- Brilliant trading tools
- Excellent interface
- Solid range of markets
- High fees for brokering
- Middling customer service
I want to start this CEX.IO review off by making a distinction. Generally speaking, cryptocurrency exchanges can be broken down into two camps.
First, there are those that aren’t really “exchanges.” They’re just ways to buy cryptocurrencies, most commonly Bitcoin. Second, there are exchanges in the true sense of the word. By this, I mean platforms that allow you to buy and sell cryptos, providing you with all the tools and features you’d expect from a traditional trading website that deals in shares, forex, commodities, and so on.
CEX.IO (not to be confused with second-hand goods retailer CEX), manages somehow to fall into both camps. Its offerings are absolutely crammed with the kinds of features—of which we’ll soon go into more detail in this CEX.IO review—that you usually see in powerful day trading platforms, not cryptocurrency exchanges. In fact, when you first see the home page, the number of features appear overwhelming at first.
That said, a huge amount of thought has been given to the user friendliness of this platform. The developers intended this—even if you want to simply come along and buy some Bitcoin, it couldn’t be easier to do so.
CEX.IO definitely presents a tantalising prospect, but can it follow through with strong execution? Well, there’s only one way to find out!
CEX.IO Key Features
“Feature packed” is a term that’s bandied about a lot. When it comes to CEX.IO, however, it’s a completely appropriate description—so be ready to see it more in this CEX.IO review for 2019.
Here are just some of the key features to be aware of.
Liquidity can make or break any platform, as users typically want the ability to get in and out of a trade as quickly as possible. Fortunately, this should never be a problem on CEX.IO. It offers low spreads, speedy order execution, and competitive fees for both market makers and takers, and it ensures high liquidity for the most popular currency pairs.
CEX.IO proudly claims that none of its users’ funds have ever been stolen. This has come about thanks to their strong commitment to cyber security, which includes full encryption of data, protection against DDoS attacks, and two-factor authentication.
This is usually an area in which cryptocurrency exchanges come up short. As you’ll see in many CEX.IO reviews, that’s not so here. This company offers a wide range of tools to guide your trades. Most impressive is its excellent live price charts, on which you can place a number of indicators. Advanced reporting is also present, allowing you to review and analyze your trading history in detail.
Some people wouldn’t dream of trading on margin, whilst others thrive upon it. Whatever your personal views, it’s an option on CEX.IO. You can automatically trade on 1:2 or 1:3 leverage, without any need for prior approval. There’s also a risk-prevention mechanism in place, which stops your overall account balance from dropping into the red.
Nowadays, people want access to various services through as many different avenues as possible. Alongside the powerful web platform, there’s also a mobile CEX.IO app, and the opportunity to use various CEX.IO APIs to get your data as quickly as you want, wherever you want. Users will be well catered to on CEX.IO, with the developers ensuring you’re never out of touch with your account.
At first glance, you might think that CEX.IO only accepts Bitcoin, dollars, and euros. Dig a little deeper, however, and you’ll see that those are simply the currencies they probably want you to use! Actually, there’s a reasonable—dare we say outstanding, for this CEX.IO review—selection of supported currencies here.
CEX.IO supports four fiat currencies: USD, EUR, GBP, and—unusually—RUB. That might not seem like a wide range (and it’s not really), but it’s wider than most. Many crypto exchanges out there only support USD and EUR, after all, meaning you end up paying a conversion fee if you have to use a different fiat.
In addition, CEX.IO allows you to make deposits using nine cryptos: BTC, ETH, DASH, XRP, BTG, ZEC, XLM, and BCH. Again, not the widest range of currencies, but all the big hitters are represented here.
CEX.IO Signup and Login
The first stage of the signup process is easy enough (although the additions of a CEX.IO email and phone number verification slow things down a little bit). All you have to do is enter an email address and password, agree to the ol’ Ts & Cs, tick a reCAPTCHA box, and you’re done.
Alternatively, CEX.IO allows you to sign up using a surprisingly wide range of social media platforms, including two that are so cool, they’re only represented by symbols (they’re VK and Github respectively).
After filling in these initial forms, you’ll need to confirm your email address before proceeding further. That’s a minor inconvenience, but it’s standard practice for many exchanges. What is an inconvenience, however, is then having to provide a phone number, which also has to be verified! There’s absolutely no option to skip this step, either.
Once you’ve done that, you’re finally allowed into your account. Overall for this CEX.IO review, the signup process isn’t massively frustrating—it only takes a couple of minutes, after all—but it’s certainly slower than that of many competitors.
