This review is part of a crypto exchange review series. Our last reviews evaluated Kraken, Binance, Bittrex, Bitstamp, Huobi, Poloniex, Gemini, and Coinbase Pro. We are publishing reviews for each of the top exchanges, so don’t miss any of these updates by joining our Telegram group.
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Launched in 2013, HitBTC was one of the original cryptocurrency exchanges. Known for its fast order execution, a large selection of assets, and low trading fees, HitBTC has acquired a reputation among institutions and high volume traders.
Each of these trading features has contributed to the runaway success of the exchange, bringing it to the international spotlight and becoming one of the largest crypto to crypto exchanges in the industry.
Unlike many other exchanges, HitBTC has placed its bets on providing a world-class API. This has placed their UI as a secondary development to the API.
The APIs provide a way for developers to execute high frequency, algorithmic, and real-time trading strategies. This opens lucrative opportunities for global institutions, professional traders, and even retail investors to leverage the robust infrastructure and develop new ways of executing cryptocurrency trades.
We will say it now and we will say it again in this review, the user experience is a bit weak with HitBTC. It’s not bad, just not as great as we believe HitBTC deserves. With an exceptional trading engine, strong API, and long history in the crypto market, we see a great opportunity for their team to clean up the new customer experience and shine.
The UI is a bit outdated, the trading terminal could use some patching up, and the overall feel of the exchange experience is closer to Poloniex than Coinbase Pro.
Throughout the rest of the review, we won’t have too many other negative points to hammer on, so if you’re looking for something negative to believe about HitBTC, this is about it. Let’s take a walk through the UI and break down the different aspects of the user experience.
HitBTC supports international customers. To sustain such a broad user base, HitBTC has adapted to provide multilingual support for its users. That way international customers can get rapid support without needing to struggle with a language barrier.
In addition to international customer support, HitBTC prides itself on providing 24/7 customer support. Any time day or night, it’s possible to get your tickets resolved.
Start off by signing up for a new HitBTC account.
After selecting a username and password, you will be asked to select a country of residence as well as enter your full name and phone number.
Complete this information and select “Finish Registration”.
Next, we will walk through the process of retrieving your API keys. Begin by navigating to your exchange view. This will display your charts, assets and more.
Select “Settings”. (This is the small gear icon in the upper right corner)
Navigate to “API Keys”. On this page, you will see each of the API keys you have already created or will create shortly.
Select “New API Key”.
The next page will show your public and secret API keys. When providing API keys to trading services, it’s likely they will need the permissions for “Order book, History, Trading balance”, “Place/cancel orders”, and “Payment Information”.
Without these permissions, many services will not be able to execute your strategy or trade for your account.
Copy your API Key and Secret to a secure location.
The result looks like the following image. You can see the correct permissions have been marked, the status is “ON” and the API Secret key is now hidden since it has already been shown.
Enable your API key permissions.
Now, don’t forget to transfer your funds from your main account into your trading account before you can start trading. Otherwise, trading services may not be able to execute trades for your portfolio.
As mentioned elsewhere in this review, trading on HitBTC is satisfying. The order execution engine developed by HitBTC is responsive and provides a pleasant experience for traders who want to personally manage their execution.
Outside the execution of orders, HitBTC provides all the essentials. Market orders, limit orders, and stop-limit orders are built into the trading interface for convenient access.
The HitBTC team has also gone against the grain by continuing to support TrollBox for users to chat inside the exchange. Don’t forget to spend some time engaging with the community as you watch the candlesticks ping pong up and down your screen.
Combining each of these individual components, HitBTC features a holistic trading experience that makes you feel right at home.
HitBTC has one of the largest selection of cryptocurrencies with 887 live trading pairs on the exchange. In addition to the large selection of assets, they also support a healthy number of quote currencies that can be used for routing orders, executing arbitrage, and more.
Quote Currencies: BTC, BCH, DAI, ETH, EURS, GUSD, PAX, TUSD, USDC, USDT
With so many different assets, people may begin to question if there is a point at which an exchange has listed too many assets.
We believe the answer is yes.
It is time for HitBTC to consider delisting some of the assets which have stagnated. They neither provide value for the exchange, nor the users who are building portfolios and becoming confused by the different unknown cryptocurrencies.
