Bitstamp Review: Is It the Right Crypto Exchange for You?

GOBankingRates Score

4.8
Quick Take: Bitstamp is a global heavyweight known for its intuitive, user-friendly interface, strong selection of coins, excellent member benefits and top-notch security.
  • Features
    4.9
  • Fees
    4.8
  • Benefits
    5.0
  • Security
    4.5
How did we calculate this?

Pros

  • Founded and run by blockchain veterans who helped build the industry
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Rewards-generating crypto staking
  • Bank-grade security
  • Bank-grade insurance
  • Promotional offer for no-fee trades

Cons

  • Coinbase and other exchanges offer many more coins
  • A devastating 2015 hack still clouds its reputation

Bitstamp Overview 

The longest-running crypto exchange in the world, Bitstamp was founded in 2011, the same year Litecoin forked from the Bitcoin blockchain and became the world’s second cryptocurrency. Its founders, who still run the exchange, are highly respected industry pioneers. Bitstamp went through dark times in the mid-2010s, but it emerged as a better, more secure and fully modernized exchange. 

Key Features

Bitstamp is regarded as one of the world’s top crypto exchanges for its pro-level suite of features, impressive user benefits, low and transparent fees, and bank-grade security. 

Features

Bitstamp’s best feature just might be its mobile app, which is lauded for being intuitive, user-friendly and clutter-free. Its price-check widget shows real numbers in real time, and users can pick the interface that’s right for them.

Novice traders might opt for the simple interface, which is a stripped-down version with basic buy and sell buttons. Experienced traders will likely choose the full interface with advanced order types, real-time charts and order books and sophisticated analytical tools. 

Users also get the convenience of a digital wallet with the full security of the Bitstamp platform through the exchange’s secure crypto-transfer system. 

Fees

Bitstamp’s fees are not the lowest in the industry, but they are quite competitive. Equally important is that its fee structure is straightforward and easy for the layperson to understand. Several top competitors cannot say the same. Since they’re based on your individual 30-day trading volume, they’re also fair and consistent.

The two-tiered “maker-taker” fee structure charges slightly less for trades that add liquidity and slightly more for those that remove it. 

If they trade less than $1,000 in a 30-day period, both makers and takers pay no fee at all. For those who trade less than $10,000 per 30-day period, the fees are just 0.3% and 0.4%. For 30-day periods with up to $100,000 in trades, the fees drop to 0.2% and 0.3%. 

The fees get even smaller for the really high rollers.  

Benefits

One of the biggest benefits is the ability to use a Visa or Mastercard credit or debit card to purchase crypto instantly without first converting cash to coins. The exchange also makes it easy to deposit and withdraw funds from anywhere in the world — U.S. customers can use ACH to make instant deposits. If you need to cash out, you can do so in just a few seconds directly and securely to your bank account.  

All customers worldwide can access support by both email and phone 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Partners get a dedicated account manager. 

Security

In 2015, Bitstamp was the target of a sophisticated, weeklong phishing attack that resulted in the theft of $5.26 million worth of Bitcoin — but that was back when it was trading at $279. Today, the 18,866 BTC that fraudsters stole would be worth more than $403 million.

Bitstamp reacted quickly and responsibly to the attack and shored up its defenses after shutting down for a week, but the damage was done. The exchange lost many customers and took a major hit to its reputation. In the minds of many mainstream investors, the moment helped cement cryptocurrency as an illegitimate black-market tool for shady players in the dark corners of the internet. 

Despite the fact that it now offers some of the strongest protections in the industry, Bitstamp takes a hit on its security rating because that black mark is still fresh in the minds of many — but to be fair, it is a much different exchange today. 

It stores 98% of its assets safely offline and utilizes institutional-grade security, the same used by the world’s major banks. All personal data is fully encrypted and two-factor authentication, whitelisting and transaction confirmations are all part of the process.

