HitBTC is one of the world’s top 10 cryptocurrency exchanges. No wonder there were numerous reviews on HitBTC here and there, but I decided to come up with my own HitBTC review as I use this platform for several years and believe that it deserves more comprehensive coverage.
Many reviews on HitBTC exchange have dated badly, some of them lack important facts, and others don’t address the exchange criticism properly. This year HitBTC updated its fees policy and started to follow international AML/KYC rules. It also had to leave the Japanese market. The exchange keeps on adding new coins to its roster giving a chance of entering the big market for the new crypto projects. HitBTC remains an important part of the cryptocurrency trading industry. These days, when Bitcoin and some cryptocurrencies have finally recovered from the bearish 2018, people should learn about HitBTC new policies and its current pros and cons.
I’d like to begin this review with some basic facts about HitBTC. The exchange was founded in 2013 which makes it one of the oldest cryptocurrency exchanges on the market. Together with several other old-school projects, HitBTC team has created a basis for the modern crypto-to-crypto exchanges as we know them today. Despite the incredible competition and high difficulty of being one of the largest crypto exchanges, HitBTC managed to maintain its position among the most successful cryptocurrency exchanges alongside with Binance, OKEx, Huobi Global, Coinbase and other leaders of the industry.
HitBTC In Numbers
Now let’s name the most significant numbers that will help us to realize the scale of this exchange. HitBTC works 24/7 and hosts hundreds of trading instruments including Bitcoin, Ethereum, and all the top altcoins; there are 870 trading pairs available on HitBTC. Currently the second in terms of available trading pairs exchange is Hotbit, and it provides 200 pairs less than HitBTC exchange.
Over 4 million visits occur monthly. The trade volume on HitBTC is over $1 billion per 24 hours. It is fair to say that this number is gradually growing despite the sporadic backslides. At the moment of writing, HitBTC was ranked 13th on the list of cryptocurrency exchanges that have the biggest daily trade volume.
The withdrawal limit doesn’t exist on HitBTC.
The Location of HitBTC’s Headquarters
The anonymity of HitBTC provokes concerns from the public side. Some people over the Internet even allege that the only reason why HitBTC is hiding its identity is that this project is a scam. Throughout 6 years since the launch of the platform, there has been a lot of criticism towards HitBTC, mostly caused by withdrawal delays, long respond time of the support team, and long periods of suspensions of withdrawals of certain coins due to tech maintenance. However, most of the problems were addressed by the company later and it doesn’t seem that there are any real reasons to suspect HitBTC in being a fraudulent platform.
HitBTC Trading Fees Review
HitBTC offers a flexible scheme of trading fees. Briefly, it is safe to say that the exchange favors makers over takers. Takers get charged while makers not only avoid paying fees, but can be even rewarded for their trading activity.
Let’s see what is the difference between takers and makers. It’s clear that any exchange needs liquidity. It means that at any given moment there should be as many trade orders (offers) as possible so that the traders would have a rich choice of options. As soon as someone decides to buy or sell some currency reacting on the existing order, he decreases liquidity because the order disappears. Makers place new orders, they “make” liquidity while takers “take” the liquidity order by order by matching the existing orders.
If you need a vivid example, here you go: Adam places sell order: he’s ready to sell 1 BTC for $9,500. Peter wants to buy 1 BTC but instead of taking Adam’s order he makes his own buy order: he’s going to buy 1 BTC for $9,250. Both Adam and Peter are makers because they create some offer on the exchange, they make liquidity. Nick enters the exchange wishing to sell his 1 BTC as soon as possible. He sees Peter’s order and takes it selling his 1 BTC for $9,250 to Peter. That’s how Nick decreases liquidity. If Nick had the time he could place his own order selling 1 BTC for let’s say $9,300. In such a case, he could save some money thanks to lower maker fees and win $50 extra because of the price he offered.
As you can understand HitBTC incentivizes users to be makers (to place new orders) by charging lower fees or even providing rewards instead of fees for those who place new orders.
The regular maker fee on HitBTC is 0.1% while the taker fee is 0.2%. As your monthly trade volume increases the fees get lower. After 100 BTC volume, the maker fee drops to 0.08%, and after 1,500 BTC the maker fee is canceled while the taker fee stays the same. As the trade volume reaches 6,000 BTC the maker starts getting 0.01% reward for his orders, while taker only pays 0.1%, and so on. The reward given to the maker is called a Rebate System.
HitBTC Withdrawal Fees
HitBTC exchange takes flat commissions for withdrawals. It means that no matter how much you want to withdraw the exchange will charge the same amount of money (specific for each currency). This amount gets adjusted automatically in accordance with the market prices in order to make the HitBTC users’ transactions fast.
