At some point in every cryptocurrency trader’s career, they realize that the coin selection on the exchange they put their fiat into (ahem, Coinbase) leaves a bit to be desired. Would-be Monero traders are no exception. In the time that it took for this humble reviewer to get everything together to buy his first unknown amount of Monero, the price had nearly doubled.
The first exchange I used to purchase Monero was an exchange called Bittrex. Bittrex was founded in 2014 by Bill Shihara, Richie Lai, and Rami Kawach, all former security professionals from Amazon or Microsoft. Shihara and Lai ran GiftcardBTC prior to starting Bittrex. Bittrex grew quickly, and as of the end of 2017, it has become one of the largest American exchanges, with nearly 200 individual coins listed.
Bittrex’s user interface is very easy on the eyes. Viewing the various pairings on the exchange is simple, and the exchange automatically moves the pairings with the greatest trading volume and pairings with the greatest percent change to the front page, so there’s always a pump and dump for you to lose your hard-won crypto on! The scrolling bar at the top shows the top winners out of all of the coin pairings, as well, so if choosing a random pump off the front page just wasn’t a risky enough investment (I get it. Really, I do. If cryptocurrency didn’t exist I’d probably just play blackjack margin trade silver futures), you can always choose the biggest daily pump.
I’ve never heard of UnbreakableCoin, and Verge is a dogecoin fork, but this almost makes me want to buy some of both. A dangerous scrollbar, to be sure.
Bittrex is unfortunately only available in English. It has a very user-friendly mobile browser interface. It loads quickly and has no issues fitting the screen of an Android. I find that I prefer making trades on my mobile device to making trades on my PC, but either interface is easy enough to use without issue. It is, however, worth noting that I sometimes have issues withdrawing from a mobile device. On the mobile version of the exchange, the bar to insert your Google Authenticator code doesn’t always appear correctly. Switching to the desktop version of the site fixes this issue.
Bittrex is, as of writing (12/24/17), not accepting new users until after a pending database upgrade. This decision was made because of the influx of new users that have been seen on nearly all of the exchanges in the last two months. While this is far from a popular decision, it’s welcoming to see an exchange attempt to deal with problems before they arise. Only time will tell if the new database can help prevent the DDoS attacks that seem to plague other exchanges. Bittrex seems to have very little downtime as is, though, so it is at the moment, not an issue.
Monero Account Verification
Despite this, when Bittrex is processing new users, their registration/verification process is one of the fastest I’ve seen on any exchange. It took around 15 minutes from submitting pictures of my documents (ID and a selfie) for my account tier to be upgraded to “Enhanced” and my daily withdrawal limit increased to 100 BTC. Interestingly, the “Basic” verification, requiring only a few lines of personal information, failed to verify entirely. This seems to be a common experience on Bittrex, but the enhanced verification bypasses the basic verification entirely and is so quick-to-use that it shouldn’t make a difference.
Bittrex has an automatic IP address verifying feature that requires you to verify your Bittrex login from the email address you have linked to your account, which is a nice touch. Also available is two-factor authentication through Google Authenticator. Google Authenticator is a much more secure answer to the SMS two-factor authentication used by many exchanges. For this reason, it’s becoming more and more common. One minor annoyance is that Bittrex requires you to input your Google Authenticator code prior to checking your IP address, meaning that if your IP address needs to be verified, you’ll have to log in and put in an Authenticator code a second time. This is, nonetheless, a minor gripe. More security is rarely a bad thing, especially when it comes to managing your Bittrex Monero wallet.
Bittrex has several different trading pairs for Monero. You can buy Monero with Bitcoin, Ethereum or USD Tether. With tx fees on the Bitcoin network being as high as they are, you’ll probably want to use either Tether or Ethereum. As someone who avoids Tether like the plague (A story for another day), that leaves Ethereum. Ethereum’s lower tx fees and faster tx times make it the obvious choice for purchasing Monero with as few fees as possible. Bittrex’s fees are 0.25% on all trades. Bittrex does not allow trading in fiat, meaning you’ll have to put coins from other sources onto the exchange to be able to trade.
The order book is nice and tidy, and you can copy the price of a bid into your own order simply by clicking on the price. If the bid price is changing faster than you can type your order, though, you might be better off waiting for the panic to end.
Bittrex Monero deposits are simple. You’ll pay a standard Monero tx fee to the network for deposits. The Monero will post to your Bittrex Monero wallet as soon as its received.
Oh, my. I get the feeling that that withdrawal price is a holdover from the times of a sub-$30 Monero price.
Withdrawals are where things start to get hairy. As per the image of Bittrex’s Monero Payment ID screen above, Bittrex Monero withdrawal fees are sitting at 0.04 XMR at present. At Bittrex’s own Monero price, that comes out to USD value of about $13.50 for withdrawals of any size. This is extremely unfortunate. Bittrex seems to be managing everything else regarding the exchange of Monero very well – why are the withdrawal fees an exception? For reference, Cardano withdrawal fees are currently sitting at 0.2 ADA. That comes to a USD value of under 9 cents. Privacy isn’t free, but this is ridiculous.
- 0.25% Transaction fees makes trading on Bittrex an attractive choice
- Ethereum/Monero trading pairs. The price of Ethereum is typically more stable, and has lower tax fees/times compared to Bitcoin, making it a far better choice for trading pairs
- The some of the fastest verification times I’ve seen on any exchange
- Easy to understand user interface
- 0.04 XMR withdrawal fees are absolutely insane
- Not currently accepting new users
- Has USD Tether pairings, as opposed to fiat pairings (If you’re engaging in arbitration, this is probably a positive)
- If you cancel an order that is partially filled, or have a large order filled by multiple people, you can sometimes end up paying a small bit more than the 0.25% transaction fee.