CEX.IO Exchange Review

CEX.IO is a cryptocurrency exchange that is based in London. Unlike some other exchanges which focus on trading, this company primarily functions as a digital currency exchanger. The platform allows account holders to trade fiat currencies for digital tokens, providing a convenient way to purchase digital assets. CEX.IO has been in business since 2013, but it as only been offering exchange services since 2015.

This cryptocurrency exchange was originally a Bitcoin cloud mining service. Cloud mining lets a group of individuals purchase shares in a mining contract and share the rewards. CEX.IO provided the mining equipment and sold contracts to willing investors in a manner similar to that of other companies like Genesis Mining. The company’s mining pool, Ghash.io, was a massive endeavor. At one time, the pool accounted for almost 50% of the overall Bitcoin mining power.

The decision was made in 2015 to suspend the cloud mining operations of the company. CEX.IO stated as a primary reason the low price of Bitcoin. The company also revealed that it did not actually own any mining hardware. All of the hardware was being provided by third-party partners. The profitability of cloud mining for the company diminished to the point that it was decided to rebrand CEX.IO as a digital currency exchange.

CEX.IO has taken appropriate measures to comply with financial regulations in many countries. This includes registration with FINcen in the United States. A Level 2 PCI DSS certificate has been granted to the exchange. This certification deems that this exchange is compliant with the proper security measures for storing, processing, and transmitting payment card information. The company also adheres to an Anti Money Laundering policy, and it subscribes to a Know Your Customer protocol that demands verification of account holders.

Security at CEX.IO is bolstered by two-factor authentication. Clients of the exchange can use Google Authenticator to enable this on their accounts, and it it also possible to receive a text message. The exchange recommends that all account holders enable two-factor authentication for their accounts, but it does not require that they do so.

There have been some complaint made against the exchange, most of which seem to have occurred during 2017. In almost all cases the complaints involved long wait times for account verification. There have also been complaints that account transactions take too long to process. CEX.IO has addressed these complaints by stating that delays are related to enhanced security measures. They have also cited an increase in account holders as a reason for delays. Otherwise, the exchange has a reasonably good online reputation.

One advantage of this exchange is that it offers access on a number of platforms. This access includes mobile apps that have been developed for the Android and iOS operating systems. The interface of the exchange platform is user-friendly, making this exchange one of the better choices for newcomers to cryptocurrency. The platform also offers a number of customization options which will be of benefit to institutional and experienced traders.

CEX.IO functions as a Private Limited Company that is registered in the UK. This exchange has stated that it uses cold storage offline to maintain the majority of funds for account holders. It does not, however, provide details on how this process is accomplished or maintained. On the positive side, security breaches at the exchange have been kept to a minimum. There was a hack in 2013 that caused minor damage, but since that time the exchange has been diligent in the prevention of security flaws.

The great majority of countries in the world are supported, but there are some countries that are not allowed to make credit card purchases. These countries include Iceland, Vietnam, and most countries in the Middle East. Some countries are also restricted from making bank transfers. A full list can be accessed on the CEX.IO website. There are 24 states in the US that are permitted to use the CEX.IO service. Residents of the following states are not permitted to make exchanges: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, U.S. Virgin Islands, Vermont, Virginia, Washington.

Getting Started With CEX.IO

To begin using the exchange services provided by CEX.IO, an individual must complete a simple sign up process that requires submitting an email address and creating a password. Users can also use Facebook or Google to register. A box must be checked agreeing to the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy of the website, and a captcha must be completed. Once this has been done, the individual will receive an email to confirm their account registration.

Once the account has been confirmed, users will be required to verify their identity. No exchange services are permitted without this verification. Photo ID, address verification, and telephone number verification are all required. This helps the exchange to maintain its KYC (Know Your Customer) and Anti Money Laundering policies. As stated above, sometimes the process of verification can take a week or more. The wait times can vary depending on how many people have recently signed up with the exchange.

