Last Updated On November 14th, 2018

CEX.io is one of the longest-running cryptocurrency exchanges live in the present market and has developed a strong reputation over its relatively lengthy tenure in the crypto sector. The exchange is highly popular with newer investors due to its intuitive and easy to grasp interface, but also offers a range of more advanced services for professional traders.

While this exchange platform is an established player in the exchange scene, recent policy shifts have caused some confusion as to whether it’s still a legitimate and trustworthy exchange to trade on. In this review, we’ll answer some of the most frequently asked questions regarding the exchange, such as:

  • What is CEX.io?
  • Is it safe?
  • How does it work?

In this CEX.io review, we’ll take a look at the fees, examine its verification process, and take a closer look at the features of the exchange platform that offers to help you get started trading. We’ll also deliver a step-by-step guide on how to get started with it and also how to make your first trade.

CEX.io Overview

Originally launched in 2013 as a cloud mining platform that operated the Ghash.io pool. Based in London, it was one of the largest Bitcoin mining pools in existence during operation, at one point controlling over 42% of the total Bitcoin network mining power.

While CEX.io Bitcoin mining was extremely profitable at the time, the platform ceased mining operations in 2015, citing low Bitcoin prices and mining profitability as the reason for the halt. The platform then shifted directly into full-time exchange operation and rapidly became one of the most popular exchanges in the market.

It currently offers services in 99% of all countries and operates in 25 states of the US. More importantly, CEX.io is registered with FinCEN USA as a Money Services Business, which provides it with certification that demonstrates a high level of due diligence for the storage, transmission, and processing of payment information.

This high level of regulatory compliance means that it is not at all anonymous — users are required to submit to ID verification in order to comply with Know Your Customer and Anti-Money Laundering regulations.

In addition to US FinCEN compliance, CEX.io also boasts UK regulatory compliance, which makes it a popular solution for individuals interested in trading on a platform that possesses strong relationships with traditional banks and financial institutions.

It is used by more than one million traders on a daily basis and offers dedicated smartphone apps that are ideal for traders interested in a streamlined, easy to use trading experience. Additionally, it also offers charting features via TradingView integration, margin trading, a maker/taker fee schedule, and credit card or debit card payments.

The most popular trading pair on the exchange platform is the Bitcoin/USD trading pair, followed by XRP/USD, XLM/USD, ETH/USD, and BTC/EUR. While the lineup of the top five trading pairs on CEX.io occasionally shifts in position, they have remained relatively stable over the long term.

trading pairs

While this exchange platform has largely been regarded as a stable, reliable exchange over the last two years, its reputation has suffered lately due to a recent influx of users and poor customer support. Trader sentiment has turned against the platform, as inconsistency regarding KYC and verification requirements has led to many users being unable to access deposited funds.

As a result, its trading volume has dropped dramatically over the last three months:

Cryptocoincharts
CEX.io volume courtesy of CryptoCoinCharts

This significant decrease in trader confidence is directly linked to the platform’s poor support services and lack of clarity regarding verification requirements. Should it resolve this ongoing issue and adequately communicate verification requirements, however, the CEX.io platform would likely once again capture the confidence of the cryptocurrency community.

Sign up & Identification

As it possesses FinCEN certification, it is able to offer traders a wide range of payment options that include debit card or credit card payments and bank transfers. While this does facilitate fast, simple fiat currency payments for cryptocurrencies, it does mean that users will need to conform to a strict verification process that involved providing the platform with identity documents and other information.

The verification process is somewhat complex, but the platform does provide a comprehensive identity verification guide that guides new users through the process. Users will need to provide a valid government-issued ID alongside address information — documents that can be used to validate an identity on the platform include passports, national ID cards, and driving licenses.

An active phone number is required to register. Users will be required to submit a “selfie” photo alongside their identity documents to prove that it’s them submitting the information. Lastly, proof of residence is required, which can be provided in the form of utility bills, bank statements, or tax return statements.

The CEX.io identity verification process

While it’s possible to simply create an account with the platform without verifying your identity, accounts that are not verified are limited in function. The platform offers four different verification levels that are mandatory in order to both buy cryptocurrency and withdraw currency, but all of them require ID verification.

CEX.io offers what is arguably the most complex and convoluted ID verification processes out of any online exchanges, but balances this complexity out with a relatively fast turnaround on verification. Its verification time generally lasts just 24 hours.

Furthermore, they have also recently announced email and phone number verification for each account that will enforce the platform’s one account per user policy. Overall, it may be extremely compliant, but the great lengths they require users to go to in order to verify themselves can be frustrating, guiding traders to other exchanges (such as Binance) that offer less stringent and complex verification procedures.

To get started, click here for the official site.

Deposit & Withdrawal Methods

One of the primary concerns the cryptocurrency community currently has with the platform is the lack of transparency regarding verification, deposits, and withdrawals. This lack of clarity is highlighted when attempting to understand the deposit and withdrawal methods available to CEX.io users— information is available on both deposits and withdrawals via its website, but it isn’t easy to find, nor has it been presented in a simple manner.

