Introduction to Bittrex
Founded in the U.S., Bittrex has been in operation for almost 6 and ½ years now and is one of the longest standing altcoin exchanges. As a U.S.-based exchange, they take KYC very seriously and require it upon signup. However, this allows it to serve not only U.S. customers but most people around the world, as well. Bittrex has a large degree of liquidity for many altcoins which shifts around quite a bit depending on what coins are the most popular at the given time. This means that you are often more likely to find fairer prices for smaller coins here than at most other exchanges.
Why choose Bittrex?
Bittrex is a solid and dependable altcoin exchange for those who want to be able to trade a wide array of coins on a highly secure platform. It is one of the first of its kind and has lasted in business for so long by successfully incorporating feedback from its users, demonstrating a willingness to be “in it for the long haul” as opposed to having a short-sighted view on things. Over the years, Bittrex has learned to adapt to regulations and changes in industry standards, which is a particularly difficult feat for exchanges based in the U.S. and serving U.S. customers. If you don’t mind performing some KYC upon signup, there are few exchanges more capable of Bittrex of supporting such a wide array of altcoins.
Brief history of Bittrex
One of the first and longest-lasting altcoin exchanges, Bittrex was founded by Bill Shihara (CEO) and Richie Lai in February 2014. Less than a month later, they already had 84 coins available for trading on their exchange. The goal was to provide an automated way to withdraw coins – something that was formerly unachievable – so customers wouldn’t have to always rely on exchange operators to manually approve their withdrawals. The result was an instant hit among the crypto community, attracting hundreds of thousands of users over their first few years in existence.
In November 2017, several Bittrex users reported problems with their account statuses after not having complied with newly-implemented KYC procedures. As a result, several customers were locked out of their funds or had their withdrawal limits drastically reduced, causing some damage to their reputation in the cryptocurrency community. Even though they haven’t had any major breaches of trust in years since, they continue to carry with them an association with forcing sudden changes on their user base that may not be in their best interest.
In October 2019, Bittrex made the decision to block U.S.-based customers from trading 32 different coins, which was followed by a slew of others in the months following. As a U.S.-based company, Bittrex wanted to be able to be able to continue to serve U.S. customers while expanding their global reach, thus splitting the website into Bittrex (for those in the U.S.) and Bittrex Global in the same month. In March 2020, Bittrex announced that they would no longer support users from the state of New York. As of July 2020, Bittrex is currently the 10th most popular cryptocurrency exchange by web traffic factor, according to CoinMarketCap.com.
Basics of Getting Started
Before proceeding any further, take note that you can’t use any part of Bittrex without submitting personally-identifying information to them, so if you are looking for a place to exchange coins anonymously, Bittrex isn’t for you. Having said that, Bittrex is a highly secure, trustworthy operation and the chances of your personal information being leaked to unauthorized persons are at a minimum.
Though it is not a regulated exchange under U.S. securities laws, Bittrex is committed to complying with U.S. regulations relevant to the detection of illegal activity being conducted through cryptocurrency transfer on their exchange, which means they will comply with all law enforcement requests to turn over data relevant to investigations.
Bittrex is divided up into 2 different websites (though both are accessed through the same URL): Bittrex and Bittrex Global. The former is for use exclusively by U.S. customers whereas the latter is for use by the rest of the world. After visiting the main URL, you will be automatically directed to the website that is relevant for your location.
How to register an account on Bittrex
After clicking “Sign Up”, you will be asked to choose whether you want to create a Personal or Corporate type of account (in all likelihood you will be choosing Personal). Next, enter an email address, password, and referral code (if you are being referred from Coin Clarity you will not need to enter one in order to enjoy the benefits of being a referral), then click “Create an Account”. A verification email will be sent to your email address. Check your email and click on the link sent by Bittrex in order to verify your email address. Next, you will be asked to verify the terms of service.
After agreeing to the terms of service, you will be asked to provide some basic information in order to finish the account creation process. This includes the following:
- Country of residence
- Street address
- Birth date
- Country of nationality
After entering this information you can proceed with the verification process.
