase, which could make them attractive for some users. And of course if Coinbase isn’t available in your country Cex.IO becomes even more attractive as an option for buying cryptocurrencies.