Originally one of the first cryptocurrency exchanges for the purchase and sale of Bitcoin, Bitstamp is now the largest marketplace for cryptocurrencies in the EU.
Bitstamp was primarily formulated for professional investors and institutions.
Read my full Bitstamp review to discover why beginners may want to be aware of the slightly high fees and why advanced traders may find the limited number of available cryptos frustrating.
Bitstamp has had its share of controversy in the past when a security hack in 2015 resulted in the loss of $5.2 million of Bitcoin. However, security has come a long way since then and this needn’t be a cause for concern today.
There is plenty to like about Bitstamp including an easy to use platform and an established history however, I did come across some issues, mainly the limited number of cryptos available and a lack of features that may put off some of the more advanced traders. This puts Bitstamp somewhat at odds with their target market of professional traders whilst beginners may find the fee structure prohibitive.
That being said, there is an excellent suite of deposit options for UK residents and this is still a quality platform that is worth consideration with most of the major coins represented and an easy to use mobile application.
Who are Bitstamp?
Founded just two years after the launch of Bitcoin, Bitstamp is one of the first crypto exchanges, established with the primary ambition of offering a low-cost digital marketplace for professional investors and large institutions. Based in Luxembourg, today Bitstamp offers all crypto enthusiasts a well established and reliable platform from where to buy, sell and store over 50 currencies.
Who owns Bitstamp?
Bitstamp was founded in 2011 by Nejc Kodrič, and Damijan Merlak however there has been some controversy with regards to ownership since then accumulating in a court battle which ruled that Nejc Kodrič must sell his remaining 9.8% stake in the company to Bitstamp Holdings NV, a holding company owned by NXMH, the firm that acquired Bitstamp back in 2018.
Bitstamp product range overview
Bitstamp supports the trading of over 54 cryptocurrencies as well as a limited range of services. What you won’t find at Bitstamp is a card for spending your crypto or a savings plan or rewards scheme.
At Bitstamp, investors have access to a range of cryptocurrency pairs, which means you can use fiat currencies, as well as crypto to crypto pairs. However, unlike many competitor exchanges, Bitstamp also offers fiat to fiat pairs such as GBP/USD and GBP/EUR. In addition Bitstamp offer over 54 cryptocurrencies that include:
- XRP (Ripple)
- Bitcoin Cash
- OMG Network
- USD Coin
The Bitstamp mobile app will provide access to all the tradable assets and features found on their web-based trading platform including buying, selling, and storing cryptocurrency. Some of the trading tools include the charting package and order book.
The app is available on Google Play and Apple Store for iOS and comes complete with 2-factor authentication which is now a standard for all investors performing key account functions. Bitstamp have scored a very respectable 4.7 out of 5 from 2.4k ratings on the app store which is no mean feat with many of the positive reviews citing the ease of use but many negative reviews talking of the high transfer fees.
‘Best place to trade crypto – the new app is a game-changer
Lots of display settings, easy to trade, intuitive interface. Deposits and withdrawals are quick and easy. High security. Advanced order capabilities such as ‘trailing stops’.
Just please introduce app notifications soon (ie. when a currency hits a set price, when a trade has been executed, etc)’
Unlike many of the competition, Bitstamp does not provide their customers with a dedicated wallet; however, customers of Bitstamp are able to store their cryptocurrency in Bitstamp’s offline cold wallets. Whilst this is not a personal digital wallet, it does provide the means for keeping your coins safe and even within the exchange’s web wallet, funds are stored offline and are therefore kept safe.
For professional traders and institutions, Bitstamp have created their ProTrader interface. This certainly doesn’t feel like an afterthought with a plethora of tools and technical indicators to help effectively manage a portfolio. The software is that of TradingView, and therefore utilises all the customisable features including instant, market, limit and stop orders. However, it is missing some of the more advanced features like stop-limit loss and take profit limit.
Although the interface on ProTrader benefits from excellent design and the real-time market data is considered one of the fastest around, there are some fairly high trading fees to contend with and you will find more advanced features at a platform like Kraken such as future and margin trading.
Bitstamp tools and features
Whilst the number of tools and features are not as comprehensive as some of the other exchanges available, there are still a decent number of features that should suffice for an average investor. However, for advanced traders who are looking for more complex tools to aid their strategy, Bitstamp have an advanced trading version of the cryptocurrency exchange (Tradeview).
Depth Chart and Level 2 Order Book
This function can assist day traders identify small price fluctuations in the market. The order book provides information on the number of bids, ask orders and the price currently being offered which is an excellent indicator of future movements in price in addition to liquidity.
In addition, Bitstamp users can access the Depth Chart, providing an illustration of all orders for any particular asset.
Bitstamp Lightning Network
Many of the reviews on Bitstamp mention the speeds at which purchases are executed at Bitstamp. This is largely due to the Lightning Network, an additional layer of blockchain technology that can improve speeds, help to reduce fees and result in instant payments.
This technology literally enables Bitstamp to execute millions of transactions per second, outperforming more traditional payment systems.
This is a way for investors to earn a passive income from their crypto holdings. Bitstamp claim that their rewards are above average however, there are only two options, Ethereum 2.0 and Algorand currently available for rewards although this is likely to change in the future.
Bitstamp customer support review
Whilst there are a number of options to access the Bitstamp support team, there is no live chat function which is a shame as this is often the preferred means for investors to contact an exchange.
