Review: Bitbay Crypto Exchange

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Bitbay is a Polish based Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin exchange which lets you trade in USD, PLN or EUR. In addition to basic trading features they also let you pay bills and buy BTC via SMS; although at the time of writing this service was not available. It clearly has a large following in Poland however trade in other currencies is practically non-existent.

The first thing that strikes you about Bitbay is the user interface as it is by far the most flashy to look at. This is on the one hand impressive but also means that it is more complex and less user friendly than other sites. The interface is in English and Polish, however quite often some parts return to being in Polish even when you have selected English. This does not effect the major parts of the interface and usually only some buttons etc but it makes the experience a little confusing.  There is also plenty additional information which is well presented and available, such as graphs showing trends and tables with recent trade information. Fortunately though, as I will come to next the trading interface is relative easy to use – although there are a few niggles. Also what is nice is that you can always see the % complete for certain types of transaction.

Now for the real stuff. There are three core trading options: placing an offer, instant transaction and trade with a bot. Placing an offer is like any other exchange where you set your quantity to buy or sell and the price you are willing to accept. An instant transaction lets you buy or sell at the current market rate, this is simply a case of entering how much BTC or LTC you want to trade and the transaction is done there and then. Unlike LocalBitcoins and Bitcoin.de this is not an over the counter exchange so you do not need to send money to other people or wait for receipt of funds, which means on the face of it doing a trade feels safer. The “trade with bot” option is similar to placing buy/sell offers but your offer is not visible to others on the market, it is simply fulfilled when the criteria are met. This I guess could be useful when you want to trade at prices you do not wish to disclose.

Like other exchanges Bitbay offers  security and protection, namely the now famous two factor authentication. In addition users have to be verified if they trade more than €15,000 per year. They also offer relatively fast support and quick deposits and withdrawls (although I was not able to test this).

Fees for trading in crypto are comparable to other sites and are based on 30-day trading periods. For low traders you pay 0.43%  for up to €5,0000 value (for all trade types). This progressively falls to 0.25%, but you need to trade an astronomical €875,000 to benefit from this. Depositing funds is free but withdrawing cots up to €1,50 for SEPA (EUR) accounts so is a little pricey. Withdrawing crypto also incurs modest fees.

Overall Bitbay as good an exchange as any other although the usability issues can make it  a bit off putting. The lack of serious trading in anything other than PLN is it’s biggest draw back. If however you are happy to perhaps engage in a bit of arbitrage trading between different fiat currencies and crypto then this could be the site for you. Also the range of trading options can make it attractive. If the market for EUR based trades was bigger I would use it more often myself.

For more information visit www.bitbay.net

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Myeloma UK – Cancer Charity

Please support Myeloma UK, a charity which provides support services to those suffering from this blood based cancer.

Myeloma UK

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Bitcoin.de more or less useless for non-German customers

I’ve been using Bitcoin.de for about a year now and I have to say the service is very good, in general no dodgy dealers and their own customer service is excellent. However, lately the exchange has become more or less useless if you live outside of Germany and don’t have a FIDOR bank account. FIDOR provide a so-called express trade service so that traders can trade instantly without having to place funds in escrow. This is an excellent idea but means that more and more people in Germany use that service. If however you live outside of Germany and FIDOR does not operate in your country then it means the number of potential traders is significantly reduced. This is not helped by many traders also requiring a German bank account, even if they do not bank with FIDOR. The net result is that the majority of trades are now in accessible. I hope Bitcoin.de provide other mechanisms or they will lose out on a large number of customers in other Euro countries.

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Battery Issues: Nvidia Shield K1

Image (c) Nvidia. Shield K1 Tablet and Controller

The Shield K1 is a great tablet, not too expensive and with great graphics what’s more out of the box it works great. Yes I did use the word great a lot in the last sentence. However, there is one major flaw… if you update to Android 6.0 (Marshmallow)  the battery will drain even when you are doing nothing. For example there was 71% battery usage against a task called “Miscellaneous”, this is basically the task used to describe the difference between the expected battery drain of the various apps and what has happened.

My plan was to use this tablet (due to it’s nice graphics chipset) for some augmented reality work but the current problem renders it more or less useless.

I had the tablet for barely 48 hours when I made this fatal error. When the tablet was not being used it drained from about 90% to 5% in five hours. You can find out more about the problems here. Nvidia are clearly aware of it but I am shocked that they would release an update like this without full testing! Such serious battery drain is something which could easily have been uncovered with proper internal quality control.

A full review will follow, but I would suggest Nvidia fix this soon or it may not be too positive.

The moral of the story- DO NOT UPDATE THIS TABLET !

 

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Review: Paymium Bitcoin Exchange

Paymium unlike some rivals is not an over the counter exchange, i.e. you do not deal directly with other buyers and sellers but instead trade via the exchange. For example, if you have a Bitcoin the easiest way to sell it is for the current market price. You simply enter the quantity and click sell, then your sell request is matched against what others are prepared to pay and you receive the funds in your Paymium account. You can also issue a sell order where you set the price – in this case when another buyer matches or exceeds your price you sell your Bitcoins. Buying operates similarly but in the other direction of course.

Paymium has enough participants and hence liquidity to mean that provided you are trading at a fair price your trade will normally go through pretty quickly. However, in order to use the service you must upload real money to it. This in effect means you are depositing funds with them, so you need to trust them that they will not run off with your cash. So far (and I’ve been using it for months) I have had no problems. They also promise that all your cash is held in account in your name at a licenced payment organisation.

Fees are 0.59% for each party with a 99c fee charged for withdrawing any money to your bank account. There are also no fees for any incoming or outgoing Bitcoin transactions or for uploading funds – which compares favourably to other sites.

The site is simple and quick to use. As are are dealing via the market you also completely avoid the need to manually arrange payments to other users or to check for incoming payments yourself. The time taken to receive incoming Bitcoins has also improved significantly from when I first used the service.

The setup process was slower than for other websites, but this is entirely down to their security checking procedures for all new accounts. Their support was always quick and responsive to my requests.

Would I recommend Paymium? The answer is yes, its quick, simple and a whole lot easier for newcomers to get their head around than over the counter markets.

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