Exchange Review: itBit

itBit
  • Editor Rating
  • Rated 3.2 stars
  • 64%

  • itBit
  • Reviewed by:
  • Published on:
  • Last modified: November 4, 2016
  • Trades
    Editor: 51%
  • Funding
    Editor: 43%
  • Compliance
    Editor: 88%
  • Platform
    Editor: 64%
  • Help & Support
    Editor: 77%

Founded in 2013, itBit has established itself among the big cryptocurrency exchanges. The company originally had its headquarter in Singapore, but has moved to New York in 2014. Despite a decrease in market share over the past few months, it is still in the top-10 Bitcoin exchanges by (USD) volume.

Trades

ItBit enables its users to trade USD, EUR or SGD against Bitcoin. The liquidity in these currency pairs is quite good, as the bid-ask spreads for USD/BTC and EUR/BTC are about 15 basis points (0.15 percent). For SGD/BTC this spread is even near zero percent. Besides this spread, itBit charges a 50 basis points taker fee. This is rather high, but on the other hand makers get a 10 basis points rebate when their trade execute. Most exchanges simply offer a lower trading fee to makers, hence this rebate is a rare find. Still, the change is expensive for those who do not wish to run the risk of not having their order executed.

The exchange does not offer many trading functionalities, given that the only available order type is a limit order. Market orders and, more importantly, advanced order types such as stop-loss orders are not available. ItBit also does not offer support for margin trading/short selling.

Funding

As common for most international Bitcoin exchanges, funding an account with fiat currencies through an international transfer is also a painful process at itBit. For a USD wire transfer the fees are bad and the time to process a transfer is worse. The exchange charges $5 for deposits and $30 for withdrawals, which is an additional cost besides those charged by the intermediary bank (ranging from $15 to $65 per transfer). Furthermore, transactions typically take multiple days to be processed. It does not help that itBit has a default 72 hour withdrawal holding period.

European (SEPA-zone) users will find the process a bit less painful, as SEPA transfers cost a lot less. Even so, transfer processing times are not a whole lot better.

Compliance

The exchange was officially launched in November 2013 and originally had its headquarter in Singapore. In 2014, it moved its headquarter to New York. The company is registered in the New York business register with its legal name itBit Pte. Ltd. with ID# 4543080. It has also been registered with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) as a Money Services Business (MSB) with registration number 31000041190003.

In May 2015, itBit became the first fully regulated digital currency exchange in the U.S. after being granted a banking license in New York State. With the license, itBit can operate legally in all 50 states. Being regulated like a bank means that the exchange will be subjected to audits of states and the required capital levels in case of failure. Audited areas include consumer protection practices, cybersecurity standards and anti-money laundering safeguards. Lastly, itBit also offers FDIC insurance on all fiat balances held by U.S. clients (up to $250,000).

Platform

A lot of effort seems to have been put into the design of itBit’s platform. The end result has been a very neat and easy to use platform. It is a pleasure to the eyes, and it has also been optimized for mobile use. It is too bad that the design has clearly come at the cost of speed. For mobile users this is even worse, thus leaving little benefit of the responsive design. In trading, and especially in highly volatile Bitcoin markets, every second counts.

Help & Support

ItBit has managed to set an example with regard to the information offered at its website. The support center offers an extensive FAQ that seems to cover any relevant question concerning the exchange, its policies or functionalities and Bitcoin in general. The exchange even has an education library dedicated to the latter. A tiny remark has to be made on this one, as the available guides are a bit one-sided. The benefits of Bitcoin are covered extensively, yet, the risks involved with Bitcoin are not included. Should any questions remain unanswered then the additional support options are limited, as it will have to be requested via email for international customers.

Pros

• Fully regulated exchange
• Extensive guides

Cons

• Relatively expensive
• No margin trading/short selling