- Limited fiat deposit methods
- Credit card deposits are accepted
- In January 2015, 19,000 Bitcoins were stolen
|Supported Countries||EU, US|
|Main Feature||Supports USD and Euro|
|Trading Currency||BTC, XRP, LTC, BCH, ETH|
|Free Demo Account|
|Fee Info||0.10% to 0.25% Maker and Taker Fee Deposit and Withdrawal Fees: Free.|
|Account Types||Individual , Corporate|
|Deposit Methods||Bank Transfer, Credit Card, Cryptocurrency|
|Withdrawal Methods||Bank Transfer, Cryptocurrency|
|Trading Currency||Bitcoin, Ripple, Litecoin, Bitcoin, Cash, Ethereum|
|Account Currency||USD, EUR|
|US Traders Allowed|
- Creating and account is quick and easy
- Credit card deposits are accepted
- User crypto-coins are secured with 98% stored in offline storages
- Professional trading platform
- Platform’s daily trading volumes is high guaranteeing liquidity
- It is the second largest exchange in the
- world meaning it has a good reputation.
- Limited fiat deposit methods
- Few alt coins supported
- Supports USD and Euro only
- High fees charged on credit card deposits
Bitstamp is a gem of an exchange if topics of quality, credibility, reliability and history is ever raised. In the last two yearsfor example, Bitstamp remains the second largest exchange after BitFinex where more than 6.7M BTCs were exchanged. This milestone and bloom couldn’t be possible without the $10M seed capital from Pantera Capital. As we continue to hear stories of heists, it is often hard to trust a centralized exchange that promises to secure your coins, your private keys. If present then it must be satisfactorily secured and vetted.
Founded in 2011 as a European alternative to the then dominant Mt. Gox, Bitstamp has continued to grow and is one of the oldest virtual coin exchange in the world. Even though it remains popular, the only thing that is preventing it from scaling and even surpassing their competition is their limited payment options, its complex interface and the fact that they charge high fees for small deposits. As it is, the site is meant for investors with deep pockets.
The original developers of Bitstamp are from Slovenia but later relocated to the UK before setting up their offices in Luxembourg because of their favorable regulations. They recently shifted shop there because they were granted with a Payment Institution license meaning that while they can operate they must fulfill all regulatory requirements like adherence to EU’s anti-money laundering laws, they must have a permanent internal auditor on top of submitting monthly financial reports.
In exchange, Bitstamp was granted the power to operate across the EU. This regulatory oversight makes Bitstamp a safe, trustworthy exchange for users and financial authorities in regions where they operate from.
However, this is not to say that the exchange is only available in Eurozone. Fact it, Bitstamp is available to all traders worldwide and already they have more than 800,000 active traders with majority of them drawn from the US, Spain, UK, Italy and Germany. Outside of Europe, Bitstamp services is available in more than 50 countries including Brazil, China and Australia.
Even though they are competitors, Bitstamp is a well-connected exchange they often work closely with CoinBase. Users in CoinBase can easily transfer their Bitcoins to Bitstamp. It is attractive but CoinBase charges are high. They also have an active partnership with Swiss Quote, a Switzerland based bank and broker which make use of Bitstamp and making it possible for their clients to trade Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies.
To begin, head over to www.bitstamp.net and create a free account. All you have to do is fill up the registration form with all the necessary details requested, agree with their terms and conditions and register.
Figure 2: Create Account
Bitstamp will send your login details to your email inbox. Click on the link sent and login to your account. Once you login, you will be required to update your password and choose an account type.
There are two options available, personal and corporate but I’m assuming you are an individual, so create a personal account.
Thereafter, you will have to verify your account.
Figure 3: Account Verification
Verification will requires users to submit their full names as it is in their government issued IDs, their birth dates and indicate whether you are a US citizen or not. Account holders from the US must comply for IRS purposes. Besides they upload and submit a utility bill as proof of address.
Figure 4: Proof of Address
If all the documents as requested are validated, your account will be verified within 2-3 trading days. Account holders can check their verification status under “Account”.
Remember, it’s imperative to verify your account otherwise you can’t withdraw or deposit funds.
Figure 5: 2FA
Even after your account get verified, extra security measures is needed and as such, Bitstamp have a 2FA option available.
Users can activate them meaning that every time they log in, a special code will be generated and sent to the authorized account holder as text.
