HitBTC Review and Introduction
Processing almost half a billion dollars in trades ever day, HitBTC is one of the largest cryptocurrency-only exchanges in the world. It is also one of the longest lasting, having originally been developed in late 2013. HitBTC supports a breathtaking number of coins and tokens: currently 420, to be exact. This makes it the exchange of choice for those looking to trade smaller, lesser-known coins on a platform known to be secure and stable.
Brief History of HitBTC
HitBTC was launched in early 2014 by Hit Solutions LTD, a Hong Kong-based firm, based on a $6 million raised from angel investors during the previous year. For the first few months of its existence, it offered only 4 trading pairs: BTC/USD, BTC/EUR, BTC/LTC, and USD/EUR. In May of the same year, HitBTC initiated a coin voting system that allowed its community to decide which altcoins should next be added to the exchange. This lead to the addition of 6 more coins over the course of the summer, and hundreds in the following years.
As one of the first altcoin exchanges, HitBTC featured a wholly original order matching engine that was designed to mimic Wall Street trading terminals, with very low latency and real-time settlements. They were also one of the first exchanges to feature a dependable API portal for algorithmic and high frequency traders, thus making it one of the first trading bot-friendly exchanges.
Though not without customer relation problems that started to plague its reputation in 2017, HitBTC has grown into a powerhouse of an exchange, consistently ranking in the top 10 of all exchanges by certain metrics according to CoinMarketCap.com. It remains a stable, unwavering entity in a highly uncertain industry which has seen dozens (or even hundreds) of competitors come and go.
With all of this said, some industry watchdogs have concerns over the undisclosed ownership and management team. Considering how long they have been in operation, it may only be a matter of privacy rather than a scam exit strategy. Unfortunately, we have no way of knowing.
Getting Started at HitBTC
Note that HitBTC does not serve customers in the U.S. and a handful of other countries (including North Korea, Sudan, Crimea, Cuba, Syria, or any country which is currently embargoed by the U.S.). However, it does allow registrations from customers in every other part of the world (so long as your country’s laws do not expressly forbid cryptocurrency trading).
How to Register an Account
It’s relatively simple to register an account on HitBTC. After pressing “Sign Up”, you will need to enter in an email address and create a password. Next, you’ll be asked to provide your country of residence, first and last name, and a telephone number. After solving a captcha, you’ll need to confirm your email address by clicking a link sent via email.
The first thing you will want to do (as HitBTC immediately reminds you) is to activate 2-Factor Authentication (2-FA) by pressing the “Secure My Account” button in the popup (you can skip this and do it later from the Security tab of your account settings, but it is recommended you do it before depositing any funds onto your account). The 2 methods for 2-FA offered by HitBTC are Google Authenticator (GAuth) and YubiKey. Be sure to write down the backup code provided as it will be the only way to log into your account should you lose access to your 2-FA app/program.
After confirming your 2-FA setup via email, your account will now be officially secured and ready for use. New accounts have a daily withdrawal limit of 1 BTC and a monthly withdrawal limit of 5 BTC. To increase your limits to 100 BTC daily and unlimited monthly, you will need to verify your account.
How to Get Verified at HitBTC
To start verification, click on the “KYC” tab in your account settings menu. Though technically not a requirement, the KYC process at HitBTC is rather intensive and will likely be triggered at some point regardless of what level trading you are planning to do. Information required for the verification process includes:
- Full name, date of birth, country of residence
- Residential address
- Proof of identity (passport, driver’s license or national identity document)
- Selfie holding ID
- Mobile number
The verification process can take anywhere from 1 – 3 business days, and may take longer under certain circumstances.
Warning: One thing to note is that there are several reports of HitBTC demanding additional documentation upon making a withdrawal, such as requests for proof of residence (such as a utility bill) and proof of funds (documentation or a written account of how you obtained your deposited coins).
In all likelihood, HitBTC just wants to clarify that you are who and where you say you are, and want to make sure you aren’t using stolen or illicitly-obtained funds. However, some users report being locked out of their accounts regardless of their attestation that they were within HitBTC’s terms of service, leading to speculation that they are running a less-than-honest business.
