The blockchain and cryptocurrency space is constantly evolving. Businesses and institutions are always developing new ideas and coming up with innovating solutions to speed up the adoption of decentralized and autonomous technologies across the globe. The rise of cryptocurrencies as the medium to exchange value between participants in a secure, transparent and trustless way opened up limitless opportunities to the world. It's letting individuals reclaim their financial ownership, gain a self-sovereign identity and transact globally. This means that end users are faced with an unprecedented level of commitment and responsibility with their assets as they no longer need to rely on third parties or intermediaries. All you need is a wallet, your keys and the rest is up to you.
Wallet management has become one of the most important topics a user needs to master when it comes to cryptocurrencies. Portfolios to keep track of the assets value are also equally useful. But the biggest tool to make the most out of your investment and capital is an exchange. Lets do a quick review of the options we have to exchange cryptocurrencies.
This is by far, the most popular option we have available today. The term centralized refers to the way the exchange operates. The exchange is owned, built and managed by a single entity. They can also offer derivatives which allows you to leverage your funds and trade with higher risk for higher profit.
Peer to Peer exchanges
Users create a public buying or selling listing to negotiate directly among each other. They get to coordinate how they want to exchange their coins and fiat, usually using an escrow service, bank transfers, gift cards or online payment options.
Protocols and smart contracts transfer funds between user's wallets directly with no intermediary. Connect your wallet to the exchange and you're ready to go.
Allows you to connect to multiple markets across different exchanges to offer you their liquidity instantly.
Now that we know the basics of each type, let's do a quick comparison.
Why are Instant Exchanges the best solution
You can divide the 4 categories into custodial and non-custodial exchanges. Only the centralized exchanges hold your assets for you. The rest allow you to keep full control and what varies is how the negotiation is performed. Centralized exchanges have been victims of numerous hackings where millions of dollars have been siphoned from their users. This has been the main disadvantage against centralized exchanges and why many solutions make efforts to eradicate this problem.
If you aren't interested in profiting from market fluctuations as often as a trader is, then keeping your assets in an exchange isn't really the best idea. After all, you are trusting them with your holdings and the whole point of decentralized technology is to reduce the need of trust among parties involved specially when it comes to your money.
Peer to peer exchanges are useful for the unbanked population as well as for local deals. It might be the best and only way a user can cash out crypto for fiat money to pay bills for example. The main disadvantage with peer to peer exchanges is that prices tend to have a premium added there isn't enough liquidity and you often find yourself “hunting” for a good deal which takes some time to settle.
Decentralized exchanges are the ideal solution for crypto to crypto trades as they require nothing but your wallet and the interface to execute transactions. Fake volumes aren't possible because only real trades are executed. However, they often don't provide enough liquidity as not a lot of users exchange in them. Some platforms are addressing this issue by encouraging liquidity providers to join their pools and create more liquid decentralized markets. This is going to be the best for the long run but we are still far from matching centralized exchanges.
Currently, the most convenient and easy to use option we have available are instant exchanges. Think of them as a hybrid of centralized and decentralized exchanges. They remove the disadvantages of both types. They aren't vulnerable to hacking attempts, aren't subject to jurisdictions so they can work worldwide and don't monitor or control your financial and personal information. They provide the high liquidity of centralized exchanges and in turn a more stable price and provide the security and privacy of using your own wallets to execute transactions. These platforms can potentially improve the average user experience by removing the need to use complicated platforms to place orders, creating accounts in multiple sites, dealing with costly deposit and withdrawal fees and restrictions.
ChangeNOW: The Instant Exchange Winner
Now I'm going to dive into the specifics of why ChangeNOW is your best option when it comes to instant exchanges. ChangeNOW focuses in your privacy as their top priority. The main advantage over other instant exchanges is that you're not required to create an account to be able to use their services. You not only retain control of your crypto assets, but also of your identity and personal information. The exchange also operates faster than others completing transactions in 2 minutes on average. They have partnered with some of the most liquid exchanges like Binance, Huobi, Bitfinex and OKEx. They have over 200+ coins available and even offer simple chart analysis, live price and market statistics. They have partnered with Simplex to provide you the ability to use up to 18 fiat currencies to buy cryptocurrencies making it accessible to a wide variety of regions.
