With cryptocurrencies being such a new technology, choosing which exchange to trade on can be a hard decision. It can be especially hard to cut through all the noise coming from new ICOs announcing, “revolutionary new exchange!”
The purpose of this post is to provide a simple review of Bittrex, its core components, and a few factors that I deem most important when looking for an exchange.
I’d also like to preface this post by reminding you that holding cryptocurrencies on an exchange means that you do not have control of your private keys. This means that if the exchange closes, gets hacked, etc. you will likely lose your crypto holdings!
I keep a small portion of my portfolio on an exchange (for active trading) the rest of my holdings are kept either in deep cold storage or on a hard wallet. My preferred hard wallet is the Trezor (this is not a paid endorsement nor is it an affiliate link, I just like and use the product).
1). Overall Website Aesthetic/User Experience:
Bittrex isn’t the prettiest of exchanges. It boasts a pretty lean design that gives information to you in a very minimalistic way.
As far as navigation goes, I find it pretty easy to surf through the whole Bittrex site. Information is typically where you would expect it to be.
2). The Charts/Data:
Upon clicking on a cryptocurrency, you’ll find an informational page that’s pretty well-organized. The first time I opened up this page on Bittrex I was quite surprised with the chart. It’s intuitive to use and has a wide variety of studies that you can run on it.
To the right of that, you’ll find the last price, bid/ask, volume, etc. Below all that is the portion where you actually execute your trades. In my opinion, this could use some work. The trading process on Bittrex isn’t all too intuitive (especially if you aren’t an experienced trader).
When I place a trade, I manually look for the price I want in the “ASKS” book on the right hand side of the page. Once you click on the price in the “ASKS” book, it will enter it into the buy field of the trading menu. Following that, you can simply enter in the amount that your looking to buy and then submit.
Bittrex does not currently offer margin trading on their exchange. Therefore, short-selling is not a usable tactic. This is my only major issue with Bittrex.
There are many reasons why adding margin trading can be tricky on their end; however, I’ve read in several places that they have a plan to implement it over the coming months.
4). Mobile App:
Bittrex does not currently have a mobile app. There are several third-party mobile apps available. You can trade on these apps by setting up an API key; however, I choose not to use them for security reasons.
Instead, I use an app called Blockfolio (note: I have no affiliation to Blockfolio). On the app, you can just enter in the currency that you bought, the price you bought it at, and the amount that you bought and the app will begin tracking your portfolio.
Blockfolio is simple to use/setup, it has a nice user interface, and it gets the job done.
Bittrex’s fees are pretty standard to the rest of the industry: .25%
The deposit/withdrawal process on Bittrex is the industry standard: using crypto wallets/addresses to send/receive currency.
I’m a big Coinbase fan, so I typically buy Bitcoin on Coinbase and then transfer it over to Bittrex.
I’ve read a few horror stories about people who have issues withdrawing from Bittrex and not being able to get a hold of support (as similar with other exchanges, though there appears to be much less complaints about Bittrex in comparison).
Though, I’ve never personally had an issue depositing or withdrawing from Bittrex (I always withdraw in Bitcoin).
7). Verification Process:
If you’ve ever tried to get verified on the Poloniex exchange, you’ve probably had a pretty poor experience. The instructions are confusing and the support is equally as useless.
I’ve found Bittrex to be the complete opposite. When I first made my account, it took me 3 hours to get enhanced verification. Poloniex took me 2 weeks to get verification… One of my friends attempted to get verified 6 weeks ago and has yet to receive even BASIC verification. He contacted support after 1 week and has yet to hear a single word from them.
The reasons for these issues on Poloniex are supposedly due to the volume of traders trying to get verified, it’s good for them that their platform is gaining recognition, but they are doing a terrible job of scaling up.
I’ve had to contact support only once to ask about a pending deposit that took a little longer than expected. Support was friendly and quick to respond (they responded within 48 hours).
Again, I’ve heard a few horror stories of people trying to get a hold of support for weeks. Many of those stories were from a few months ago, and its possible that they aren’t true.
Anyways, from scouring over 100’s of reviews on Bittrex support, I’ve only found maybe 7 or 8 horror stories. The rest of the review claim that the support is top-notch (similar experience to mine).
I think Bittrex has one of the best support histories in the cryptocurrency exchange industry; however, I always take extra precautions when doing anything associated with my account. I feel that avoiding the need for support is probably the best route anyways.
Poloniex beats out all the other exchanges as far as liquidity goes (just because of the shear volume of traders on the platform).
Bittrex is also up there on the list of liquidity. I’ve never had a problem with it, and I doubt you’ll ever have a problem with it, as long as you have rules for trading currencies with certain minimum levels of volume (as I do).
10). Currency Coverage:
Bittrex has an incredible coverage of currencies (covering both ETH markets and BTC markets). Especially when compared to Poloniex.
11). Diversification in Storage:
Those are my main points regarding Bittrex as a crypto currency exchange. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, there is a significant security risk when it comes to holding currencies on an exchange due to the fact that you do not own your private keys.
You should consider carefully moving a portion of your holdings into a hard wallet. On a hard wallet, your funds are in your hands. So long as you’re careful in your usage of the wallet, your funds will always be safer there than on an exchange. Nobody can take funds from your hard wallet and no exchange can close down and not refund you… Its simply the best way to hold coins.
The history of crypto currency has proven that regulatory agencies are afraid of the disruption potential of these coins. Coins have been banned and exchanges have been closed; therefore, funds have been lost.
Hopefully by sticking to a few good exchanges with solid histories (such as Bittrex), and keeping a portion of funds in a hard wallet, we can avoid losing funds due to unforeseen circumstances.
I personally use Coinbase, cold storage (hardware wallet – trezor), Bittrex, and Poloniex to store/trade cryptocurrencies. In the future, I’ll do a more in-depth guide on diversification in terms of storage.
I use Bittrex as my main trading platform for alt-currencies (though I use others as I mentioned above). Bittrex has also announced some big changes for the future, which is a great sign.