How to get verified on Bittrex
Unlike some other exchanges, you must verify your identification before being allowed to trade on Bittrex, which makes it effectively the second part of the registration process. Fortunately, Bittrex has an automated ID verification process which makes it extremely simple and straight-forward. You will be asked to take a picture of your picture ID document (passport, driver’s license or state ID are the most common forms of ID) along with a picture of your face (selfie). It will then take Bittrex 5-10 minutes to verify your identity. If your computer doesn’t have a camera, you can complete the process using a mobile device. For U.S. citizens, there is a chance you may need to also enter your social security number in order to confirm your citizenship, but this is not a requirement for all U.S.-based users.
Making a deposit on Bittrex
As it started as a crypto-only exchange, Bittrex is pretty light on fiat deposit options, but it does support debit/credit card and wire deposit. After finishing the ID verification process, you will be presented with these deposit options, which can always be accessed later by going to Holdings->USD->Deposit. There is a 3% processing fee for deposits using debit/credit cards. Currently, Bittrex only supports USD as a fiat deposit option, though they have plans to support EUR in the near future.
To make a wire deposit from your bank, you will need to fill out a Fiat Trading Request form which will be presented upon selection of this option. You will need to fill in several details about your bank account and answer additional questions about your financial status in order to make wire deposits. There is a $50 minimum for wire deposits and no maximum, and no deposit fees. All fiat deposits are converted to USD, which can then be traded for other coins.
To make a crypto deposit, click the “Holdings” tab toward the upper-right corner of the screen. Under the BALANCES section, you will see a list of coins. Use the search tool and type in the ticker symbol of the coin you wish to deposit (BTC, LTC, etc.). After you have found the coin, click “Deposit” under ACTIONS on the right side of the screen. The first thing you will need to do is click the blue “Generate new wallet address” to create a deposit address. This is the address to which you will send your coins.
Trading on Bittrex
To begin trading, first find the coin pairing you wish to trade by clicking on the “Markets” tab toward the top right of the screen. Market listings are divided up into 4 different categories of pairings: USD, BTC, ETH, and USDT. Because Bittrex offers such a large selection of trading pairs, it is easiest to find the one you are looking for by searching for it using the search box toward the right side of the top of each pairing category. After finding the pairing for which you are looking, click on it under the MARKETS heading to be transported to the trading screen.
The Bittrex chart screen is a lot like most others and has a fair amount of customization options. In addition to a massive amount of technical indicators, it is possible to draw your own trend lines, add text, create patterns and make forecasts. Candles can represent periods from as little as 1 minute all the way up to 1 month. It is also possible to customize the colors of candles and lines as well as the background and what information you want displayed on each chart. Interestingly, the time zone and date format can also be customized — something not often included in other exchanges.
To the right of the chart screen is an order placement screen and below that is a trade history screen. Underneath the chart screen is the order book — an area which can also be used to display your open orders, closed orders, and wallets. Bittrex allows the following types of orders to be placed (note that you will need to toggle back and forth between “Buy” and “Sell” depending on what type of order you are placing):
- Market. The basic “taker” order where a specified amount of coins are bought or sold at the best available prices according to the order book.
- Limit. The basic “maker” order where an order is placed for a specified amount of coins at a price below (buying = bid) or above (selling = ask) the current market price.
- Stop Limit. This is an order that triggers once the price has reached a specified level. For both buy and sell orders,
- Trailing. This sets a market order that changes based on the direction of the market. For example, if you place a Trailing stop buy order with a stop percentage of 10%, then a market order triggers if the price goes up 10% from when you set the order. If the price goes down (let’s say from $10,000 to $9,000), then the order triggers when the price comes back up to $10,000.
- Ladder Limit. This is a limit order that allows you to place incremental buy/sell orders up and down the order book, triggering buy orders when the price goes down and sell orders when the price goes up. The total quantity entered is split among the number of different orders.
Overview of supported coins
In all, Bittrex offers over 200 coins/tokens and trading pairs, including most coins listed in the top 100 by market cap value. As mentioned earlier, trading pairs are organized by 4 different base pairings. Here is each pair base along with the total number of pairs and most popular coins for each pair:
- USD (40+ pairs): BTC, USDT, ETH, LINK, ADA, WAXP, DGB, BSV, XTZ, XRP
- BTC (100+ pairs): ETH, XRP, XLM, DOGE, ADA, LINK, REP, WAXP, BSV, DGB
- ETH (40+ pairs): BCH, XTZ, LINK, ADA, TRX, XRP, WAVES, BAT, NEO, STRAT
- USDT (40+ pairs): BTC, ETH, XRP, LTC, DOGE, ADA, BAT, XLM, DGB, LINK
Bittrex is very much a “what’s popular” exchange, meaning that coins that currently have the most traction (upward price movement or volatility) on other markets are always the most heavily traded. This means that Bittrex has the most amount of liquidity for coins that are generally doing well in terms of price — a list that can fluctuate on a day-to-day basis.
