Bitpanda (formerly Coinimal) is one of the most well known Bitcoin exchanges in Europe. Operating out of Vienna, Austria since 2014, Bitpanda represents an older generation of Bitcoin exchange which has stood the test of time, and thus proved its worth. Bitpanda isn’t the solution to all the problems a crypto investor faces, but it does its thing quite well.
Throughout the rest of this Bitpanda review, we’ll explain how Bitpanda works, how much it costs, and what alternatives and complements might be found in other services.
What is Bitpanda?
Bitpanda is one of the best and most well known ways to buy Bitcoin in the UK and EU. Bitpanda also supports Ethereum, Litecoin, and Dash. This small selection of cryptocurrencies might not indicate anything special about Bitpanda, but the exchange’s significance lies in the fact that they accept fiat payments by many different means.
Until recently, there were not many fiat>crypto (fiat currencies are state-issued currencies, like dollars and Euros) exchanges. Sure, there were plenty of exchanges that let you trade Bitcoin for NEO, for example, but not many places that would trade Bitcoin for cash. Since 2014, Bitpanda has been a central place to get into crypto.
Even though there are more fiat options than ever before, Bitpanda is enmeshed in the cryptocurrency industry and culture. The platform has some helpful features and fees that aren’t too terribly high (they’re not low either). All in all, Bitpanda is a pretty good way to buy Bitcoin with cash or credit, but there may be better options.
We’ll cover all of the details you’ll want to know before signing up with Bitpanda, as well as showing you some alternatives like eToro right now.
The eToro Alternative
eToro has been making a big play in cryptocurrency the last couple of years, and in doing so offer value for European customers that Bitpanda can’t. By understanding the eToro option, you’ll have greater insight about how Bitpanda itself works. So why would someone choose eToro instead of Bitpanda?
First of all, eToro doesn’t charge nearlyas much as Bitpanda does. This is because they don’t truly “sell” cryptocurrency. Instead, eToro sells contracts that say in “buying” X amount of Bitcoin, you the user will be able to have all of the profits and losses that would go along with that amount of Bitcoin. You’ll “pay” for the Bitcoin just as you would on Bitpanda. But instead of the money going away forever, it just gets locked in the contract. When you cancel the contract, you’ll get all of the profits that accrued as Bitcoin rose in value, or the losses that set in will be taken from your balance. Because this deal is easy and inexpensive to broker, eToro doesn’t have to charge nearly as much as Bitpanda.
Another reason someone might choose eToro over Bitpanda is that traditional ownership of Bitcoin is challenging. A digital asset, Bitcoin can be lost or stolen. Passwords can be forgotten, locking Bitcoin away in a wallet forever. Hacks can take place, disappearing assets from centralized exchanges like Bitpanda. With eToro, there’s no chance that these unfortunate events will occur, because there are no literal assets (other than your initial deposit) being transacted.
eToro is an older business than Bitpanda, by about a decade. Like Bitpanda they’re well regulated, but because of their seniority, some users might trust eToro over the relative newbie. Furthermore, eToro gives users access to a greater number of cryptocurrencies than the four offered by Bitpanda. For all of these reasons, we think that eToro is a qualified alternative to Bitpanda that’s especially convenient for new usersand those investors who want to simply invest, not spend, Bitcoin and other digital currencies.
Opening a Bitpanda Account
It’s as easy as pie to open an account with Bitpanda, but you won’t have the same degree of freedom and privilege at each verification level. Like most accredited Bitcoin exchanges, Bitpanda offers different levels of trading options, depending on how much personal identification you’re willing to provide.
The first level just requires a working email address and unique password. You’ll be sent a confirmation email which contains a verification link to click. Click, boom, you’re in. It’s as simple as that. Once your account is active, you’ll be asked for your mobile phone number, to which a 6 digit code will be sent. Enter this code on the site. Now you’ll be able to buy up to 50 Euros per day of Bitcoin, and sell 1500 Euros per day. If you give Bitpanda an image of your government issued ID, these limits will be raised to 10,000 Euros and 15,000 Euros, respectively.
Why does Bitpanda offer different levels of service in exchange for personal information? Well, in order to facilitate the buying and selling of digital assets in Europe, Bitpanda is required to glean certain information about their customers. This information will help them make sure that people aren’t using the service for money laundering or financial fraud, and could help establish a user’s tax burden in certain cases. No one likes giving up personal ID needlessly, but there’s a good reason to do so on Bitpanda, and in exchange you get a well-regulated site that’s unlikely to steal or lose your funds.
Buying Bitcoin on Bitpanda
We mentioned earlier that Bitpanda is known for the wide array of payment forms they accept. Here’s a complete list:
- Visa or MasterCard (credit card or debit card)
- GIROPAY / EPS
- Redeem Voucher
It’s important to note that all of these payment methods have different fees associated with them. They also have different delivery times. Bitpanda prides itself on being one of the fastest providers of Bitcoin once it’s purchased using any of these forms, but some options like credit cardwill be faster than others. For up-to-the-minute fees for your chosen payment method, go to the Bitpanda website and FAQ.