Deposits

Offering a range of different deposit methods, it’s possible to simply fund your cryptocurrency wallets and buy directly with coins. However, the biggest draw of the platform is the option to fund an account to buy with Visa or Mastercard credit or debit cards.

Bank transfer deposits are also available, including both SEPA and SWIFT transfers. Interestingly, there is a long list of countries that are not able to fund CEX.io accounts at all, which includes countries such as:

  • Iraq
  • Iran
  • Cambodia
  • Vietnam
  • and many African nations.

Deposit processing time is up to a massive 14 working days, which is extremely slow when compared to other exchanges that are online today.

It also supports CryptoCapital transfers, which is a platform designed to bridge the gap between institutional investors and the cryptocurrency market.

Withdrawals

CEX.io is one of the only cryptocurrency platforms that allow for the withdrawal of fiat capital directly onto a Visa or Mastercard debit or credit card. Withdrawals can also be made via SEPA and SWIFT bank transfers.

However, it’s important to note that the platform has extremely strict withdrawal requirements — it’s essential to ensure that you’ve fully completed all verification requirements before attempting to deposit or withdraw from this platform, as many users are experiencing difficulty in withdrawing capital.

Supported Currencies

CEX.io supports USD, EUR, RUB, and GBP, as well as a limited spread of cryptocurrencies:

  • Bitcoin (BTC)
  • Ripple (XRP)
  • Bitcoin Gold(BTG)
  • Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
  • Zcash (ZEC)
  • Dash (DASH)
  • Ethereum (ETH)

CEX.io Fees

It offers a maker/taker fee schedule that is similar in function to most exchanges live online at this point in time. Traders that add liquidity to the order book are provided with lower trading fees than traders that remove liquidity from the order book.

The trading fees applied to a user are calculated on a 30 day period, and begin with 0.25% for takers and 0.16% for makers. A full breakdown of the platform trading fee schedule can be found here.

trading fees

Deposit and withdrawal fees on CEX.io are not particularly competitive when compared to the rest of the market. We’ll proceed to break down the deposit and withdrawal fees for each currency — cryptocurrency deposits and withdrawals are free.

USD Deposits:

  • Visa: 3.5% + $ 0.25
  • Mastercard: 3.5% + $ 0.25
  • Bank Transfer: Free
  • CryptoCapital: Free

USD Withdrawals:

  • Visa: $3.80
  • Mastercard: 1.2% + $ 3.80
  • Bank Transfer: Not available
  • CryptoCapital: 3%

EUR Deposits:

  • Visa: 3.5% + € 0.24
  • Mastercard: 3.5% + € 0.24
  • Bank Transfer: Free
  • CryptoCapital: Free
  • SEPA: Free

EUR Withdrawals:

  • Visa: €3.50
  • Mastercard: 1.2% + € 3.50
  • Bank Transfer: €25.00
  • CryptoCapital: 3%
  • SEPA: € 10.00

RUB Deposits:

  • Visa: 5% + ₽ 15.57
  • Mastercard: 5% + ₽ 15.57

RUB Withdrawals:

  • Visa: 2.5% + ₽ 30.00
  • Mastercard: 2.5% + ₽ 30.00

GBP Deposits:

  • Mastercard: Not available
  • Bank Transfer: Free
  • CryptoCapital: Free

GBP Withdrawals:

  • Mastercard: 1.2% + £ 2.90
  • Bank Transfer: Not available
  • CryptoCapital: 3%

As it also offers margin trading, a complete list of margin trading fees can be found here. Overall, its deposits and withdrawals are both extremely limited in scope and burdened by high, complex fees.

CEX.io Limits

CEX.io limits account withdrawals and deposits depending on four different verification levels:

  • Basic
  • Verified
  • Verified Plus
  • Corporate

CEX.io limits are, similar to its fee structure, needlessly complex. The complicated nature of CEX.io’s limit structure is largely due to the high level of compliance that it conforms to, which complicates the limit structure depending on the currency and method used. We’ll proceed to break down CEX.io’s limits based on the fiat currencies that can be used to fund or withdraw from accounts.

USD:

  • Basic accounts are able to deposit up to $1,000 daily, with a maximum of $3,000 monthly. Withdrawals are limited to the same amount.
  • Verified, Verified Plus, and Corporate Accounts access unlimited deposits and withdrawals

EUR:

  • Basic accounts are able to deposit up to 1,000 EUR daily, with a maximum of 3,000 EUR monthly. Withdrawals are limited to the same amount.
  • Verified, Verified Plus, and Corporate Accounts access unlimited deposits and withdrawals

RUB

  • Basic accounts are able to deposit up to 60,000 RUB daily, with a maximum of 180,000 RUB monthly. Withdrawals are limited to the same amount.
  • Verified accounts are able to deposit up to 600,000 RUB daily, with a maximum of 6,000,000 RUB monthly. Withdrawals are limited to the same amount.
  • Verified Plus and Corporate Accounts access unlimited deposits and withdrawals

GBP:

  • Basic accounts are able to deposit up to 800 GBP daily, with a maximum of 2,000 GBP monthly. Withdrawals are limited to the same amount.
  • Verified, Verified Plus, and Corporate Accounts access unlimited deposits and withdrawals

CEX.io Security

The platform boasts relatively strong security and has not experienced any security breaches to date. It does not, however, provide any information on how user capital is stored, how wallets are managed, or any other details that are important to users considering using this platform.

