To be blunt, the "best Bitcoin exchange," even when Mt. Gox was thriving, has always been more of a question of which is the most tolerable. All of the existing Bitcoin exchanges have serious issues mixed in with their good aspects.
And as we saw with the dramatic demise of Mt. Gox, a Bitcoin exchange with serious issues can be bad news for customers – just ask anyone with bitcoins trapped in a Mt. Gox account.
Given the rise of Bitcoin over the past year – both in popularity and price – it's puzzling that a first-rate operation worthy to be called the "best Bitcoin exchange" has not emerged.
But now we know what such a beast should look like…
The Best Bitcoin Exchange Would Learn from the Past
To figure out what features an ideal Bitcoin exchange would need, let's first take a look at what's wrong with the Bitcoin exchanges we have now, including the stricken Mt. Gox.
For the purposes of this discussion, we're sticking with Bitcoin exchanges that deal in U.S. dollars.
For U.S. Bitcoin investors, one of the biggest problems with Bitcoin exchanges has been that all of the major ones are based in foreign countries.
Mt. Gox is based in Japan. Bitstamp, now the largest Bitcoin exchange, moved about a year ago to the UK from Slovenia. BTC-e, now the second-largest Bitcoin exchange, is based in Bulgaria.
Because these Bitcoin exchanges operate outside the United States, they are not subject to any U.S. laws or government regulations. And just as worryingly, the governments of those countries have generally ignored Bitcoin activity.
So when a situation as we've seen with Mt. Gox happens, U.S. customers have no legal recourse whatsoever.
Other problems related to this have to do with getting fiat currencies, particularly U.S. dollars, into and out of these Bitcoin exchanges.