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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  

 

QRYPTOS

QRYPTOS Review
Trader's rating 2.1
Editor's rating 3.8

Trading accounts

 

Account type Minimum deposit Leverage Maker Fee Taker Fee
Standard Undisclosed Unknown -0.075% 0.15%

QRYPTOS is the second brand operated by QUOINE (with QUOINEX being the main product they are famous for). While this may seem curious to those who aren't familiar with the crypto space, there is a simple reason for running two companies – they offer different services. Their first project is aimed at cash to cryptocurrency transactions, while QRYPTOS focuses on exchanging one digital asset for another. The situation is very similar to the one at Coinbase and GDAX.

 

 

The company, security of funds

 

Company Country Regulation
QUOINE Pte. Ltd Japan/Singapore/Vietnam JFSA

 

QRYPTOS is owned QUOINE Pte. Ltd., a company with offices in Japan, Singapore and Vietnam.  When it comes to their viability as an exchange, they are regulated by the Japanese Financial Services Agency (JFSA). This is more than what most competitors in the crypto-space can claim.

 

QUOINE was founded in 2014 and their latest project, QRYPTOS is even younger. A lot of its features, like the mobile apps are still under development. We will update this review, once major changes occur. 

 

Substantial hacks have not yet occurred at either of the companies operated by QUOIN. That being said, we must mention the most notable case of a technical issue, experienced by the parent company. One of their largest traders (the firm B2C2) made a $3.7 million profit, after allegedly “exploiting a glitch” in the QUOINEX trading software. The transaction(s) were later reverted, leading to a lawsuit. Not much is known about the details of this event. For the sake of clarity we must mention, this whole saga happened before the company received the JFSA regulatory approval.

 

As the QRYPTOS project is fairly new, there also aren't that many user reviews.

 

Trading conditions

 

 

Trading instruments (cryptocurrencies)

Quite a few coins are available at QRYPTOS. The full list includes Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Ripple, Litecoin, Ethereum Classic, Monero, Zcahs, Sellar, Dash, Augur and NEM (13 trading pairs in total). While the selection isn't as big as the one provided by Bittrex, for instance, it is still very solid.

 

Minimum initial deposit

We didn't have information about the minimum deposit at QRYPTOS. On the other hand, forex brokers usually provide this freely. As an example, one of the world's leading FCA-regulated brokers (which also offers Bitcoin and Ethereum trading) IG doesn't have an entry bar. One can open an account with the company for as little as she wants. For a full comparison of the two different services, read this post.

 

 

Leverage

There is no information on the leverage available at QRYPTOS. The company’s other brand QUOINEX offers a 1:25 ratio, but a lot fewer products (and a different fee structure, more on that later). We are unaware if this functionality will be integrated with QRYPTOS. Keep in mind, cryptocurrencies tend to be a lot more volatile than traditional ones, where forex brokers offer amazing leverage levels, such as 1:500.

 

 

Fees

The main way of attracting volume to the QRYPTOS exchange is the fee structure. While a lot of exchanges offer slightly better conditions for market makers, going into negative territory I.e. paying rebates for providing volume is usually reserved for the big traders. QRYPTOS offers a 0.075% rebate for everybody who provides liquidity on their platform. The taker fee is a very competitive 0.15%. In effect the company is giving 50% of its profit to the passive traders.

 

Before you think, you can become a liquidity provider at QRYPTOS and make money without taking any risk, we will have to clarify how exchanges work. A market “maker” (not to be confused with a forex market maker) is a trader who places pending orders on the exchange, hence filling the “order book”. A taker is anybody who sends a market order, entering directly at the best possible price. If you decide to be a liquidity provider, who simply aims to profit from the buying and selling of others, you will still be taking a significant market risk. Whenever a swift market move occurs, your will be taking the other side. On top of that the field is very competitive, with a lot of algo players.

 

Trading platform

 

The platform provided by QRYPTOS is web-based, with mobile apps promised for the future. Traders can fully customise the layout to their preference, but the main limitation of browser platforms still applies – everything must be in the same window. When it comes to the charting, one can choose between the charts provided by either TradingView or Cryptowatch. Here is a preview of the default layout:

 

 

As you can see from the picture, the charts aren’t properly configured yet, or the trading activity is rather minimal. Additionally they have maintained one of the features from QRYPTOEX, which we didn’t like – the order book is still placed vertically. As far as our tinkering with the platform, we couldn’t find a way to make it appear better. That being said, this still a fairly new project, so such things should not be surprising. 

 

Methods of payment

QRYPTOS only accepts cryptocurrency transfers. They are possible in all of the coins, which the company supports. On top of that, you can use your QUOINEX account as a means of depositing money with the company.

 

 

Conclusion

QRYPTOS is the second brand operated by the JFSA-regulated company QUOINEX. While their initial project QUOINEX is oriented towards attracting new people to the cryptocurrency space, this one is for the more experienced traders. With 13 trading pairs this exchange offers some alternatives, but is by no means an altocoin heaven. The entire QRYPTOS project is still in its early days, and we will update this review, once more information is available.

 

Pros Cons
JFSA Regulation Not enough user feedback yet
No major hacks yet Not that many altcoins available 
Competitive commissions (including rebates) The order book is placed vertically (as in QUOINEX)
Customizable trading platform   
Several trading instruments  

 

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