Ease of Use
Platform & Account Security
Have you been itching to try the cryptocurrency exchange CEX.IO? CEX.IO is a cryptocurrency exchange whose aim is to make purchasing straightforward and simple. With a variety of tools and features, CEX.IO has many talking. Is the chatter good, though? Read our review of CEX.IO and decide for yourself if this is the cryptocurrency platform for you.
- Easy to use
- Many options for traders, such as a brokerage, spot trading, margin trading, as well as a mobile application for on-the-go use
- Transparent about all fees
- Offered in 4 fiat currencies, giving service to customers around the world
- High fees
- KYC/AML must be completed before purchases can be made, with certain services locked until a degree of information is provided
For speculators or cryptocurrency users that prefer a straightforward purchasing experience when it comes to building their portfolios, brokerage platforms are undeniably the way to go. Fortunately, there are many different options one can choose from when it comes to finding an exchange with these easy and convenient services. CEX.IO is one of these exchanges, and as one of the oldest platforms in the industry, they have built a solid reputation regarding the purchasing of cryptocurrency.
A Brief History Of CEX.IO
CEX.IO, a London-based exchange, has an interesting history, as in 2013, the company made its start as a provider for cloud mining services and possessed the GHash.IO mining pool. This service allowed individuals to “pool” their resources together into a larger network of miners, with the block rewards being divided amongst all of the users in the pool. At one point, GHash.IO made up nearly 42% of the total mining power on the Bitcoin network, though the company made precautions to prevent gaining 51% of the mining power (which would enable the company to take over the network completely, in what is known as a “51% Attack”). Eventually, CEX.IO began to transition towards exchange and conversion services, allowing customers to convert their fiat for cryptocurrencies. September 2014 saw the addition of both the USD and the Euro as base currencies for payment, with the Russian Ruble being added a year later in 2015. In the meantime, CEX.IO discontinued their mining service platform, effectively shifting the company’s focus by introducing a trading platform. Today, CEX.IO operates a brokerage and trading platform and is registered with FINCEN.
CEX.IO Product Offerings
The platform offers a number of different cryptocurrencies for purchase, including Bitcoin; Bitcoin Cash; Bitcoin Gold; DASH; Ethereum; Litecoin; Ripple (XRP); and Stellar Lumens (XLM). These cryptocurrencies can be bought with USD, with some cryptocurrencies also able to be purchased using the Euro, GBP, and the Russian Ruble, via bank transfers, credit cards, or SEPA transfers (if in Europe). Many of the aforementioned crypto-assets can be converted into any of the other offered cryptocurrencies.
CEX.IO Platform And Tools
CEX.IO offers a few different options for the purchasing and selling of cryptocurrencies. For the novice, or for anyone that prefers a straightforward, hassle-free experience, CEX.IO offers a brokerage service, allowing users to purchase any quantity they desire, at a premium cost. The price one pays using the brokerage will always be slightly higher than one would pay on a spot trading platform. This is because the service is essentially acting as the middleman, conveniently performing the transaction between the exchange, so the customer doesn’t have to. This method is perhaps the easiest for anyone just getting into the space, or for that savvy individual that likes to have a daily/weekly/monthly purchase, regardless of the cost.
To purchase on the brokerage platform, all a customer needs to do is simply input the type of cryptocurrency they wish to purchase, followed by the type of currency they will be using to complete the purchase. The minimum amount one can spend is $20 USD. The exchange offers the given cryptocurrencies in tiers of $200, $500, $1000, or custom amounts.
A spot trading platform is also available to customers. This platform is similar to many others in the industry, allowing customers to place buy and sell orders at custom prices. This method is generally not recommended for newcomers to the space, as it is easy to lose money in the event that one does not know what they are doing.
CEX.IO also provides a margin trading platform. This is similar to the spot trading platform but allows customers to apply leverage to their positions. Customers are able to borrow money to make their trade volume larger, thus (in theory) creating larger profits in the event of a successful trade. Margin trading should be reserved for professional traders only, as individuals can liquidate their accounts easily.