Bittrex trading fees
There is a flat 0.25% fee on every trade made on Bittrex. This is lower than institutional-grade exchanges like Coinbase but higher than many non-U.S. exchanges, such as Binance. There is no difference between the fee of taker and maker orders.
Instead of having a tiered fee discount system or utility token like other exchanges, Bittrex has a rewards program in which every user is automatically enrolled upon signup. Bittrex Credits are earned upon paying trading fees and deposited automatically to your account after a trade has been closed. The more trades that are made, the more Bittrex Credits are earned. Each credit is worth a reduction of 1 cent on your next trading fee. To use Bittrex Credits after you have accumulated enough of them, simply select the option to do so in the trade confirmation dialog box upon making a trade.
Bittrex withdrawal fees
For crypto withdrawals, the fees are relatively minimal compared to many other exchanges. On the home page of their website, Bittrex has even made a statement that they do not intend to profit from withdrawal fees, which seems to ring true when looking at the withdrawal fees of most of their coins. The withdrawal fee for Bitcoin is a bit on the high side at 0.0005 BTC, but still lower than many other big names in the crypto exchange industry. The withdrawal fee for Ethereum is 0.01 ETH, which is about half as much in dollar terms but still not bad given the network’s current congestion problems. For most other coins, the fee is much, much smaller in terms of dollar amount.
For fiat withdrawals, there is no fee, but it can only be withdrawn to a bank account via wire transfer. There is a $10 minimum for fiat withdrawals.
One of the reasons why Bittrex has survived for so long in a highly competitive and hacking-prone industry is by taking their security measures very seriously. Although their customers are frequently the targets of phishing attempts and less often social engineering attacks (SIM swapping), Bittrex itself has never actually been hacked, which is a testament to having a good internal security protocol. The security features Bittrex has in place for its customers can be found in the SITE SETTINGS area of the “Account” menu and include:
- Two-Factor Authentication. This is a must-have if you plan to do any sort of trading on Bittrex. The best way to do 2-FA on Bittrex is by using Google Authenticator, and don’t forget to make a backup of your authenticator code as you will need it if you lose your mobile device.
- IP Whitelist. Use this if you have a static IP address and want to make sure people from other internet connections cannot log into your account.
- Withdrawal Whitelist. This will limit the withdrawals that can be made from your account to certain coin addresses, and is configurable for multiple types of coins.
Bittrex mobile app
Bittrex does have a mobile app for both iOS and Android mobile devices, but it is not the best. Many users report problems of logging in, viewing charts and placing orders. If you are attempting to open an account, it is certainly preferable to use the desktop version instead. Having said that, some users can indeed use the app just fine, and it allows you to perform all of the basic functions of the desktop exchange so long as it is compatible with your mobile device. One of the big differences is you will not have access to all of the technical analysis tools offered in the desktop version, but other than that, all basic functionalities are present.
Benefits of Bittrex (over competitors)
- Tremendous amount of coins and tokens with flexible pairing options.
- Available to users worldwide (except in a very select group of territories).
- Good liquidity for cryptos which are currently popular.
- Stable, secure system with a decent user interface, along with plenty of TA charting options.
Limitations of Bittrex
- Restrictive KYC policies; customer verification required upon signup.
- No fee discount for market makers; no VIP program.
- Prone to sudden policy changes that may leave users unable to trade certain coins, or trade at all.
- Less-than-stellar mobile app with limited functionality.
Wrapping it up
In all, Bittrex is a solid, dependable exchange for cryptocurrency traders pretty much anywhere in the world. After getting through the opening KYC process, using Bittrex is a seamless and intuitive experience. Their fee structure attracts a different breed of customers who tend to be particularly drawn to coins that are currently “hot,” meaning the liquidity can shift around from coin-to-coin quite easily. As one of the longest lasting altcoin exchanges currently in operation, Bittrex has learned a thing or two about how to run a good operation and we can recommend them to our users quite readily.