Let’s dive in with a few questions beginners often have:
- Is crypto risky? There are two important things to consider here:
- The price of all cryptocurrencies – including Bitcoin and Ethereum – can fluctuate quickly and dramatically. This means the value of your crypto will also fluctuate a lot over time. Most coins see their value drop by up to 90% during bear markets. Many rebound impressively and some don’t.
- Exchanges do get hacked and there are lots of stories of people losing their crypto, but the exchanges we mention in this video are known to be robust, from a security perspective. For ultimate peace of mind, you can consider storing your crypto offline, in a hardware wallet.
- How long does it take to buy crypto? Transfers can be very fast – minutes or even less. However, the sign up process can take some time, up to a few days. This is mainly due to security checks that are required to verify your identity. Setting up your account and wallet can be done in minutes – it’s not difficult or time consuming.
- Should I buy more than one crypto? It’s commonly accepted that owning some Bitcoin and Ethereum is a good idea. They are the most ‘stable’ – their price fluctuates the least of all cryptos – and they are also the least likely to disappear altogether – yes, many cryptos disappear and your investment could disappear with them. Beyond these two major cryptos, most investors own several other younger and more volatile cryptos. The advantage is that younger cryptos have the potential to increase more in value, compared to more established options.
If you’re new to the world of crypto, buying it for the first time may seem daunting. Fortunately, it’s not. You can easily purchase ICX at many of the world’s top cryptocurrency exchanges, not to mention ICON’s own DeFi platforms, including Balanced – link below.
Here we will look at some of the major centralized cryptocurrency exchanges recommended by ICON. It’s not an exhaustive list, but these are popular, reputable options that are good places to begin. Some let you buy crypto with fiat currencies like the USD or EUR, while others let you exchange it for other coins, like the USDT stablecoin, Bitcoin or Ethereum. If your first choice exchange doesn’t work, for example due to regulations where you live, check out some others on the list.
The reviewed exchanges include:
- Binance: The world’s most popular cryptocurrency exchange.
- Binance.us: Binance’s U.S. subsidiary, tailored to U.S. regulatory requirements.
- Kraken: A popular U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchange with ICX markets.
- Kucoin: Feature-rich exchange where you can buy ICX for USDT and ETH.
- Bithumb and Upbit: Popular Korean cryptocurrency exchanges that let you buy ICX with Korean currency.
Binance is the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by far, with over USD 12.6 trillion in 24-hour trading volume as of the time of writing. Formerly based in China, it has since domiciled in the Cayman Islands. While users in most of the planet will find Binance fast and easy to use, there are a few important exceptions, which we’ll discuss a bit later.
Binance offers ICX pairs for BTC, USDT, BUSD and ETH. What this means is you’re going to need some BTC, USDT, BUSD or ETH first, assuming you don’t have any already. Luckily, Binance makes this pretty easy, with options to buy crypto through bank transfer or with credit cards, along with P2P trading and third-party options. If you’re a new user, the credit card option is the easiest.
Fees are pretty low, with no deposit fees.
Binance requires KYC verification to sign up. Documents for KYC differ from country to country, and Binance will provide you with a list of document options based on where you are based. Typically, though, these are government-issued IDs or ID numbers. Binance also uses facial recognition to verify the identity of its users, for regulatory reasons.
Now, as we noted earlier, while many users will find Binance a breeze, there are exceptions as certain countries ban it for regulatory reasons. The big one here is the United States. Fortunately for American users, Binance has opened a regulatory compliant U.S. subsidiary – details on that coming right up.
Binance.us is Binance’s US-compliant subsidiary. Binance US features Binance’s intuitive trading UI and most of the options of the global exchange.
Binance.us has an ICX/USD trading pair, which means you need to buy it using fiat – in this case the US dollar. Unlike the global site, Binance.us does not allow you to buy crypto using a credit card. To add USD to your Binance.us wallet, the easiest way is to use ACH (Automated Clearing House) transfers. Other methods include:
- A debit card transfer
- Domestic wire transfers
- And Apple Pay
There are no fees for ACH or domestic wire transfers of USD. Debit card and Apple Pay deposits come with a 3.75% fee.
Kraken is a U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchange listed at No. 4 on CoinMarkCap’s list of cryptocurrency exchanges. Like Binance and most major exchanges, it’s a pretty intuitive site that lets users buy and trade crypto with ease. The UI is a bit more minimalist than Binance, which might be a plus for new users who find all the graphs and numbers at Binance intimidating.
Kraken offers ICX pairs for USD, EUR, BTC and ETH. Payment options for purchase differ from country to country – see the list linked in the description for the option that works in your location. As with Binance, US users cannot use credit cards to buy crypto on Kraken. Bank account purchases, as well as Apple Pay and Google Pay are possible.
Cash deposits are mostly free, though it depends on the funding provider. If you’re buying USD by debit or credit card, fees are 3.75% + 0.25 cents per purchase.
Signing up for Kraken is simple, but be aware that it has several levels of “verification.” The Start level requires just an email, full name, DOB, phone number and physical address, but you’re limited to withdrawing up to USD 5,000 a day (though you can deposit as much as you like). For the Intermediate Level and higher, you’ll need to go through a more rigorous KYC process, but the withdrawal limits are much higher. If you’re just getting started, the lowest level should suffice.
Kucoin is a popular, feature-rich exchange which offers ICX pairs for USDT and ETH. Kucoin’s user interface is quite like Binance’s, so if you like to have all your numbers and graphs up front, you’ll like Kucoin’s approach.
Kucoin is not licensed in the United States, which means 1) no KYC option for U.S. users, limiting how much you can withdraw, and 2) if you’re American, you run the risk of Uncle Sam freezing your assets. If you’re not a U.S. user, though, Kucoin is a good option.
Kucoin offers one-click crypto purchases with plenty of payment options, though these options differ coin-to-coin. Use can however use a credit card to buy USDT with USD. If you opt for bank transfer, there are no fees for buying with fiat – like the US dollar – but many of the other options will charge a 3-5% fee.
For Korean users, Bithumb is one of the most popular South Korea-based exchanges. It offers an ICX to Korea-won pair. Bithumb also has an English-language website and allows non-Koreans to sign up provided they have a Korean phone number. The verification process is also in Korean, so foreign users may need the help of a local.
Upbit is another major South Korean exchange, and like Bithumb, it offers Korean users the option to buy ICX in Korean won. Unlike Bithumb, however, Upbit doesn’t have an English-language site. If you read Korean, though, it has a well-designed, intuitive user interface that makes purchasing ICX easy.