Vienna, Austria-based Bitpanda dubs itself “Europe’s most popular digital currency trading platform.” Previously known as Coinimal, Bitpanda made a European push in 2018, including expanding into the London market and raising the cap on bank transfers, much to the joy of traders. The European exchange supports the following coins - BTC, ETH, DASH, LTC, BCH and XRP.
In 2017, Bitpanda did transactions of EUR 600 million and the exchange is forecasting EUR 1 billion-plus in 2018. The exchange boasts 600,000 users on its trading platform.
Bitpanda, which supports two-factor authentication (2FA), earns high marks for security, as there haven’t been any public security breaches to speak of. But while they boast multiple payment methods, trading tools such as charting are basic, and fees are less than transparent.
It appears to be more of a payments platform for cryptocurrency versus a trading platform. If you may be looking to gain exposure to bitcoin or major altcoins and possibly hold for a while, this platform, which is fully automated, could be the one for you.
Bitpanda’s management team includes co-founder Eric Demuth, co-CEO Paul Klanschek and CTO Christian Trummer. They were inspired to launch Bitpanda after realizing the challenges associated with purchasing bitcoin in the EU, and as a result they have a focus on simplicity. The exchange, whose parent company is Bitpanda Gmph, was founded in 2014 and launched in cooperation with local authorities.
Here’s an interview Bitpanda’s management team about the Pantos ICO (which is discussed in greater detail below.)
Austrian central bankers have taken a hardline stance on cryptocurrencies, grouping them in the same camp as casinos. But Bitpanda has managed to solidify its presence by inking partnerships with the likes of Oesterreichische Post AG, which is the country’s state-owned postal service, where the exchange sells bitcoin vouchers of EUR 50, EUR 100 and EUR 500 across nearly 2,000 locations for wider acceptance. The vouchers can be redeemed for bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Dash, Bitcoin Cash or Litecoin.
· Operates throughout much of Europe
· Automated exchange so trades are completed “within seconds,” according to the exchange.
· Supports BTC and several altcoins, including BTC, ETH, DASH, LTC, BCH and XRP
· Accepts multiple payment options including credit cards for accounts with the highest level of ID verification
· They implemented SegWit in November 2018, which makes them more competitive on fees with other exchanges. BitPanda runs 100% on SegWit.
· They offer transaction batching, which means they process transactions in batches. They say this leads to lower transaction fees. As a result of SegWit and batching, Bitpanda says users can save as much as 80% on transactions.
· Cold storage for added security of user accounts
· Speed – the exchange says users can order coins in as fast as two minutes
· Users complain of non-transparent and “slightly higher” fees versus competitors
· Users want more coins, such as NEO
· Some users complain of fees that are too high, saying Bitpanda has “lost a customer” as a result.
· Some customers complain of support tickets that have been left unanswered for weeks
· No margin trading
· Users are begging for more coins, such as IOTA.
· Not open to US investors
Bitpanda isn’t very transparent on fees. The average commission is 1.5%, but they vary based on the payment method. The fee for credit card transactions is said to be as high as 5%, which surpasses that of rival exchanges. One user on Facebook complained of fees as high as EUR 8 per transaction. A Reddit poster complained of a 6.5% fee using Sofort as a payment method.
Bitpanda outlines the following features as a function of implementing SegWit –
1. “Lower transaction fees for Bitpanda wallet users (estimated 35% reduction in fees).”
2. “Increased scale of the blockchain network as there will now be less data per transaction”
3. “Automatically using the latest Bitcoin technology”
For security, Bitpanda recommends the following: two-factor authentication (2FA), for which they recommend Google Authenticator or Authy, a “strong and unique password” and applying 2FA to email.
The exchange boasts the following security features –
· SSL Certificate
· Two-factor authentication (2FA)
· Encrypted user data
· Trezor for cold storage
· Separate web and wallet servers
· SMS verification
The exchange has been around since 2014 and they haven’t suffered any known security breaches, so if history is any teacher that is a positive sign. It’s not that users haven’t run into issues accessing their funds, such as in the case with BCH after the bitcoin fork, but the exchange explained that users didn’t all follow the steps they had provided (more on this later.)
There are no chargebacks if a transaction is inadvertently sent to an incorrect wallet address.
Bitpanda execs want to see BTC regulated like gold, whose regulatory requirements are simpler versus securities. Bitpanda’s co-CEO Eric Demuth told Bloomberg: “Regulation provides us with more legitimacy. We’ve wanted to be regulated, but so far have been told that we cannot be.”
Considering that Bitpanda is not a global exchange, not everyone can use it. Investors must live in the EU to purchase coins, including Sweden, Norway and Croatia. And as previously mentioned, the exchange recently expanded into London, giving trading platform such as UK-based Bitstamp more competition. If a user’s phone number is rejected during the registration process, they won’t be able to proceed.
Bitpanda has several layers of verification that determine the limits associated with an account. These categories include: Starter, Bronze, Silver and Gold. Transaction limits including daily, monthly and total limits increase along with the level of the account.
Gold is the highest verification level. It requires a webcam interview performed via a third-party firm. Fellow traders recommend that you consider the quality of your webcam, and if it isn’t great, use something better such as the camera on your mobile phone. Quality matters.
There’s a passport or photo ID involved, one that has already been approved by Bitpanda, and the webcam process is complete within a matter of minutes. Gold has the following account features –
· Daily deposit limit of EUR 10,000 and sell limit of EUR 100,000
· Monthly deposit limit of EUR 300,000 and sell limit of EUR 2 million
· Total deposit limit of EUR 10 million and sell limit of the same.
