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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  

 

CoinSpot

CoinSpot Review
Trader's rating 1
Editor's rating 3.8

Trading Accounts

Account type Daily Limit Leverage Bitcoin Fee Altcoin fee
Standard $2,000/$10,000 None 2%  3% 

 

CoinSpot is one of the leading Australian cryptocurrency "gateway" companies i.e. a service which allows the purchase of crypto with fiat money. They put a lot of emphasis on domestic clients.

 

The company, security of funds

Company

Country Regulation
Casey Block Services Pty Ltd  Australia N/A

 

CoinSpot was founded in Melbourne in 2013. At the time of writing of this review they are not registered with a relevant Australian body, simply because the legislative process in the country is still in progress. You can read a brief summary of the current situation, as well as find reviews on the other major players in the space in the link below. 

 

>>Australian cryptocurrency exchanges<<

 

That being said, CoinSpot is a member of ADCA - the Australian Digital Commerce Association. This may not be a regulatory body, but it shows a long term commitment to the adoption of blockchain technology and it is viewed as a major player by its peers.

 

The company offers traders multiple wallet support, which is not the case with one of their direct counterparts CointTree. On top of that there is a mobile app which allows you to send crypto-payments on the go.

 

There aren't any reports of a massive hack, like the one experienced at Bitfinex, for CoinSpot. This is no guarantee of future security, but is still a nice sign.

 

The user reviews for CoinSpot are very mixed. Some people enjoy their service, while others are dissatisfied with the verification process, the speed of bank transfers (when selling coins) and the fees. Their service is definitely not cheaper than trading coins on some of the other exchanges, but at least they are very transparent when it comes to fees.

 

Trading conditions

 

Trading instruments (cryptocurrencies)

Over 30 coins are provided by CoinSpot. This is a very wide array, especially for a company which specializes in accepting fiat currencies. As a comparison, Coinbase offers only Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin. 

 

Maximum daily volume

The initial maximum daily purchase volume at CoinSpot is $2,000. This can be increased to $10,000 a week after you have hit the first cap. While the company does not exclusively mention it, these levels are probably in Australian dollars.

 

Leverage

Leveraged trading is not supported at CoinSpot, which is quite understandable, given their targeted customers. This is simply a place from which one buys cryptocurrencies with Australian dollars. 

 

>>Forex brokers providing Bitcoin trading<<

 

It is worth mentioning, that if you are only looking to speculatively trade Bitcoin, instead of use it four transfers, another type of service may be better for you. We are talking about forever brokers, who offer cryptocurrency trading, like the industry leaders at IG. We must mention there are a few specifics to this kind of service and you should read our guide.

 

 

Fees

The fee structure at CoinSpot Is very clear, which is not the case with all companies who offer direct purchases of coins with fiat currencies. For instance the similar Dutch company Bitonic provides little information about its markups, which many users dislike.

 

CoinSpot charges between 2% (for Bitcoin) and 3% (for altcoins), when trading against the AUD and 1% for crypto to crypto trading. While the direct trading commission may be considered reasonable, 1% is high for digital asset trading. Other exchanges typically charge 0.20-0.25% for this activity.

 

>>List of all cryptocurrency exchanges we have reviewed<<

 

Additionally, the company charges fees on some AUD deposits. This varies by payment method and we will cover the details below.

 

 

Trading platform

 

CoinSpot does not provide what one would typically call a trading platform. The service has a convenient dashboard, which allows you to monitor your different wallets. It looks like this:

 

 

When buying a cryptocurrency one is greeted by a simple order-entry form, which gives you an estimate of the AUD you would have to pay for the given amount of coins. Here is a preview:

 

 

If you want to convert one coin for another, you would have to go through the sell menu. This felt very counter-intuitive, but then again you can find much better exchanges to do this (check the fees section for more information).

 

Additionally, a very simple form of charting is provided, as seen here:

 

 

The overall summary of this “platform” is that it does the job. Experienced traders will not enjoy this, but newbies will enjoy the simplicity.

 

Methods of payment

 

When depositing fiat currencies to CoinSpot, one can choose between POLi Payments, Bpay and a “cash” option, which features going to a newsagent and using Blueshyft. The fees for making a deposit are as follows:

 

POLi payments – free. 

BPAY payments – 2% fee. 

Cash payments – 3% fee. 

 

If you were to sell coins at CoinSpot, you would be funded via Bank Transfer. The company will not charge you anything for that, but the bank may. The actual cost and speed of the transfer will depend on the bank you use.

 

Conclusion

 

CoinSpot is an Australian cryptocurrency exchange, which allows trading against the AUD. They are a well known company, which is respected in the local Bitcoin community. The entire service is very beginner-friendly, but this comes at a cost. While the fees for fiat to crypto trading are acceptable, trading one coin for another comes at much higher rate than with other exchanges. This feels like a solid Australian entry level company, but active traders will prefer dealing with another exchange. Here is a summary: 

 

Pros   Cons
No major hacks yet Slow bank withdrawal times
Multiple payment methods (for AU clients) High crypto to crypto fees
A lot of altcoins supported Focused on Australia (only a con if you are non-AU)
Easy to use interface  

 

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