Last Updated On December 26th, 2019
HitBTC is one of the oldest and highest volume cryptocurrency exchanges in the world. It has a reputation for strong security and advanced trading features but has recently been plagued by negative reviews relating to ID verification policies. In this HitBTC review, we’ll try to answer the top questions including:
- What is HitBTC?
- Where is HitBTC located?
- Is HitBTC safe?
Be fully informed as this article guides you through the major features of this exchange as well as fees, deposit/withdrawal processes, and HitBTC security. We’ll also walk you through the account creation process and show you how to make your first trade on the platform.
HitBTC is said to be a Hong Kong based cryptocurrency exchange established in 2013 by a group of finance professionals and technical specialists. It describes itself as the world’s most advanced cryptocurrency exchange. HitBTC is a centralized exchange that allows trading of a wide variety of cryptocurrency, including most major altcoins.
It is one of the largest exchanges currently in operation, averaging more than $250 million per 24 hour trading period. The exchange itself is designed with traders in mind. It has very high coin availability and liquidity. On the technical side, it has been described as having very good fault tolerance.
HitBTC originally allowed trading without ID verification but has recently implemented significant KYC requirements for users. At the moment HitBTC is a purely crypto exchange so it doesn’t permit any trading of money or fiat currencies.
Despite being a well-established exchange, there have been significant concerns raised about HitBTC. These center on its ID verification policies and some major red flags regarding account locks and support issues.
Sign up & Identification
For a number of years, HitBTC didn’t require users to register for an account or provide ID verification. This has certainly changed now. The account creation process itself is quick and simple. All you’ll need is an email address and a password and you’re good to go. Unfortunately, the ID verification is much less straightforward.
HitBTC doesn’t require ID verification to deposit funds or make trades. However, any attempt to withdraw funds will trigger an immediate ID verification requirement. This isn’t clearly spelled out in their support page and the process itself is very inconsistent.
Unlike many other large exchanges, HitBTC doesn’t have a standardized ID verification process in place. Most exchanges require a set of forms and the submission of an ID photo to an automated verification that takes a week at most. HitBTC requires you to begin a slow and haphazard process through email.
Users report very long response times at every stage of the process, sometimes as long as 72 hours for a simple receipt confirmation. There is no standardized set of documents or requirements for ID verification and users have been asked to provide everything from government IDs, passports, social security numbers, bank statements, and proof of address to social media posts.
Many users remain unable to access their withdrawn funds even months after submitting their ID verification.
Deposit & Withdrawal Methods
When deciding on the best cryptocurrency exchange for your needs, ease of deposits and withdrawals is a major factor. Thankfully, HitBTC has straightforward policies regarding account funding and withdrawals as well as an easy to use system for getting started.
It’s possible to deposit most of the cryptocurrencies HitBTC allows trading for. There are limited exceptions to this but all major coins are supported.
HitBTC doesn’t currently support direct crypto purchases using money or fiat currencies but it does let you purchase Bitcoin through a partnership with Changelly. This allows you to use your credit or debit card to get an initial Bitcoin balance of .0006 BTC to use for trading. You can read our article on Changelly to learn more about it.
Deposits take a few hours to process on average.
The withdrawal process for HitBTC is the same as the deposit. You select the currency balance you wish to withdraw and then enter in your destination address. Make sure you check the current withdrawal fee before processing your transaction.
Word of warning, there have been a large number of user reports that HitBTC is accepting withdrawal requests then freezing them. Users have been required to perform a drawn-out ID verification process that only sometimes results in the funds being released. Cryptocurrencies can have significant value changes in hours. Having your funds locked up for weeks or months at a time can be devastating.
One of the most important aspects of a centralized cryptocurrency exchange like HitBTC is the number of supported altcoins. For advanced traders running complicated trading strategies, a wide range of available trading pairs is absolutely essential. HitBTC definitely doesn’t disappoint here.
HitBTC uses a taker/maker trading fee system and a range of deposit and withdrawal fees. Takers, those who remove liquidity from the market, are charged a flat fee of .1% for every transaction. Makers, those who add liquidity to the market, receive a .01% rebate for every trade they facilitate.
HitBTC keeps the remaining .09% to cover its operating costs. It set up this system to encourage liquidity and narrow the spread on cryptocurrency markets.
There aren’t any standardized withdrawal fees from HitBTC. The fee will vary depending on a number of factors such as the currency, current market conditions, and the amount you’re withdrawing. Users have reported that fees are often far higher than similar network fees in other exchanges.
HitBTC only charges a fee for deposits of Bitcoin, .0006 BTC per deposit. This is a flat transaction fee and doesn’t change based on the amount deposited. If you attempt to deposit less than this amount the deposit will fail.