The fact that this fee doesn’t depend on the amount you withdraw encourages users to withdraw large amounts of money. As the fees are always changing I can’t tell you how much it costs to withdraw this or that. You will have to check it yourself. Just to let you see the approximate picture I would say that in the time of writing of this article the fees were very different: for withdrawal of BTC or ETH, you paid around $13 while EOS took only about $0.7. Basic Attention Token withdrawal fee was $7.9 as for July 31, 2019.
Before we start talking about the trading functionality on HitBTC exchange, we should clarify one more thing. Unlike many cryptocurrency exchanges, HitBTC allows depositing fiat currencies although there’s a limitation — you can’t deposit fiat currency with your credit card but only via wire transfer. Nevertheless, HitBTC provides an opportunity to buy BTC with the credit card, so still, you have an option to start trading even if you have no cryptocurrencies at the beginning. When you do a wire deposit you unavoidably identify yourself. You should realize it clearly. If for any reason you want to trade cryptocurrencies anonymously then HitBTC is probably not the best option for you.
HitBTC’s Technologies and API
Now I want to review the Hitbtc technology and API. HitBTC claims to be the most advanced crypto exchange. What reasons do they have to do so? First off, HitBTC has a cutting-edge matching engine that makes trading easier and faster than on many other exchanges thanks to advanced order matching algorithm and real-time clearing.
The exchange has both FIX and REST API. RESTful API provides access to the market data, order book, and so on. It also allows placing and canceling orders and performing other trading operations. Also, the RESTful API allows making transactions between the main and trading accounts. The API key and Secret key can be found in the Settings tab.
Another interesting feature that can be especially helpful for people who do their first steps in cryptocurrency trading or in using HitBTC API is demo mode. It requires the use of the demo API keys and allows the practical learning of the use of the RESTful API.
FIX API (Financial Information Exchange API) is an electronic trading protocol that allows execution of all possible financial operations with different assets and working with the market data.
APIs used for HitBTC are robot-friendly.
Making a Deposit and Trading
Now it’s time to tell you how you do the deposit and trade on HitBTC. The exchange forces no limits over the deposit and withdrawal amounts. Traders are provided with numerous graphs to be aware of the current situation on the market. HitBTC official blog has a growing array of articles dedicated to trading and cryptocurrencies. These articles can help you to understand how to use HitBTC better. It also has a lot of useful tips on cryptocurrency trading in general.
Trading starts with deposit. In order to deposit some cryptocurrencies, you are required to create a wallet address first. In the upper right corner of the website front page, there’s a “Deposit” green button. After clicking on it you choose the needed currency and click the “Fund” button. It creates a wallet address in two shapes (numbers and letters string and QR-code). It’s important to fill the additional identifier fields that certain currencies have. If you fail to do that, you will have to ask for the help of HitBTC support team to finish funding your account.
The next step is moving funds from your main account to a trading account. The action is quite intuitive, you just click on the blue arrow, specify the amount and click a “transfer” button. Then you should proceed to the Exchange tab to create an order. In the Instruments section, you should choose the pair you need and then specify the type of order you are going to place (you can do that in the Buy and Sell boxes). You can choose from the market, stop, limit, and stop-limit orders. The website provides an explanation for each of these order types.
The history of trades is available in the “My Orders and Trades” box. If you proceed to “Reports” and then click on “My Orders”, you will get into the section where you can see the cross-market trades and manage your orders (canceling orders, checking statuses, exporting reports, etc).
The Exchange tab also provides a look into the current market state and allows you to see the latest sales made on HitBTC, the order book, and other information.
Types of Orders Available on HitBTC
There are 4 types of orders available for HitBTC users.
— Market orders. These orders give an opportunity to sell or buy the chosen instrument at the market price (in other words, the best possible price at the moment of placing the order). The final fees and totals are not known from the beginning because the price is going to vary while the order is open.
— Limit orders. This type of order means that the trade will be executed only for a certain price or a better one. If you place a buy order you name the highest possible price at which you consent to buy an asset so you buy at this price or lower. If you want to sell some coins, you name the lowest possible price at which you want to sell them so you sell at that price or higher. Reserve of a certain amount of your assets follows after the creation of limit order and the order appears in the order book.
— Stop orders. This type of order is good for highly volatile markets. These orders execute trades at specified prices. As the price on the market reaches the specified stop order price, the order becomes a market order. Such orders do not require the reservation of your funds and do not appear in the order books.
— Stop-limit orders. This kind of order is a limit order for a determined price. As the price reaches the stop price, the order turns into a limit order (so for stop-limit order you should specify both stop and limit prices). Until the activation of the limit order stop-limit order is not indicated in the order book and doesn’t require reservation of funds, but as soon as the stop price is reached the funds get reserved and the order appears in the order book.
