The following is a review of the Bitpanda exchange, its functionality, what makes it great and not so great.
Bitpanda, formerly known as Coinanimal, is an Austrian start-up company that specializes in selling and buying Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies. The founders were bitcoin enthusiasts and the idea bore from the founders’ difficulty in acquiring Bitcoins in Europe.
Is Bitpanda safe?
Bitpanda was founded in October 2014. This was after what it claims was a long development phase in coordination with the local authorities.
The company won the Alpbach Start-up award sponsored by the Bank of Austria in 2016 and has been a trusted company in the Bitcoin space since its launch.
Bitpanda has had no major hacks.
The bitpanda.com site makes use of SSL encryption.
The company warns that users should take the necessary care and precautions against phishing attacks and to only use the official web address https://bitpanda.com. In addition, users should always use 2FA.
Wikipedia defines a phishing attack an attempt to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details (and money), often for malicious reasons, by disguising as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.
2FA or Two Factor Authentication is a two-step verification process whereby there is an extra layer of security that would typically require not only a password and username but also something that only, and only, that user has. Like other popular online wallet services Bitpanda makes use of and requires you to install the ‘Google Authenticator App’ on your cell phone or computer for 2FA.
Bitpanda does not by default require 2FA however you can set it up at any time by clicking on security, on the navigation bar.
What currencies can I buy, sell and margin trade?
Bitpanda functions like more of a wallet than a trading exchange.
The wallet function allows you to buy and sell
The Ripple coin has been added to the wallet. Users are however not able to buy and sell the coin as yet.
As a result of Bitpanda operating as a wallet and not an exchange, the service has limited trading functionality. Cryptocurrency coins held in Bitpanda can, however, be transferred to other exchanges such as Bitmex, Bitfinex, Etoro or Kraken that do offer margin trading.
Bitpanda supported countries
Unfortunately buying cryptocurrency on Bitpanda is limited to users in EU countries. Selling is available to all users.
The limitation on buying coins on Bitpanda is due to the company having stringent verification services in line with European anti-money laundering acts.
Selling coins and receiving a payout through money transfer services Neteller or Skrill. Check to see if your country is supported by these services. The majority of countries are however supported.
A list of non-supported countries for Neteller can be found at https://www.neteller.com/en/policies/non-serviced-countries.
A list of non-supported countries for Skrill can be found at https://www.skrill.com/en/footer/terms-conditions/non-serviced-countries.
If you have an existing wallet solution you will, however, be able to transfer you cryptocurrencies to Bitpanda. Importantly, however, the site does have a disclaimer stating that if you transfer currencies to Bitpanda not supported by Bitpanda, you will possibly lose these coins.
Accepted payment methods and transfer limits?
Bitpanda makes use of a verification levels system for each user.
The verification level of your account will determine the payment methods accepted and your daily and monthly trading limits for digital currencies of any kind. The higher your verification level the greater the number of payment methods accepted and transfer limits.
The verification levels are classified into starter, bronze, silver, and gold.
The company makes use of the well-known third-party services of identity, Verify-U, and IDnow for verification purposes.
Bitpanda offers various methods to verify your account. The verification methods are verification by email, phone number or video.
The video verification is a process whereby identification is performed in a video conference with a Bitpanda agent. You will receive step by step information and support from one of the agents. The process typically takes 3 to 5 minutes by web browser. For identification by video, you will need a PC or laptop with camera and microphone or a smartphone or tablet with stable internet connection.
The payment limits for the starter verification level are 1,000 EUR daily and 7,500 EUR monthly irrespective of the method of payment. Bronze users have a daily limit of 1,500 EUR and a monthly limit of 10,000 EUR. Silver users have a daily limit of 2,500 EUR and a monthly limit of 25,000 EUR. The method of payment for gold users determines the daily and monthly limits. A daily limit of 100,000 EUR for online payments and 500,000 EUR for bank transfers. Monthly limits are 2,000,000 EUR and 5,000,000 EUR respectively.
For the different payment options again the verification level of the account comes into play. Bronze and silver users have the same payment options being Sofort-Transfer and bank transfer. Gold users are allowed all payment options. These are bank transfers, credit cards and third-party money transfer service providers Sofort-Transfer, Neteller, Giropay, and Skrill.
