HitBTC: A Comprehensive Review

HitBTC has been around since 2013, marking it as one of the older cryptocurrency exchanges on our Exchanges Guide.

On its official website, this five year old service makes the bold claim that it is the most advanced Bitcoin trading platform in the world.

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Firstly, they’re selling themselves short by only mentioning Bitcoin. HitBTC actually offers a wealth of altcoin options, giving you the opportunity to trade several different forms of currency for one another.

But is it efficient? Is it fast? And is it secure?

One look at the online reviews of this platform are enough to give me pause. (We will get to that later) But for now, let’s dive deep into the world of HitBTC.

How does it work?

HitBTC was the brainchild of a team composed from traders, finance pros, and software developers. So it’s no surprise that its system is remarkably advanced.

It’s core matching engine features some striking innovation, like real-time clearing and order matching algorithms.

After signing up with naught more than an email address, you can start trading on their platform. HitBTC gives you two accounts to move funds between.

You deposit cryptocurrency into your main account, and then before you can trade, you’ll have to transfer the amount you’re looking to move over to your trading account. These hot wallets on function like an artillery storage room and torpedo chamber on a submarine.

You store the funds in your main account, like a torpedo in an armory. But then when it’s time to use them, you load them into the trading account to be deployed, like a torpedo being loaded into a torpedo tube.

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Once you’ve converted your currency into whatever altcoin you desire, you can withdraw it to an outside wallet.

It’s not all as easy as it sounds. While the moving of funds through two different accounts is fairly seamless, there are a number of order options to choose from, which we will go into later.

Privacy- How Secure is it?

Like most exchanges, HitBTC uses two-factor authentication to protect user accounts from malicious hacking attempts. Users then have to enter both their password and a randomly generated code to access the system. They do this using Google Authenticator.

This is a great system, and PC World even rated Google Authenticator the easiest to use two-factor authentication app of 2018.

They said, “Using it is very simple and can introduce beginners to the basic premise of most 2FA apps.”

But still, they’re taking no chances by not keeping any personal identifying information stored on their site. The only information they ask for and verify is an email address.

HitBTC also utilizes a number of security tools to keep their users safe. These include email notifications when new IPs attempt to access your account, the option to terminate all sessions remotely if you feel as though you’ve been compromised, automatic logout that can occur at a given interval, a log of activity to help you look for malicious actions, and a whitelist of withdrawal addresses.

Pros

A crypto exchange doesn’t remain in business for five years without having some great aspects that users enjoy. HitBTC is a perfect exchange for advanced users and newbies alike. It also provides a demo mode, which allows new users to get a hang of the system.

1. Something for Everyone

HitBTC has high level no limit trading that appeals to seasoned veterans of the cryptocurrency industry.

They also have resources and an informative blog that new traders find helpful when learning how to play the crypto game.

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2. Advanced System

HitBTC is not lying when it brags about its system. The features we mentioned before are a cut above the rest. To top it off, HitBTC uses a very sophisticated API.

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3. Demo

Another great feature of this service is their demo mode, which allows you to engage in mock trades in order to get the hang of how cryptocurrency trading works.

Unfortunately, at the time of this review, the demo is offline for refurbishment.

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Cons

While HitBTC does an awful lot of good, there’s an awful lot of bad that goes along with it as well. For starters, they don’t accept any forms of fiat currency on base accounts and have no mobile functionality whatsoever. While their security is impressive, some of their best measures are optional, and users can open themselves up to attack.

1. No Fiat Accepted for Unverified Accounts

HitBTC does not allow any form of fiat currency to be traded on their platform. It is strictly cryptocurrency to cryptocurrency.

That limits a user’s ability to trade freely. HitBTC does allow for the use of debit cards through Changelly, but that comes with increased fees.

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If you want to purchase cryptocurrency using fiat, you have to verify your account. This involves providing a lot of personal information, which you upload to the company. While many might believe that this is worth it for the convenience of fiat to crypto trading, those who value anonymity would be mortified. More on this in a later section.

2. No Mobile Apps

HitBTC is only usable via a desktop computer platform. There is no functionality for Android or iOS enabled devices.

While not all cryptocurrency exchanges have a mobile app, most of the best ones do. The ability to use your mobile phone to exchange cryptocurrency cannot be overstated. More people than ever are using the internet via their mobile devices, unseating desktop computers for the most web activity.

“Mobile devices are already the primary means of accessing the internet across the world,” said Jonathan Barnard, Zenith’s head of forecasting. “Countries in Western Europe, Asia and North America are leading the transition, but mobile technology is spreading rapidly everywhere. Next year mobile devices will become the main vehicle for internet advertising as well.”

That’s why it is so beneficial to have a mobile app that customers can use to trade and check on the status of their transactions while on the go.

3. Optional Two-Factor Authentication

While two-factor authentication is a great tool for additional security, HitBTC offers it as a choice. Most users might find the additional 10 seconds it adds to the login process to be too much, and forego this measure.

These individuals have opened themselves up to hacking threats, which can endanger the entire system.

Limits & Liquidity

HitBTC does not impose limits on their users for maximum allowable deposit and withdrawal amounts. That’s huge, because it places no cap on trade. This means that HitBTC is potentially a big money platform, and that will attract some movers and shakers of the crypto industry.

The only minimum amounts that HitBTC holds their users to are their deposit and withdrawal fees. Whatever you’re putting in or taking out has to at least equal that fee.