So now let's do a comparison with the main instant exchanges out there and see how ChangeNOW stands from the rest.
* Networks fees are included in all of them. These are added on top of network fees
* According to Trustpilot
As you can see, there's different attributes that each one of them might use to differentiate from each other. We can see that from the top instant exchanges out there, ChangeNOW is the only one that offers services to anyone without needing to register an account. I am able to use the service in an easy and convenient way instead of registering an account, confirming an email and identity before I can proceed with my transactions. ChangeNow removes this step altogether.
When it comes to fees only Simpleswap and Shapeshift offer no additional fees besides network fees that are included in every transaction and these fees might vary depending on the blockchain regardless what exchange is being used. You need to verify your account in Shapeshift in order to get the benefits of 0% fees so again, ChangeNow is the only one providing full privacy and 0% fees.
When it comes to rates, they all offer fixed and floating rates. Fixed rates will guarantee you to get the amount being displayed at the moment of executing the transaction. A floating rate (classic rate) will vary according to network fees and market conditions while the transaction is being processed on the blockchain so you might get a little bit more or less than what was initially displayed. I noticed that Shapeshift claims to have the best rate across exchanges even comparing their rates to ChangeNow. How accurate this be might differ considering I didn't create an account to proceed with a transaction with Shapeshift but at the time of comparing there was a difference of 0.03 ETH for 0.1 worth of Bitcoin. Simpleswap came to be the lowest rate across the 5 exchanges.
I was impressed by the fast chat support available 24/7 in the ChangeNow website. I was able to resolve my issues in no time. Only Coinswitch offered a similar service. Changelly, Shapeshift and Simpleswap don't offer immediate chat support but they do offer 24/7 customer support via email or help desk. I prefer a fast response because this can guarantee my decision of using the exchange so I think this is definitely a cool feature that makes ChangeNow stand from the rest.
I think that accessibility is crucial for mass adoption and ChangeNow's website is available in 28 languages. No other exchange provides this variety of languages to improve the local user's experience as not everyone is comfortable transacting online in English so this is very considerate from ChangeNow. Having a mobile app for both iOS and Android also expand the possibility of reaching wider audiences and increases usability by allowing you to transact on the go.
Beyond the exchange
ChangeNow offers a wide variety of services aside from the exchange.
If you are a business interested in adding cryptocurrencies as a payment method you can do it with NowPayments. A simple widget that natively integrates in your website for seamless cryptocurrency transactions. Coin conversions are done automatically by this service protecting you from any volatility and guaranteeing you the agreed fiat value. You can further increase price protection accepting stable coins. You also receive payments directly to your wallet so businesses can also enjoy the service in a non-custodial way.
ChangeNow counts with their own lightning network node to provide instant payments at an extremely low cost allowing easy micropayments. The beauty of a lighting network is that it allows you to perform cross-chain atomic swaps in seconds as long as both blockchains are compatible with this feature. So interoperability is greatly improved as well as scalability as lighting network nodes are capable of a huge amount of transactions per second.
If you are a startup, developer or blockchain enthusiast, you can access the full node infrastructure NOWnodes provide to you for the 45 blockchains they currently support.
ChangeNOW allows anyone to share an affiliate link to be able to receive a percentage in Bitcoin of all trades done using your link at no additional cost to the referred user so it's a win-win situation!
The native ChangeNOW token existing as both ERC20 and BEP2 token. It's main functions grants holders of the token special rates for all exchanges, better affiliate conditions to provide higher revenue and lower payout amounts. Projects or users can also buy NOW tokens to list a token on the exchange.
ChangeNOW offers you with a complete solution to seamlessly exchange crypto assets in a secure and private way, hassle-free. This is one of the most user-friendly exchanges I've come across recently and will definitely be using it for future transactions. As the saying goes “not your keys, not your coins”. I don't have to worry about this with ChangeNOW.