A mobile application is also made available for convenient, on-the-go crypto trading. Many of the functions found on the full website are also available on the mobile application. This can be handy for the trader that needs to monitor their open positions, as well as the customer that needs an even more convenient method of purchasing crypto.
CEX.IO also has an affiliate program that rewards users for referring their friends and family to use the exchange. To incentivize referrals, the platform rewards referrers with 30% of the fees from every transaction made by the referred customers on the exchange. This is could possibly become profitable for individuals depending on the amount and frequency of the referred customers’ transactions.
Opening An Account On CEX.IO
Opening an account on CEX.IO is relatively simple. However, because the exchange is registered with FINCEN and abides by KYC (“Know-Your-Customers”) and AML (Anti-Money Laundering) laws, customers are required to verify their identity up to a certain point, dependent on the level of service that the customer wishes to use.
The exchange will then ask for the customer’s phone number, which will be linked to the account and be used for 2 Factor Authentication. Once the number is added, the exchange will send a small code via SMS or phone call, which (like the email verification) is used to verify that the phone number provided is valid.
It should also be noted that customers have different options for logging into CEX.IO. Users can log in with their Facebook credentials, with their Google account, Github, VK, Telegram (in beta), as well as verification via Telegram Passport.
Once the customer has registered and verified their email and phone number, they will be required to submit personal documents to verify their identity in compliance with KYC/AML laws. The level of services available to the customer greatly depends on the amount of information the user provides.
The first level of verification (using ID’s such as Drivers Licenses and Passports) grants the customer access to the ability to purchase and sell crypto using VISA/MasterCard, with a daily deposit/withdrawal limit of $1000, and a monthly limit of $3000. The second level of verification gives the customer access to SWIFT and ACH transfers, as well as unlimited daily and monthly deposits and withdrawals to/from the exchange. Level 2 credit card limits are up to $3000 daily, and $30,000 monthly; while SWIFT and ACH transfers have a limit of $200,000 daily, and $500,000 monthly. The Enhanced and Corporate level accounts also have unlimited deposits and withdrawals. Using VISA/MasterCard with these accounts carries a $10,000 daily limit, and a $100,000 monthly limit. SWIFT and ACH transfers with the Enhanced and Corporate level accounts have an unlimited daily and monthly limit.
To make any purchases, store credit card information, use the brokerage platform, trading platform, or margin platform, the user’s identity must be verified to a certain degree. It should be noted that, while CEX.IO is offered worldwide, many countries are exempt from credit card purchases and bank transfers with CEX.IO. Similarly, the margin trading platform is only available in 27 countries (the list is viewable here).
Since each state of the United States requires its own licensing and regulations, CEX.IO is only registered in 24 states including: California; Connecticut; Illinois; Indiana; Kentucky; Maine; Massachusetts; Minnesota; Missouri; Montana; Nevada; New Mexico; New York; Oklahoma; Pennsylvania; and Rhode Island. Service is not supported in Guam or the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Currently, credit card transactions are not available in: Vietnam; Qatar; Yemen; Saudi Arabia; Oman; Kuwait; Algeria; Afghanistan; Libya; Iceland; Bahrain; Iraq; Nigeria; Palestine; Lebanon; and Pakistan.
Bank transfer purchases are restricted in: Haiti; Iraq; Iran; Liberia; Guinea; Sudan; Tunisia; Syria; Turkey; Afghanistan; Somalia; Eritrea; Guinea-Bissau; Kenya; Zimbabwe; Ethiopia; Vietnam; Libya; Tanzania; Yemen; Côte d’Ivoire; São Tomé and Príncipe; and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Like any other exchange in the cryptocurrency space, CEX.IO has a fee schedule in place in order to maintain the company and build a profit. The fee the user will pay greatly depends on the service and payment method a customer uses, as the brokerage style of purchase will carry a higher fee, as will any credit card transactions.
For the spot trading platform offered by CEX.IO, a standard Maker/Taker fee model is in place. The fee a trader pays will greatly depend on the volume (measured in BTC) they have traded over a 30-day window. Fees start at 0.16% (Maker)/0.25% (Taker) for a 30-day volume of 5 BTC or less, with the fee table adjusting incrementally as the volume increases.