Like most major exchanges, HitBTC encourages users to take precautions when creating and securing their accounts. It allows users to set up two-factor authentication and promotes a whitelist feature that allows users to lock withdrawals to registered addresses.
If the whitelist is enabled, you will only be able to withdraw cryptocurrency to whitelisted addresses. This prevents a hacker from adding new addresses to your account for 48 hours after they gain access. If you go through the password recovery process, there will also be a 48-hour lock on withdrawals.
HitBTC is based on traditional stock trading applications and is reported to have well-designed security systems and processes. User information is kept encrypted at all times and the majority of non-trading funds are stored offline. If you view your account homepage, you’ll notice a security log. This provides you with the IP address and details of all login attempts and user sessions related to your account.
Overall, HitBTC is meeting or exceeding currency cryptocurrency exchange best practices.
Is HitBTC legit?
While HitBTC has taken significant steps to protect users from outside bad actors, the same can’t be said with certainty about the exchange itself. There have been troubling reports from a significant number of users claiming HitBTC has frozen their accounts and locked their funds without explanation.
Many users report receiving repetitive ID verification requests and generally getting a run around when trying to regain access to their accounts. Even more worrying are repudiations of user complaints on sites like Reddit that appear to originate from fake accounts set up by HitBTC.
There are other concerning signs related to HitBTC’s practices. It’s unclear where the company is headquartered, who currently owns it, or if there are any financial auditing practices in place.
As it stands now our HitBTC review cannot say with confidence that HitBTC is legit.
Since its creation, HitBTC has tried to set itself apart from other exchanges by the responsiveness, liquidity, and advanced trading features it allows. It markets itself as having the most advanced API in the cryptocurrency space and provides experienced traders with the most effective way to speculate in altcoins. Anyone who’s ever traded in stocks or other traditional securities will recognize HitBTC’s interface. It’s characterized by candlestick graphs and purchase history charts.
HitBTC allows a range of advanced limit based trading techniques. This lets traders put a significant date and value limits on their transactions in pursuit of advanced strategies. As mentioned in the fee section, HitBTC supports a maker/taker trading setup. This allows users to add or remove liquidity at their convenience.
HitBTC has also implemented Over the Counter (OTC) trading to try and entice institutional and other large-volume investors to the platform. OTC trading only allows the use of the standard .1% fee and requires a minimum volume per trade of $100,000.
As of this writing, HitBTC doesn’t have any app support. It’s only available as a mobile site, with all the limitations that imply. The site is functional on mobile but certainly doesn’t provide the same level of utility as some other app-based exchanges.
There’s no getting around it, HitBTC has awful customer support. It has the standard selection of support articles. This guides you to create an account and deal with basic issues. Beyond that, it really drops the ball. Live support is effectively nonexistent for HitBTC and email requests have a long response time.
There is a ticket system that allows users to file a help request but it has the same reported response times as through email. If the problem was just that it was difficult to get ahold of HitBTC, their customer support would rank average compared to other cryptocurrency exchanges in general. Unfortunately, HitBTC does even worse.
Users have reported receiving conflicting pieces of advice in badly broken English. Account security issues aren’t escalated or dealt with appropriately to their severity. Overall the general caliber of responses is subpar at best.
Ease of Use
HitBTC has the stated goal of being the most advanced cryptocurrency exchange in the world. Its website and overall technical proficiency tend to support this.
The exchange is laid out much like a stock site, with trading information and sales records presented next to candlestick graphs order screens. The information is clearly presented and it’s easy to hit the ground running if you have experience using trading platforms.
HitBTC’s fund interface is equally user-friendly. Depositing and withdrawing funds requires just a few clicks and scrolling to select the cryptocurrency you want to view.
Getting your account up and trading on HitBTC is a very quick and pain-free process. Start by navigating to HitBTC’s homepage. When dealing with any financial site it’s very important to make sure you’re on a legitimate site. Always check to be sure you have a secure HTTPS connection, noticeable by a small lock logo just before the URL, and that all security certificates are valid.
To begin trading on HitBTC you’ll need to create an account. The homepage guides you to do this. There are two buttons that can help you. In the top right corner, you can select Register to be taken to the main account creation page. The second is to enter your email and a secure password in the registration fields on the home page, then press Start Trading Now.
Once you’ve agreed to all terms and conditions your account is active and ready to go. While you can simply fund your account and start trading at this point, we highly recommend you set up two-factor authentication before you do.
On the top right-hand corner of the main screen, you’ll view several icons. Click on the small gear icon to be taken to account settings. Once there you’ll need to select the Security tab, then scroll down to two-factor authentication.