How Fast are the Transactions?

HitBTC’s deposit times are pretty fast. Some currencies are deposited much faster than others. There are a few that clock in at only 20 seconds. But some of the more popular and valuable coins in existence will take longer.

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Bitcoin deposits for example take up to 20 minutes, with another estimated 10 minutes for it to clear the blockchain.

Ease of use

The initial sign up form for HitBTC is simple and to the point. The only thing they ask you for is your email address,

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Once you’re done with that, the system will send you an email for verification purposes. After you’re verified, you can start trading.

Keep in mind that you can only trade crypto-to-crypto with a general account. If you want to trade fiat for digital currency, you’ll have to provide them with a plethora of personal information.

Once you’ve made your first deposit, dragging Bitcoin or other currency from an external wallet into your general account, you’re read to trade. First, as we mentioned in the beginning, you have to transfer funds into your trading account.

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Then, you have to set up your order on the trading terminal.

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There are many different orders that you can choose from.

  1. Market Order – This allows you to buy or sell at the current market price, taking advantage of the best pricing available at the moment of your order. This is not a locked in rate, as values tend to change in real-time.
  2. Stop Order – This allows you to engage in trade at a specified price. You can state what price you want on this order and when that has been reached, the stop order is changed into a market order.
  3. Limit Order – This gives users the ability to execute a trade when the value of a coin reaches a pre-chosen price or better. This is perfect for those who are working within a budget and know what they want to spend. Unlike a stop order, the specified funds that you want to move are reserved on your account until such a time as the price falls within range.
  4. Stop Limit Order – Users create a limit order at a chosen price, and when that is reached the stop limit order turns into a limit order. The main difference is that you’re specifying two different prices; one to stop at and create the limit order, and the limit price for that new order.
  5. Scaled Orders – A scaled order allows a user to set multiple orders at once. This method employs some of the most sophisticated trading strategies, giving users the freedom to focus on decision making.

Once the order has been chosen and the trade has been completed, users can manage their trades and payment activities from the user interface.

Exchange Rates

All market trades on HitBTC come with a fee of 0.1%. That’s on the lower side of exchange payments and works very well for traders looking to maximize their profits. However, this is not the only fee that HitBTC users are forced to pay.

Deposit fees on the platform equal 0.0006 BTC. It’s worth noting that while the market trade fee is a percentage, this is a fixed currency payment. At the time of this writing, on June 28, 2018, the value of 0.0006 BTC is $36.64.

Withdrawal fees are where this process gets a little wonky.  Each currency has a different fee. For example, Bitcoin comes in at 0.001 BTC ($6.11) whereas Ethereum clocks in at 0.00958 ETH ($4.14).

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Reputation of the Exchange

HitBTC does not have a great reputation in the crypto world. Message boards are flooded with angry one star reviews, raging about how this company stole money and is a scam.

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One user even claimed that the company misplaced 1.8 BTC of his funds. That’s almost $11,000 as of this writing.

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Still though, there are many who are willing to come to HitBTC’s defense.

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What Payment Methods Can You Use?

Unverified accounts can only pay for transactions with cryptocurrency. This changes if you send identity verification to the company. Then and only then can you pay using USD or Euros.

There is a credit and debit card system in place, but it does not work through HitBTC. You have to use Changelly, which specializes in card transactions.

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The only downside to this is that you will be paying both HitBTC fees and Changelly fees, which can equal over 10% of your sale. If you’re moving large amounts of currency, that could be quite costly.

Wallet Availability

HitBTC provides you with two local accounts that you move money between before trading. Your main account is a depository that holds excess funds, and your trading account is where you send any altcoins that are being traded away.

You can connect external wallets to the system for the purposes of deposits and withdrawals. It’s usually a better idea to keep any funds you’re not trading in your personal offsite wallets as an added security measure.

Identity Verification Requirements

If all you want to do is trade cryptocurrency for cryptocurrency, then the only thing you need to verify is an email address.

However, if you’re looking to trade fiat currency for crypto, you’re going to need to verify your account, which requires a lot of information.

For starters, you have to send an email to an address that HitBTC provides.

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That email must come from the verified account associated with your HitBTC profile and contain the following:

  • Personal Information (Name, Date of Birth, Country of Birth)
  • Home Address (Country, City, Region, Postal Code, Street Address)
  • Bank Account Information (Bank Name, SWIFT/BIC Code, Account Number)
  • Supporting Documents

Supporting Documents must be valid and not expired. Both sides of all documents should be uploaded or scanned. Images need to be in color or high resolution and no older than three months.

Supporting documents must include one identifying document and one proof of residence.

Identifying documents can be one of the following:

  • National ID
  • Passport
  • Driver’s License

Proof of Residence can be one of the following:

  • Utility Bill (Not mobile phone or cable TV)
  • Electricity Bill
  • Bank Statement
  • Tax Return

Countries Availability

HitBTC is a global exchange, meaning that it can be accessed and traded on from any country in the world that allows cryptocurrency trading.

What coins can you buy?

There are over 50 altcoins supported by HitBTC. Some of them include Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, and Ethereum Classic.

HitBTC suffers from a lack of Fiat options, relying too heavily on third parties like Changelly to bail them out, rather than offering the service themselves. Still it is once of the more advanced systems on the market, representing something for both advanced and amateur traders alike.