When you log out of your account for the first time, you’ll be very strongly prompted to set up two-factor authentication immediately. You can do so by either receiving an SMS or by using the Google Authenticator app (I’m guessing 9/10 people simply opt for the SMS option).
Incredibly, if you fail to set up 2FA immediately, you’ll get this ridiculous message:
That’s right—they literally make you agree to a disclaimer acknowledging that you didn’t implement 2FA right away. Incredible.
Anyway, after that silliness, logging back into your account is easy (thankfully, for this part of my CEX.IO review), whether or not you’ve got 2FA in place. Simply enter the requisite details, tick another reCAPTCHA box, and you’re in.
The best cryptocurrency exchanges make what could be a complex and time-consuming task as easy as possible.
I’m pleased to report that CEX.IO does a wonderful job of this. I’ve already mentioned how feature packed this platform is, but you’re never forced to wade through all of those features. Instead, the focus with CEX.IO seems to be on making everything beginner friendly, with the various more complex tools simply being there if you want them.
Nowhere is this better shown than on the dashboard, which serves as your homepage when you’re logged into your account. Three simple options are clearly displayed: “Buy & Sell Bitcoins,” “Trade Cryptocurrencies,” and “Use CEX.IO Wallet.”
That last option essentially just lets you view your funds. The other two, however, give you the choice as to how complicated you want to get. Technically buying and selling Bitcoins is still trading, but that first option takes you to a much simpler screen than the second. It can be difficult to balance a crypto trading platform for both beginners and veterans, but—with this smart move—CEX.IO handles this with aplomb.
The top bar essentially gives you these options: buying and selling Bitcoin, trading cryptocurrencies, viewing your balance, and so on. It’s simply a quicker and easier way to move around.
On an aesthetic note, everything is very pleasing on the eye. The layout is intuitive, and CEX.IO is careful not to overload you with text, instead giving you just the right amount of instructions.
Quite frankly, the CEX.IO interface is one of the best I’ve encountered on a cryptocurrency exchange.
As I mentioned earlier in my CEX.IO review, you are heavily shepherded towards Bitcoin on the crypto side and USD and EUR on the fiat side. In reality, there are plenty more options here.
Eight cryptos are represented, including Bitcoin and Ethereum. Litecoin will soon to be added. As for fiats, you can use USD, EUR, GBP, and RUB.
If you’re simply looking to buy a crypto, you can do so easily enough with fiats. Be aware, however, that not all fiats can be used to buy all cryptos. Rubles can only be used to buy BTC, for example, and XRP can be purchased solely by USD or EUR. More pairs are being added with time, though, so hopefully one day this situation will be resolved.
When it comes to actual trading, you’ve got plenty of options on CEX.IO. There are around 30 in total, which include trading cryptos against each other or against fiats. You can check out a full list of available pairs here.
This degree of flexibility really is uncommon in all but the biggest exchanges. Automatically, it makes the “CEX.IO vs Coinbase” debate one that’s worth having.
There’s no need to beat around the bush with this one. This platform has genuinely excellent trading tools, as I mentioned (i.e., drooled over) in the introduction to this review.
This is a little bit nerdy, but I absolutely love their price charts. Many crypto exchanges don’t even have price charts; or if they do, they’re incredibly basic. Like so much else with this platform, CEX.IO’s price charts wouldn’t look out of place in a big, prestigious traditional exchange, making them a big feature in this CEX.IO review.
Charts are available for every pair that’s offered, they have a great amount of detail on the price action, and manipulating the time frames is simple. Best of all, there’s a massive selection of indicators available. These range from simple ones like moving averages and volume, to bollinger bands and RSI, and you can have as many or few of these indicators as you please.
Okay, I’ll try to stop gushing about the charts, but I absolutely love them, and I don’t know why more crypto exchanges don’t implement them.
Elsewhere, there are reports you can generate to track your CEX.IO trading performance, API solutions to help you set up automated trading, and order-matching algorithms to ensure speedy trades.
Finally, special mention should also be made of the CEX.IO mobile app. It’s available on both iOS and Android, and it allows you to do most of the same stuff you’ll find on the desktop version: making deposits, making trades, checking price action, and so on.
CEX.IO really does cover every base. Normally, when I’m reviewing crypto exchanges, there’s a wishlist of features I’d like to see added. With CEX.IO, well, they’re all already there.