Another trading feature available on HitBTC is OTC trading or “over the counter” trading, which means high-volume trading that doesn’t show up in the order books. In OTC the traders make a deal directly without affecting the market price of the asset. The trading fee for OTC is 0.1% and the deals should be worth at least 100,000 USDT (or 100,000 in other stablecoins supported by HitBTC). OTC on HitBTC is curated by the exchange partner Trusted Volumes.
HitBTC Customer Reviews and Known Issues
HitBTC customer reviews differ on different platforms. Often it’s some mix of positive and negative information about the exchange.
Satisfied users usually praise the exchange functionality and a big number of available trading pairs. Other people mention such flaws as a slow support team and technical shortcomings of the exchange.
Like many other cryptocurrency platforms these days, HitBTC has some technical flaws. One of the first things that come to mind is temporary blockings of withdrawals of certain coins which happen from time to time and may take a while to resolve.
When such things take place, many users begin to question the exchange’s intentions and publish negative reviews on numerous websites and social media. These delays in fixing tech problems may harm the people’s trust in the company and worsen the trading experience.
Another issue is that the support team may respond with delays from time to time. No surprise, people get nervous when they search for help and the support team is not answering for several days. When both issues that I’ve mentioned come together, the situation looks even worse.
In general, these two problems are the worst issues of HitBTC. Please note that if you face any of these problems it doesn’t mean that the exchange is a scam and most likely all of your problems will be solved after a while.
How to Get Started?
Setting your own account is not a hard thing to do once you decide to start trading on HitBTC. In order to sign up, you should provide an email address and pick up a strong password. The next step is to indicate the country of your residence, full name, and the phone number.
One might ask why in the world should we provide any personal data? Aren’t cryptocurrencies were all about privacy? It’s a good question and the answer is not hard to grasp. Privacy is just a tool of protection, but many cryptocurrency exchanges use a different tool (a legal one) — a Know Your Customer procedure. We’ll speak about it broader below.
HitBTC exchange complies to international anti-money laundering (AML) and KYC rules. It means that the exchange identifies the personal information of its customers, keeps it, and makes sure that no third party ever uses these credentials to execute any actions on the exchange on behalf of the exchange users.
In some cases, it means that HitBTC users have to prove their identity and provide the evidence that they have got their assets legally. That’s the point when some people start to get angry and complain about the exchange’s poor service. KYC/AML problems are often mentioned in negative reviews about HitBTC exchange.
If we take a broader look, AML/KYC rules help the society to identify malicious financial activity and consenting to use KYC-compliant exchange is a small contribution to the safety of the world financial community.
What Information Can Be Requested by HitBTC?
Furthermore, the exchange might ask for user email and mailing addresses and a contact phone number. In some cases, the exchange can ask for such information as an alias and the account password. Bank accounts, names of banking institutions, account balance info, trade history, and similar information could be requested in rare cases when dealing with withdrawals of high amounts of money.
Is It Safe to Use HitBTC?
HitBTC provides standard security measures including 2-factor authentication, email confirmation, and other options. You should keep it in mind that no one but you will take care of the safety of your assets. All HitBTC does is providing users with the proper tools of security, but it’s up to customers to use these tools.
Let’s talk about all of these tools. The first thing is quite standard: you should put a strong and unique password in order to provide the security of your HitBTC account. If you are afraid that your device can be used by someone else, you might opt to set the automatic log out.
The next step is two-factor authentication. To turn it on you should use a side application that will provide you with temporary codes generated automatically on your mobile device. There’s no need to recall or write these codes down because they are refreshing every 30 seconds, so without having your mobile device, it’s impossible to sign in into your account. The importance of using 2-factor authentication can’t be underestimated. This step is critical for the maintenance of the safety of your account. Neglecting 2FA for protection of your account is reckless. For turning this option on you may use Google Authenticator app or Authy app. Another security feature available for HitBTC users is whitelist.
All listed measures provide strong security and all of them are quite efficient, especially in complex. As we already know another level of security is provided by the KYC-procedure that can’t be completed by the stranger.
If you have concerns and questions you can contact the support team (something I consider as the best option, although you should be patient as sometimes it takes a while for them to respond to your query) or use the so-called “Trollbox” on the main page of the website. Generally speaking, Trollbox is a chat where users and moderators ask questions and discuss any stuff related to HitBTC. Not sure if this chat is more helpful than the support ticket, but there’s always a chance that fellow users or moderators will answer your question quicker there.
All these opportunities together with the security measures I’ve mentioned make HitBTC trading experience rather a safe one.
I want to conclude my Hitbtc exchange review by saying that it’s a decent platform that managed to create groundbreaking technology and to stay relevant throughout all these years. So definitely it is still usable and worth trying in 2019. Let’s see what comes next.