HitBTC requires you to use an authenticator app rather than a phone number. This is a much more secure method given recent reports of sim jacking. Use your chosen authenticator app to take a picture of the QR code on your screen. You can also enter in the key manually. Next, you’ll need to confirm the provided code to bind your account to the app.
You can also set up your account whitelist if you so choose. This allows you to block withdrawal transfers from any wallet you haven’t pre-approved. Select Whitelist from the tabs at the top of your screen and choose Enable Whitelist. You can then add in as many different approved wallets as you like, for as many currencies as you wish to trade. Keep in mind though that you won’t be able to withdraw any funds for a 48-hour period after your activate or modify your whitelist.
Verify Your Account
Technically, HitBTC doesn’t require ID verification to trade and use its platform. In practice, you’ll have to complete an ID verification once you try to withdraw your funds.
Sadly, HitBTC doesn’t make this process easy. Unlike other exchanges that partner with ID processing companies, HitBTC requires you to go through a lengthy and somewhat confusing email process. You’ll need to submit your information to [email protected]. Required ID and other information can include:
- Full name and birthdate
- Country of residence
- Banking information
- Proof of employment
- Government issued ID
- Proof of your residence
- Proof that you own your bank account
The response time on ID verification emails is reported as being substantially longer than at other exchanges. In some cases, HitBTC representatives will ask for further information before processing your verification.
Fund Your Account
HitBTC allows you to fund your account using any cryptocurrency they support. The only deposit fee is for Bitcoin, .0006 BTC per deposit.
To deposit your existing crypto into HitBTC first log in to your account. Select the green Deposit button located among the account icons in the top right of the screen. You’ll view a long list of cryptocurrency with deposit and withdrawal options. Choose the cryptocurrency you wish to deposit and click on deposit.
A drop down tab will open up with a receiving wallet address. Copy this address into your depositing wallet and begin the transaction. It usually takes several hours for a deposit request to process.
If you don’t already own cryptocurrency you can purchase Bitcoin through HitBTC’s partnership with Changelly. Follow the steps above to get to the main deposit window, then click on the Buy Bitcoin with Credit Card button located just above the list of cryptocurrencies. This will take you to its fiat purchase processor to allow you to buy Bitcoin using your money.
Select the amount of Bitcoin you wish to purchase and copy your HitBTC Bitcoin address into the wallet address field. Type in your payment card and personal information and proceed to the ID verification window.
You’re required to provide ID verification before you can complete the purchase of Bitcoin. You will need to provide your full name, address, a government ID, and a selfie of your holding said ID. Once you are verified you will be able to complete the transaction and begin the transfer.
Always double check that you have entered the correct wallet address when transacting with cryptocurrency. Blockchain transactions are inherently irreversible. Any mistake here will result in the loss of your funds.
Trading on HitBTC
Now that you’ve set up and funded your account it’s time to start trading. If you’re still logged in navigate to the HitBTC homepage and select the Exchange tab. This will open up the main listing of cryptocurrencies and allow you to select the coin you are interested in.
HitBTC allows you to trade as either a taker or a maker so you’ll have a few decisions to make. If you just want to buy a coin at the prevailing market rate enter in the amount you desire and press Buy. Your order will process as soon as possible but at the standard fee of .1%. If you instead choose to place a limit maker order you will receive a .01% rebate for the value of your trade. If you want to make more strategic moves it’s possible to set up a range of scaled orders for eventual execution.
You can also access the API using REST, FIX or WebSocket to utilize automated trading programs.
Withdraw Your Cryptocurrency
On paper, the withdrawal process should be as easy the deposit process. Start by selecting the Deposit icon from the top right corner of your screen. You’ll need to have an external wallet setup for each cryptocurrency you wish to withdraw. If you’re planning on holding them for a while, it’s a good idea to invest in an offline hardware wallet.
On your account balance page scroll down to your chosen currency and select ‘Withdraw’. At this point, you may view a message warning about network instability or overload. This message will let you know it could take up to four weeks to process your withdrawal.
If you choose to proceed anyway, you’ll be taken to the withdrawal window and asked to enter in the amount you wish to withdraw and your destination address. You’ll also be quoted the withdrawal fee.
Once this is completed your withdrawal will begin and hopefully be completed shortly thereafter.
HitBTC has a long history for a cryptocurrency exchange, and there’s a lot to like about it. It has a well-designed and highly responsive interface that offers advanced trading features on a wide variety of cryptocurrencies. Its overall security is robust, trading fees are low, and its volume is quite respectable.
Unfortunately, the cloud of uncertainty surrounding trapped user funds and the lack of a coherent response from HitBTC has brought its legitimacy into question. Until it resolves this issue and improves its responsiveness to customer concerns, for this HitBTC review, we have no choice but to recommend our readers to avoid HitBTC.