bitFlyer Review (2020)

bitFlyer Review (2020)
  • Ease of Use
  • Payment Options
  • Speed
  • Customer Service
  • Fees
4

Summary

Established in 2014, bitFlyer is available in the EU, US, and Japan.

You can simply and easily buy Bitcoin (BTC) and six other cryptocurrencies on the ‘Easy Exchange’. There’s also the ‘bitFlyer Lightning’ exchange, which allows you to trade Bitcoin (BTC) with low fees (up to 0.2%).

Unlike other cryptocurrency exchanges, you can also buy or sell up to €249.99 per transaction (max €2,499.99 per year) without having to submit your ID. This means you can get going within minutes.

bitFlyer is a cryptocurrency exchange established in 2014 which now operates in the EU, the US, and Japan.

But is bitFlyer trustworthy? How does it work? How competitive are its fees?

In this bitFlyer review, I’ll cover everything you need to know before you give it a shot.

FYI: This review focuses on bitFlyer EU, but you’ll still find this review useful if you live outside of Europe.

Advantages & Disadvantages

Advantages

  • Available in Europe, USA, and Japan.
  • Supports Bitcoin (BTC) and 6 other cryptocurrencies via Instant Buy.
  • Deposit up to €249.99 per transaction (max €2,499.99 per rolling one-year period) without identity verification.
  • Low trading fees on the bitFlyer Lightning exchange (up to 0.2%).
  • Costs nothing to deposit EUR with a SEPA bank transfer.
  • Mobile app available for iOS and Android.
  • Never suffered from a security compromise (e.g. hacked funds).

Disadvantages

What Is bitFlyer?

bitFlyer was established in early 2014 in Japan by Yuzo Kano and Takafumi Komiyama. It then expanded into the US in 2016 with bitFlyer USA, then launched in Europe in early 2018 with bitFlyer EU. It now has offices in Tokyo, San Francisco, and Luxembourg.

In 2020, bitFlyer is one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in Japan and has had the highest Bitcoin (BTC) trading volume of any exchange that’s based in Japan. It’s also ranked as a top 10 global cryptocurrency exchange on CoinMarketCap (based on traffic, liquidity, and trading volumes).

On top of this, bitFlyer recently reported that it now has more than 2.5 million customers across Europe, the United States, and Japan.

Is bitFlyer trustworthy?

Across the world, bitFlyer works closely with authorities so that they can serve as many people as they can around the world.

In the EU, bitFlyer EU was granted a Payment Institution License from the Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier (CSSF) in Luxembourg in 2018.

This allows bitFlyer to operate across the EU and means that bitFlyer is held to high standards which protect everyone that uses its platform. For example, any funds that you deposit into bitFlyer are separated from bitFlyer’s own funds – they’ll sit in entirely different bank accounts.

bitFlyer is also supervised by the CSSF, which means that complaints about bitFlyer can be submitted to them for review if you’re not happy with how bitFlyer are handling it (see here).

Signup Requirements

Getting started with bitFlyer is quick, easy, and doesn’t require you to immediately submit ID documents. You just need to:

  • Verify your email address.
  • Confirm your phone number.
  • Set a password.
  • Tell them who you are and where you live.

You can then deposit and buy up to €250 without further verification. This is awesome and isn’t something that’s supported by other large cryptocurrency exchanges.

To remove deposit and trading limits, you’ll need to submit ID and proof of residence. Check out this page for more information.

How Does bitFlyer Work?

There are two ways that you can use bitFlyer.

First off, there’s the ‘Easy Exchange’ dashboard which is shown below. On this, you’ll be buying or selling directly with bitFlyer (the broker). This is more expensive, but it’s simple, easy-to-use, and perfect for beginners.

When you register on bitFlyer, you’ll also get access to the bitFlyer Lightning exchange. This is aimed at traders and crypto-enthusiasts and is going to be a little more intimidating for new cryptocurrency users.

In contrast to the ‘Easy Exchange’ dashboard, bitFlyer is only facilitating transactions between their customers on the bitFlyer Lightning exchange (i.e. they’re not the ones providing liquidity).

It has everything all the basics that you’d expect from a cryptocurrency exchange, plus much more. This includes IFD (‘if done’ orders), OCO (‘one-cancels-the-other’ orders), and IFDOCO (a combination of IFD and OCO). You can find out a little more about this here, or see how all these options look here.

Supported Countries

bitFlyer is available in Japan, most states in the USA, and all countries within the European Economic Area (EEA).

Is my country in the European Economic Area (EEA)?

The European Economic Area (EEA) includes:

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden.

However, each of these areas is segregated from one another. You’ll have to signup with the appropriate one depending on where you are:

WebsiteSupported Fiat Currency
bitFlyer EUEuro (EUR)
bitFlyer USAUS Dollar (USD)
bitFlyer JapanJapanese Yen (JPY)

Supported Cryptocurrencies

bitFlyer EU currently supports the following cryptocurrencies:

  • Bitcoin (BTC)
  • Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
  • Ethereum (ETH)
  • Ethereum Classic (ETC)
  • Litecoin (LTC)
  • MonaCoin (MONA)
  • Lisk (LSK)

However, only Bitcoin (BTC) is currently supported on the bitFlyer EU Lightning exchange. This is a little disappointing, as you can trade multiple cryptocurrencies on alternative cryptocurrency exchanges like Coinbase Pro, Bitstamp, or Kraken.

Payment Methods

You can fund your bitFlyer EU account with:

  • SEPA bank transfer
  • PayPal
  • Credit/debit cards (3D Secure)
It looks like Sofort, iDeal, and Giropay were previously supported – but they’re temporarily unavailable for some reason.

PayPal is a supported payment method, but you’ll need to fully verify your identity with bitFlyer EU before you can use this.