How Bitstamp Stands Out 

Bitstamp gives users the opportunity to earn rewards through crypto staking and supports familiar purchasing options like Google Pay, Apple Pay, and good, old-fashioned plastic. It makes staking easy by handling technical aspects like nodes, positions and contracts on its end. Stakers can opt for steady payouts, or they keep their assets in play. Bitstamp’s staking rewards are higher than most competitors, but currently, rewards are limited to Ethereum and Algorand, which deliver 4.19% and 5% APY, respectively.

Comparable Crypto Exchanges

Coinbase

Coinbase has more than 103 million users, making it the largest crypto exchange in the U.S. and still the country’s only publicly traded exchange. It offers more coins than the 77 currently available on Bitstamp, and it has a presence in more than 100 countries. Formed in 2012, just one year after Bitstamp, Coinbase is also an industry pioneer. It offers many products and services, including staking, rewards, NFTs, derivatives, a native wallet, a Coinbase card and the ability to borrow against crypto collateral.

Kraken

Founded in 2011 with Bitstamp, Kraken, too, dates back to the dawn of the crypto era. It offers competitive fees and an impressive menu of more than 185 coins. It’s not available in all 50 states and the selection of fiat currencies it accepts is limited, but it stands out as one of the rare exchanges to offer margin trading. It provides world-class educational materials and more than 12 assets for staking. Users can earn up to 23% in annual rewards.

How To Get Started

The three-part setup process is simple and takes only a few minutes. Here are the steps you’ll need to take:

  1. Register: Pick the account type that’s right for you and verify your identity.
  2. Fund your account: Choose from a variety of bank deposit methods or just use your debit or credit card.
  3. Start trading: Now it’s time to buy, sell and transfer coins.

Who Bitstamp Is Best For

Bitstamp is designed for both new and advanced traders looking for access to most of the top coins on a slick, straightforward interface with impressively low fees. Its strong rewards offerings are a natural draw for stakers looking to put their crypto to work for them. 

Final Take

Some exchanges charge lower fees, others offer more products and services, and others list more coins — but almost none do all three at the same time. Bitstamp is a complete trading platform with tools for both novices and pros, world-class security, a strong menu of coins and impressive rewards options for stakers.

FAQ

  • Which is better, Coinbase or Bitstamp?
    • Bitstamp has a clearer and more transparent fee structure than the convoluted, two-tier system that Coinbase users have to navigate. But Coinbase has a larger selection of coins and offers more services and products. Another differentiator that steers some investors toward Coinbase is that it's the first and only publicly traded cryptocurrency exchange, which lends it an extra degree of credibility. Its shares are traded on the Nasdaq.
    • Beyond that, both exchanges are comparable, offering excellent security, good customer service and slick, user-friendly interfaces both on their desktop and app versions.
  • Is Bitstamp a U.S. company?
    • Bitstamp is a London-based company that has been registered in the U.K. since 2013. Three years later in 2016, Forbes reported that Bitstamp became the first nationally licensed Bitcoin exchange when the tiny European nation of Luxembourg granted it a payment institution license. Although it is not a U.S.-based company, Bitstamp has since opened a satellite office in New York City and is licensed by BitLicense in New York.
  • Can I use Bitstamp in the U.S.?
    • Despite the fact that Bitstamp is not a U.S.-based company, users stateside can access Bitstamp in all 50 states and more than 100 other countries around the world — and here, it has Coinbase beat. Coinbase is available in only 49 states — Hawaii is still pending approval.
  • Can I trust Bitstamp?
    • Aside from the previously mentioned security protocols, Bitstamp is regularly audited by the Big Four accounting firms: Ernst & Young, Deloitte, PwC and KPMG. The largest accounting firms in America by revenue, the Big Four audit more than 80% of America's public companies, according to Statista.

Information is accurate as of Aug. 24, 2022.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by any entity covered in this article. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, ratings or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any entity named in this article.

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About the Author

Andrew Lisa has been writing professionally since 2001. An award-winning writer, Andrew was formerly one of the youngest nationally distributed columnists for the largest newspaper syndicate in the country, the Gannett News Service. He worked as the business section editor for amNewYork, the most widely distributed newspaper in Manhattan, and worked as a copy editor for TheStreet.com, a financial publication in the heart of Wall Street's investment community in New York City.
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