de | cn | ru
  VS.    

Bitstamp

Bitstamp Review
Trader's rating 1
Editor's rating 3.9

Our Experience

We registered an account at Bitstamp and after confirming the ID, we decided to make a credit card deposit. What first stroke us, was the fact you can only directly buy Bitcoin via credit card, instead of simply transferring funds to your account. The purchase went fine, after dealing with an external payment services provider. We immediately sold the coins, in order to have a USD trading balance. At that point we realized the 8% fee on credit card transfers (at the time, now the fee is 5%) truly applies.

 

Later on, we traded with the platform and everything felt fine. While the speed of execution was slightly lower than the one provided by most forex trading platforms, it was still pretty decent. The order book seemed to have some trading robots, which moved the best bids/asks constantly, but this didn’t hinder trading at all.


We also made a SEPA Bank transfer to this exchange. The funds arrived less than 24 hours later and the only fees we paid were the ones charged by our local bank.

 

We ended up having some Litecoin, which we transferred to Bittrex, in order to continue our journey in the world of altcoins. Additionally, we left some Ethereum, which we sent to a newly created wallet at MyEtherWallet – a wallet, which allows users to control their private keys. All of these blockchain transactions, which are external to Bitstamp happened in minutes. We are yet to test the speed of bank transfer withdrawals, from this exchange.

 

Trading Accounts

Account type Minimum deposit Leverage Fee
Standard Undisclosed N/A 0.25%*

*Fees can go lower for bigger traders

 

Bitstamp is one of the few cryptocurrency exchanges which accepts deposits directly from traditional payment methods. In essence this service can be used to obtain Bitcoin (via a bank transfer or credit card) which you are then free to send.

 

The company, security of funds

Company Country Regulation
Bitstamp Ltd. Luxembourg CSSF

 

Bitstamp Ltd. is the company behind this project. They have offices in Luxembourg, London and New York. More importantly, this is the first fully licensed cryptocurrency exchange in Europe. It is regulated by the (Luxembourg Financial Industry Supervisory Commission, known as the CSSF). As we often warn against the risks involved in dealing with unregulated or off-shore forex brokers, it is nice to see a company in the cryptoverse, which is registered with a watchdog.

 

The CSSF Licensing ensures the company periodically files reports with the appropriate agencies. Bitstamp is registered as a “Payment institution”, which implies you can be sure about the real-money transfers you send to (and receive from them). That being said we don’t know if mandatory policies on fairness of execution are in place. No matter the case, this is much more than, what most other crypto-exchanges provide in terms of regulation.

 

Bitstamp was hacked in early 2015. Afterwards the company rebuild its entire trading platform. Nowadays they claim to store 98% of their client’s cryptocurrencies on cold storage, while only 2% are directly available on the exchange. This is a major improvement in terms of security.

 

Bitstamp partnered with Swissquote, in July 2017.  The Swiss bank and broker, decided to trust this company, in order to provide Bitcoin trading to its clients. This speaks volumes in terms of Bitstamp’s credibility. At the time of writing of this review, there is no integration with the MetaTrader4 (MT4) platform. Trading is instead done on the Swissquote’s website, with limited functionality. This is bound to change in the future. 

 

The user reviews for Bitstamp are fairly mixed. There are lots of satisfied customers and people claiming dissatisfaction with the support. Similarly to Poloniex, the company may be experiencing more significant traffic than expecting, but the negative comments are not that harsh. 

 

Trading conditions

 

Trading instruments (cryptocurrencies)

Bitstamp allows trading cryptocurrencies against the old-fashioned EUR and USD. On the other hand few coins are supported, namely Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Ripple. If you want to dive into more exotic altcoins, you can use Bitstamp as a way to convert your cash into one of these three and then transfer it to a different exchange which supports your preferred altcoin.

 

Minimum initial deposit

There is no information on the minimum deposit at Bitstamp. While this is not that unusual, when dealing with cryptocurrencies, the company does accept traditional payments. There may be a level below, which they would not accept your transfer. We are used to forex brokers disclosing their minimum entry levels beforehand, like easyMarkets, who require $100.