Although you can use a credit or debit card to buy cryptocurrency on bitFlyer EU, you’ll need to also make a deposit using a SEPA bank transfer before you can withdraw these funds. I think it’s better to just avoid using a debit or credit card on bitFlyer EU – especially because it works out more expensive.

Fees

Deposit Fees

It’s FREE to make a EUR deposit with a SEPA bank transfer, which makes it the best payment method to use on bitFlyer EU.

You can also deposit EUR with PayPal on bitFlyer EU, but you’ll pay 4.9% plus €0.35 per deposit that you make. It might be quicker than a SEPA bank transfer, but this is a complete waste of money.

Trading Fees

You’ll pay the lowest fees on bitFlyer EU if you use its ‘bitFlyer Lightning’ exchange to buy Bitcoin (BTC). You’ll get the real exchange rate (i.e. no hidden fees) and you’ll pay these fees whenever you buy or sell Bitcoin (BTC).

Volume in Past 30 DaysTrading Fees
Less than €1 million0.20%
€1 million - €10 million0.15%
More than €10 million0.10%

If you’re buying a few thousand euros worth every month or so, then bitFlyer Lightning has fees which are more than half that of Coinbase Pro (currently 0.5% if you’re trading less than $10,000 over a 30-day period).

The fees you’re charged when using the bitFlyer EU ‘Instant Buy’ dashboard are more expensive. I found that there was a variable hidden fee in the BTC to EUR exchange rate. When I checked a few times, I found it was somewhere between 2.3% and 2.5%.

If you use a credit or debit card, you’ll pay a transaction fee of 1.95% (plus €0.25) too. In total, you’d pay about 4.5% in fees if you bought Bitcoin (BTC) using a credit or debit card on bitFlyer EU. That’s about the same as most other places.

ExchangeFees (Approximate)
Wirex2.5%
Crypto.com3.5%
Coinbase4%
Cryptopay4%
Uphold4.5%
Bitpanda5%
Coinmama14%
Please Note: You’ll usually be charged additional fees by your card provider if you use a non-EUR card to buy cryptocurrency on bitFlyer EU. You’ll also pay cash advance fees if you use a credit card.

Withdrawal Fees

It’s cheap to withdraw EUR from your bitFlyer account. You’ll pay just €0.30 for withdrawals that are less than €250,000.

At the time of writing, these are the withdrawal fees for the supported EU cryptocurrencies.

CryptocurrencyFee
Bitcoin (BTC)0.0004 BTC
Ethereum (ETH)0.005 ETH
Bitcoin Cash (BCH)0.0002 BCH
Ethereum Classic (ETC)0.005 ETC
Litecoin (LTC)0.001 LTC
Monacoin (MONA)Free
Lisk (LSK)0.1 LSK

Is bitFlyer Safe?

bitFlyer works closely with authorities in Europe, the US, and Japan to ensure that they remain compliant with regulations intended to keep your money safe. It’s also worth noting that it’s not faced any security compromises since it was established.

You can find lots of detail here about the steps they take to keep bitFlyer as safe and secure as possible.

Here are some of the bits I picked out:

  • Platinum member of the Japan Blockchain Association (JBA), which means they’re compliant with various trading and security guidelines.
  • Everything uses SHA-2 (SHA-256), which is essentially an improved version of SHA-1 which is less vulnerable.
  • bitFlyer is protected by a firewall and unauthorised access is constantly monitored through a Web Application Firewall (WAF).
  • Forces everyone to use a strong password, locks out access to your account if the password is entered incorrectly too many times, and supports two-factor authentication (2FA) via SMS or an authenticator mobile app.
  • Uses multi-signature Bitcoin (BTC) wallets and stores over 80% of the cryptocurrency it holds offline in cold-storage wallets that are isolated from the network.

Customer Support

If you have a question for bitFlyer support, you can find their FAQ or submit a ticket to their support team via the bitFlyer dashboard.

Support is normally available between 09:00 and 18:00 CET (excluding holidays). This equates to 07:00 till 16:00 in GMT.

To check their response time, I opened a ticket asking some simple questions over a weekend. I didn’t get a response until Monday, but it clearly addressed the questions I’d asked. I immediately sent a follow-up with more questions and got a response just 10 minutes later (which is a damn good response time).

Alternatives

In 2020, there are more cryptocurrency exchanges in the EU to choose from them ever before. Here are some of the most popular options out there:

  • Coinbase Pro: Supports 17 cryptocurrencies, with fees up to 0.5%.
  • Kraken: Supports 44 cryptocurrencies, with fees up to 0.26%
  • Bitstamp: Supports 7 cryptocurrencies, with fees up to 0.5%

If you’re in the EU, then Kraken is probably the best alternative to bitFlyer that you should consider. Kraken has slightly higher fees than bitFlyer, but gives you access to a much wider selection of cryptocurrencies and has higher trading volume across the exchange.

Learn more about Kraken here.

Summary

bitFlyer is great for beginners and professional traders alike.

On the Easy Exchange, you can simply and easily buy a range of the most popular cryptocurrencies with a debit card, credit card, or SEPA bank transfer (in the EU). If you deposit EUR with a SEPA bank transfer, you’ll typically only pay about 2.5% in fees.

And the bitFlyer Lightning exchange has everything a trader would want, but with competitive trading fees (up to 0.2%). The only significant downside is that it only allows you to trade Bitcoin (BTC).

Unlike other cryptocurrency exchanges, you can also give bitFlyer a shot yourself without submitting your ID!

Head over to the bitFlyer EU website to get started now.

Any Questions?

Thanks for reading this bitFlyer review!

Have a question about bitFlyer EU? Or have something you want to share?

Comment below and let me know! I’ll respond ASAP.

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