Started out in 2013, CEX.io is one of the oldest Bitcoin exchanges around. CEX.io is based out of London, England. It started out as a Bitcoin exchange and cloud mining provider; the first Bitcoin cloud mining company. Its mining pool known as Ghash.io, was so big at some point that it held 42% of the total network mining power.
However, the cloud mining operations were closed on January 2015. Today CEX.io operates solely as a Bitcoin exchange. CEX.io is registered with FINCEN and it applies AML (anti money laundering) and KYC (know your customer) policies, which means that you’ll need to verify your identity before you will be able to purchase Bitcoins via the exchange.
CEX.IO allows for the buying of Bitcoins for low fees via credit card, a wire transfer or a SEPA transfer (if you live in the EU). However CEX.io transactions work a bit differently than other Bitcoin exchanges. Transactions here are based on Fill-or-Kill orders (also known as FOK).
FOK orders are orders that are executed instantly and in full, so whatever you “agreed” to get or pay, that’s precisely what will happen. This is very different than how other exchanges work where you may encounter problems associated with liquidity. So for example, if you buy 2 Bitcoins at an agreed rate on CEX.io you will definitely receive that amount. On the other hand, if you buy 2 Bitcoins on Bitstamp you will need to wait until someone comes along who’s willing to sell you those Bitcoins at your requested price.
However, for this to work 100% CEX.io has to charge customers a premium so that they will always be able to fulfill their orders. This means the higher exchange rate.
How Does This Platform Work?
CEX.IO has a very clear explanation about how this service works on their site. Here’s a summary of it:
CEX.io calculates the price when you enter a trade and freezes it for 2 minutes. You input the amount of money you want to spend. You also see the amount of Bitcoins that you can receive. The system checks to see that you have enough funds available after you press the Buy/Sell Button.
The order will be filled if the situation on the market allows the execution of your order on conditions not worse than you agreed on. It’s important to note that the order can also be filled on more favourable conditions. Also, you will be notified if there is a sudden spike in the exchange rate that is preventing the execution of the order on the agreed conditions. After you confirm the trade, your order is matched to other orders on the exchange. Also, your balance is adjusted. Sometimes the amount can be even greater than agreed on, but is never smaller.
CEX.io Fees and Charges
The amount of fees and “hidden charges” CEX.io takes is one of the biggest complaints users have about this platform. The fee model on CEX.IO is one of the priciest in the market with a 7% fee for the service which is charged from the amount of fiat currency you pay. So if you purchase $1000 worth of Bitcoins, you’ll get only $930 worth, which means that the high exchange rate you see on CEX.io already includes the service fee within it, and no other fees will apply.
However, this fee is only relevant if you want to do a direct buy with CEX.io. It’s important to note that the exchange also supplies trading services in which different fees will apply. In order to trade you’ll need to fund your CEX.io account with either a credit card (3.5% + $0.25 commission) or a bank account (no commission on CEX.io’s part). Also, once entering a trade you will need to pay up to a 0.2% transaction fee (0.2% open fee, 0.01% rollover fee and 0% close fee for all currencies.)
CEX.io Buying Limits
When it comes to trading, CEX.IO offers four different account levels based on verification provided – Basic, Verified, Verified Plus and Corporate.
- Basic – Basic accounts can purchase up to $500 worth of Bitcoins per day and up to $2000 worth of Bitcoins per month. Note that these accounts are not able to buy via bank transfer.
- Verified – Verifiedaccounts can purchase up to $10,000 worth of Bitcoins per day and up to $100,000 worth of Bitcoins per month via both credit card and bank transfer.
- Verified plus and Corporate accounts – These accounts have no limitations on the amount of Bitcoins that can be purchased.
You’ll need to supply personal information about yourself and a government issued ID in order to become verified.
Verification process on CEX.IO is very simple. The exchange offers a detailed Verification guide in order to get the users familiar with the process.
Another thing worth noting is that there’s always someone from the support to answer the questions posted below the guide. This is a great alternative to opening tickets.
Requirements for Identity verification are following the industry standards, and here is what is needed:
- Personal information (name, place of birth, date of birth, gender, a phone number and address)
- Proof of residency (a bank statement or utility bill with the user’s name and address)
- Government-issued document (ID card, driver’s license, passport)
- Selfie with an ID document (ID card, driver’s license or passport)
The verification process doesn’t take long. It can take up to 24 hours.
CEX.io supports all countries worldwide, unless noted below.
The following countries are restricted for credit card buys: Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Palestine, Qatar, Oman, Pakistan, Libya, Nigeria, Kuwait, Lebanon, Bahrain, Iraq, Afghanistan, Algeria, Iceland, and Vietnam.
The following countries are restricted from purchasing with bank transfer: Yemen, Zimbabwe, Turkey, Vietnam, Tanzania, Tunisia, Sudan, Syria, São Tomé and Príncipe, Somalia, Liberia, Libya, Guinea, Iraq, Kenya, Haiti, Iran, Ethiopia, Guinea-Bissau, Côte d’Ivoire, Eritrea, Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The exchange supports the following digital currencies:
- Bitcoin (BTC)
- Litecoin (LTC)
- Ethereum (ETH)
- Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
Supported fiat currencies include:
- Great Britain Pound (GBP)
- Russian Ruble (RUB)
- Euro (EUR)
- United States Dollar (USD)
CEX.io really struggles with the online reviews, and this is definitely one of the most controversial problems about CEX.io. Reddit had a very short and worried review about the exchange, and TrustPilot gave it an average rating of 3.9 out of 10 stars. However most people don’t actually read the detailed reviews and they just look at the ratings. That’s why I decided to do just that.
It seems that the majority of dissatisfied user reviews are either complaining about the identity verification process, the hidden fees (i.e. high exchange rate) or the site’s customer support. The first two problems are usually related to people not understanding the fine print. In the past few months CEX.io has made it much clearer how much will you pay for your coins. As you can see it below:
This company can be proud of their support team, because they answer quickly, with detailed information. Also, they can be found everywhere – on the platform and outside it.
Most of the bad reviews that were on TrustPilot also received a response from CEX.io. This shows that the company cares about the clients and, of course, its reputation.
And finally, the short Reddit review I read didn’t shed any new light on the exchange, and most people on Reddit said they didn’t have any problems with it, and the original poster just didn’t understand the identity verification process.
A small downside comes in a form of the canned responses. However, even when this is the case, the response is detailed and provides all the information required by the user.
They have taken care of security, and two-factor authentication and a security question are used for account protection. The exchange offers email and SMS alerts, and PGP encryption isn’t used in email communication. One more thing worth noting is that the majority of coins are stored in the cold wallet.
The latest hacking incident happened in 2013 when the exchange was young. This incident ended with a loss of $7,000 for one of the users. The vulnerability was patched immediately patched. Since then there were no problems regarding the security of the exchange.
Conclusion – Is CEX.io a Good Choice to Buy Bitcoin & Ether?
I have used CEX.io couple of times and I haven’t experienced any problem. I think CEX.IO is a decent exchange to buy/sell Bitcoin and Ethereum. The exchange supports multiple currencies and locations, which is an advantage for users from countries where it’s not so easy to buy Bitcoin.
The only downside is the 7% fee they charge for purchasing Bitcoins. I would love to see them lowering down their fee in the coming days. In my opinion, this would definitely get more people excited about their service.
The exchange has leap frogged froward in the past year or so, and has become one of the leading Bitcoin brokers around. The interface is sleek, new, and user-friendly, and even complete beginners will manage to purchase Bitcoins with it. You are good to go as long as you are aware of the fees and the verification process needed to purchase more substantial amounts of Bitcoin.