It was never a common vision that the world would someday trade digital currencies (invisible currencies) but it is what it is. This evolution is definitely a big one drawing a lot of attention and showing continuous price surges of currencies.
This piece highlights the meaning of crypto exchange, the types, top exchange platforms in Africa as well as precautions.
First, as the name implies, crypto exchange is an avenue to trade digital currencies. Wikipedia describes cryptocurrency exchange as a business that permits trading of cryptos or digital currencies in exchange for other assets, such as the conventional government-issued currency or other digital currencies.
An interesting angle to look at the crypto exchange is when it is juxtaposed with the foreign exchange. The global foreign exchange market (Forex, FX, or currency market) has the largest and the most liquid financial market in the world, with average daily volumes in the trillions of dollars for decades. The crypto exchange just like the foreign exchange trades one currency for another and allows for financial liquidity trading daily in large volumes.
However crypto exchange does not use over-the-counter (OTC) currency trading like in the foreign exchange. The two markets vary in other different ways; The FX market determines the foreign exchange rates and the CX market determines its exchange rates. It includes all aspects of buying, selling and exchanging currencies at current or determined prices. In terms of trading volume, it is by far the largest market in the world, followed by the Credit market. The Fx trades fiat money of different countries like USDs and the Cx trades digital currencies like bitcoin.
Back to the focus on cryptocurrency exchange; They can be described as websites where you can buy, sell or exchange cryptocurrencies for other digital currency or traditional currency. In order to trade professionally and have access to necessary trading tools, one would need to use an exchange. The exchange requires ID verification in order to open an account. Although for occasional, straightforward trade, platforms that do not require one to open an account exists.
Also, a cryptocurrency exchange is an online platform where one kind of digital currency can be exchanged based on the market value of its assets. The exchange allows for cross border trading and there is no third party or financial institution regulating its activities or to put restrictions on cryptocurrency movement. Limits can be placed on one’s trade volume at a time as many people may not have the financial backing to purchase in huge quantities, there won’t be too many issues with placing orders.
The forms cryptocurrency exchanges exist;
Direct Trading –this form of exchange offers direct person to person trading where individuals from different countries can exchange currency. Participants bargain and sets their own exchange rate. Direct trading exchanges don’t have a fixed market price.
Trading Platforms – These are initiatives by people like a website that connect buyers and sellers and take a fee from each transaction. i.e they match buyers to sellers acting as a form of an agent or middle man and receive an agreed fee from each transaction.
Brokers – These are websites that anyone can visit to buy cryptocurrencies at a price set by the broker. Cryptocurrency brokers are similar to foreign exchange dealers.
The ‘exchange’ has been a common term to refer to the ‘Securities and Exchange Commission,’ SEC, in the global financial space. In the light of the cryptocurrency existence and its own exchange market, Investors should take caution on where they buy cryptocurrency. The SEC has expressed in a statement that “many platforms refer to themselves as ‘exchanges,’ which can give the misimpression to investors that they are regulated or meet the regulatory standards of a national securities exchange.” Many platforms that sell cryptocurrency are subject to little or no government surveillance. Hence, they can do whatever they want with your money.
one should keep in mind the legal ‘caveat emptor’ phrase that connotes ‘let the buyer beware’ in dealing with platforms that do not work under government oversight. it is not that these crypto exchange platforms can’t be trusted but users need to understand fully what they sign up for.
A few Popular American exchanges in the United States are registered with and regulated by government agencies. In South Korea and New Zealand as well, few exchanges are subject to strict regulations by their respective governments. This is a very meager number of exceptions.
While some platforms may want to seek government regulation others may not. An instance BitMEX based in the Republic of Seychelles that thrives where it faces little government administration. But Binance relocated from China to Malta, where cryptocurrency regulations are slack.
Top Crypto Exchanges in Africa
Reportedly the top Crypto Exchanges are (in no particular order) LocalBitcoins, Paxful, Coindirect, Belfrics, and Remitano
LocalBitcoins : happen to be the most popular peer-to-peer bitcoin exchange in the world. It allows users to securely buy and sell bitcoin and is available in every African country with willing buyers and sellers of the digital currency.
Paxful: is another popular peer-to-peer bitcoin trading platform in Africa. The platform enables users to buy, sell, spend, and accept bitcoin. The platform provides more than 300 payment methods such as bank transfer, Western Union, PayPal etc.
Coindirect: is a new cryptocurrency trading platform that allows users to buy and sell bitcoin and over 30 altcoins. It is currently available in 24 countries including Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa allowing users to carry out their transactions with local currencies.
Belfrics: is a bitcoin exchange available in Kenya, Nigeria, and Tanzania. It allows trading of ETH, BTC, BET, LTC, BCH, and XRP using local currencies. Belfrics accepts bank transfers and users are charged a percentage on the volume of every transaction. It also allows withdrawals of the accepted currencies from wallets.
Remitano: The platform is an easy-to-use interface, which makes buying and selling BTC on the platform fast and simple. It is available in Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa, among other countries. It allows users to buy and sell Ether (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), and Tether USDT.
Review of trading protocols in CX may not be in the jurisdiction of one’s resident country and shady business practices are a possibility. Buyers should carefully take the following into consideration before trading; Reputation of the exchange platform, Fees, exchange rate, payment methods, and Verification Procedures.
The cryptocurrency exchange is incumbent since cryptocurrencies are existing in swarms. It is only normal that the exchange exists to keep the trading of digital assets going. Every exchange has its own sets of terms that must be adhered to in order to utilize them. One should familiarize oneself with these terms and be sure they sit right as disclaimer clauses may exist to exonerate platforms from legal action in event of a negative happening like loss of funds.
With the knowledge of cryptos, its various kinds and different exchange platform investors are well on the way of a good path. Note that information is power and to be well-informed results in smarter and guided decisions. Risks are inherent in any venture or investments but risks should be managed and possible eventualities provided for.
This piece is compiled and written as an objective opinion and standard information source. It is in no way expert financial investment advice.
Credits – Mark Grabowski of Adelphi University, SusannaWilliams, Wikipedia, Rodrigo, BitcoinAfrica, Blockgeeks.JOIN OUR COMMUNITY