Having said all that, many customers are perfectly happy with HitBTC, recommending that you clear the KYC procedure and enable 2-FA before making a deposit in order to avoid any problems.
How to Fund Your Account
To start adding funds to your account, you can click on either the green “Deposit” button in the upper-right hand corner of the screen or the “Account” tab from the home screen. This will bring up a list of all the supported coins which you can deposit. It is easier to find the coin which you want to deposit by starting to type its name into the search box on the left side of the list. After finding your coin, press the blue circle under the word Deposit to generate a deposit address for that coin.
Interestingly, HitBTC is one of the few exchanges that will still let you generate new deposit addresses, which can be a good way to help retain a degree of privacy in your coin transfer habits.
HitBTC does not support any fiat currency whatsoever, but it is possible to buy Bitcoin (BTC) using a credit card. This option can be found at the top of the Account screen. Credit card purchases are made through Changelly, which is a fairly reputable credit card-to-crypto purchasing service. You’ll need to enter your personal and credit card information, and then perform a secondary verification with Changelly. Fees for credit card purchases through Changelly are 5%. You will also need to enter your BTC deposit address generated by HitBTC to send the funds to your account on the exchange.
Overview of Supported Coins
Amazingly, HitBTC supports 400+ coins across 800+ trading pairs; however, only some of them have notable liquidity. Several hundred have very little or no active volume. This does not mean that they aren’t a powerhouse as far as currency listings are concerned. HitBTC supports hundreds of different coins and tokens, including many (if not most) of the top 100 coins by market cap value. Over the years they have developed a reputation for giving a fair shot to little projects that perhaps couldn’t afford the listing fees of other major exchanges.
The base pairings for HitBTC coin listings include USDT, BTC, ETH, BCH, EOS, EURS, TUSD, and DAI. While HitBTC does have 4 different types of stablecoins as pair bases, you cannot trade cryptocurrency directly for fiat. Some of the most popular coins and tokens traded on HitBTC (besides BTC and ETH) include:
- Bitcoin SV (BSV)
- Ripple (XRP)
- Litecoin (LTC)
- Cardano (ADA)
- Ethereum Classic (ETC)
- EOS (EOS)
- NEO (NEO)
- Zcash (ZEC)
- Qtum (QTM)
- ICON (ICX)
- Stellar Lumens (XLM)
- TRON (TRX)
- Monero (XMR)
HitBTC also offers decent liquidity for some of the following smaller coins and tokens:
- Numeraire (NMR)
- Loopring (LRC)
- Huobi Token (HT)
- 0x (ZRX)
- Monetha (MTH)
- Kryll (KRL)
- Chiliz (CHZ)
- iExec RLC (RLC)
- Ren (REN)
- Metal (MTL)
Trading on HitBTC
The trading screen (located by selecting “Exchange”) on HitBTC is a bit archaic and outdated compared to most other major cryptocurrency exchanges. It lacks several customization options and seems to use an older rendition of web design software and/or coding structure. It is possible to switch the chart to a TradingView-style display by pressing the symbol next to the words “Switch to”, to the right of the trading pair name. This will bring up a lot more options, such as chart drawing tools, technical analysis indicators, and candle representations.
Below the chart screen is a section titled Instruments where trading pairs are broken down by base pairing. Here you can navigate back and forth between different pairings without having to leave the trading screen. Below that is the orderbook with buying and selling sides occupying 2 different columns.
Below the orderbook is the order placement screen, along with a Trollbox, which is a chat feature where you can interact with other users of the exchange. The Trollbox is available in several different languages and good for asking other users questions about not only HitBTC but their thoughts on coins traded at the exchange, as well. Below that is a list of previous and open orders/trades, and below that a list of most recent trades for the active pairing next to a market depth indicator screen.
The different types of orders supported by HitBTC are:
- Market. The most basic type of order (taker) where you enter the amount of coins you wish to purchase and the order is filled at the best available price(s).
- Limit. An order where you set the amount and price. The order remains open until it is filled by a taker (except for limit order types other than Good-Til-Cancelled).
