Last Updated On December 26th, 2019
Bitstamp is one of the oldest cryptocurrency exchanges online, and has been an active trading hub since the earliest days of the cryptocurrency environment. As the Bitstamp exchange has a long tenure in the industry it has been the subject of heated debate, targeted by digital terrorists, and even suffered from a serious high-level hack, but has remained a strong force in the exchange ecosystem.
Bitstamp is geared toward more serious investors and has developed a reputation for rapidly adapting to the ever-changing cryptocurrency market. In this Bitstamp review, we’ll take a look at the key features of the platform and provide a short guide on how to get set up and trading.
What is Bitstamp?
Bitstamp is one of the largest exchanges in the world, and is a long-standing member of the top ten exchanges by volume online. Bitstamp is one of the four exchanges that determine the CoinDesk Bitcoin Price Index and is used alongside GDAX, itBit and Kraken to calculate the CME CF Bitcoin Reference Rate. Thus, Bitstamp exerts an extremely powerful influence on the cryptocurrency market as a whole.
Founded by Nejc Kodrič in 2011, Bitstamp was created as a partnership between Kodrič and Damijan Merlak as a competitor to the then-dominant Mt. Gox exchange. Bitstamp was based in Kodrič’s native Slovenia, until a lack of financial infrastructure in the country led Kodrič and Damijan to relocate the exchange’s operational base to the UK.
After the disastrous 2014 Mt. Gox Exchange catastrophe, which resulted in the loss of more than $460 million worth of Bitcoin, BitStamp surpassed the defunct exchange to become the dominant trading platform in the cryptocurrency space. Bitstamp’s statement on the Mt. Gox scandal can still be viewed here.
Bitstamp has maintained a proactive approach to adhering to KYC and AML practices since inception, and thus was the first exchange to be granted a national payment institution license by Luxembourg in 2016, making it the first officially-licensed cryptocurrency exchange in history.
One of the most commonly asked questions regarding the platform is “Where is Bitstamp located?”— the answer to this question is slightly complex. While Bitstamp is registered in the UK, this registration is, in fact, held under the name of UK PLC, a company formation services platform. Given the fact that Bitstamp’s payment institution license is issued in Luxembourg, it’s probable that the platform is based in both Slovenia and Luxembourg.
Bitstamp is highly popular in the EU, as it’s payment institution license makes it easy for individuals in all 28 EU states to fund accounts via SEPA transfers. The platform offers robust feature set, prepaid crypto debit and credit cards, and strong regulatory compliance, all of which make it a driving force in the cryptocurrency market.
Bitstamp Signup & Identification
Unlike other exchanges, Bitstamp doesn’t allow unverified accounts to trade, which is largely due to the fact that it facilitates direct bank transfers, credit card payments, and integrates with traditional financial institutions. To get started with Bitstamp, you’ll need to provide the platform with government-issued ID and verify your identity.
Bitstamp states that verification can take up to two business days, but with the current influx of new users into the cryptocurrency trading space this timeframe is likely to be closer to one week. There are no trade limits on Bitstamp for verified users, which makes it attractive to larger market players.
Bitstamp signup involves email and ID verification, two-factor authentication setup, and account funding. As such, it takes a little longer than exchanges such as Binance, but offers a number of advantages such as fiat currency payment support.
Deposit & Withdrawal Methods
Bitstamp offers both wallet services and fiat funding options, which means it’s possible to fund your Bitstamp account with a diverse range of methods. Verified Bitstamp users are able to fund their accounts with SEPA transfers or direct bank wire transfer in EUR , GBP, CHF, or USD— although the former three fiat currencies are converted into USD by Bitstamp upon deposit.
It’s also possible to purchase Bitcoin directly with a credit card, although this does incur hefty fees. Withdrawals are possible via SEPA transactions within the EU, or via international wire transfer for GBP, USD, and CHF. Withdrawals in the SEPA zone take 2-3 business days, while international wire transfers take up to 5 business days.
Bitstamp deposit methods include cryptocurrencies such Ripple, Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, and Litecoin. These cryptos can be withdrawn or deposited free of charge from Bitstamp wallets.
Like many exchanges, Bitstamp offers scaling fees that depend upon user trade volume. All trading pairs are charged at the same fee % based on the last 30 days of trading volume, beginning at 0.25% for users with a trading volume lower than $20,000 in value.