The processing time for the payments will differ depending on the method of payment. For credit card purchases and third-party money transfer services, payment processing times are typically in the region of less than 20 seconds. Bank transfers can, however, take up to 3 days.
Bitpanda vs Coinbase
Both Bitpanda and Coinbase offer similar functionality.
Coinbase is primarily focused on the US market whereas Bitpanda is mainly focused on serving the EU market. The markets served are therefore different.
The cryptocurrencies currently supported by Coinbase are Bitcoin, BitcoinCash, Ethereum, and Litecoin. In addition to the currencies supported by Coinbase, Bitpanda supports Dash. Bitpanda will also soon be adding support for Ripple Coins.
Buying of Bitcoins on Bitpanda is limited to users in the EU region. Bitcoins can be bought on Coinbase in 32 countries.
In terms of payment methods, Bitpanda offers a number of options bank transfers, credit card, and money transfer services such as a Neteller, Skrill, Sofort-Transfer, Giropay. For European customers, Coinbase offers just a bank transfer and purchase through credit card and no third-party payment services.
Bitpanda offers a number of payout methods. These are bank transfer and the following money transfer services: Neteller, Skrill and Amazon vouchers for amazon.de customers. Coinbase on the other hand only offers bank transfers for payouts.
In terms of fees, Coinbase is transparent. The fees are available on the Coinbase website and will differ depending on where you are based and the method of payment. Fees will typically be between 1.5% and 4%. The Bitpanda fees are not clear and vary according to payment method.
Coinbase has a strong presence on mobile (Android and IOS) recently having reached number one on the Apple app store charts. Bitpanda is currently not on Android or IOS.
Pros and Cons
The one thing you will quickly notice when you start using Bitpanda is that site has a neat, easy to use interface, perfect for beginners and allows you to execute transactions fairly quickly.
Depending on your verification level Bitpanda offers a number of payment and payout methods, the processing time for these payments is also very quick.
You can make some extra cash with the “Tell a friend” program. The program allows you to receive a 2.50 € bonus for every person you refer to Bitpanda, Gold verified customer after the initial order and additionally, you will receive a lifetime 5% bonus on the collected service fee, for every order (except “Bitpanda to Go”) your referred customers fulfill.
All the cool stuff is limited to users in Europe.
Bitpanda currently does not have a mobile app.
How to buy and sell on Bitpanda?
Navigate to the bitpanda.com website
Choose Sign Up
Enter your mail address, solve the captcha and press Register
You will receive a mail with a confirmation-link
Open the link and choose your password
Log into your account, again you will need to solve a captcha. The wallet landing page will then appear.
The wallet screen gives you an overview of your current balance, your deposit address and a list of your transactions.
Hovering over your balance displays your selected cryptocurrencies balance in Euros
You can either buy the respective cryptocurrency or transfer from an existing wallet solution you may be using.
Buying currency on Bitpanda is a very simple process click on the buy button.
You are then need to select a Cryptocoin, choose your payment method and enter the amount of cryptocurrency you require. The system will display the current price of the coin selected.
Complete the verification process thereafter you confirm your purchase.
Selling your crypto is just as simple of a process.
Click on the sell button, you will then see a page similar to the buy page. Firstly select your coin, and then select the payout method and lastly enter the number of the coin you intend to sell. Next, complete your payment details and confirm the sale.
Another useful tool on the sale page was the historic price chart.
Starting on July 10th 2017, Bitpanda has launched an initiative with the Austria postal service called “bitpanda to go”. This allows residences of Austria to purchase Bitcoins and other digital currencies in all 1800 post branches in Austria.
I managed to locate two methods for getting customer support on the Bitpanda website.
At the bottom of the home page, there was a “contact us” button linked to [email protected] I am not sure to which department these emails and how effective they are in resolving customer support queries.
I would recommend you to click on the help button also on the home page and then submit a help request. Complete a form with your email, a subject and a description of the problem. Response time is usually one business day, but there have been reports of delays.
There was no phone number on the website and after googling a bit it appeared as if a number of other users were also not able to get the contact number, which would be a bit frustrating.
In summary, Bitpanda is a great service just hope you live in the EU and have a PC.