Bittrex Vs. Cryptopia at a Glance
Bittrex and Cryptopia are good exchanges to use if you want to invest in cryptocurrencies other than bitcoin. Both exchanges support hundreds of different “altcoins” (alternative cryptocurrencies that launched after bitcoin).
Regulatory uncertainty around some altcoins has caused many exchanges to avoid listing the more obscure coins, but Bittrex and Cryptopia have taken a more proactive approach. Bittrex supports around 190 coins and Cryptopia lets its users choose from over 400. In addition, both exchanges have good availability and low fees.
The main difference between the two exchanges boils down to their different operating areas. Though Bittrex is available in most US states, residents of Texas, California and Pennsylvania are currently blocked from signing up. Cryptopia, on the other hand, doesn’t place any location-based filters on its website.
Keep reading our comparison of Bittrex vs Cryptopia to learn whether these exchanges are good fits for your crypto trading strategy.
Where Did They Come From?
Bittrex was founded in 2013 by three Seattle-based IT security professionals: Bill Shihara, Richie Lai, and Rami Kawach. The three co-founders met at Microsoft and decided to start an exchange in their spare time.
By 2017, Bittrex had onboarded scores of new customers and was expanding at an extremely rapid rate. The main cause behind the spike in new users was the fact that the price of bitcoin had skyrocketed. Following the massive influx of new users, the co-founders decided to quit their day jobs and devote all their time and energy to Bittrex.
The founders’ decision to build Bittrex on top of the Microsoft Azure cloud computing platform gave Bittrex a key advantage over other crypto exchanges: scalability. Users of other exchanges had to deal with interface slowdowns, crashes and other bothersome technical issues in 2017, but Bittrex’s interface remained– for the most part– speedy and responsive.
However, Bittrex’s customer support team quickly fell behind. Trouble tickets remained unanswered and some users had to wait weeks to get verified. To address lingering customer support issues, Bittrex stopped letting in new users in late 2017. After Bittrex was able to build out its support team, it started accepting new users again several months later.
According to CoinMarketCap, Bittrex currently ranks among the top 30 most popular cryptocurrency exchanges.
Cryptopia’s origins story is similar to Bittrex’s. Like Bittrex, Cryptopia was founded by IT professionals that kept their day jobs for several years before deciding to transition into running their exchange full time.
Before he helped start Cryptopia, Rob Dawson specialized in managing customer support teams for various New Zealand based IT companies. The other co-founder, Adam Clark, developed software for Blackbay, EstarOnline, Intranel and others.
As was the case with most crypto exchanges, 2017 was a huge year for Cryptopia. Though the massive influx of new users caused by a massive spike in the price of bitcoin was largely a boon for Cryptopia, the rapid expansion created a number of pressing customer support issues for the exchange.
Cryptopia reached its breaking point in early 2018, when overwhelming network congestion forced the exchange to shut down.
Dawson explained the reasons behind the outage to the New Zealand Herald:
“With registrations paused again we’re now sitting at 1,400,000 users. We’ve gone from just 2 people to over 50 people including contractors and consultants and we’re looking to at the very least double that as soon as we can, but that also brings with it its own set of hurdles.”
Following the outage, Dawson and Clark brought in a new CEO to help fix the exchange’s support issues– Adam Booth. Before coming to Cryptopia, Booth served as the CEO of the International Aviation Academy of New Zealand. Prior to that, he was the CEO at a motorsport software development company called Link Engine Management.
After Booth joined the exchange, he promised to fix Cryptopia’s support issues in a blog post.
“Cryptopia will continue to evolve from a counter-culture start-up into a global player in the Fintech industry.”
Today, Cryptopia consistently ranks among the top 75 highest volume cryptocurrency exchanges.
Supported Currencies and Listing Policies
Though both exchanges have excellent support for altcoins, Cryptopia currently lists more. Bittrex offers 190 altcoins, but Cryptopia lets its customers invest in more than 400.
Neither exchange lets individual users make fiat deposits. However, Bittrex started allowing some of its corporate customers to make US dollar deposits in May of 2018. Bittrex’s fiat deposit functionality is currently only available to corporate customers that are registered in California, New York, Montana and Washington, though.
Cryptopia once let its users deposit New Zealand dollars, but revoked this feature after Cryptopia’s bank suddenly canceled its account.
Cryptopia has a more liberal coin listing policy compared to Bittrex.
Rather than screen out certain altcoins, Cryptopia rates each coin and lets their users take responsibility for their investments. Though Cryptopia’s coin rating system isn’t comprehensive, it does take a variety of factors into account. Transparency is a key factor that can push a coin’s rating up or down. In addition, the nature of a coin’s mining system can affect a coin’s Cryptopia rating as well.
The downside of Cryptopia’s listing policy is that the exchange is more active when it comes to delisting coins. Once a coin is pulled, Cryptopia users have a month to empty their wallets. If they don’t meet the deadline, they lose their funds.
Cryptopia has outlined this policy in a knowledge base article:
“Once a coin is delisted, the wallet will be removed from Cryptopia and we will be unable to recover any remaining coins which were not withdrawn.”