Its security center provides information only on compliance and anti-fraud mechanisms but does not deliver in-depth information about the security architecture of the platform.

Security center
CEX.io security information

The only information provided to users is a breakdown of the certificates possessed by the platform. While FinCEN registration assumes a high level of security, it would be nice to see CEX.io commit to a more transparent approach to presenting users with information about the way in which user capital is stored and secured.

security certifications

Is CEX.io legit?

When it comes to compliance, it is one of the best platforms online — but its extreme focus on regulation makes using the platform more frustrating for the average trader. There has never been any mention of a CEX.io scam or hack actually penetrating the platform, and the close manner in which the exchange works with incumbent financial institutions means that it’s likely a highly secure place to trade.

CEX.io Features

It offers traders a streamlined trading experience that is intuitive and easy to use. Beginner traders will appreciate the simple functionality of the basic trading view, while more advanced traders are able to capitalize on complex charting options offered by TradingView integration.

It also offers a dedicated mobile app for both Android and iOS devices, which makes it possible to analyze market data, monitor price changes, place and cancel a range of different orders, and deposit cryptocurrency.

mobile app

More advanced users are also provided with a CEX.io API, which can be integrated with a range of different automated trading solutions which is limited to 600 requests per 10 minutes.

APIOverall, it delivers all of the features you’d expect from an average cryptocurrency exchange — although its smartphone app is particularly well-made and is backed up by a large amount of positive user feedback.

Customer Support

The customer support offered by the platform is surprisingly lackluster compared to other exchange platforms, especially given the fact that the exchange is focused on attracting institutional investors. Aside from a help center with FAQ’s and a support forum, it only offers a slow ticketing system that is not particularly efficient in resolving support requests.

Ease of Use

The design of the CEX.io user interface is streamlined and easy to decipher, with a minimal wallet view that makes viewing account balances simple.

wallets

The trade view offered is similarly simple, offering a top menu that allows users to quickly jump between trading pairs

trade view

Newer traders won’t find its interface too complex, while more advanced traders are able to access a broad spectrum of order types.

Ultimately, it is designed with investors that are focused on regulatory compliance in mind, and as such offers a wide range of advanced tools. If you’re looking for a highly compliant platform that allows users to buy cryptocurrencies with a credit or debit card after extensive verification, CEX.io is a good choice.

Getting Started

In this section, we’ll present a step-by-step explanation of how to open an account on the platform. To make sure you’re on the official site,  click here for the correct link.

1. Account Registration

To get started with CEX.io, you’ll need to first hit the “Register” button at the top right of the landing page.

register1

You’ll then be able to either provide an email address or, conveniently, use Facebook or Google to establish a profile.

register2After verifying your email address, you’ll then need to create a password, agree to the terms and conditions, and provide an active phone number. At this point, you’ll be prompted to set up two-factor authentication, which is a highly recommended security step:

register3
At this point your account is active and you’re ready to proceed to verification.

2. Profile Details

To verify your account, you’ll need to navigate to the ”Verification” section by clicking the relevant link in the drop-down menu beneath your profile picture at the top right of the homepage.

You’ll need to follow the verification prompts, providing all of the information on your identity documents accurately. After entering ID type and information, you’ll need to provide personal information, address information, and upload both a “selfie” image and photos of your documents.

verification1

3. Fund Your Account

Funding your account on CEX.io is extremely straightforward. Clicking the “Deposit” link along the top menu will bring you to a deposit page that allows you to fund your account via credit card or debit card, bank transfer and CryptoCapital.

cards1

Trading on CEX.io

Once you’ve funded your account, you’re ready to buy or sell! To trade on CEX.io, you’ll need to navigate to the trade view by clicking the “Trade” link at the top left of the menu. You’ll be provided with the following interface, which provides extensive detail on the order book for the selected trading pair, market depth, and more:

Tradescreen

Place a Buy Order

In this example, we’ll take a look at the Ethereum/Bitcoin pair. Simply click the relevant pair from the trading pair links along the top of the trading view and scroll down to the order box. Here you’re able to select either limit or market orders. Simply select the amount of Ethereum you’d like to buy or sell if placing a market order and click the “place order” button. Your order will appear in the orders view below and will remain until filled.

order

Final Thoughts

In this CEX.io review, we have seen that ultimately, there’s a reason its user base has shrunk in recent months — a lack of commitment to everyday traders and active preference for institutional investors means that CEX.io has focused on bridging the gap between fiat and crypto at the cost of alienating the cryptocurrency community.

If you’re seeking a highly compliant exchange that will allow you to invest in cryptocurrency in a region in which crypto is tightly regulated, CEX.io is a good choice. If you have decided it is for you then click here to make sure you go to their official website.

Additional Resources