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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  

 

BTCBOX

BTCBOX Review
Trader's rating 0
Editor's rating 4

Trading Accounts & Conditions

Account type Leverage Maker Fee Taker Fee Deposit Fee
Standard 1:3* 0%** 0%** Free

*margin is not granted instantly.
**only applies for BTC trading. There is a 0.20% fee on altcoin trading.



BTCBOX is a Japanese cryptocurrency exchange. They operate from the domain btcbox.co.jp and should not be confused with btcbox.in – a platform which supposedly provides “free Bitcoin”, but has received multiple negative reviews. The distinction is quite important as the Japanese exchange appears to be a very reputable one.



 
BTCBOX Advantages



FSA Licensed
– BTCBOX is the eight cryptocurrency company to be overseen by the Japanese Financial Services Agency (JFSA). This brings a lot of credibility to their offer, as not a lot of Bitcoin exchanges are regulated by a reputable financial watchdog. They also provide information about the actual company behind the project and their banking partners. While this sounds natural for a regulated company, it isn’t always the case with shadier trading venues. Two-factor verification is also provided.


 
Decent fees, BTC is free – trading Bitcoin at BTCBOX comes without any costs. That being said, altcoin traders will be charged a 0.20% fee. This applies both for market “makers” (the people who place passive orders in the book) and “takers” (the ones who buy or sell at the best price available). This is pretty much the standard at this point in time – not too high, but also not too low, when compared to the competition.


No deposit fees
– there are no deposit fees on blockchain transfers to BTCBOX. Additionally the company does not charge anything extra on bank transfers. While certain costs will be involved in either form of deposit (be they mining or banking), the company does not take anything extra.



1:3 in leverage
– BTCBOX is one of the few exchanges to facilitate margin trading. However, according to company policy each trader willing to borrow coins will have to be processed manually. This means it could be hours or even day before you are approved to receive it. This can definitely be an issue for aggressive traders, who are willing to jump on a chart setup. They will be much better suited with a forex broker.



 
>>Leveraged BTC trading<<




As you may already know a lot of these more traditional financial companies have started providing Bitcoin (and altcoin) trading. This is achieved via CFDs, which is slightly different than setting up a cryptocurrency exchange. In essence you only speculate with the price of the given coin, without owning it. For more information, check the full guide.




Japanese banking support – BTCBOX accepts Japanese Yen deposits. This makes them a great entry-level exchange for the locals.



>>Buy Bitcoin with a credit card<<



Two trading platforms – trading at this exchange is done via two interfaces. One of them is rather simple and rather nice. Additionally, a more “professional” version is also available. It offers solid charting and is arranged even more conveniently. Here is the preview (click to zoom in):
 



 

BTCBOX Disadvantages


Focus on Japan – while English and Chinese versions of the website, this is still an exchange primarily oriented towards Japan. We are not certain if the support will be up to par with the one provided by other companies (although basically everyone has received negative comments on this point).



Margin is not instant – the fact margin has to be provided to clients on an individual basis can be troubling. We haven’t tested the service, but just by reading the terms we expect delays to be quite possible.



Only four coins available – the short list of digital assets available at BTCBOX includes: BTC, BCH, LTC and ETH. Volumes on the ones other than Bitcoin are rather low.


Trading only against JPY – this is another thing limiting non-Japanese clients. It’s just company policy and there is nothing wrong with that, but we must mention it.


Withdrawal fees present – while they are small, these fees may irritate some users. The Bitcoin one is 0.001BTC.


No user reviews in English – BTCBOX doesn’t appear to be popular in the West. This is to be expected, given the previous factors.



Conclusion


BTCBOX is a Japanese cryptocurrency exchange, which is regulated by the Financial Services Agency (JFSA). This makes them a much more credible company than most of the competition. They provide access to Japanese customers to the world of crypto, as they even accept bank transfers. That being said, they may not be the ideal trading venue for a foreigner.

While this is a highly regulated exchange, the world of cryptocurrencies still carries a level of risk. If you are only looking to speculate with the price of Bitcoin, doing so with a forex broker may be preferable. View the link below for more details on the way regulation for forex brokers, offering Bitcoin works.


>>Regulated Bitcoin forex brokers<<



 
Here is the summary of BTCBOX:

Pros Cons
FSA Licensed Focus on Japan
Decent fees, BTC is free Margin is not instant
No deposit fees Only four coins available
1:3 in leverage Trading only against JPY
Japanese banking support Withdrawal fees present
Two trading platforms No user reviews in English

 

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