Even CoinMarketCap threw up their hands when looking at some of the assets on HitBTC. HitBTC now has one of the largest “Unverified Markets” lists on CoinMarketCap.
What’s worse is a large number of assets that have a dangerously low trading volume. At the time of writing over 600 trading pairs have less than $1,000 volume on HitBTC. This is concerning for trading services that rely on liquid order books to ensure reliable order execution and reasonable spread costs.
All-in-all, it’s not bad that HitBTC wants to support a variety of assets that may not be offered on other exchanges. However, it might be time to clean up some of the trading pairs to reduce confusion and improve the trading experience for novice traders.
To put it bluntly, HitBTC has one of the best if not the best fee schedule in the industry. Not only do they have the lowest base fee among the large exchanges, but they continue to decrease as you reach higher volumes.
The fees start at 0.1% for maker fees and 0.2% for taker fees. For upgraded accounts, fees start at a shocking 0.07% for both makers and takers.
At the highest fee tier, they provide a rebate of .01%. That means they will pay you for maker orders that are executed after you reach a volume of 50,000+ BTC.
Although very few people will ever reach such a high trading volume, this fee structure gives an incentive for institutions to add liquidity to the exchange while still executing substantial trading volume. High liquidity and consistent trading volume improve the experience for both retail and institutional investors.
After evaluating the HitBTC APIs and trading features, it certainly has the feel of an institutional trading platform. The order execution is fast, reliable, and consistent. For these reasons, we stand beside their statement that HitBTC is the most advanced cryptocurrency exchange for these specific aspects.
That’s not to say their entire exchange is the most advanced. We see some work when it comes to the UI experience. The interface still feels outdated. We know there is a lot of potential behind HitBTC, so we hope to see some exciting news in the coming years with UI updates.
One example of an exchange that drastically improved their user experience was Kraken. I remember the first time I used Kraken - it was dreadful. The landing page felt confusing and difficult to navigate. With recent updates to Kraken’s user experience, it has completely turned around the way users think about the exchange. It feels fresh and welcoming. If HitBTC can pull off a UI update like Kraken, we have no doubt they will secure a long-term position as one of the leading exchanges.
Recently HitBTC released a demo version of their platform. Using a demo account, users can try their hand at trading without risking any financial investment. They can trade simulated funds in order to get a feel for trading and educate themselves. At the same time, all the market data in the demo is the same real-time data from the real HitBTC exchange. Trading can be done manually or via the API – the test mode is as responsive as the regular exchange platform.
There aren’t many negative things to say about HitBTC. Besides some tweaks here and there to the UI, HitBTC is a solid exchange that has a history of exceptional commitment to the cryptocurrency community. Few exchanges have been around as long as HitBTC, which makes it all the more impressive how it has weathered the volatile history of the crypto market.
HitBTC is the ideal exchange for traders who are looking to connect to exchanges through APIs. They have developed one of the most robust APIs in the market which is fast, reliable, and designed for algorithmic trading.
Unfortunately, due to the heavy focus on the infrastructure and technology for their spot market trading, HitBTC hasn’t yet launched services for margin trading or lending. While this isn’t an issue for many traders who only engage in spot market trading, those more advanced traders will be looking for access to additional types of markets.
All-in-all, HitBTC has done an exceptional job building a lasting business. Everything they do is done well. An update here and there to the UI would go a long way in taking this exchange into the next 5 years of its life cycle. We expect to see much more from the HitBTC team in the coming years.
It’s a market dominating contender to be watching.
HitBTC has a lot going for it. The lowest fees in the industry, exceptional API order execution, and an over all pleasant experience.
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Bitstamp is Europe’s longest-standing cryptocurrency exchange. Founded in 2011 by Nejc Kodrič and Damijan Merlak, Bitstamp is, by crypto standards, a historic institution.
As far as cryptocurrency exchanges go, Kraken has withstood the test of time. Founded in 2011, just a couple of years after the first Bitcoin block was mined, Kraken officially opened its doors to traders in 2013. It’s worth noting that even in the early days of crypto, Kraken was already committed to rigorous internal testing and safety standards, having kept its exchange in a closed beta for two years before launching.
One of the most popular cryptocurrency exchanges out in the market right now is one called Bittrex and this article is going to be a review of this platform, and answer questions like “is Bittrex safe?”