There are two main options for contacting the Bitstamp customer service team, email, and phone support. On a positive note, the phone support is available 24/7, however, the lack of live chat really seems to be letting support down.
Bitstamp have a disappointing 1.9 out of 5 on Trustpilot and whilst most of the reviews that mention customer service relay that the service is quick, they often add that the agent was unable to be of assistance.
Bitstamp opening an account
Opening an account with Bitstamp is fully digital and straightforward but does require verification in order to access the functionality of the Bitstamp platform.
To open your Bitstamp account you will need to go to the main website and follow these steps:
- Click ‘Register’ and enter your full legal name, email address and country of residence.
- Confirm your email address by clicking on the verification link that Bitstamp have emailed to you. This will release your unique account ID which you should take a note of as this is required for future logins to your account.
- Choose a strong password
- Increase your security by setting up two-factor authentication. This requires a unique code, extracted from your mobile phone each time you log into your account or attempt to withdraw funds.
- Enable two-factor authentication and make note of your authentication key. Download Google Authenticator and insert the key.
- Verify your identity. This is required of all cryptocurrency exchanges as part of regulation and is therefore a necessary evil. You will need your government-issued photo ID such as a passport or driving licence. In addition, you will require proof of residence such as a utility bill or council tax statement.
- Select ‘Verify’ followed by ‘personal account verification’
It will take around 24 hours for Bitstamp to verify your identity, after which time you will be ready to deposit funds.
Bitstamp is one of the safest cryptocurrency exchanges available with full regulation and licensing. They did experience a hack in 2015 which resulted in USD 5 million in stolen Bitcoin, however, this has resulted in additional security measures implemented by the exchange.
Bitstamp have European licencing as well as the following security measures in place:
Pin protected mobile app – all users are required to set a six-digit security number to ensure their account is protected from unauthorised entry.
PGP data encryption – PGP encryption provides protection for sending encrypted emails and encrypting sensitive files. This is the de facto standard for email security.
Withdrawal address whitelisting – option to set a whitelist of addresses where any withdrawals will be limited to.
2FA verification – requires users to present two or more methods of identity verification thus strengthening access security.
Ledger vault technology – This allows Bitstamp to secure all private keys without affecting the level of liquidity on the platform.
KYC – a requirement of all crypto platforms, Know Your Customer ensures all clients are fully identified by uploading personal information that is then verified by the site.
In addition to these security measures, 98% of client funds are held in cold storage reducing any chance of theft.
Bitstamp have low trading fees that are a maximum of 0.5%, however, for traders wishing to fund their account using a credit or debit card, the fee is 5% which is very high.
Trading fees at Bitstamp are on a sliding scale, whereby greater volumes of trading, attract lower trading fees. Regardless, they are considered low cost, although to achieve 0% you would have to trade a turnover volume of over $20,000,000,000 which is unachievable for most traders. Volumes of less than $10,000 in 30 days will be charged 0.50%. You are not required to use the advanced trading platform in order to access the platforms lowest fees.
In addition to trading fees, there are deposit and withdrawal fees to be aware of which vary according to the method you use:
|Payment Method||Deposit Fee||Withdrawal Fee|
|SEPA transfer||Free||3.00 EUR|
|Faster Payments||Free||2.00 GBP|
Should you choose the deposit money using a credit/debit card the fee is very high, however, you will be able to withdraw funds back to the bank account associated with the credit card.
This is a very straightforward pricing schedule, which, whilst it may not represent the most cost-effective solution available, is still regarded as good value.
Who is Bitstamp suitable for?
Even the Bitstamp website feels very focused on institutional investors and pro traders, however, the number of coins may be a little limited for this group and some of the more advanced cryptocurrency trading features are lacking. Sadly the sliding fee structure favours experienced traders so this wouldn’t really benefit beginners.
Therefore this platform is probably most suited to intermediate traders.
This section contains useful information to make your experience at the Bitstamp crypto exchange as seamless as possible.
How do I contact Bitstamp?
To contact the customer support team you will need to either open a support ticket via the main website or email [email protected].
How long do Bitstamp withdrawals take?
Withdrawals usually take 1-2 business days to reach your bank account. The exact time will depend on your method of withdrawal:
- SEPA zone transfer: 1–2 business days
- International wire transfer: 3–5 business days
- Domestic USD transfer: 1–2 business days
- ACH transfer: 1–2 business days
- FPS transfer: 1 business day
Which is better, Coinbase or Bitstamp?
There are plenty of similarities between the two cryptocurrency exchanges, both offer a hot wallet and are established providers. However, Coinbase currently supports 66 cryptocurrencies compared to Bitstamp’s 54 despite being more purposed to beginners. Coinbase also offer interest bearing accounts.
However, when it comes to fees, Bitstamp is slightly cheaper. Despite this Coinbase is a better option for most traders at the time of this Bitstamp exchange review.
Can I trust Bitstamp?
Do I need a wallet for Bitstamp?
As Bitstamp Exchange is primarily a platform that allows users to trade cryptocurrencies with each other in a safe environment, it does not offer a native wallet and as such you will need to store your funds in the platforms online wallet.
Bitstamp do recommend that you keep your Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies in a private wallet, in cold storage to protect you from hacks.