Where and How to Store Your Coins
You get a Bitpanda wallet automatically when you sign up. It’s built in to every account, because once you buy Bitcoin, it has to be stored somewhere. It’s important to understand, however, that exchange wallets like these are intended for temporary storage only.
You see, exchanges like Bitpanda have a target on their backs. Large exchanges like these move millions of Euros in assets each day, and at any given time huge sums of money are stored through various means within the exchange. While Bitpanda is not known for this, large exchanges have been hacked many times in the history of cryptocurrency. As is commonly said in crypto communities, “There are 2 kinds of cryptocurrency exchange: those which have been hacked and those which will be hacked.”
While that might not be true in every case, it speaks to an important reality in cryptocurrency. Hackers are motivated to break into exchanges like these and steal user funds. If and when this happens to Bitpanda, you don’t want your funds to be among those vulnerable. This requires you to create an external software wallet, like Exodus wallet. There are many other qualified options. You can also use a “cold wallet” hardware option like the Ledger Nano S. This is basically a flash drive with a screen, which holds your coins offline where they cannot be stolen.
To be clear, a digital wallet for cryptocurrency is any piece of software which allows you access to your funds, allowing you to transfer them for any purpose. Coins aren’t truly stored within your wallet. Instead, the wallet holds “private keys” – codes associated with your coins which allow them to be manipulated by anyone who has access to them. Wallets keeps these keys safe and secure.
What Countries is Bitpanda Available In?
We’ve already indicated, broadly speaking, that Bitpanda is available within the United Kingdom and European Union. Now we’ll give you a complete list of the countries served by Bitpanda, just in case you want to be sure your home is one of them.
- Czech Republic
- United Kingdom
Obviously, regions like the United States and China are not on this list. This is by design. Bitpanda is for Europe and Europe alone. The company has announced no intention of expanding into other regions. We think this is a good decision, because it’s better for an exchange to serve an audience is knows well, rather than reaching for the moon and sacrificing service or security in the process.
Bitpanda Customer Service
Bitpanda uses the “ticket” method used at deli counters the world over, wherein a user with a question of problem sends in a support claim, then gets a number. Support requests are handled according to the number, in order. Bitpanda says that this usually occurs within a 24 hour period. Anecdotally, people of the internet forums seem to agree that Bitpanda customer service is fairly responsive. There are some complaints, however, that say just the opposite. This is always the case with exchanges, and people who are disappointed are often the most visible online. We like Bitpanda support in our limited experience.
Why is Bitpanda’s Service to the Whole EU Significant?
Bitcoin is a decentralized currency, meaning that it’s not issued by any government or central body. It’s issued on a schedule run by computer code, and this won’t change unless the Earth blows up. Anyone with a computer and the internet can access Bitcoin. Bitcoin has value because it’s scarce and because people agree that it is money. This means that anyone, anywhere in the world can use it as money, instead of their own regional currency.
This is significant for many reasons, but in some parts of the world it is basically essential. Not every nation has a currency as stable as the Pound or the Euro. Not every nation in Europe has liberal banking freedoms for their citizens. Bitcoin allows citizens of any country to use a currency unrelated to the whims of their (sometimes) corrupt governments. They can easily move wealth outside of their home country’s borders, and spend it on any good or service for which Bitcoin is accepted.
To make this a reality for all people around the world, exchange like Bitpanda are important. In the early days of Bitcoin, the digital currency was only available through arcane methods, or using exchanges that took only customers from wealthy world powers. People in smaller countries were out of luck. With exchanges like Bitpanda, people all around Europe have access to Bitcoin, and the new degree of financial independence it offers, compared to the fiat currencies used (and sometimes abused) in countries all over the continent.
Final Thoughts on Bitpanda
There are many Bitcoin exchanges. But there are comparatively few exchanges that are available to many, affordable, highly secure, well regulated, and well-managed over the long term. Bitpanda performs at least moderately well in all of these cases. However, because of their moderately high fees for some coins and payment channels, it’s unclear whether Bitpanda will be able to stay at the forefront of the European Bitcoin revolution.
We urge potential customers to look at our other reviews and compare rates between Bitpanda and other fiat>crypto cryptocurrency exchanges. Depending on your location and your payment method options, Bitpanda may be the most efficient and affordable option to buy Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, and Dash. However, there are newer exchanges which offer better value to some.
Nonetheless, we think that Bitpanda is a highly credible exchange that is unlikely to fail anytime soon. People who use it can do so with confidence, and we can recommend it on its merits, even if there are more high quality ways to buy Bitcoin emerging everyday.