How to Make a Deposit
First of all, you may have heard about people using a CEX.IO voucher code in the past. This was a legitimate way to transfer cryptos between accounts, but it was discontinued in August 2018.
You can deposit either fiats or cryptos to your CEX.IO account. Fiats can be deposited by using a bank card or wire transfer, while crypto deposits can only be made via Crypto Capital. All three methods require some form of identity verification.
Deposit times vary depending on which method you use. Crypto deposits must pass through a series of confirmations, which can take anywhere from 1–24 hours. The CEX.IO deposit time for wire transfers typically take 3–7 banking days, and card payments are usually processed instantly (as long as your bank is playing ball).
How to Make a Trade
There are two main ways to make trades on CEX.IO. Your choice depends on how in-depth you want to go.
The easier option is to just buy cryptos, which is done by using fiat currencies. This is very, very easy to do. You simply choose your crypto and fiat of choice, choose how much of the crypto you want to buy, and proceed to the payment stage. Payments for this service can only be made using a bank card.
After you’ve filled in your bank details, you’ll need to provide ID verification. This can be done either by taking a selfie next to the bank card or by providing photos of your ID. The purchase can go through once your identity has been confirmed, with the funds subsequently arriving in your CEX.IO wallet.
The second option is to do some full-on trading, pairing currencies against each other. While I obviously wouldn’t recommend this for complete beginners, if you know what you’re doing, then trading on this platform is an absolute cinch.
This comes partly thanks to the aforementioned charts, but also as a result of the intuitive layout of the trading page. You have the charts, then your trading options, and below that a list of the most recent trades made on your chosen pair.
When making a trade yourself, you can place either a limit or market order, another plus for this CEX.IO review. This is already an upgrade on many exchanges, which only offer the latter. You simply say how much you’d like to buy or sell, give the price if you’re placing a limit order, then make the trade. If you’ve got enough money in your account, it should go through immediately.
Finally, margin trading is available at up to 1:3. This is essentially done in the same way as the other trades, except that you choose if you want to use 1:2 or 1:3 leverage before placing your order.
CEX.IO charges basic fees, but you can minimize them by using the right payment methods. If you make a deposit via bank transfer or Crypto Capital, you’ll be charged no commission at all. If you use a payment card, however, you’ll pay a 2.99% commission on the deposit.
When making a CEX.IO withdrawal, all three methods incur a fee. Bank transfers and Crypto Capital transactions are charged 1% (with bank transfer fees being a minimum of $50). Withdrawing to a payment card costs you 1.2% plus $3.80.
My review has been extremely positive so far, but this represents a rare down point. The management team has clearly identified two methods they don’t want to deal with—bank cards for deposits and bank transfers when making a CEX.IO withdrawal—and made them so unattractive that people (they hope) won’t use them. The minimum charge of $50 on a bank transfer is, quite frankly, ridiculous.
If you’ve been reading all these compliments about CEX.IO, and thinking, “I’ll bet all this comes at a price,” well, you were right. Welcome to the trading fees!
The fees are different depending on whether you’re simply using CEX.IO as a broker to buy cryptocurrencies or as an actual trading platform.
If it’s the former, then you’ll be charged a hefty 7% in CEX.IO fees for the pleasure of using their services. This price is already built into the price they give you, but you wouldn’t know that unless you went digging around.
To find any mention of it, you need to click on the poorly advertised “How It Works” link at the bottom of the page. That’ll open a pop-up where—again, right at the bottom—you’ll see a brief mention of the 7% fee.
The fees for actually trading on CEX.IO are pretty convoluted. Basically, it’s a classic maker/taker model, with the takers paying higher rates. The amount you’re actually charged, however, depends on your trading volume in the past 30 days. For the full table of fees, head over here.
I must say for this CEX.IO review that while these fees aren’t the highest around, they’re certainly not the lowest. I’d probably argue that you get enough in return to justify these costs, but the final decision rests in your hands.
CEX.IO does have trading limits in place. These are determined by which of the four account types you hold: Basic, Verified, Verified Plus, or Corporate.
Deposits are only limited with a Basic account, where you can deposit up $1,000 per day (if you’re using USD), and $3,000 per month. All the other account types allow you to deposit as much of a given fiat as you like.
Likewise, Basic account holders are only allowed to deposit via one method: bank card. If you want to use bank transfer or Crypto Capital, you’ll need a higher account level.
To move up from a Basic account to Verified or Verified Plus, you’ll simply need to—as the names suggest—provide additional CEX.IO verification. Corporate accounts are negotiated directly with the CEX.IO team.
