Hey all! ok so now for some dirt...
most of my reticence in posting and blogging about crypto has been around the following information because there is indeed much to be excited about in this space but getting any real help or truly independent info has been... challenging. I started this particular edition of our blog in November 2017 and since then the market, as you will all know exploded! really too high.
Most of the bloggers were getting paid at that time to write their data to support the platforms. And in the beginning, they needed it. Then they became so inundated with users and unable to scale to the massive explosions that there were a number of issues. Primarily it is in service they failed, but now many are finally getting up to speed with responses now sometimes in days instead of weeks. One of our team comes from a restaurant background so to use her analogy; it's like opening your doors to the customer and they all expect to rush in and get that empty seat that they can just see... over there! But then, if the staff foolishly succumb to the pressure and let them all in, all they could do, being understaffed, is scramble to take the orders, because now, as they are seated "paying customers" they demand service! And you can be sure they wont pay if you don't serve them well. Ok so now the floor staff have totally overwhelmed the kitchen with dockets they cannot possibly manage to cook. so they start freaking out, burning food after they proudly and successfully served the first few orders... maybe they actually had enough staff for the first few dockets ...but now its like "fantasia" with never-ending orders so they start letting the food go out half cooked (or, in the case of an exchange - customers and coins not fully vetted or secure) so you end up with a room full of angry/hungry dissatisfied customers and no way to fix anything before they leave - and in the case of some of the crypto exchanges it was security breeches with the loss of some wild amounts of money.
If these platforms simply "held people at the door" and let customers in as they were truly able to service them... ie so they had time to train and put on more staff to match the inflow, things would not have been such a mess! Inexperienced business operations.
Clearly the issue was over having quality developers and highly skilled security to match the amount of opportunists out there trying to break in.
But this is getting ahead of everything. Lets look at a few:
Take Poloniex for example, they WERE one of the largest, original trading platforms based in the USA that don't accept any normal money - or what is referred to as 'fiat currency'.
To get your coin into that platform you had to go in from your bank, then into a local platform that your bank approves and has a relationship with and then you have both the bank and platform verify you are a real person ( called KYC or Know Your Customer) and not some crook trying to clean their crime funds "launder it".
Most of the platforms required a number of different things to meet their own regulations and in researching the differences, we found them all very strict. You pay a service or transaction fee for all this verification and cannot move more than a little bit of money in or, especially, out until they figure you out and clear you. Even then, they have a tiering system of verification on some exchanges like Kraken to permit larger and larger amounts of funds in and out. Some even hold live skype call to see you are real. Once you are in a platform you will find that each one is like a mini market with the price to buy a coin varying a lot from the global average so it is very much a 'shop around' kind of thing. If you want a simple way in you can use one of the credit card paying systems that your bank has that does the verification and vouches for your money but these days even that is becomeing abused and not accepted with credit card fraud. For instance, if you are in Australia and Hong Kong, Coinspot operates a way in where you can only deposit up to $1000 in a 24 hr period and they must call you on the phone and verify your info over the phone. Then they let you put more in after a week but they are so expensive because their market to buy and sell is so small. We had no problems so no reason to contact them but their response time seemed about 1-2 days. There are more local platforms like btcmarkets for Australia with a clear system to use with good, clear accounting unlike many that are simply impossible to track anything like some of the european and asian exchanges. There are really so many to choose from it really depends what country you live in. China banned crypto and the big exchange Binance moved to Honk Kong and then eventually to Malta. Once into a market and you buy a coin, you can send it to other platforms that have more types of coins to buy and sell which is where the penny stocks or ICO's can be very exciting that are changing our world. That is the main reason there are so many exchanges as they all take different mixes of coins. Many of course are fake and disappeared as fast as they were created as people were not actually investigating them and just betting like many do on jockey colours and horse names at the races. Truly lotto! Why the regulators wanted to stop this when people will always take a punt I don't know as it was clearly marked as high risk!
You still have to complete the verification process on almost every site (except totally decentralised exchanges that no one runs like etherdelta to deposit your new coin but that is not the actual issue. The big thing is getting it out again! Poloniex took over 2.5 months to verify a researcher from our team and a total of 4.5 months to respond to lost coin queries! Until verified you could not take more than USD$2000 out at a time. Then there was the issue of them losing a coin something like 70,000 coins of an alternative coin worth only pennies but during the 4 months, it was still 'lost', they did not respond and when they did it was to ask for silly things, then another month would go by before a another response. Either way, you could sit there and watch a coin go crazy in 24 hours and cant touch it losing literally thousands of dollars worth of coin as the platform crashed in overload - so don't get too excited (or frustrated) and breath!! We decided to look at it as enforced savings and character building and hope that the platform got itself together. Don't think for a moment anyone will honour any money lost... this is crypto, not a bank. It IS is the wild west!! If you are scared don't go there! In many countries there is still tax to pay if you make money!
Now there are other exchanges, much bigger and safer. Binance is possibly the largest and at this point, in April 2018, it has just been announced to be relocated to Malta as it had problems with governments in China, HongKong etc. It is listed as embedding a staff of 200 on the ground in Malta (for a remote based exchange that is a lot of service staff!) and is regarded as one of the safest for security. It is also huge and selling something is very quick.
Other markets you cannot sign up to unless you are of that nationality because they are regulated and connected to a country which non-residents may not enter like Korea.
There are ones not connected to any bank and therefore do not carry euro, dollars yen etc and are very easy ones to get into. There are lots of sites to read about. The other big platform in the states is Coinbase that also had a predecessor that simply folded and took all the coin with it still under investigation called Mt Gox. America is becoming more and more regulated under Trump so unless you are American we recommend you steer clear of most of the sites. The one that our peers give the best wrap to is Bittrex even though it too had $70million stolen it seems to be going strong, Bitfinex is complex someone broke in and stole 119,756 bitcoin... (that is a lot of money!) the following site link gives you a good idea of some of the exchanges but it is an overwhelming amount of information.
there are lots of reviews in the exchanges and it is exciting but we recommend only putting small amounts on any one exchange and mainly taking it offline into a thing called Cold storage via a Trezor or Nano Ledger S which will store your coin keys not on the internet so its called a cold wallet. Cold storage means no one can hack it but you must keep the object safe and your recovery actions or YOU could lose it! Ps it is important to buy from official stores as there are eBay fakes compete with certificates that are set to steal your computer info so pay the extra and get the genuine thing.