Ease of Use
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%).
However, I’m not that impressed with what they’re offering in the EU. Alternatives like Coinbase Pro or Kraken seem like better options to me (more supported cryptocurrencies, higher trading volume, and easier to use).
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.
Advantages & Disadvantages
- Available in Europe, USA, and Japan.
- Supports Bitcoin (BTC) and 6 other cryptocurrencies via Instant Buy.
- ‘Quick ID Verification’ system, which allows you to get verified quickly.
- 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).
- bitFlyer Lightning exchange only supports Bitcoin (BTC).
- Beginners might find the bitFlyer Lightning exchange difficult to use (aimed at traders).
- Expensive to deposit cash using PayPal (4.9% + €0.35 fee in the EEA).
- Cheaper to buy cryptocurrency with a credit/debit card elsewhere.
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 2022, 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 currently ranked as a top 15 global cryptocurrency exchange on CoinMarketCap (based on traffic, liquidity, and trading volumes).
Happy birthday @bitFlyer 🎉
Our mother company's 8th birthday was on 9th January 2022 🥳 #bitFlyer8th#bitFlyer has the largest transaction of cryptocurrency and has led the market in Japan since it was founded.
We hope they can attain lots of achievement and goals this year 🌸 pic.twitter.com/RfLL6vam9R
— bitFlyer Europe (@bitFlyerEU) January 12, 2022
On top of this, bitFlyer recently reported that it now has more than 2.5 million customers across Europe, the United States, and Japan.
Getting started with bitFlyer is quick and easy (they claim it takes just 5 minutes).
However, you will need to:
- Tell them who you are and where you live.
- Verify your email address.
- Confirm your phone number.
- Show a form of identification (passport/driving licence/identity card).
- Take a picture of your face.
- Set a password.
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.
bitFlyer is available in Japan, most states in the USA, the United Kingdom, and all countries within the European Economic Area (EEA).
However, each of these areas is segregated from one another. You’ll have to signup with the appropriate one depending on where you are:
|Website||Supported Fiat Currency|
|bitFlyer EU||Euro (EUR)|
|bitFlyer USA||US Dollar (USD)|
|bitFlyer Japan||Japanese Yen (JPY)|
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.
- SEPA bank transfer
PayPal is a supported payment method, but you’ll need to fully verify your identity with bitFlyer EU before you can use this.
You could previously use a credit or debit card to buy cryptocurrency on bitFlyer EU. However, this doesn’t seem to be available right now. When it was, you had to deposit using a SEPA bank transfer before you caould withdraw any funds deposited with a card.
It’s FREE to make a EUR deposit with a SEPA bank transfer, which I think 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.
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).
If you’re buying a few thousand euros worth every month or so, then bitFlyer Lightning has starting 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).
|Volume in Past 30 Days||Trading Fees|
|Less than €1 million||0.20%|
|€1 million - €10 million||0.15%|
|More than €10 million||0.10%|
The prices you’re quoted on the ‘Buy/Sell’ interface will be different from the real exchange rate, but it’s not clear by how much.
There are no other fees charged when buying or selling in this area on bitFlyer.
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.
|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|
|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.
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.
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 seems like a good response time).
In 2022, there are more cryptocurrency exchanges in the EU to choose from them ever before.
Two of the most popular cryptocurrency exchanges in the UK are:
- Coinbase Pro: Supports 50+ cryptocurrencies, with maximum fees of 0.5%. Has numerous EUR and GBP trading pairs.
- Kraken: Supports 90+ cryptocurrencies, with maximum fees of 0.26%. Also has numerous EUR and GBP trading pairs.
While Kraken has slightly higher fees than bitFlyer, it gives you access to a much wider selection of cryptocurrencies and has higher trading volume across the exchange.
The Bottom Line
While it might be a popular cryptocurrency exchange in Japan, I’m a bit underwhelmed by what bitFlyer is offering:
- You can only buy Bitcoin (BTC) and six other cryptocurrencies using its ‘Easy Exchange’. Most of the places I’ve reviewed support many more than this. For reference, Coinbase supports 50+ cryptocurrencies and Gemini supports 70+ cryptocurrencies.
- The ‘bitFlyer Lightning’ exchange only supports Bitcoin (BTC). Most popular cryptocurrency exchanges continue to add support for more cryptocurrencies, but bitFlyer haven’t added any new coins since I first wrote this review in 2020.
- It doesn’t have many payment methods. You can only deposit EUR with a SEPA bank transfer or PayPal. Cryptocurrency brokers like LiteBit give you better choice (including debit cards).
Want to check it out yourself?
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.