 

Leverage

Margin trading is not available at Bitstamp. For those of you who do not know what margin trading is – this is a mechanism by which you trade with more buying power than the money you have in your account. When it comes to froex brokers, they allow substantial leverage levels, like 1:500, meaning you can trade with positions worth 500 times more than your investment. The catch is your account serves as a guarantee, and if you start loosing, there will be a point at which your positions will be closed (this is known as receiving a margin call, followed by a margin stop-out).

 

Fees

The commissions, charged by Bitstamp go as high as 0.25% for cash to cryptocurrency trades (for the lowest volumes). As is the practice with most other exchanges, they go lower with bigger volumes. The unusual aspect of this offering is that there is no incentive for the market “makers” (people who place orders on the exchange, instead of aggressively buying from the ones which other traders have placed). Most cryptocurrency exchange provide an ever so slightly lower fee for traders who provide liquidity.

 

Comparing this to the spreads provided by forex brokers is rather hard, as we have mentioned in our general comparison of the two type of service providers. On the other hand, Bitstamp’s fees are in-line with what other cypto-exchanges are offering.

 

 

Trading platform

 

Bitstamp’s trading platform is web-based. This is the norm with most cryptocurrency exchanges, unlike the situation with forex brokers, where downloadable software (like MT4) is prevalent. At first glance Bitstamp’s trading platform looks solid. A big emphasis is placed on charting, with a nice package. It feels pretty similar to cTrader, although it lacks a lot of the functionality. Lots of technical indicators and tools are available, but most forex trading platforms still provide even more options. That being said Bitsatmp’s offer is better that what we have seen at a lot of other crupto-exchanges. Here is a preview of the charting (click to zoom-in):

 

 

The order book is located below the chart and is one of the best ones available (at such exchanges). Here is a screenshot (click to zoom-in):

 

 

It was clearly designed by someone with trading experience as the bid and ask price are next to each other, where the two tables meet (on the left). This allows for a quick and easy comparison of the market depth, although the size of the orders (outer columns) must also be taken into account.

 

Methods of payment

 

Bitstamp accepts payments via Bank Transfer, Credit/Debit Card and cryptocurrencies. There are some specifics regarding the bank transfers, with EU clients being more easily accepted via the SEPA System. While this system is relatively faster than traditional bank transfers, it may come at higher fees (depending on your bank). On the other hand Credit Card transfers, while instant, come with an 8% fee. That being said, virtually anybody can transfer fiat currencies to this exchange. This feature is probably their biggest advantage over others.

 

Conclusion

 

Bitstamp is the first regulated European cryptocurrency exchange. The company keeps 98% of customer’s coins on cold storage wallets, which is a pretty good security measure. Bitstamp is one of the relatively few exchanges who accept deposits by Credit Card and Bank Transfer. Three of the major coins are traded directly against EUR and USD. On the other hand the exchange offers few alternative coins. In essence this is a great gateway for those who are new to the world of cryptocurrencies. Here is a summary Bitstamp’s strong and weak sides:

 

Pros Cons
Luxembourg licensing Few altcoins available
Accepts Bank Transfers and Credit Cards Was hacked in 2015
Competitive commissions 5% fee on credit card purchases
Relatively nice trading platform  
98% of coins kept in cold storage  

 

Binance

Binance Review
Trader's rating 1.8
Editor's rating 4

Trading Accounts

Account type Minimum deposit Leverage Fee
Standard Undisclosed Not available 0.10%

 

Binance is a crypto currency exchange, focused mainly on the Chinese market. Of course, you could still use it, if you are based elsewhere.

 

The company, security of funds

 

Company Country Regulation
Binance China N/A

 

Binance is a relatively new Chinese company, created by experienced professionals in the cryptocurrency space. The most recognizable name behind this project is that of Changpeng Zhao, former CTO at OKCoin.

 

Binance was created after attracting funds via an ICO (Initial Coin Offering – creating a new digital asset, backed by the project). The BNB tokens can now be traded on the exchange, or used as a method of paying your trading fees, which will reduce them by 50%. Additionally a small portion of the coin has to be paid to the company to cast your vote in the community poll, which determines which altcoin will be added to the exchange next.