- Scaled. A set of limit orders distributed among a price range set by the user.
For those who are either adventurous or expert traders, margin trading can be conducted on HitBTC with leverage up to 10x, meaning it is possible to expand your trades 10-fold in size based on the amount of your collateral. While it is possible to use margin trading to increase your profits very quickly, it is also possible to lose your collateral very quickly if the market swings in an unfavorable direction. This could result in a liquidation of your margin balance, which is a complete loss of funds.
To access this option, click the “Margin” tab, which is directly to the right of the “Exchange” tab. You will need to complete the account verification process in order to access margin trading on HitBTC. You must also have a balance of USDT as collateral that can be transferred to your Margin Trading account by pressing the green button next to the word “Margin” toward the upper-right corner of the screen. Some of the coins currently available for margin trading on HitBTC include:
HitBTC Trading Fees
HitBTC uses a tiered, maker/taker fee model, with trades for those with unverified accounts and less than 10 BTC of trades made over the last 30 days having fees of 0.1% for makers (limit orders) and 0.25% for takers (market orders). After account verification, you will be upgraded to Trader status, giving you an instant reduction to 0.09% for both maker and taker fees. If you trade between 10 and 100 BTC a month, fees are reduced to 0.07% for maker orders and 0.08% for taker orders. The tier system continues all the way to those who trade over 50,000 BTC a month, at which point the maker fee is negative (they will pay you to make orders).
HitBTC Withdrawal Fees
The withdrawal fees at HitBTC are relatively hefty and among the highest of any major cryptocurrency exchange, making it one of HitBTC’s major downsides. Some fees are static (constant) and some are dynamic (changing according to network demand). The withdrawal fee for Bitcoin is 0.0015 BTC, which is pretty high by most standards. The withdrawal fee for Ethereum isn’t much better, at 0.0428 ETH. For some coins the fee is much lower, and for others it is much higher, with the average fee coming in at around $8.00 at today’s market prices.
Approaching 7 years of being in operation, HitBTC has never been hacked, which is a testament to the strength of their systems security. They are not insured or well-regulated by any major body, so if they were to be hacked or suddenly go offline, this could spell major problems for their users. With such a long-running commitment to remaining in business, this doesn’t seem likely, however.
To protect their users, HitBTC strongly recommends everybody enable 2-FA from the very beginning. In addition to 2-FA, HitBTC offers the following optional security measures (which can be found in your General Settings area):
- Whitelist. If you want to make sure that coins can only be withdrawn from your account to certain addresses, you can enter them here. Not only does this help stop unauthorized withdrawals but it’s a way to make sure that you never accidentally send funds to a wrong address.
- Active Sessions. Here you can see where and which computers are logged in to your account. To log out of all sessions, click “Terminate all sessions”. You can also set an automatic logout with options between 30 minutes and 7 days. Below this is a list of IP addresses and their activity pertaining to your account. Here you can see if people from unrecognized locations have been trying to log into your account, or have actually managed to do so.
HitBTC Mobile App
HitBTC has a mobile app for Android devices which can be downloaded through the Google Play store. It has mixed reviews but for the most part it seems to get the job done as far as making trades on the go is concerned. You may not be able to access certain features, like deposit address creation, but placing orders seems perfectly doable.
Benefits of HitBTC (over competitors)
- Huge selection of coins, tokens and trading pairs.
- Margin trading for a decent selection of cryptos.
- Low trading fees after verification.
Limitations of HitBTC
- Prohibitively large withdraw fees.
- Not open to U.S. customers.
- Reputation for springing KYC and documentation requests unexpectedly.
Wrapping it up
In all, HitBTC is great for trading some coins and not so great for others. Although it supports over 400 cryptocurrencies, some of them having very little volume which can make it difficult to buy or sell coins at a fair price. After passing KYC, trading fees are quite reasonable, but a hefty withdrawal fee can take out a sizeable chunk of funds for those wanting to withdraw smaller amounts of coins. It is not our first, go-to choice but remains indispensible to those trading littler coins who want to store their funds on a dependable exchange.