· Credit card limits of the following: daily/EUR 2,500; monthly/EUR 300,000; total/EUR 5 million.
· Bank Transfer (SEPA) deposit limits of the following: daily/EUR 500; monthly/EUR 5 million; total EUR 10 million
· Bank Transfer (SEPA) withdrawal limits of the following: daily/EUR 500; monthly/EUR 5 million; total EUR 100 million
· Payment options: Sofort – transfer, Visa/Mastercard, Neteller, Skrill, Giropay/EPS, Bank transfer, Redeem Voucher and Euro Wallet.
· To verify your identity, you need IDNow and a webcam.
Silver, a category whose status appears to be pending, requires a mobile-number fueled verification process. Bronze has a mobile-number fueled verification process. Starter account has an email-driven verification process.
Here’s a look at the features for Bronze and Starter (the silver category says “coming soon.”
Credit card transactions only appear to be available to Gold-status customers, but as previously noted these transactions can fetch fees as high as 5%.
In conjunction with expanding into London, the European exchange lifted its trading ceiling to attract bitcoin whales. Then went from a EUR 2,500 limit to EUR 10,000 for purchases and withdrawals. Bank transfer maximums were also increased from EUR 10,000 to EUR 500,000.
Bitpanda also launched an over-the-counter (OTC) service designed for investors who are performing transactions worth at least EUR 1 million, which provides further evidence of the exchange looking to cater to big investors. Other bitcoin exchanges have similar features, such as WIX’s VIP Premium Plan.
To use Bitpanda’s OTC service, users must complete a form and meet certain requirements. Other users who are looking to bolster their limits should contact support.
Bitpanda outlines its payment options, including the following –
· SEPA transfer
· Bitpanda vouchers/gift certificates
For customers who use credit card payments, the card issuer may attach additional fees that are out of the exchange’s control.
Bitpanda Office/Courtesy: Facebook
Bitpanda is also behind Pantos.io, which is an open-source research project for which they performed an ICO in Q1 2018. Pantos is a multi-blockchain token system, and it’s designed to streamline what the exchange characterizes as a fragmented blockchain space. Bitpanda plans to direct the funds raised from the token sale toward R&D of open source technologies, as per a company blog post.
The ICO also extended to an airdrop event for users on the Bitpanda platform in which 10 million PAN tokens were earmarked for distribution.
The registration process for Pantos is fueled by the Bitpanda website, where participants either log in or create an account. They can then proceed to acquire tokens by either by purchasing cryptocurrencies supported by the exchange or investing via a separate digital wallet. The Pantos tokens were scheduled to arrive in the wallets of deal participants when the ICO was over.
When Bitcoin Cash launched, it caused confusion among the best of cryptocurrency exchanges, and Bitpanda was no exception. At first, they advised users who were interested in having BCH to withdraw their BTC from the exchange. But they said that many users did not follow that advice.
Bitpanda had a change of heart and decided to support BCH. Though there were some delays with user accounts being credited with BCH. Bitpanda they also updated their policy on bitcoin forks, stating they won’t “blindly” support any BTC fork.
The reviews on Bitpanda are largely positive. But Bitpanda has suffered some setbacks. For instance, the ETH wallet was offline amid problems with their ETH nodes, which forced them to put the wallet into maintenance mode in January 2018. It gave users who were trying to transact with the coin a scare.
They got the ETH wallet back online, and users were mostly satisfied except to say that the exchange should have communicated through the downtime better.
Another forum posted that their account was terminated in response to a user complaint, which seems like an extreme response to a problem. But the Bitpanda CEO responded on the forum, saying:
“Not to add oil into the fire, but there are things we can’t disclose publicly (because we value user privacy) that lead to the closure of the account. Complaining in public will not get your account banned,” he assured.
Users also complain about functionality with some of the altcoins. For instance, while Ripple (XRP) was added, it’s only available for trading and not deposits and withdrawals, as per Bitpanda followers on Twitter.
Other negative experiences may surround a support ticket that has gone left unanswered for a couple of weeks or so. Other users, however, are quick to defend the exchange, acknowledging that while it may not be perfect Bitpanda is the “best” around in Europe.
One Reddit user complained about a SEPA transaction taking at least a week, which they said rivaled the amount of time it took on Coinbase. Another Reddit poster documented a similar delay with SEPA, which other users chalked up to stringent anti-money laundering processes. Other users advised this investor to use a different payment method, to which they responded:
“With SEPA I get no charges from Bitpanda and only a 9-pound flat fee from my bank, so it works out a lot cheaper.”
And they have upset a user or two with delays, as evidenced by the following comments on Facebook –
Another user complained he had EUR 2,000 “hanging” for two weeks, but Bitpanda didn’t appear to reply to his concern, at least not on Facebook.
Many of the users on bitcointalk.org have had a positive experience on Bitpanda, with one user saying that they experienced some issues but that the exchange’s support team handled it fine.
They launched a new help center including a support ticketing system at the beginning of 2018 to improve the customer experience. To contact support, email [email protected].
Bitpanda is a simple platform, but it’s one that hasn’t been plagued with any security breaches. While the exchange seems appropriate for someone who is looking to buy and hold or convert from fiat money or another coin, their lofty transaction limits of EUR 1 million or more suggest they’re catering to even the most sophisticated investors. Certainly, if you’re based in Austria or just about anywhere in the European Union, not to mention London most recently, this platform is a good and secure option for simple buy and sell transactions. But fees are higher than average.