After account verification, individuals can begin to purchase and exchange cryptocurrency. Buying Bitcoin and Ethereum can be accomplished with a credit card, debit card, bank transfer for US customers, or SEPA transfer for customers in the EU. Before they can be used, credit cards must be added to an individual’s account. This also involves verification. The user must take a selfie with the card they are going to add. The card and the individual’s face must be clearly visible in the photo. Photos cannot exceed 15 MB in size, and if the photo does not meet the standards of the exchange another photo will be requested. It takes about 48 hours for cards to be verified, and then the user can begin to make cryptocurrency purchases with the debit card after one final step. CEX.IO will make two small debits to the card provided which the user must verify.

Some individuals have expressed concern that CEX.IO does not provide the name of the company they use for debit and credit card verification. It is also concerning to some that the exchange states they retain personal information for a period of five years after an account has been closed or deleted.

CEX.IO Fees and Limits

CEX.IO has a very complex limit and fee structure which is dependent upon the account tier of a user. There are three account tiers, and each has a different limit. There is a general minimum purchase of 0.01 BTC and a maximum purchase of 10 BTC per single transaction that is applied to all accounts.  

Verified Plus and Corporate Account—No limits on purchases. The verification requirements are determined by CEX.IO on an individual basis.
Verified Account—$10,000 of Bitcoin or Ethereum may be purchased per day, with a limit of $100,000 per month. This account requires photo ID and proof of residency.
Basic Account—Can buy up to $500 of Bitcoin or Ethereum per day. A maximum of $2,000 in crypto may be purchased in any one month. This account requires a copy of a government-issued photo ID.

The fees charged by this exchange are in the mid-range fee schedules of other exchanges. There is a charge of 3.5% plus $0.25 for each credit card transaction. There is also a 7% service charge which is added to all cryptocurrency purchases. Presumably, this is how the exchange makes its profit. This charge is only applied to purchases. Trades that are made on the trading platform are subject to a 0.2% fee.  

Trading Cryptocurrencies at CEX.IO

It should be stated again that CEX.IO is primarily a currency exchanger. Their method of purchasing and trading cryptocurrencies is somewhat different from other exchanges, and it can be somewhat confusing to the newcomer.

Once a user enters a trade, the price of the trade is calculated by CEX.IO and frozen for a period of two minutes. This gives the user time to enter the amount of currency they wish to purchase in fiat. They will then be shown how much cryptocurrency they will receive in return. The buy/sell button is then clicked, and the exchange makes sure that the account holder has enough funds in their account to make the trade.

After all of this has been accomplished, the transaction will be completed as long as the price agreed upon can be met. The positive side of this is that if the market has gone down since the trade was proposed, the trade it completed to the user’s benefit. If the market has gone up, the trade will be canceled and the user will be notified. This process can be frustrating, but it seems to be the only way that CEX.IO can work to guarantee individuals are getting the best current price at the time they wish to make a transaction.

Popular Opinion of CEX.IO

The opinion of CEX.IO is largely mixed in the cryptocurrency community. It has certainly been the target of many negative reviews and customer complaints. Some argue that they have a hard time getting their account verified, while others accuse the exchange of imposing hidden fees on purchases. There have also been some complaints about the efficiency of customer support.

On the other side, many people proclaim that this is a reliable exchange for buying and selling digital assets. They state that the interface is easy to use, and that having access to a mobile app is very helpful. 


Interface is easy to use
Credit and debit cards are accepted with verification
Transparent company structure


Long verification times
Only 24 US states supported
Poor customer service
Some fees are high

Our Opinion of CEX.IO

CEX.IO has the potential to be a superior exchange. Things like mobile access and an easy platform are things that make this an exchange we would recommend to newcomers. But, for all the things they do right, there are many things that can stand to be improved. First and foremost among these is better customer service. We were unable to get a response to a basic query after several days of waiting.

The other main issue is verification times. We understand the importance of being in compliance with regulations, but this exchange can really delay the process. The method of order execution is also something that should be revamped. 

We award CEX.IO 3.5 out of 5 stars on our cryptocurrency exchange rating scale.