- Purchasing Bitcoin via credit or debit card on Bitstamp incurs a hefty 5% fee.
- International wire transfer funding incurs a 0.05% fee, with a minimum fee of $7.5 USD and a maximum fee of $300 USD
- SEPA deposits are free
- Cryptocurrency deposits are free
- Debit card withdrawals are possible, but incur a flat fee of $10 of amounts up to $1000 USD. Debit card withdrawals above this amount incur a 2% fee
- International wire withdrawals incur a fee of 0.09%, with a minimum fee of $15 USD
- SEPA withdrawals incur a flat 0.90 EUR fee
- Cryptocurrency withdrawals are free
Minimum Trade Amounts
Bitstamp imposes minimum trade amounts:
- Minimum allowable trades for EUR denominated trading pairs begin at 5 EUR
- Minimum allowable trades for BTC denominated trading pairs begin at 0.001 BTC
- Other trading pairs are denominated at the current fiat currency of the specific trading pair, and are set at 5 units of the fiat currency.
Bitstamp has had a long history in the cryptocurrency market, and has been subjected to hacking attacks, cyberterrorist extortion attempts, and more. While the platform is known to be extremely safe and secure in the present day, some of the most common questions asked regarding the exchange are “Is Bitstamp safe?” and “Is Bitstamp legit?”
At this point in time, Bitstamp is one of the safest and most secure exchanges online. Part of the reason Bitstamp is so trusted is the rapid and decisive response of the Bitstamp team to the various security incidents that have occurred over the history of the exchange.
In February 2014 Bitstamp temporarily suspended withdrawals due to a cyberterrorist DDOS attack threat. Hackers attempted to extort CEO Nejc Kodrič out of 75 BTC— a request that was outright denied, with the exchange returning to normal functionality within days. The original threat, sent by pseudonymous cyberterrorist “DarkRobinHood”, can be viewed here.
The worst security breach in Bitstamp history occurred in January 2015, in which 19,000 BTC— worth $5.1 million USD— were stolen in a hot wallet hack. Bitstamp was quick to respond, however, and ensured that all account balances prior to the hack were honoured:
“We would like to reassure all Bitstamp customers that their balances held prior to our temporary suspension of services will not be affected and will be honoured in full.”
Bitstamp benefits from a long tenure in the cryptocurrency industry, and so possesses arguably one of the most robust strategies for dealing with potential threats. More than 98% of all capital held in the Bitstamp wallet system is stored in cold wallets, with the majority of customer funds held in offline secure vaults.
All cold-storage funds held by Bitstamp are fully insured, with two-factor authentication and mandatory email confirmation for all account activities. Email and SMS alerts are also available through Bitstamp.
Bitstamp is available in all Eurozone countries, and has recently delivered new set of features for Bitcoin USA customers. American Bitstamp customers have been able to purchase crypto with credit card since May 2017. Bitstamp Hawaii customers, however, are currently experiencing some issues with the platform as new legislation requires money transmitters to obtain licensure to transmit crypto.
The Bitstamp App allows users to trade and manage their accounts on the go, making it possible to deposit and withdraw bitcoins directly, make payments with QR Codes, receive real-time market data, and is secured with PIN authentication. The app is available for both iOS and Android.
One of the most interesting features delivered by Bitstamp is that since 2015 the platform has been offering USD, EUR or GBP denominated prepaid Bitstamp Credit cards or Bitstamp debit cards. These cards can be used to make fiat purchases directly with cryptocurrency.
Aside from these features, Bitstamp offers an intuitive, if complex, trading view, strong liquidity, and a commanding presence in the cryptocurrency market. Language support is available for English, Dutch, Italian, Polish, Slovenian, Finnish, Czech, and Russian.
Users are also able to protect their account with two-factor authentication via Google Authenticator. Advanced users are able to access and control their accounts with custom software via the Bitstamp API, which is highly attractive to investors interested in the potential of Bitstamp automated trading.
Bitstamp currently supports the following currencies:
Customer support is a major issue with most exchanges online today, with many users experiencing significant wait times when submitting support tickets. Bitstamp offers a comprehensive FAQ page, and typically responds to email requests within 72 hours.
Unlike most exchanges, however, Bitstamp offers a UK based phone number for phone support.