The actual trading limits depend which account type you have, which currency you’re purchasing, and which payment methods you’re using. The limits are broken down by transaction—by day and by month. You can get a full list of all the trading limits here.
CEX.IO proudly states that none of its users’ funds have ever been stolen, which is obviously great! In part, this is probably thanks to the pressure to implement two-factor authentication (as I outlined earlier). Though it may be annoying, it certainly makes the chances of a CEX.IO scam less likely and generally helps to keep people’s accounts safer.
Amongst an array of other security features, there’s also full data encryption, protection from DDoS attacks, and crypto cold storage. The security is independently verified and seems to be doing its job ably, overall. There are mentions online of one hack getting through the barriers, but this happened all the way back in 2013—when CEX.IO was just getting going—and there have been no similar reports since.
To answer one question you’ll surely have—“Is CEX.IO safe?”—the answer is definitely a resounding yes.
Like most cryptocurrency exchanges, CEX.IO’s prefered contact method is a good old-fashioned ticketing system. I couldn’t find any mention on their website of a time frame for responses, but my test query was answered promptly, and based on user reviews that I’ve read, this seems to be the standard.
Another method of getting in touch—which, of course, isn’t actually promoted on the website—is via social media. To their credit, CEX.IO does a particularly fine job of answering Twitter queries promptly, in a helpful manner.
There is also a CEX.IO support number listed on the website. Again, though, I couldn’t actually find any mention whatsoever of its operating hours. In fact, there doesn’t seem to be any actual mention of it at all on the site. It’s just there! (For the record, on the CEX.IO website, it does say that support staff are working 24/7. There’s no indication as to what they’re actually doing, however.)
Finally, there’s a FAQ section in place, but it’s far from the best I’ve seen. The search function is pretty poor, with random community questions often being flung to the top of the list, when they don’t actually have a response. The quality of the articles varies wildly too, with some barely being a couple of sentences long.
The customer support here isn’t disastrous by any means, but it fails to live up to the high standards set elsewhere in my CEX.IO review.
Having been founded in London back in 2013, CEX.IO was a cloud mining service originally.
At one point in 2014, one of its mining pools—Ghash—was reportedly responsible for some 42% of the total Bitcoin mining power. With this in mind, it’s not hard to see how the CEX.IO team made a name for themselves. Since 2015, however, it has fully transitioned to serving as a cryptocurrency exchange, meaning CEX.IO has left cloud mining.
Since doing so, they’ve had a mixed reputation online. The CEX.IO Trustpilot score, for example, currently stands at 5.5/10, following some 1,900 CEX.IO reviews by users. If you actually read those reviews, however, you’ll quickly see how harsh it would be to judge CEX.IO by them. Many of the users simply didn’t read the small print and didn’t fully understand what they were getting into.
Regardless, CEX.IO has become an indisputably successful platform in recent years. There are currently over one million people signed up for it, and—aside from a few naysayers—this exchange has generally formed a reputation for being trustworthy and reliable.
There is, of course, no such thing as a perfect cryptocurrency exchange. Despite there being plenty of positives to take from my CEX.IO review, this still remains the case.
The experience of actually using CEX.IO is absolutely tremendous. The layout is simply brilliant, making everything—from buying cryptos directly to placing limit orders on a pair—extremely easy. I absolutely love the trading tools on offer here, particularly the powerful charts.
There are negatives too, of course. The fees for the brokerage service are certainly high, and the customer support (especially the creaky FAQ section) needs some work.
Overall, however, I came away from my experience with CEX.IO massively impressed. This platform achieves the rare feat of perfectly providing for crypto novices and veteran traders alike. Whatever your own experience, I highly recommend that you give this exchange a shot. It’s honestly one of the best I’ve come across.
Q: What is CEX.IO?
A: CEX.IO is a cryptocurrency exchange on which you can buy cryptos directly or trade them against each other and against other fiats.
Q: Can you use CEX.IO in New York?
A: Technically you can access a CEX.IO account from any US state. Only 24 states are fully supported, however, and US users can only withdraw cryptos.
Q: Which cryptocurrencies are supported on CEX.IO?
A: You can currently trade BTC, ETH, XRP, BCH, BTG, DASH, XLM, and ZEC. LTC is coming soon.
Q: Can I trade on margin?
A: Yes. CEX.IO allows you to use leverage of up to 1:3.
Q: Is CEX.IO legit?
A: Definitely, as has been shown in this CEX.IO review. It has over a million users and has been part of the crypto community since 2013.