Figure 6: Code before proceeding to login
There are several 2FA apps but Google Authenticator is a stand out.
All you have to do is download it from Google Store and in your account, navigate to security and enable the Two-Factor Authentication.
Bitstamp is EU based therefore it is not hard to see why Visa and MasterCard credit card holders from Europe including the UK can instantaneous deposit funds in their account. The exchange accounts are denominated in Euros or USD only.
Figure 7: Payment options
Credit Card deposits must be verified and you must pass through their card processor and submit necessary details like name and phone number before deposits is authorized.
Alternatively, you can deposit funds from directly from your bank account. You can deposit it as a bank wire transfer but that takes between 2-5 days. However, if you want short settlements, SEPA transfers is preferred as settlements takes a maximum of 3 working days.
Aside from fiat deposits, deposits can be made in BTC, ETH, BCH, XRP and LTC. BTC deposits is free and it can take anywhere between 30 minutes and 1HR before it is reflected on your account. Each Crypto-coin deposit method has its own permanent address. Typically BTC deposits needs 3 network confirmations but it can immediate if transacted through BitGo.
Figure 8: Credit Card Deposit
Once you have funded your account, you can either trade from your desktop or download their mobile app available in both Android and iOS. The trading interface is simplified and any trader irrespective of experience can easily transact.
Bitstamp API features makes it possible for users to create their own software or download 3rd party apps if they want to automate their accounts.
Figure 9: Interface
The platform’s fee schedule is very clear, there are no hidden charges and it strives to make everything upfront.
Here are some of their applicable charges:
International bank wire transfers costs 0.05% per deposit with minimum fees set at $/€7 and 0.09% per withdrawal. Minimum withdrawal charges is fixed at €/$15 and you can only withdraw a minimum of $/€50.
There is a 5% fee for depositing any amount of fiat-EUR or USD to your Bitstamp account.
Like other exchanges, trading fee is volume based and ranges between 0.25% for trades less than $20K and 0.10% for volumes exceeding $20M. If you want to withdraw directly to your debit card, Bitstamp charges a flat $10 fee for any amount below $1000 and a 2% charge for anything above $1000.
Figure 10: SEPA Transaction fees
SEPA deposits are free but withdrawing costs €0.90 per withdrawal.
Figure 11: BTC Deposit
Bitcoin deposits and withdrawals are free unless you withdraw using BitGo where you will each transaction attracts a 0.1% fee. Ripple IOUs transfer fee is 0.20% but deposits and withdrawals in Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Ripple and Litecoin is free of charge.
In January 2015, 19,000 Bitcoins were stolen from Bitstamp and ever since, new security precautions have been put in place. Though it may look casual and even mundane, here are some publically known security measures Bitstamp implemented after reopening:
- There is a 2FA authentication for all of their accounts and your account’s password must be changed quarterly.
- Bitstamp is regulated by EU’s AML and CDF rules and regulations.
- 98% of client’s funds are stored at insured offline storages while 2% are used to facilitate live trading.
- When creating an account, all of their confirmatory emails must be clicked by the user and there is no way you can proceed to account login in. Furthermore, this confirmatory email has login details.
- If you need to withdraw or deposit funds, all account holders must authenticate their information by uploading a clear government issued ID and a utility bill that is not older than 3 months. Afterwards, Bitstamp has to check and if they are satisfied, approve your account.
- Besides 2FA, users can create email and SMS alerts on top of their PGP email communication encryption.
Customer Care Support
All cryptocurrency exchange customer care support tend to be slow and this is understandable. When compared to other exchanges, users find Bitstamp’s faster and a little bit reliable when it comes to answering inquisitions.
There have been complaints by some users that some of their request are increasingly becoming invasive as they request competitor information while some even tend to compromise user privacy.
To avoid problems, it’s important to follow the proper procedure as asked and double check all trades. Otherwise, if you have a problem, you can submit a ticket, visit their FAQ section and if these options don’t solve your issue reach them out through their official social media accounts and online forums.
Alternatively, you can reach them through email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Figure 12: Support Ticket
My Final Thoughts
Bitstamp is a respectable exchange with good liquidity and low fees. It is however not suitable for users who are starting off since the trading interface is loaded with different trading features and tools that can be confusing. Apart from their slow customer care support, Bitstamp is suitable for all traders wishing to trade Bitcoin in a safe and secure environment.