Ease of Use
Bitstamp offers a highly intuitive tradeview feature that, while somewhat complex, offers a rich tool set that provides users with the ability to chart technical indicators such as accumulative swing index, ATR bands, Bollinger bands, and more. More than 11 different tools can be used in complex technical analysis
This interface makes observing market trends extremely easy, streamlines order placement, and presents open orders in a simple fashion. Account management is managed via a convenient top menu, which presents Account, Buy / Sell, Deposit, and Withdrawal links, along with a link to the Tradeview.
The funding interface is particularly easy to use on Bitstamp, and presents a clean breakdown of all available payment methods:
Getting Started With Bitstamp
To get started with Bitstamp, you’ll need to navigate to the Bitstamp website. Always make sure you’re on the real Bitstamp website, however— you can check this by ensuring that the URL in the address bar of your browser is complete with the “secure” certificate:
1. Create an Account
After submitting these details, you’ll need to confirm your email address by clicking the verification link sent to your email address. Bitstamp will provide you with a login and password in this email. When you use these details to log in, you’ll be asked to update this password immediately:
It’s important to use a strong password when creating exchange accounts. Sites like Secure Password Generator make creating a highly secure password simple.
2. Verify Your Account
After changing your password you’ll need to log in again with the new password, and will be prompted to verify your account. As you’re likely registering as an individual, click “Personal Account Verification”
This process can be a little complex, so we’ll proceed to break it down step by step. Firstly, you’ll need to enter your personal details exactly as they appear on your identity documents.
The next section will require a high resolution image of your government-issued ID document. Make sure this document is valid, clearly defined, and visible in its entirety. You’ll need to upload both front and back side images, enter the validity dates of the document, the document number, and the document type.
Lastly, you’ll need to upload your proof of residence documents. Acceptable proof of residence documents include:
- Bank account statements
- Utility bills
- Government-issued documents such as tax statements or certificates or residency
When you’ve filled out this form and uploaded the relevant documents, click “Submit Verification Request”. Your verification request should be processed within a few days, at which point you’ll be able to fund your account.
3. Fund Your Account
You can fund your Bitstamp account via a range of different options, which can be found via the “Deposit” link at the right of the top menu bar. Bitstamp provides simple, easy to follow instructions for each of the funding options available.
Keep in mind that cryptocurrency and SEPA deposits are free, while international bank transfers incur a fee. Some funding methods take longer than others.
Trading on Bitstamp
Now your account is funded, you’re ready to start trading!
To trade on Bitstamp, you’ll need to click the “Tradeview” link at the right of the top menu bar, which will take you to an interface that looks like this:
2. Select a Trading Pair
To select your trading pair, click the trading pair highlighted in red in the above image. A drop-down box will offer a selection of trading pairs. For this article, we’ll look a the BTC/USD pair.
3. Place a Buy Order
For this example, we’ll place an instant order. Orders are placed in the right-hand panel. We’re going to click “Instant” under “Open New Order”. Enter the amount of USD you’d like to spend, and Bitstamp will provide you with the amount of BTC your capital will buy. When you’re satisfied with the amount, click the green “Buy” button.
When your order is complete, you will be able to view your BTC holdings by clicking your name at the top right of the Tradeview interface.
4. Withdraw Your Cryptocurrency
It’s always best to withdraw your cryptocurrency holdings after trading to a secure cold wallet or a hardware wallet to eliminate the threat of exchange hacks. To withdraw from your Bitstamp account, click “View My Account” under the drop-down box that appears when you click your name at the top right of the Tradeview interface.
From here, you’ll need to click the “Withdrawal” link at the right of the top menu. Clicking the “Bitcoin (BTC)” link will provide you with a simple step-by-step process that allows you to transfer your BTC to a safer wallet. For maximum security, it’s best to use a hardware wallet such as the Trezor or the Ledger Nano S.
Bitstamp may have stringent ID verification requirements, but this has made it one of the strongest exchanges in the cryptocurrency market and allows it to offer a broad range of payment options.
Is Bitstamp a technical, professional exchange? Yes. Is Bitstamp a wallet? Yes. Does Bitstamp offer the make it possible to benefit from a Bitstamp bonus code? Also yes. If you’re looking for an exchange that works closely with regulatory bodies, delivers a wide range of technical functionality, and provides competitive rates, Bitstamp is a great option.