 

That being said, whenever a new coin is added, Binance holds some kind of promotional distribution to existing clients. Usually it involves tracking the biggest holders of the new asset and rewarding them with extra coins. While these can not be taken as a guaranteed means of attaining more altcoins, they do raise attention towards the new tradign product.

 

Given its brief history, it is not surprising that Binance has not yet been hacked. That being said, the most obvious issue with this exchange is the fact it operates in China. Given the recent moves by the local authorities, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them register in a different country.

 

The English user reviews on Binance, while few, are fairly positive. Again, we must reiterate this is still a very new company, at the time of writing of this review.

 

Trading conditions

 

Trading instruments (cryptocurrencies)

Binance offers a substantial number of coins, which are traded mostly against Bitcoin and Ethereum. On the other side the two major coins are also paird with USDT (US Dollar Tether a digital asset, backed by US dollars, which aims to keep a 1:1 price ratio). The list of coins available at Bitnancie includes, but is not limited to (especially since new ones are added frequently): BTC, ETH, LTC, BCC, OMG, IOTA, ICN, MCO, SALT, KNC, CTRm SNLS, FUN, BQX, XVG, ZRX and BQX.

 

Minimum initial deposit

Binance does not provide information on the minimum deposit amount. As we cover mostly forex brokers, we are used to companies stating this information openly. The need for a minimum deposit level is associated with the legal costs of opening an account, which may exceed the potential commissions you will make with a broker, if you are trading too small. That being said several companies don’t have a required minimum, like the FCA-regulated industry leaders at IG

 

Leverage

Margin trading is not available at Binance. For those of you who are not familiar with the trading world – this is a system which allows you to trade with more money than you actually have in your account. Your balance is then used as a guarantee to maintain your position open. As an example, forex brokers require very little in collateral, in order to maintain massive positions. The so called leverage ratios can go as high as 1:500 or more. For instance, XM offers 1:888 in leverage.

 

That being said the cryptocurrency space is a lot more volatile, hence the need for lower ratios. Exchanges and forex brokers alike, rarely offer more than 1:20 in leverage.

 

Fees

The fee structure at Binance is simple to understand, but more importantly very competitive in the current environment. There is a flat 0.10% fee on all trading. Other exchanges often separate clients based on their trading volume and the way they enter/exit a transaction (traders who provide liquidity to the exchange usually get some benefits).

On the other hand forex brokers incorporate the costs of trading in the spread. While comparing them is a bit like comparing apples to oranges, we have made a side-by-side review of both services here.

 

Trading platform

 

Binance’s trading platform is web-based. Furthermore it offers two distinct trading layouts, a more simple one and a “Pro” version. Visually it reminds us a lot of the platform provided by Bitstamp. Here is how the “standard platform” looks:

 

 

The order book is placed on the left and more interestingly is arranged vertically. While being a bit avant-garde, this is by no means unique. The tape is on the bottom right, with a news feed placed directly above it. Overall, the presentation seems enjoyable. The “Pro” version, on the other hand looks like this:

 

 

This reminds us a lot of Bitstamp’s platform. The positioning of the order book and tape is a bit more convenient, with them being grouped up. The charting package also seems a bit more sophisticated, but it’s not even close to the forex industry standard which we have grown accustomed to, MetaTrader4 (MT4)

 

Methods of payment

 

Binance is one of the exchanges which doesn't accepts fiat currency payments and focuses only on the digital side of things. Clients can deposit and withdraw the coins supported at the exchange.

 

Conclusion

 

Binance is a cryptocurrency exchange, created by a former key member of OKCoin. While the company mostly focuses on the Chinese market, everybody is welcome. That being said, they do not accept fiat money deposits. The amount of coins available for trading is relatively high and still growing, but there are other exchanges offering the more exotic ones. The major issue we have with Binance is that the project hasn’t been around long enough to actually prove itself. Here are the pros and cons of this exchange:

 

Pros  Cons
Founded by industry veterans New company
Some altcoins included  Based in China (may have issues with regulators)
More assets being added constantly Does not accept (fiat) money transfers
Competitive commissions  
Relatively nice trading platform  

 

Forex
de | cn | ru