Bittrex has taken a more standard approach to the way it lists coins. Coin development teams must present the details of their project directly to Bittrex. If the team is solid and the coin is innovative, the coin stands a chance of getting approved.
Bittrex also delists altcoins from time to time. There is a help article that explains the logic behind Bittrex’s occasional coin removals.
“In general, we have to remove coins for several reasons, including broken blockchains, violations to our listing agreement, possible compliance issues, etc. But, there is one reason that is really frustrating since it can be easily prevented — unresponsive coin teams.”
Security and Hacks
As one might expect from an exchange that was founded by a group of security experts, Bittrex has never been hacked. Cryptopia has a clean security record, as well. However, the fact that Bittrex is significantly larger than Cryptopia makes it a juicer target. Thus, it is slightly more impressive that Bittrex has managed to avoid getting raided by cyber criminals.
Availability and Identity Verification
Bittrex and Cryptopia both have good availability around the world. However, Cryptopia has better US availability.
Bittrex is one of the few crypto exchanges that is authorized to operate in New York. Though Bittrex has not been granted an official New York state BitLicense, it applied early and managed to get grandfathered in.
Perhaps because Cryptopia is still a minor player compared to Bittrex, it’s still available in every US state. Anyone around the world that’s older than 18 years of age can use Cryptopia.
Cryptopia’s verification policy is more lenient than Bittrex’s.
Bittrex uses a tiered verification system to decide which features its users can access. An email address is all that’s required to deposit cryptocurrencies and make trades. However, verification is needed to unlock withdrawals. After you provide a photo of your picture ID, you will be able to withdraw a single bitcoin per day. You can bump up the withdrawal limit to 100 bitcoin per day by activating 2-Factor Identification.
Unverified Cryptopia users can immediately begin making deposits and withdrawals– all that’s needed is email verification. If you want to withdraw more than $5,000 New Zealand dollars’ worth of cryptocurrency, however, you will have to provide a government-issued picture ID.
Trading, Fees and Apps
Bittrex and Cryptopia both have similar interfaces. However, Bittrex’s interface gives advanced traders more information and more options. Cryptopia has detailed charts, but does not let its users customize their orders.
Here’s what the Bittrex interface looks like. As you can see, the markets are listed on the left side of the screen. Clicking a market will pull up a chart that shows its current status.
Once you’re ready to make an investment, you can scroll down to the bottom of the page. Bittrex lets you fine tune your trade by giving you the option to place a conditional order.
Instead of charts, Cryptopia’s interface centers around tables. A list of popular markets appears on the left side of the screen.
Clicking a market will bring up a corresponding real-time chart as well as buy/sell boxes. As mentioned above, Cryptopia does not give its users the ability to customize their orders.
Bitrex and Cryptopia both have reasonable commission fees, but neither exchange offers fee discounts to frequent traders.
Bittrex charges a flat 0.25% commission fee for all transactions. Cryptopia’s flat rate is 0.2%.
Neither exchange has produced any official apps.
Customer Support and Community
Both exchanges rely on self-directed knowledge bases and ticket-based support services. Neither exchange offers online chat or phone support.
It’s perhaps worth noting here again that Bittrex does not provide any information about the altcoins that it lists. Cryptopia, on the other hand, rates each coin that it offers.
Bittrex has a closer relationship to US regulators than Cryptopia does. However, neither exchange has managed to fully integrate with the existing fiat banking system.
Bittrex’s compliance chief John Roth was an inspector general for the US Department of Homeland Security. His connections to the US government may have allowed Bittrex to work out a way to offer fiat deposit functionality to some of its US-based corporate customers.
Like Bittrex, Cryptopia has made compliance a high priority. Cryptopia CEO Alan Booth told CoinCentral that “working with regulators is critical, in my opinion, and we’re doing that very well…. In New Zealand, in particular, we have a great relationship with the regulators and all the powers that be, right down to the banks….”
Cryptopia’s compliance goals likely begin with establishing a more solid relationship with the New Zealand banking system. The exchange once offered New Zealand dollar deposits, but had to revoke that feature after Cryptopia’s bank closed one of its key accounts. The account in question was linked to NZDT– a so-called “tether coin” that is designed to match the value of the New Zealand dollar. The bank closed the account amid uncertainty about how NZDT should be regulated.
Because neither Bittrex nor Cryptopia let individuals buy cryptocurrency with government-issued fiat money, most investors will find both exchanges to be somewhat inconvenient. Unless you already own cryptocurrency, you’ll have to use some other exchange to make your initial crypto investment before you can use either exchange.
Once you’ve gone through the process of turning your fiat money into cryptocurrency, Bittrex and Cryptopia both provide an easy way to trade for lesser-known coins.
Though Cryptopia offers support for more coins, it isn’t as well-known or as established as Bittrex– and its status regarding US availability is somewhat of a gray area. At the moment, anyone in the US can decide to use Cryptopia. However, Cryptopia’s availability may change if US regulators ever take a closer look at the exchange.
Another factor to consider is that if Cryptopia delists one of your assets, you have just one month to convert your funds to some other cryptocurrency or transfer them out of the exchange. Bittrex has a similar delisting policy, but that exchange doesn’t seem to delist quite as often as Cryptopia does.