Bittrex

Bittrex is one of the oldest crypto exchanges operating today, having been launched in 2014 and since then helping traders and investors satisfy their appetite for trading many types of pairs and different assets.
Bittrex’s main product offering is its spot trading platform, which allows for trading in three different crypto-based markets and a USD market, in which users can trade if their request to enable USD withdrawal and deposit functionality has been accepted.

Trading on Bittrex is only allowed once a user has passed verification – which only has one tier and consists of uploading a photo of an identifying document, alongside providing basic personal information.

The platform’s performance, specifically in the past year and a half has been improving: less orders who fail to execute and more systems uptime. Bittrex’s worst performance metric is its trading fees: in crypto-crypto pairs it is as high as 0.25%, a very high number when compared to the industry and its competitors.
Its Liquidity is fair in most pairs, and we are fairly convinced the reported volume is genuine and not manipulated by the exchange.

For the features that it has, Bittrex manages to execute them solidly and in a good way. Unfortunately, there aren’t that many features. The selection of assets is wide and pretty surprising, provided the exchange supposedly operates under US regulations, but we’ll talk about that more when we get to the Trust score. There is a very wide variety of assets to trade, but a limited number of markets: only four, with one of them being USD if you’ve enabled this functionality by directly contacting the exchange.

Aside from that, there are virtually no other features: no margin trading or special promotions, no lending platform, and Bittrex has conducted IEOs in the past although no mention of it seems to currently be displayed on their website, with the former webpages being deleted. The exchange did confirm, however, they were working on a mobile app.

The Bittrex team is not a particularly public one, with most members preferring to not publicly interact with the community over social media (although the official Bittrex account does this job in a pretty good way), but their LinkedIn profiles are full of their prior experience and accomplishments. Bittrex has a very big team, and since its offices are in Seattle, many of its employees previously worked at Amazon and other local tech companies. Its founders are Security specialists and Bittrex does employ people who specifically manage risk and security of user funds.

For our trust score, we came to the conclusion that Bittrex certainly empowers its users and gives them a wide variety of ways to protect their accounts: whitelisting IP addresses and withdrawal addresses, a waiting period before letting attackers withdraw funds and 2FA of course, but we have some concerns about their regulatory situation.

Bittrex is headquartered in the US, and in April 2019 their Bitlicense application was declined by the NYDFS, following a cease-and-desist order that mandated Bittrex should immediately stop all operations in NY state. This is bad news for the exchange, and gives us as its customers uncertainty about its future as a legitimate, regulated company that operates under US law. We believe currently Bittrex attempts to maneuver around this situation using some regulatory arbitrage tricks, such as renaming some its services to “Bittrex International” and selectively allowing or disallowing IPs from certain jurisdictions to access their site, but we perceive this as a temporary situation which would eventually settle one way or the other: either Bittrex fully complies with US regulations, probably including the removal of some questionable assets as tradable on its platform, and if it comes to that and they refuse to do so – they might try to migrate to a more friendly jurisdiction, with Malta being one of the more attractive ones these days.

To conclude, as one of the biggest and oldest exchanges around, Bittrex is certainly facing a transitional period. It’s a reputable place to trade on, sure, and provides many positives for traders who are willing to put up with the limited amount of features and rather high trading fee, but the near future will likely be followed with changes to the exchange, the platform or the legal structure, and so it’s important to keep our eyes on this exchange.