The margin trading platform on CEX.IO carries a 0.2% fee for all transactions made on the platform, with a rollover fee of 0.04% for every 4 hours that a leveraged trade/position is open.
For the brokerage section of CEX.IO, all deposits being made via VISA/MasterCard purchases will carry a 2.99% transaction fee (not including any fees that may incur from the issuing credit card company). Bank transfers, as well as ACH (if in the U.S.) and SEPA (if in Europe) transactions do not carry a fee to deposit.
Withdrawing funds, on the other hand, incurs more fees. For USD withdrawals, using a VISA card incurs a service charge of up to 3% + $1.20, with a commission of up to $3.80; MasterCard USD withdrawals incur a service charge up to 1.8% + $1.20, with a commission of up to 1.2% + $3.80. USD withdrawals using bank transfers incurs a 0.3% + $25 fee. There are no fees for ACH transfers.
For Euro withdrawals using a VISA card, a service charge will incur of up to 3% + €1.50, with a commission up to €3.50. Euro MasterCard withdrawals have a 1.8% + €1.50 fee, with a commission of up to 1.2% + €3.50. Euro bank withdrawals have a 0.3% + €25 fee, whereas SEPA transfers (both deposits and withdrawals) have no transaction fee.
The GBP has a similar setup for withdrawals on CEX.IO, with GBP VISA withdrawals incurring a service charge of up to 3% + £2.10, with a commission of up to £2.90. GBP withdrawals using MasterCard has a 1.8% + £2.10 service charge, with a commission of up to 1.2% + £2.90. GBP withdrawals using a bank transfer has a 0.3% + £25 fee.
CEX.IO currently does not allow bank transfers for the Ruble, but does allow for transactions to be made using both VISA and MasterCard credit cards. All deposits carry a 2.99% fee (as seen with the other currencies). Withdrawals using either VISA or MasterCard carries a 3% + ₽50 fee.
In addition to the various fees that a customer may pay while using the broker (depending on the chosen payment method), CEX.IO also adds a 7% fee that is included with the price seen on their brokerage platform. As mentioned previously, this is the service fee for acting as a sort of middleman between the customer and the exchange.
An interesting note is that CEX.IO also has a storage fee for any of the user’s funds that are stored on the exchange. While users should never keep any cryptocurrency (not actively in a trade) on an exchange, this is important to keep in mind, as these fees can rack up quickly if the funds are left to sit for an extended period of time.
CEX.IO Customer Service
For customer service related issues, CEX.IO has a few different options to assist the customer in any way they may need. An FAQ exists, featuring many different articles pertaining to their Customer Success Program; information about various financial aspects of the account (how to deposit/withdraw, wallet address questions, etc.); basic account FAQ; as well as information related to the live trading aspect of the platform. Customers can also open a support ticket with their 24/7 Support Team in the event that a solution cannot be found in the FAQ.
While it is true that many of the services found on CEX.IO can be found on almost every other exchange in the industry, CEX.IO’s allowance for the purchase of crypto using credit cards and bank transfers in 4 different currencies makes this a viable choice for the customer that may not be able to use other exchanges legally in their residential locations. The options that CEX.IO does provide gives everyone from speculators to traders a way to purchase, sell, and trade crypto in the manner that they prefer.
Is CEX.IO Trustworthy?
Having been in the space since 2013, CEX.IO has built their reputation consistently. As the company was one of the first cloud mining providers in the industry, CEX.IO had made a name for itself, and since transitioning to providing exchange services, the company has continued to uphold their reputation. Some bad reviews have been floating around regarding CEX.IO and their services (mainly regarding the high fees and KYC requirements). However, a good mark of customer service is the fact that the exchange’s support team takes the time to respond to all negative reviews in an effort to help distressed customers find a solution.
Conclusions For CEX.IO
CEX.IO is a fairly decent option for anyone looking for a location to purchase and trade cryptocurrencies. The amount of crypto assets offered is admittedly smaller than those offered on other exchanges. The fees on the brokerage platform are almost ridiculously high, especially if one chooses to use a credit card to complete their purchase. Depending on the service being used, it may be best to search out a different exchange that offers the same services with lower fees.